Since I started to find hand embroidery more stressful due to the eyesight, I've been thinking that a machine with a few more stitched patterns than my Bernina 1008 can offer might be useful.
Bernina owners like Berninas don't they? The 350PE beyond budget yet not unachievable looked the most likely machine for me. However, a quick call to a dealership suggested that I probably wouldn't like it and would fare better with a Juki so off we went and tried out the Juki F300. Purchase home, a few minutes play on home ground and I really didn't like it. My eyes really weren't good enough to differentiate clearly between the clear feet and the fabric, I didn't like the quite flimsy clear bobbin cover, needle plate would need to be unscrewed for cleaning, the needle clamp screw protrudes quite a lot and knocks my hand when free machining or anything else that requires the hands to be very close to the work. I packed it up, had a very restless night, got it back out again in the morning but didn't feel any different ............. I wanted the Bernina really didn't I?
Back we went, explained the problem (nothing wrong with the machine ........... it's just me!) tried out a Bernina 380 as it was the one on display ............ yes, fine .......... full metal feet, front loading bobbin, it's familiar.
Happy, happy, happy - the 350PE it is!
Got it home, felt a bit strange putting the bobbin in as though there was some play towards one side at the rear ................. a bit more rickety than the 1008. Ok, a few straight stitches .......... fine. Moving into patterns which is what I really wanted it for .......... the red stars on the right then a couple of other designs (the green stitching was done on the Juki) ............... doesn't look nice, the fabric feels like it's being sucked in and the needle is moving across before it's fully emerged from the fabric. Check threading, bobbin ok, change to embroidery threads (on another sample) then before I had chance to review anything the mother of all jams! I wasn't expecting miracles but, for the money paid, I was expecting a decent machine working nicely from the start. Back in the box within 5 minutes of getting it out!
I now have the Juki back:
It's very early days and I'm still scared of it ............ the "computerised" bit meaning it's something more to go wrong but it's very user friendly. Already I'm loving the automatic thread cutter (no wasted thread), the needle threader is saving me loads of time, it's much quieter than the front loading bobbin machines which will please the rest of the family, the box feed system is very good ........... barely need to touch the fabric to keep it on the straight and the man in the shop sorted me out with a couple of metal feet which should help with following seams for the decorative stitches until I've sorted out exactly what feet will suit me and the machine best.