Thursday, June 18, 2009

Embellisher advice please

I am in the market for an embellisher but I am not sure which one to get. The only real review I have seen is here. (I just read Dennis the whole review and he listened patiently asking a few questions as we went along and then said, "I have no idea. Put it on your blog and ask them.")

It seems that the main options are the BabyLock 12 or 7 needle, a Janome or a Pfaff which have 5 needles. It also seems that they all have different advantages and no one machine does everything which is jolly annoying! Particularly when I don't yet know exactly how I will end up using it the most.

So which is more important -more needles or a needle up feature? A quite and fast motor or a single hole plate?

One option is to wait until Festival of Quilts and go and look at them - bit it seems to me that I will only see features I can read about online. Plus I did that last year and resisted buying one but clearly never came to a clear conclusion or I would not be writing this now! Or I could get one now which means I have a week off at home before Festival to play a bit and then at Festival I can focus on shopping for things to embellish! (I resisted last year because I was not really sure what use it was to me. Now I am doing more embroidery and I can see how it would be used for backgrounds etc. and it seems time to move towards getting one).

I have a slight preference but no certain choice at the moment so I wondered if anyone had any advice or experience with these things and could help me?
Thanks.

PS One thing I have established is that none of them are light enough to come on a round the world trip with me. Bah!

6 comments:

Quilt Pixie said...

more needles in the same amount of space will felt faster... if you want to lightly "tack" something on the surface for effect, only a few needles are necessary, if you want to create felted fabric from "scratch" more needles is handy.

Needle up seems unnecessary to me, but consider if its a feature you really value on your sewing machine and when you find it most useful there...

Multineedle machines that you can choose to use only a few needles in allow versatility...

Felting causes LOTS of lint. you want to watch for good covers to the mechanism to minimize this, AND covers that are easy to remove and expose the lint for removal. Interiors with out a lots of "hiding" corners for the lint are a blessing. Its this consideration about lint I think is most important, as I can cope with things taking longer to do, but I hate machines that can't be easily cleaned and then get damaged because I haven't cleaned it...

Claire said...

I have a Pfaff 750 which I love - have great fun using it. I recently made a banner for the Festival of Quilts EQA competition using embellished fabrics, organza, vegetable mesh bags etc. It's great for using up snippets of fabrics & threads instead of throwing them out.
One of my friends has a Babylock embellisher so I have directly compared the 2 machines - the Babylock one is a stronger machine (which you'd expect for double the price!)and has better needles.
The problem that I found with the Pfaff embellisher is that the needles are very very weak, and also expensive to replace. Found a solution though - use the Babylock needles on the Pfaff machine. The Babylock needles seem to be made of stronger metal.

The Calico Cat said...

I would go for more needles...

Feather on a Wire said...

I bought the attachment with the appropriate needle plate for my Bernina just so I could see if I'd really use it. So far I haven't. You can do it by hand with a little tool which has several needles in the end and a special brush like thing you put you fabric over.
When I was researching this, a big thing which came up was if you could replace individual needles or if you had to replace them all at once, expensive.
Just my tuppence worth

paulahewitt said...

i have a husquarvna (sp?) huskystar - 5 needles, easy to clean, needles finish in the up position. i would go for more needles if i had a choice again, but it is not desperate. i think the babylock has a ribbon feeder - that sound like a nice feature - if it works. and definately check that you can replace one needle at a time - they are ridiculously expensive to replace (the cheapest place ive found to buy needles is the website you mentioned). my machine finishes with needles up and found i broke lots of needles when i first started because i would move the fabric before the needles stopped moving. this might happen regardless of whether the needles are up or down - probably just user error. goodluck. personally i dont think there is much between them all (says the person who had the choice of ONE in the shop)

paddysdaughter said...

Like Paula, I have a Husky/Pfaff 5 needle machine (they are identical as made by the same company, but just labeled differently). I think the needle up is essential, as it is very easy to break needles even when being very careful. They also break easily if you hit something a bit thick or a tight lump in fibres. I find changing needles very fiddly, and fear that one day I shall drop the miniscule screws and never find them again - so I don't know if Babylock has a better system! My machine also sometimes continues for a couple of seconds once I lift my foot, and I don't like that characteristic. Not sure if that is common to all Huskys, but a friend has the same issue with hers.

I think if I was buying one again I would go for a more powerful 7 needle Babylock, but at the time I was unsure how much I would use it, so went for the cheaper option. I use mine a lot, it makes wonderful backgrounds for embroidery, or embellishment on other fabrics. I would not buy an attachement for my Bernina - it would be a hassle having to keep changing it around, and the amount of fluff generated would be an issue as the Bernina does not have a good enough cover to prevent the innards getting full of lint.
Looking forward to hearing what you do. Sue McB