I'm interrupting my normal crafting blogging to introduce my newest acquisition (and hopefully my new BFF): Gloria Jem. She is a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 830 that I just purchased on Saturday (with a one-year interest-free payment plan because, hey, this chick's expensive!)
- She comes with a glorious (hence her name) 10" of quilting space to the right of the needle. This was the key feature in my decision. My preference was for a mechanical machine, but there's no way to get that long arm space without going computerized.
- Needle up/down, which means I never have to touch the handwheel
- Fixed stitch button for stopping and starting--haven't used this one yet but have been chaining pieces with ease
- Lights (2!!) that work! (the light on my Brother shorted out LONG ago)
- Bobbin winder that works! (the plastic bobbin winder snapped off my Brother even longer ago)
- All-metal parts inside. I'm hoping this will = workhorse!
- Drop-in bobbin. I have this on my Brother and I LOVE it. Life-changing, I tell ya.
- Automatic needle-threader. Same thing: Have it on the Brother, LOVE it.
- Speed control. I'm hoping that once I get more comfortable I can just cruise.
- Adjustable presser foot pressure. Could come in handy with knits and other fussy things.
- All kinds of other things I'll never use, like 100+ stitches, an alphabet, 10 stitch memories...
- And the best thing: Exclusive Sensor System (ESS). With needle down, the presser foot lifts slightly every time you stop (perfect for pivoting!) With needle up, the presser foot stays down. That's the setting I've been using for my piecing, but I know the needle down, presser foot lift will be amazing once I quilt with this. It's similar to a knee-lift, but completely hands (and knees) free!
Of course, today I did some Google-ing and found a lot of negative reviews of this machine. A lot. I think the only thing I spent more $$ on, ever, was my iMac. So these negative reviews are making me pretty anxious. So far I've only had two problems with Gloria: one is a little bit of thread nesting coming, surprisingly, from the top thread but occurring on the underside of the fabric. Both times I knew immediately by the sound and both times I kept re-inserting the bobbin because it just seemed like that would be the problem, but the problem wasn't fixed until I rethreaded the top thread. Not sure exactly what brings that on, as the first time happened after the machine was moved from the store up to my apartment and the second happened in the middle of some alphabet embroidery (gotta try out the bells and whistles, you know). I am keeping an eye on it.
The second issue I've been having is more bizarre but less of a problem. I've noticed after stitching (and I've been piecing quilt blocks) that occasionally on the bobbin side there will be a tiny knot of the top thread, like two stitches went down in the same place, though nothing is evident from the top of the seam and it's a tiny little bump on the bottom of the seam. This doesn't happen after sewing together intersections, or after stopping and restarting the same seam. I haven't been able to figure out what makes it happen, just that sometimes it'll happen twice 3" apart and other times I can sew a 50" seam and not notice anything. So, it's a little odd, and I wonder if it has to do with the needle; I've only been using the one that came in the machine and should probably swap that out for one of my trusty Schmetz.
Still, barring any major potential issues, I think choosing the HV Sapphire 830 was the right thing for me. I wanted to buy from a dealer, and the dealer closest and most easily accessible to me sells Husqvarna Vikings and Pfaffs. Of course I tried the Pfaff, and of course I loved the IDT, but the price was just way out of my budget. Not that Gloria was *in* my budget, but the Pfaffs were too far beyond even Gloria. My dealer assured me that there are rarely problems with the computerized portion of these machines, which was my main concern. The machine came with a warranty, of course, and the dealer was extremely knowledgeable, available, and even said there would be classes coming up for people who had recently purchased this machine (because apparently there have been a lot of people buying it lately). So I have a support system.
The bottom line? This was a big investment for me, both money-wise and in myself as a crafter. I am making a commitment to sewing and to quilting. It's a big deal, and I've been a little nervous around Gloria because I realize the momentous weight of this decision. It's going to take time to get used to her, but she's worth it. I plan on making this work and having her for a long long time.