When I was dreaming and scheming and planning for Doodle my husband asked me, "Have you looked at any of the other Long Arm machine brands?" I literally looked at him and laughed - right to his face! To me it was such an absurd question.
Not only do I own two BERNINA sewing machines and a BERNINA serger, but my family owns a BERNINA dealership! At the center of my 'Doodle dream' was a BERNINA Q24 machine. So, I looked at him and said "No!" with a big 'ol grin on my face!
I have had Helga (yep, that's her name) since the end of November 2016 and haven't thought about that question at all, until a week or so ago. I was "working" on a quilt and a gal came up and started chatting. She also owned a long arm (a different brand), but we agreed that no matter how you do it, quilting is fun!
It did get me thinking though - my standard answer when people ask why I like (and own) the Q24 is "because it's awesome!" While it is true, it is not very helpful if you're trying to compare machines!
So here are just a few of the things I LOVE about my BERNINA Q24:
- the ability to use multiple types of quilting feet- and change them quickly and easily
- use standard needles, so I can change my needle to better suit the fabric type or needle to thread size
- strong, sturdy frame so there is no vibration in the handles
- raise and lower the presser foot in order to see exact needle placement
- straight forward top and bobbin tension adjustments- and the ability to save settings for multiple people or thread types
- adjustable and programmable handles
These are just a few of the things I love about my BERNINA Q24. I know there may be other brands that do these things and to be totally honest with you, up until last weekend, I had ZERO experience with other Long arm brands.
Last weekend my mom, sister and I were out at a mini-market event in Oregon and I got to try a few of the other brands. I did my best to keep an open mind, most of the other brands have been on the market longer.
My initial reactions were of course based on how the machines looked - and that is definitely one thing the BERNINA has going for it - it is sleek and simple. It was a bit intimidating to look at all the knobs and dials on one of them.
The other thing I noticed in all three was vibration in the handles. Two of them didn't start right away when I pushed the "go" button.
One of the machines did not have a screen, and the other two were small, not at all intuitive.
None of them had presser feet that could be raised, which totally threw me - being used to having that ability.
Overall, with brief experience, I still feel great saying that the BERNINA Q24 IS AWESOME and I am so glad that is what I purchased!
No matter what you have though- machine quilting should be fun, and if you're fortunate enough to have a machine you love and does what you want, you are a lucky person!
To quote Angela Walters, "I am only the expert of my opinion", and BERNINA is not paying me to say nice things about this machine. I do just truly LOVE her! And in the interest of being able to give some full comparisons with more hands on experience, my plan for Spring Quilt Market is to visit ALL the other Long arm brand booths. I will do a full review with Make/Model information because I do think that if you are in the market for a Long Arm machine, shopping around and getting some hands-on time with each one is very important!