I’ve been looking to buy a new machine for awhile-one that would better handle the larger quilts that I do. After looking at what was currently available, I chose a Baby Lock Jane. It’s a straight-stitch-only machine with way more room in the harp to accommodate larger work and a motor that is almost twice as fast as standard machines.
I really did not understand why people were buying these machines until I looked into it. Here’s the math: my Bernina’s harp area measures 7.5″ wide by 4″ high. The Baby Lock is 8.5″ wide by 6″ wide. That doesn’t seem like a lot of difference….but it actually is. If you do the math, the Baby Lock has 70% more room in the throat and that makes an enormous difference if you
are trying to quilt larger pieces.
You can see how much more room there is in the Baby Lock’s harp area. Don’t get me wrong-I’m still a Bernina girl, but they don’t make a straight-stitch-only machine, so what’s a girl to do??
What the pictures don’t convey is how much more sight area you have with a SSO(Straight-Stitch-Only) machine. This view from the top of the Jane shows how skinny it is compared to a standard machine. Your quilting is just way more visible with a SSO machine.
I do have some gripes about this whole category of machines. The free motion foot is very wide (blocks the view), it’s clunky, and you need a screwdriver to put it on-ditto for the needle. The needle threads left to right-huh? Changing the bobbin requires contortion and threading it is unnecessarily complicated.
BUT, I started quilting this 93″ square charity quilt and it’s a dream to quilt with a SSO machine-I would have dreaded doing something this large on my Bernina. It handles bulk with ease, it’s so easy to get it to sew fast or one stitch at a time, plus your quilting is just so visible-I love it!
So, what’s this picture got to do with anything??? I am continuing on with the “Sharon Way“ (Sharon Schamber) and she told us to briefly immerse our thread in mineral oil! I know, there’s a high “ewww” factor to this, but we tried it in class and it worked well.
The theory is this: the oil strengthens the thread, preserves it, it runs more smoothly in the machine and oils your machine as it runs through. So yes, I did dip that big ole honkin mega cone of Aurifil into the mineral oil ($35 of thread on that one cone!!). And now my bobbins kind of glisten, which is weird, but I have no bobbin issues and it really does seem to run more smoothly. I even have done this to my, gasp!, silk cones. Surprisingly enough, there is no residue left on my quilts-go figure!
Remember Mikey in the old cereal commercials (“We’ll see if Mikey likes it!”)? I feel like Mikey, testing this hand basting method, this weird thread treatment, quilting with a SSO machine… I’ll let you know if I like it!