While at the quilt show last week, a friend took me over to the vendor area to see how Sharon Schamber is machine quilting. Sharon is a very famous quiltmaker well-known for her amazing machine quilting; I’ve known about her for years, and when she teaches workshops in the area I think about how nice it would be to learn better machine quilting technique…
…and then I look at my domestic sewing machine and realize that I’m not willing to put that much effort, time and money into a workshop to be a better quilter. With my machine (see the header above; that white machine is my Riccar) and with my back problems, I’ve figured out the minimum amount of quilting I can do without hurting myself. Trying to do more would make me frustrated.
And then, at Sharon’s vendor booth, I saw this:
This is, I believe, a Juki TL-98Q Straight Stitch Quilting Sewing Machine; I spoke with Sharon’s daughter, who wrote down the model number. Per Sharon,here’s a business in Phoenix that sells them, and the cost is around $800, which is quite reasonable. Sharon sells a thin teflon sheet that adheres to the surface area of the sewing area, which allows the quilt/fabric to move without drag as you sew; and, the metal hoop you see in the photo is a quilt halo, a heavy ring which you hold onto as you quilt, and the combination of the weighted ring and the teflon makes for smooth, smooth quilting. Plus, holding the ring is so much easier on the wrists, shoulder and upper back.
I tried out the setup and found it really ergonomic, and I immediately felt excited about the potential. I bought a teflon sheet and a quilt halo to try out on my humble Riccar.
When I get my tax refund this spring I think I’ll spring for a Juki.
6 thoughts on “My Fantasy Machine Quilting Setup: A Juki”
I used a Juki for years! Love love loved it!
Thanks for your feedback. I think I’ll be saying the same thing in the future! Can’t wait to get my Juki.
I don’t know anyone who has tried the teflon sheet and the halo. Do you feel the improvement justifies the cost, even on a standard machine?
PS Saw your quilt at the Tucson show-impressive
I can’t really either trash or recommend the teflon sheet and halo method of machine quilting at this time; I just haven’t done enough quilting, and nothing large-scale (where obviously you’ll feel any alleged benefits; small pieces are easy!). The halo does definitely more evening distribute your you weight and effort as you quilt, making it easier on the wrists, shoulders and upper back. When your hands rest on the halo it’s easier on the body as opposed to gripping the quilt (which is what I do, I develop a bit of a death grip the faster the machine pedal goes).
So, I can’t give you an answer yet. I’ll know more later. Stay tuned!
I am thinking of buying a halo. I have torn a ligament in my thumb and it makes the death grip impossible. I was wondering if it would help me.
You may really like the halo; in fact, you might like 2 and stack them up. It’s an expensive gamble ($50 for 2) but you may find the extra height and weight are that more relaxing for the hands. Or, one may do the trick. Good luck. I have a long history of join and tendon problems so I can relate!