Breaking in Jane
For a quilter, getting a new sewing machine is like starting a new relationship. There’s the initial infatuation, a time of adjustment and then hopefully, a long period of mutual satisfaction. I’m not overstating this am I??!
I am breaking in my new Straight Stitch Only (SSO) machine, a Baby Lock “Jane” , as I work a queen-sized quilt that will eventually be donated to the Sutter Breast Cancer Quilt Auction. I rarely do bed quilts so this is a little out of my league.
My quilting is really off in some areas on this quilt and I really have to get over myself as I learn this machine. You can see in the detail shots that I my stitching is not the best, but I just have to forge ahead and make this my learning curve.
I have only one complaint about the Jane, but it’s a big one: the free motion foot is awful. The foot makes it impossible to see exactly where your needle is landing. I like heirloom quality, precise work with small stitches. I frequently backtrack over my stitching line. Guess what-when you can’t see your previous stitching line, it’s hard to hit it!
So I thought I was so clever when I drilled the offending plastic out of the middle of the foot. Seemed to work for awhile, then it began to skip stitches like crazy and I knew that “flagging” was the cause. I tried a few other things using wire cutters and drills as weapons but that didn’t work either.
IF anyone ever figures out how to make an adapter to use Bernina feet on any other machine, CALL ME! I love my Bernina feet and the whole time I’m sewing on the Jane, I’m thinking, why can’t Baby Lock design good feet like Bernina????
There are some things I love about the Jane and SSO’s in general:
–speed. Oh my is that nice! It goes twice as fast as my regular machine.
–control. The foot pedal is very responsive and I can easily go from very slow stitching to blazing fast with plenty of control along the way.
–the larger harp. There is 70% more room under the arm of the machine. That makes quilting a queen-sized quilt a breeze.
–the stitch. Because it is essentially an industrial machine and it’s only made to do one thing-a straight stitch-it does that stitch really well. The stitches are even, tight and perfectly aligned.
–simplicity. It’s a ridiculously easy machine to learn. You don’t need five 2 1/2 hour classes to learn how to use these machines.
–no bird’s nests-EVER! You know that pesky mess ‘o thread that happens on the bobbin side of the material when you start out a line of stitching? That never ever happens with the Jane.
–it’s quiet. Compared to my clonking Bernina’s, it’s whisper quiet.
I have had a learning curve though: I was getting skipped stitches and thread breaks like crazy. I tried changing needles, tension, checked my thread path, cleaned the machine, checked my bobbin, ate some chocolate-none of that seemed to work.
Finally I took it in and found two errors: I had the presser foot adjustment lifted too high causing it to flag, and I needed to use a special needle. The manual says you can use regular needles but apparently sometimes you need to use the “HLX5” needles appropriate for these machines. Once I changed those two things, life was good.
Meanwhile, I went back to my Bernina 180 to play with the hand dyed wool that I did in the Linda Waddle dying class. I have no idea where I am heading with it but I like my start and it’s just fun to play.
Joan Cumming says
Quilting looks great to me – thats a very pretty quilt too :)
Dreamz Happen Quiltz says
You’ve hit that right, relationships that must be nurtured!
SSO’s can be very handy, I’m still sorry I sold my Juki!
Hope you find a foot that you like soon! Or at the least someone to make you one!
Cindy Phillips says
Jane and I are getting aquainted.Shecan be tempermental with threads and tension.I’m sorry to say I did get bird’s nests.But I know she’ll get used to me-LOL
I LOVE MY JUKI, but had a botched repair.Really?! A simple mechanical machine like Jane?!Can’t find a Juki repair, but Jane will be pamperd!See Leah Day on YouTube for reconstructing your metal FMF.
I have to admit I don’t use my Jane much anymore. I don’t like any of the other feet, altered or not, love my Bernina feet! I’m a snob, I know!
[email protected] says
huh… so I guess the big questions is, especially with all those foot issues for the freemotion quilting, if you had to make the purchase all over again, would you choose Jane?
judy nykamp says
no! I am making a quilt and I have had several bird nest, skipped stitches. So frustrating. I don’t know how to work the tension. Wish I find someone that will tell me what number it should be on. Top and Bottom
I wrote you via email. Hope this helps!
Yes, I would buy the Jane again. Just today I found a Janome open-toed foot that works well on the Jane, so now my problem is solved.
JEan Powell says
What foot did you buy from Janome? I have the same foot problem.
Hi Jean; Thank you for writing. I sold that machine a few years ago and never resolved the foot issue to my satisfaction. I don’t remember what all I tried for feet.
You might want to try Leah Day’s generic free-motion foot. She shows how to “break” it to make it better. I use it on my straight-stitch Juki (very similar to the Jane–probably one of the several clones) and it’s great! http://daystyledesigns.com/freemotionfoot.htm The Janome Horizon free-motion feet are supposed to fit too.
I finally found a foot that works well and I will blog about it when I get a chance. Thanks for the suggestion-I’ve been out of town and just now getting back to you.
Lynne Stroyne says
I love the idea of a simple machine without all of the fussy electronics, so I bought a Jane. I have had myJane for 4 years and at first loved it but now am ready to pitch it. Love the deep throat but it is so fussy with thread that it is impossible to use different thread on the bobbin vs your top thread. Finding feet and accessories is a joke. Babylock has invested 0 into this machine. I have spent so much time ripping out quilting stitches, fixing skipped stitches, playing with the tension…not worth it.
Lynne I’m sorry to hear of your frustration. I was unhappy with the foot in particular on mine. I could not see where the needle was landing. I am in a BERNINA 765 now and happy. I think there is a lot good with the Jane but I could not live with its foot choices.