Which brings us to the machine I did buy. The Brother PE770
For starters, I would not consider anything with less than a 5″x7″ embroidery field. 10-years ago, when I wanted to trade in the Bernette Deco 500, it was because of its 4×4 field. 4×4 was just 1″ too small. I was splitting nearly every design and hooping multiple times. Eventually I purchased a Hoop-It-all hoop so that it was a process of splitting that slightly too large embroidery design and stitching it with a single hooping, repositioning as needed. I knew I couldn’t go back to the 4×4 hoop. The next machine could not be limited to a 4×4 field. To be satisfied, I had to have the 5×7.
The other thing I very much wanted was the use of USB media. I mean those ATA cards work fine. Slow, but fine. At one point I realized they were becoming obsolete and hunted down 4 cards. I’m good with ATA cards. Slow, but good. So S–L–O–W that I’d really rather have a USB connection.
Now, I feel it only fair to admit there is a “fly in the ointment” when it comes to USB and our embroidery machines. Large capacity, ie. 4GB and more, USB thumb drives don’t work well if at all in our machines. In fact, they too can take long hours to load, even longer than ATA cards. That’s because the machines are still using older technology and have limited internal memory.
So the fly in the ointment is that the best choice for USB media for an embroidery machine, is media with the low capacity. The rest of the world is impressed with greater and greater capacity. Added to the desire for more and more is this odd reasoning by the manufacturers that thumb drives must do more than hold data. So they add proprietary software onto the drive which absolutely befuddles our machines. If you plan to keep your embroidery machine for many more years, buy low capacity thumb drives now while you can get them. I did. (I also bought low capacity SD cards with USB readers for them.)
The description clearly says between thread changes. But a trim is a trim. I mean a “trim” is a code sent by the software through the machine to the cutter which says “activate”. The cutter activates, trims the thread and we’re all happy, right? I want an auto-trim function that works like my Ruby. However, I know that Viking specified that Ruby would trim after floats and at thread changes if the design was correctly coded. But PE770 says clearly “between thread changes”. What? Does it not read a trim code? Does it ignore trim codes in the design but automatically add at a color change? I don’t know. As long as the machine reads the “trim” code, I can work with it. A trim between colors is better than no trims at all. This could be a challenge that I’m ready to explore: How to make PE770 trim when I want trims.
I felt that the 5×12″ multi-position hoop feature was a bonus. The Hoop-It-All I purchased for the Deco500 cost, as I recall, an additional $250 for hoop, clip, support table and a meager amount of stabilizer. Adding $250 to the cost would bump this machine back up into Janome territory without the added benefit of reusing all the accessories I already have and Janome’s well-known robustness. I purchased the PE770 and a 4 hoop package which included the multi-position hoop. I knew that I had to have the 5×7 hoop (included with machine) but I would also want a 4×4 and sock hoop. Pushing this machine to my first choice, was the multi-position hoop and the fact that all 4 hoops would cost a mere $70. Compare that to Ruby’s Endless Hoop (now under the Christmas Tree) which was $229. The multi-position hoop will handle most but not all of the larger embroideries I do. There will still be times when Ruby is the best choice, either because of the design (large, difficult to split) or because the endless hoop is a better choice for a particular project (skirt hems, table linens i.e. long straight areas that required multiple repeats). When that happens, I’ll have to quit sewing long enough to do the embroidery.
This is kind of a misnomer. It’s along the lines of an automatic washing machine or a dish washing machine. Yes the washing machine will wash your clothes eliminating the necessity of a scrubbing board and your hands in the water for hours at a time. But the clothes have to get from everywhere in the house into the machine; and it’s not the fault of the machine if your DH is wearing pink underwear because you didn’t wash the red blouse separately. Also, I doubt that you want to wear these wonderfully, automatically clean clothes as they come out of the washer: damp dry and wrinkled. Which means they must be dried somehow. Will you: Hang them on a line? Throw into the automatic dryer? Will you wear them wrinkled or do something so they are (mostly) wrinkle free? Point is,”automatic” has it’s limitations and then you must take over. The automatic threader in use since the original BBB’s is an OK device. Much better than threading a size 9 needle on your own but you must follow a specific procedure and that still may not work. The threader can be bent in which case the threader will never work until Repair replaces it. I’m happy and count as a plus that an automatic threader is included. It’s different from the previous threaders I’ve used and so the jury is still out as to whether this is an improvement. For arguments sake, I’ll count it as a plus because, like I said, I’d rather have one than not.
METAL P FOOT
This doesn’t mean anything to you until, like me, you’ve replaced a plastic P foot several times. I know I explained this before and in-depth, so I won’t repeat myself other than to say I say: the P foot on the PE770 IS metal. That’s a PLUS in my book.
Whew. Think I’m done with my reasoning for purchasing the PE770. In a nutshell I’d rather replace the MC9500 than continue dump money and make long trips attempting repair it. So I looked for and found an inexpensive machine with 5×7 embroidery field, USB connectivity, thread trims and the metal P foot. The multi-hoop (5×12) in the 4 hoop combo was like icing on the cake.