So I purchased another machine.
My other machine is a Janome, QC. I absolutely love my Janome! But the throat is a little small. So when I'm quilting anything larger than a lap quilt, it's really tight. So I thought I would get a machine that has a larger throat, making maneuvering a larger quilt easier. And I'm all about making things easy!
The Brother is comparable to the Juki. So comparable, in fact, that they even look alike! The difference appears to be in the price but I'm guessing here because I haven't seen the Juki up close and personal...
This machine is relatively simple. It has one stitch and one stitch only - the straight stitch. (My Janome has a ton of stitches so straight stitch only is fine.) I've read reviews where people were disappointed with the location of the bobbin as well as tension issues, but I haven't any concerns. The bobbin case is under the needle plate and it does feel awkward (after using a top-loading bobbin) when you first install the bobbin. The very first machine I ever sewed on (when I was about 10 years old) had the bobbin in the same location so although it did feel awkward, it also felt familiar. The location also doesn't allow you to see how much thread you have left on your bobbin and there isn't anything to let you know that you've run out of bobbin thread. Although this can be frustrating, I am learning about how long I can sew before I need to check the bobbin thread. Definitely not a deal breaker.
When I first tried the machine I did have all kinds of tension issues and the top thread kept breaking. Both the tension issues and the breaking thread were entirely my fault! That first machine I ever sewed on? It had a knee pedal (instead of a foot pedal) that you (literally) pushed with your knee to operate the machine. Well, this machine comes with a knee lever that allows you to lift the presser foot without using your hands. It turns out that not only was I pressing the foot pedal, but I was simultaneously pushing on the knee lever. Of course I'm having tension and thread issues! I'm lifting the presser foot while I'm trying to sew! Duh! So, I removed the knee lever and...Surprise! Perfect tension and no breakage! I will try using the knee lever again but for right now, I'm good.
The Brother came with a number of attachments, including a 1/4 inch foot, a free motion quilting foot, and a walking foot. It also has a pin feed system (for thicker fabrics or in lieu of a walking foot). You can adjust the pressure of both the feed dogs and the presser foot too! It has reverse and a button to stop sewing with the needle in the down position. In addition to the thread cutter on the side, it has an automatic thread cutter that cuts both the top and bottom threads. I think that's my favorite feature. You don't end up with long tails of thread at the beginning or end of sewing. The larger table is removable and it comes with a vinyl dust cover. It also holds either spool thread or cone thread.
And although it can manage up to 1500 stitches per minute and it has a built in stitch regulator, I can't manage that kind of speed (yet)!
And did I say that the machine is metal? No plastic housing here!
This machine does require oil! Simple. Five holes and the bobbin hook when I change the bobbin. See? Simple.
So far I've quilted two quilts - a baby quilt and a twin size quilt. Both quilts took less than half the time to quilt and, for the larger quilt, no space issues.
I am very happy with this machine. It met my expectations and it does exactly what I wanted it for. Let's hope it does as well for the long haul.