Monday, October 24, 2016

Next Round of Serger Testing....

Over the weekend, my husband and I took a road trip to Ohio for me to look at additional sergers.  The place that I went to had two of three sergers that I was wanting to look at. The machines I wanted to look at were the Juki MO-654de, the Juki MO-655, and the Juki MO-1000.   Unfortunately, the MO-655 was sold before I arrived.  So, I played with the Juki MO-1000, the Juki MO-654de, and the MO-114D. As far as I could tell, the MO-654de and the 114D were the same animal in a different box.  All three machines performed well with the variety of fabric that I took with me to play with.  The fabric that I took was a denim, a heavy fleece, a tightly woven home decor fabric, quilt weight fabric, a super stretchy polyester knit, a cotton knit, a light weight cotton.   I think that is it.

Since all three machines performed well with very little adjustments, I decided to re-thread the all three of the machines.  This is something that must be relatively easy to do.  I did not expect any of the machines to be difficult to thread.  I can thread the 936 with ease and it has a very complicated threading path.  The MO-654de and the 114D are identical inside.  What I found a little difficult with both of these machines was the upper knife placement.  It was far easier to thread the needles with the upper knife flipped out of the way.  With both of these machines, I felt like I had fat fingers and needed to use the tweezer to accomplish the threading (I did this on the 936 also).  Threading the M-1000 was a breeze.  The upper knife placement was in a different spot (more like the 936).  It mostly threads itself.  All you need to do is put the threads in the right spots and it will thread it's own loopers.  This machine as a manual needle threader, also.

I ended up being the most comfortable with the 114D and the MO-1000.  I have no doubt that this was because some of the features are similar to the 936.  

After some consideration, I did make a decision and it was:

I was really interested in the air threading.  If I were younger I would have definitely purchased the 114D.  Having the machine thread the loopers is so much easier on the old eyes.  Ok, I am fully aware that I took the easy way out with this.

I have no doubt that I will miss all the electronic on the 936 but hopefully, I love this serger too.

Next, I will go through my at home testing.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

When Do You Add Edge Stitches?....

So, I have finally started the T-shirt project that I talked about in this knitting post.  It has taken a couple of starts to get it going because it is oh, so easy to drop stitches.  Sometimes you can pick up those stitches and sometimes you can't.  Anyway, once I got started and made it through the first section, I realized that I didn't know if I should have added edge stitches.  Eeek!  Off to the net to see if I can find anything about edge stitches and when to use them. I could find information on the various types of edge stitches but I couldn't find anything that told when to add an edge stitch or if edge stitches should always be added.

Off to my trusty little library.  It may be small but I do own some fairly good books.  I found "The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques" by Nancie N Wiseman.  This is not a book I have reached for often.  I am sure I read through it when I got it and then put it on my shelf for future reference.  Low and behold there is a whole chapter on edge stitches or selvages.  After reading her explanation  of edge stitches and when to use them, I have decided that for this project I'm not going to need them.  After all, my project is a straight stockinette stitch and it wants the edges to roll. Well, at least on the hem edges.

So what are edge stitches or selvages used for?  They control the edge of the knitted fabric and also give you additional stitches to create a seam if you're project needs it.  If you were knitting a scarf, an edge stitch would assist with getting the edges to lay flat.  If you were knitting a sweater with beautiful motifs or designs on it, the edge stitches would be added to prevent a disruption of the pattern by adding additional stitches for the seam.  Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?

So, if anyone has any additional information on the use of edge stitches.  Please send me the information so I can learn more.  At this point, my project is only about 3" long.  I would rather do another start than find out at the end that I should have added the edges stitches.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, October 7, 2016

It's Good to be Home Again...

I spent the past week visiting with my parents.  It was so very nice to see them again.  I don't usually visit in the fall but this was my chance and I took it.  I even got to fly instead of drive.  How lucky am I?  It just happen to turn out that it cost the same between the two options.  So I flew knowing I would get to spend a couple of extra days with family.  Before I left, I ordered a few things so I could get started on some projects upon my return.  Here's my purchases:

I purchased three sizes (2.75mm, 3.00mm, 3.25mm) of the Pony knitting needles from Deramores in the UK.  I have purchased from them in the past and was pleased with their prompt service. Now, I'm ready to start my next project from the Wilder by Kim Hargreaves book.  This is the first time I've used these brand of needle.  I hope that I like them.

I also decided to purchase some fabric and try to carve out some "me" sewing time for a few tops.  Here are my purchases:

I hope I'm not deceiving myself about getting sewing done. I feel like all I have worked on this entire year has been quilts and it's time to do something whether I have a serger or not.  I hope I can still do a satisfactory edge finish.  I know once long ago I was able to sew just fine without a serger. Almost forgot, all the fabric is from

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

First Serger Test...

A couple of weeks ago, my sewing buddy and I went to the local Babylock dealer to look at the Eclipse DX:

It took a bit to get anyone's attention when we arrived at the shop but I was patient because I really wanted to look at this machine.  Finally, a salesperson broke away from a one-on-one sewing lesson to see what we needed.  I explained that I wanted to look at the Eclipse DX.  Of course, it turned out that the machine was missing the manual, the power supply, and the foot pedal.  Yes, this made it a challenge but the salesperson finally located the power supply and the foot pedal.

I had brought a baggie of fabric to test the stitching with.  It was a fair selection of fabrics - denim, quilting weight cotton, home dec cotton, stretchy knit, and fleece.  On the heavy fabrics and the knits, the stitching was pretty much perfect. However the quilting weight cotton and the home dec cotton, the stitching didn't seem quite right and I was unable to adjust the needle tensions to correct.  I'm willing to admit that this could have been a user issue.  There was no manual available to check the tension settings and I'm really spoiled with having an electronic display.

Then, I decided to re-thread the machine.  This turned into a major challenge and we waited for the salesperson to return.  I'm not sure that the salesperson appreciated the fact that I had cut all the threads so I could thread the machine myself but she did finally explain to me what I needed to do.  Once I understood the procedure, it was pretty easy.  The hardest part of threading the loopers was getting enough thread into the hole with enough slack to thread the machine.  I was amazed that the machine could thread the loopers 100%. I did miss the fact that this machine also had a needle threader.  I had this machine threaded in less than 5 minutes on the first try.

This machine was very pricey.  This particular dealer had the machine listed ~$2500.  If you had a trade=in, the price was about ~$1100.  I'm not sure about the price even with the looper threading and the needle threaders.

I have located another dealer about 2 hours away that carries both of the Juki models that I'm interested in seeing and carries the Babylock machines.  I suspect that the Juki MO-1000 is a twin of the Eclipse DX.   It would be very nice to see all three machines and test them at the same time.

I really think hands on playing with the machines is the only way to go.  If I can't thread the machine or adjust the tensions by myself, I won't use the machine when I get home.  I'm still wondering just a little bit if I'm going to miss having the electronic display or having a free arm.

Have you used this particular machine?  I would love to hear about the pros and cons.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I have given up on my Huskylock 936.  It just doesn't seem to be reliable any more.  It is 13 years old and has been used a ton but I would have liked it to have lasted a little longer.  I did have issues in the spring and took it to the dealer who did their best with an aging machine. They told me then that it might last a few more years or a few months.  Looks like the latter is it.

This sent me to the internet to see what type of sergers are available.  Then, I decided I needed to make a decision on what stitches I would actually use.  Well, folks, I can tell you the list is fairly short.  In all the years I owned the 936, the stitches I used the most was a 4-thread overlock and then the 3-thread overlock.  Oh, I did play around with other different stitches.  The few times that I used the cover stitch I was never able to get it to stitch correctly.  In fact, this past spring, my sewing buddy and I went through a bunch of stitches with the 936.  Would I use a 5-thread safety stitch or any of the 2-thread stitch option?  Yes, I can definitely see uses for them.  I can't say why I never used these stitches. Getting a machine with a 2/3/4 thread options is fairly easy and relatively inexpensive.  The price goes up when you add the double chain stitch and the 5-thread options.   So, my thought is that I would probably use them if I had them but will most likely just go with a 2/3/4 thread machine.  I could yet surprise myself and go with something entirely different.

I am intrigued by the air threading of the loopers and have decided to visit the local Baby Lock dealer.  My sewing buddy and I will spend an evening looking at machines.  Since these machines are more or less the cadillacs of the serger world, it should be interesting.  I haven't looked at this brand of sergers since the mid-80s.  After looking at the various models and at the short list of stitches that I know I will use, I've decided to look at the Eclipse DX.  It is a 2/3/4 thread with the air threading of the loopers and you can still manipulate the tensions should you choose.  I have no doubt that I will be shocked at the price of these machines.

I also decided that I wanted to look at the Juki sergers.  My first serger was a Bernina Funlock that was made by Juki.  It was a great little serger until I got serger envy and had to replace it.  So, here are the two models that I'm interested in:

1.  The MO-655. This is a 2/3/4/5 thread serger.  It does not have a cover stitch option.  It does have the options of the double chain stitch and the 5-thread safety stitch.  This machine is relatively inexpensive.  I do think that it is an older model which is reflected in the price.

2.  The MO-1000.  This machine feels like it is the cream of the crop.  It is a 2/3/4 thread with air-threading of the loopers and needle threaders.  Oh, what a temptation.  This one is great for aging eyes.

Unfortunately, there are no Juki dealers nearby.  I found a place about 40 miles away but it looks like it's in someone's house and not an actual dealer.  I did call but didn't get a return call back.  The next shop is around 100 miles away.  Of course, there is always the Amazon purchase for a Juki but I would prefer hands on testing before making a purchase.

Anyone used any of these machines?  I would like to hear about the pros and cons of each.

Happy Stitching!