Today I'm finally ready to get quilting and piecing on the Janome HD 1000! I have to say, the more I play with this machine, the more I like it. I'm not being biased or anything here, I just enjoy stitching on this machine and find it very easy to use.
In my last post, I mentioned how this machine really only has a center needle position. I was correct in the comments by BB (thank you!) who mentioned that the narrowest zigzag setting will often move the needle position to one side or the other.
I tried this out and yes, if you put the machine in stitch mode "C" on the narrowest zigzag, the needle will pop over to the far left side. Still, even on the far left side, the needle is just not in the right position to stitch an accurate 1/4" seam allowance with any of the feet the machine came with.
But that's okay because I'm a huge fan of generic presser feet!
So here's a video of me piecing with the Janome HD 1000 using this Generic Patchwork foot:
First off, let's talk about the word GENERIC.
Many quilters seem to think this is a dirty word. Even I had a bias against it for a long time, and it was only after dealing with my Juki that I began to love generic feet with a passion.
So why do some quilters think generic feet stink?
Allow me to share my own personal history of bias against this word...
I can well remember purchasing my first Bernina (sorry Bernina owners and dealers, but I'm going to pick on you a bit!)
I bought my first Bernina machine used, and at $500, I was suffering from serious sticker shock. Thinking back now, I think that was the most expensive THING I'd ever bought up to that point (minus my useless college education).
But I can still remember asking the store owner about a Walking Foot, also called an Even Feed foot because the machine hadn't come with one. The dealer showed me the Official Bernina Walking Foot which retailed for $150 at the time! Whoa! That's ridiculous!
And when I balked at the price, the owner said something like "Oh, well, you could go with a generic foot, but they aren't guaranteed if they break and won't work as well..." All this said in a tone of voice that implies that generic feet are bad, bad, bad!
So I left the store and came back a few months later and bought the official, name brand, guaranteed, embossed in gold Bernina walking foot for $150.00.
And when I upgraded to a newer Bernina a few years later and my old walking foot would no longer fit, I purchased a second official, name brand, guaranteed walking foot for $170!
Why was I so convinced the name brand was better? I'm not sure, but I think it had a lot to do with how that store owner made me feel. She made me feel cheap and not as good a quilter - not as smart or as dedicated because I couldn't afford the name brand foot.
And she filled my head with the idea that only the company can design good feet for their machines. Trust in the company and all your problems will be solved....
Fast forward a few years when I bought my Juki TL 98 QE, a machine with possibly the worst designed feet in existence. Sharon Shamber makes a special foot for this machine, which I tried and liked, but ultimately I had to break the darning foot open in order for it to work properly and give me the visibility I needed.
Before breaking it, I searched high and low for a better foot from the company. Surely Juki has to have more choice for their high shank machines?! Surely they wouldn't only have these bad feet? Surely they would realize when quilters are making or breaking their feet, there is a problem with the design?!
Trust in the company and all your problems will be solved... Yeah right! My trust for brand named everything flew out the window with that experience and I began looking exclusively for generic feet to do the job.
Generic feet have quite a lot going for them:
- Mass produced so they are much cheaper than official brand named feet.
- Designed to fit standard shank sewing machines: High shank, low shank, and singer slant shank. All you have to know is what shank your machine is and then you're in business.
- Often the exact same design and quality as the official name branded feet.
- Because they're so much cheaper, you worry less when you have to modify them!
I'm not doing it anymore! I received loads of emails from quilters wondering what the foot was that I'm using on the Janome Horizon for piecing.
From now on, I'm using this generic Patchwork foot in the snap on style. It works just as good as the other foot I was using, costs half the price, and the quality is exactly the same!
So the Janome HD 1000 is a low shank machine. How do I know? Check out this photo:
While it might be tricky to tell from these photos, this one definitely shows the difference:
Now of course Singer has to go and make things difficult by also having a slant shank option, and another machine brand (Kenmore?) has a Super High Shank option too. And of course Bernina feet are not compatible with anything other than Bernina feet (unless you use a generic adapter), and I think Viking can be pretty finicky too.
But for the most part, MOST machines can be identified as either High shank or Low Shank and I'd say most of the machines I'll be reviewing for under $500 will be low shank.
I've gotten pretty good at identifying which machines are which, so if you're curious to know what shank your machine is, post a photo of it on the group flickr account and I'll take a look.
Now as for the machine! As I said earlier, I'm really loving this little machine!
While Josh is hoping I'll sell each machine in the review before buying the next one, I don't think I can part with this one. It takes the same bobbins as the Horizon so I think it's going to make a great little workshop machine, something I can tote around town with no problem.
Of course being used to features like a knee lifter, higher powered lights, and an automatic needle down means that sometimes I make mistakes on this machine simply because I'm used to those features.
Just in case you don't know what these things are, here's a quick definition:
- Knee lifter - A bar that comes out from the front of the machine which can lift the presser foot. You operate this with your knee so you don't have to take your hands off of your project. This is VERY useful for piecing and applique.
- Higher powered lights - Why aren't LED lights STANDARD??? And why don't ALL machines have a second light to the RIGHT of the needle? That is where we do the most of our sewing!
- Auto needle down - Causes your machine to always end with the needle in the down position - VERY convenient when free motion quilting because you can easily stitch to a line, stop, rotate the quilt, then start again without having to take your hands off the quilt.
The lighting can be fixed with bigger lights around the table, and I can always use my hands to lift the presser foot slightly or turn the hand wheel to put the needle down in the machine.
So the real question is - is a knee lifter, LED lights, and auto needle down really worth $1000 - $2500?
That's a hard question to answer. It's almost like trying to answer the question - Are automatic door locks and windows really worth the $1000 extra you pay for them on your car? Is the icemaker in your freezer really worth the extra $500 tacked on to your refrigerator?
All of these things make life more convenient, but do they actually make it easier or faster to get our sewing projects done?
I'll let you ponder over that one for a bit!
Let's go quilt,