I think I’ve already indicated I’m not ready to buy a $5-10K sewing/embroidery combo. But I did look at them. I could probably get the price down to $4K if I buy a Brother. I’m not opposed to Brother. After all, my first embroidery machine was a Bernette Deco 500; which was the same as the Brother 500 just a different cover. No fooling, all the hardware and software under the hood (cover) was exactly the same. Those machines, Brother Babylock Bernina 500’s, were real workhorses. There were stories of women who established businesses using these beginner, home machines. Also, I’ve had good luck with upper end Brother Knitting Machines. But after I look the field over, I come to the same conclusion. I want to wait and spend those big $$$ when the Diamond as been considerably improved.
So what’s at the low end?
Janome is still offering the 300 and 350E machines. It could be a good replacement. All my hoops and accessories would still work and it would have the USB connection that I desire. It would still lack the auto trim after jumps function; and truthfully, I don’t like the way the hoop connects. I still, after 10 years, end up craning my neck and body over to the backside of the machine to see how to connect the latch. I’m not pleased with this plastic P foot either. I seem to replace one every year or so. The foot screw loosens just a little due to the action of the foot. Eventually the foot drops just slightly. Just enough to be caught and destroyed by the needle. This last time I asked DH to install the screw, he has wonderful, strong hands. If someone asked me, someone who was leaning towards this machine, I’d keep my issues to myself. The latching thingy is a matter of hand and eye coordination. The foot screw is upper body strength. If you think you want this machine, buy it. The 5.51X7.19 hoop is truly wonderful. The embroidery is equal to anything produced by other machines. The one real issue I and others have is that of: Metallic Threads. Janome is not alone in this. Some machines like some brands of metallic threads and not others. It can vary from machine to machine. I’ve heard praises of Janome owners for particular brands of metallic; that never work for me. I never found the brand my 9500 likes to stitch. My Ruby OTOH stitches beautifully with even the 20-year old spools of metallic thread. I don’t know. It might be the only downside I’d mention and I would definitely report it as a “me” issue. The biggest downside for me is that I love technology. I know that by the time my Viking is 10 years old, I will have her replaced just so I can take advantage of the new technology. If I buy the 350 now, I won’t feel like giving it up in 3 years. At $1500, I want it to last me more than 3 years. But, I will keep this option highly in mind because I know it is fairly priced, easy to use and sturdy.
Two other machines really caught my eye, I’ll only share one today the Singer XL something or another.
I couldn’t figure-out if it had an embroidery field of 6″x10″ or if it was multi-position hoop used like the Janome Gigahoop. With the Gigahoop, it stitches half the design, turn the hoop and it stitches the other half. Rather like a multi-position hoop except I could never wrap my head around the process and was never able to stitch and align the two stitch-outs. Back to the XL, my biggest concern however is Singer itself. Singer was bought and run into the ground back in the 60’s and 70’s. Passed around like Red Light Woman with new buyers wanting the allure of the name but not the effort required to bring Singer back to former glory. Finally someone did buy Singer and invest the R&D which would have made Singer a household name again. But then, sewing manufacturing companies being promiscuous fellas that they are, Singer was bought by someone who decided that Singer would remain low-end. The question for myself was, is the XL low-end or left over from that brief return to glory? Don’t know and decided to pass on the XL something-or-another.