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virquilt's picture

I am trying to find comparisons of Baby Lock, Husq Designer etc electronic top of the line machines. Is there anywhere on the internet where such reviews can be had?

Crazy K's picture

Try www.patternreview.com   You should be able to find out what you need there.


 


Kay

virquilt's picture

Thank you.
I was hoping for a chart of the five major "big" machines and comparison of features and benefits and price.
This site will help.

Pattiann42's picture

When you go to PatternReview.  Open "compare sewing machines".  At the top of the page is the Machine Wizard.  Use the Wizard to list the features you are looking for and the machines that fit your criteria will come up for your review.


Aside from reviewing the machines, you need to test the machines and the dealer for yourself.


I was all set to buy a TOL Bernina and the dealer's lack of honestly blew it - I bought a Babylock from a dealer I knew and trusted.....he stopped selling Bernina because of their high price and their demands that they be the only brand sold by the dealer.



 


 


I strive to learn something new each day.


Edited 10/20/2008 10:08 pm ET by spicegirl1

damascusannie's picture

Are you looking for a new quilting machine? And if so, do you just piece or do you plan to machine quilt, add embroidery, etc? If all you do is piece, then top-of-the-line is probably overkill. I do all my quilt stitching, including free-motion quilting on treadle sewing machines. I use a 1920s National Two Spool for piecing and a 1950s Montgomery Wards for free-motion quilting. They, and three other machines, are mounted in a big table that my husband built for me. Take a look at my studio and my quilts in my webshots albums to see what can be done on quite simple machines.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
Josefly's picture

I enjoyed looking at your photos of your work table and work room. I noticed you have quite a collection of irons, in addition to the many sewing machines. Are the irons a side-interest, or do they each serve a different function for you?

damascusannie's picture

The irons are a side collection--sort of a corollary to the sewing machines and the quilting thing. I do prefer steamless vintage irons for pressing. They are heavier than modern irons, I don't need steam because I starch as I go when quilting and when I'm sewing clothing I prefer to use a damp pressing cloth anyway, plus they usually have wonderful tips for getting under the edge of the fabric to flip and press when I'm piecing. So, some of them I got to use and when I burn out the thermostats, I just grab another one off the shelf.

Because I'm in the middle of a long-term sewing machine research project, I've made a pact with myself NOT to start researching irons! I have no idea when any of them were made, but I do think that they make a cool display in my sewing room.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
MaryinColorado's picture

corollary? ha ha ha Thanks so much for giving me my new "word for the week".  (I used to try to learn a new word once a day, but my neurons started misfiring in protest.) 


My mother has several heavy old irons from her mother, non electric that she heated on the stove.  They make great doorstops and conversation pieces too.  

Josefly's picture

I do sometimes long for the heavy old irons. Not that my wrists need the extra stress of lifting a heavier iron, but I have to really exert some pressure anyway, sometimes. I have the same mixed reaction to cookware - I really prefer cooking in heavy, even cast iron vessels, but I'm getting to the point where lifting such a pot when full is scary.

Thanks for your answer about the irons. It reminds me that a damp press cloth would be better for me to use, often, when sewing, than constantly having to refill the steam reservoir. Is starching your quilt pieces a means of stabilizing, or is there some other function?

damascusannie's picture

I find that in the long run, the reduction in pressing down to get a good crease out-weighs the extra strain of lifting the heavier iron. The starch is used to stabilize the fabrics before I even cut them. I find that I get more accurate cuts and that they don't stretch as much during the stitching process if I starch first. It's being done more and more by quilters to improve accuracy.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
Josefly's picture

Thank you again for another answer. Yes, I've been reading on this forum that people use spray starch to assist with cutting slippery or wiggly fabrics like silk or rayon, in garment sewing, too. I haven't had occasion to use that tip yet, but will keep it in mind.

By the way, I bought cotton fabric from a quilting shop recently, to make a Hawaiian print shirt for DH. I couldn't find anything suitable at Hancock or Joann fabric stores. This fabric was a batik print, more expensive than usual (for me) for cotton fabric, but it turned out to be a lucky buy. It is a lovely grade, tightly woven fabric, and the selvages are practically invisible - if it had been necessary, I think I could've used the fabric all the way to the edge, without cutting off the selvage. It was cut in the shop, generously, and absolutely straight on the crossgrain, which was perfectly perpendicular to the selvages, something I've ceased to expect with the cottons I usually get. And when I laundered it before cutting, it barely raveled at all - with no shrinkage. (I think the lack of shrinkage might be a negative for old-timey quilters, though?) I was really impressed with the quality. Of course, visiting a quilting shop has its own perils... :>)

damascusannie's picture

Oh, the batik fabrics are GORGEOUS! I'm working on a queen-sized batik quilt right now for a wedding gift for a nephew. It's just a joy to work with. The tight weave makes it virtually impossible to hand quilt, but I machine quilt, so it doesn't bother me in the least. I've been working on a hand applique project in bright batiks on a black background. I'm looking forward to getting my holiday knitting and quilting done so I can work on it again.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
Josefly's picture

Sounds like a beautiful quilt you're working on. I hope you'll show it here when done.

Yes, I can see the difficulty if hand-quilting on the batik fabric - I really had to tug on the needle when doing some hand-basting. I changed needles - no help at all. My fingers are thankful that the handwork is over on this project.

The quilt shop had an incredible number of bolts of batik fabrics - about 20 horizontal feet of wall space, from floor to ceiling, in every conceivable shade of each color.

damascusannie's picture

I'll definitely post some pictures of the finished quilt. Batiks are THE hot fabric in quilting right now. A few years ago it was feedsack repros, a few years before that it was Civil War repros....we go in cycles. The thing that I like about the batiks is the rich color that's available.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
Josefly's picture

The colors are brilliant. I think quite a few of the "non-traditional" quilts I saw last year at the Nat'l Quilt Museum in Paducah must've used the batik fabrics - the colors were so vibrant. I remember at least one was made with the kind of dual-colored strips sewn closely together, then pressed in different directions and stitched down - I'm not explaining this very well - like the black and white jacket that was featured in a recent Threads magazine. They were wonderful quilts.

For garments, the batiks are almost too vibrant, if used by themselves. Just my opinion. There are some subtly colored and printed ones, but the one I picked for the "Hawaiian" shirt is rather loud and gaudy. I would've picked something quieter, but this was closest to what might pass as tropical. The shirt will probably not be worn much - it's for a contra dance festival, the theme of which is "South Pacific." But I've fallen in love with the quality, and may go back for some of the less vibrant stuff, with a smaller print. I don't know if the few batik "quilting cottons" I've seen in Hancock's are the same quality - they've never appealed to me before, so I haven't checked them out.

I've been saying "batik fabrics" but perhaps I should say "batik-like prints", since I don't know if batik techniques are actually used to produce the fabrics or not.

Edited 11/4/2008 4:00 pm ET by Josefly

Edited 11/4/2008 4:02 pm ET by Josefly


Edited 11/4/2008 4:04 pm ET by Josefly

damascusannie's picture

I know exactly what you mean and I could probably take a good guess at the maker--Carol Bryer Fallert. Did it look something like this?

http://www.bryerpatch.com/images/quiltrecords/htt38/HighTechTucks38.htm

The term batik immediately conjures up images of extremely bright fabrics, but lately I've been finding more subtle colors and picking them up. I've got some lovely subtle blues, greens and purples that would make up beautifully into skirts or blouses.

In quilting "batik" refers to both authentic batiks and bright hand-dyed fabrics. The one thing that they never are is printed--always vat dyed, or sometimes the dyes are splashed, sprayed, poured or dribbled onto the fabric. They are labor intensive which explains the price.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie


Edited 11/4/2008 4:20 pm by damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
ThreadKoe's picture

Ok, here is a short lesson on Fabric History for today.  Batik was originally a resist method of dying fabric, where a wax was placed where a colour was not wanted.  Then the fabric was dyed by painting or vat dying the areas the required colours.  To keep the areas that colour, they were again painted with the resist and a darker colour was overlaid the lighter colours.  Complex patterns and repeats are often hand painted onto the fabric, with the spread controlled by the resist.  The final dye bath would be black or brown, giving the whole piece it's final finishing background colour.  The reisist is removed, leaving a beautiful crackled look to the pattern where the wax fractured during handling.  This crackled look is what gives even a monocoloured batik its beauty and uniqueness today.


Batik is a complex process that is done by hand.  Even with the help of machinery today, the multistep process is labour intensive.  That is why they are so expensive.  They are as much a work of art as a piece of fabric.


Batik is more commonly recognized as coming from Africa and the West Indian Islands.  It is a very old technique that is common around the world.  Japan and China have used resist techniques in silk dyeing for centuries.  The Ukrainian Pysanka (easter egg) uses the exact same technique.  Even the tools for applying the wax are similar.     Cathy

damascusannie's picture

Most of the quilting batiks are coming out of Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia. For instance, Bali batiks really ARE from Bali, which has a very ancient batik tradition. I can remember seeing a PBS special on Bali years ago and one episode was completely dedicated to the traditional arts, including batik. It was fascinating.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
ThreadKoe's picture

Thank you Annie.  That is the one piece of info I had missing from my current file.  Some of my info is not as current as it should be.  I will add it to my cardfile.  I try to keep up, but it is hard to keep current with so many changes, and that mouse eating her way through my cards has not made updating any easier when I am starting from scratch again. 


I have been admiring the Bali prints for a while.  They are wonderful.  There is a CDN company that comes to the Inspirations Embellishment Show each year that carries them.  I was saving up to get some this year, but they did not have the show this fall, much to my dismay. 


When I started sewing, and keeping a file, batik was considered to be a novelty fabric, hard to come by, and not the fine fabric it is considered to be now.  It was more apt to be hung on a wall as an art object or a DIY made into a silk scarf or pillow. 


It is great fun to do tho, and a wonderful project for older children.  I use leftover candles, Kool-aid, and Tshirts.  Plastic bags, newspaper, and sunshine will take care of the rest!  Cathy

damascusannie's picture

I got to try batik back in the olden days when I was a kid (early 70s). We used RIT dye and crayons. Using crayons for the wax was cool because we got colored patterns that way and then over-dyed with black. My daughter and son have gotten into tie-dye and Rachel's going to dye the backing fabric for the batik quilt I'm working on. It's much cheaper to buy the white cotton and dye it ourselves and it doesn't have to be perfect for this backing as long as the colors are right.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
ThreadKoe's picture

I have used the crayons as well, but you have to be careful now.  So many are washable, that even after heatsetting, the colour washes out.  I liked shaving the crayons, scattering them over the garment, then putting them in a plastic bag in the sun to melt.  Never knew what you would get out of it.  For myself, fibrereactive, dylon or rit dyes are fine, but for kids, koolaid seems a lot safer.  And it takes just as well sometimes......not always where you want it...... 


I am actually online with Batik Butik's site, the one I mentioned in my last post.  http://www.batikbutik.com  Although they deal with rayon dress materials, I was reading up on their manufacturing in Bali.  I found two, not so local, but close enough retailers.  Yay!  I have one of the patterns they sell.  It is the next pattern on my list to sew.   Cathy

MaryinColorado's picture

I confess, I've been lurking here and learning some interesting things.  Thanks to all of you gals.


www.equilter.com has some lovely batiks, some bali, some not.  Some are cotton some are rayon.  I've been very happy with their fabrics and their customer service.  Mary

Katina's picture

I had quite an experience with a stunning African batik fabric some years ago.  The piece was from a small workshop in Ghana and very stiff with the resist wax used. Aha! I thought, hot water will remove it, so I dunked all 5 yards into the washing machine on the hottest cycle.  What possessed me I can't imagine.  The whole drum was thick with wax - the mess was indescribable.  I ran the empty machine though several boiling hot cycles to little avail and finally had to call a technician out.  From then on I take these 'raw' fabrics to the drycleaner who does a great job with them. The fabulous batiks from the quilt stores are fully finished - no wax problems!


Katina

damascusannie's picture

I prewash all my fabrics in the sink, in the hottest water out of my tap. Since my fabrics are almost always used for quilts, I'm usually washing relatively small amounts and I've not had the experience you had. Most of the quilting batiks seem to have been cleaned pretty well, but I do have one in the quilt that I'm working on that has enough that my studio smells like hot wax when I hit one of the pieces of that fabric with my iron. It's no enough to coat the iron or anything, just give off the odor.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
Katina's picture

The sink's a good idea; I buy a lot of African batik fabric (from an African source) and this always has to be treated to remove the wax.  Gorgeous stuff, but not as 'sophisticated' as the Hoffman batiks.


Katina

ThreadKoe's picture

ROTFL  I am sorry for not answering you earlier today.  Every time I started, I laughed myself into a coughing fit.  tee hee  I can see myself doing something just like that!  Actually I sort of did. 


As a newlywed, and a citygirl, I was unused to the large amount of dirt that the barn and work clothes could acquire.  One particularily wet day, DH had to wrestle a newborn calf and cow into the barn.  The calf escaped, and fell into the manure behind the barn.  He had to wade into the soupy mess, right up to his chest to rescue it.  He came home, peeled his clothes off, and headed to the shower.  Without thinking, I threw the clothing into the washer.   When the cycle was finished, the clothes came out no cleaner, and the washer was a mess!  There was about 1/4 inch of sand and straw in the bottom of the washer as well!  How the heck do you clean that out?  I washed them again.  NO Better!  I ended up scooping the worst of the stinking mess out by hand, shaking the clothing out, outside the house, before trying to wash them again.  This time at least, they smelled better.  I hung the clothes on the line to dry in the pouring rain, DH laughing his head off the whole time!


The washer was still a mess, full of straw and dirt.  I damp wiped what I could out of it, but could not get it clean.  So I threw in a load of dark coloured towels that had to be washed.  I figured they would pick up the flotsam and I could shake them out when I hung them on the line.  They worked like a charm.  The washer was clean, and after a good shake, so were the towels!  And after the sun came out the next day, everything was clean, well rinsed and sweet smelling again.   Cathy


 

Katina's picture

Oh Cathy - this is hilarious!! Interesting that you made use of the pouring rain. I sometimes do that to finish rinsing skeins of yarn that I've dyed - rainwater's so soft.


Katina

damascusannie's picture

ROTFL! When we moved to a new farm, we had to have the entire dry lot regraded so that it would drain. Naturally, the day after we dug it all up, it began to rain, and kept raining for about a week. Well, we told the girls that they were to STAY OUT OF THE DRY LOT until it dried out. It was so bad we couldn't even let the cows out into it.

They obeyed for about three days, until the twins (yes, twins do get into twice as much trouble!) were sailing boats with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and one of them started down a channel through the lot. Without thinking, Karen waded right into all that deep mud to rescue it and got stuck up to her knees. Katie followed to help her out, but wasn't able to get her pulled free. In the process, they fell repeatly into the muck. Finally, Katie waded back out to get help--me.

I was furious! I got a spade and sent Katie back in to dig Karen out. Then had to send them back after their boots which had come off in the mud. There was no way I was letting all that mud into the house and they were already soaked to the skin anyway so I took them into the milkhouse and hosed them down. The good thing was that they did rescue the toy they'd gone after, AND they stayed about 50 yards away from the lot for about the next year. They still tell this story at family parties.

Annie in Wisconsin, USA
~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

Annie in Wisconsin, USA ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine. See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damas...
ThreadKoe's picture

ROTFL...I think twins get into things not doubled, but squared.  My brother has twin boys. 


You have reminded me of another story.  DD2 had a friend home from school just before school let out in June.  They were probably in grade 3 or 4.  The young lady was from town and just that, a little lady.  We had one of those really heavy late afternoon heavy thunderstorms that was over quick, that left rain puddles everywhere.  I can see you thinking.........Yes, they went puddle jumping...but wait...there is more.  As the puddles dwindled, they roamed back towards the creek, a favorite haunt to sit and talk. 


You see, it was a warm rain, and you know how warm and squishy the mud gets and how nice it feels between your toes?  Well, they got to play fighting, and then to MUD SLIDING in the warm MUD PUDDLES!  They came back covered head to foot with black mud.  They both had long hair caked and looking like dreadlocks!  All you could see of their faces were their eyes and mouths, grinning from ear to ear.  Laughing and giggling like hyenas.  I could hardly believe what I saw.  All I asked them was if they had fun.  The little friend looked really scared, then admitted it was a blast. 


Now I admit I feel a dirty kid is a happy kid and that means they had fun.  So I said,  Are you all finished now?  They looked at each other, the young lady had the most astonished look on her face.  My daughter said to her, I told you we were not going to get in trouble, my mom is cool.  So I turned on the garden hose and hosed them off, then gave them the hose to play with.  I loaned the young lady dry clothes to wear while washing hers, and sent her home clean.  


To this day this young lady talks about that day.  And she never told her mother.  Cathy

MaryinColorado's picture

thanks for the giggles!

Ceeayche's picture

Cathy you are a wonder.  Thanks for the lessons!  Keep em coming!  I like how they are sort of sprinkled in throughout the entire site!

"Ceeaychelle"

"Ceeaychelle"
Greet each day with Joy.  Embrace your blessings.