Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sewing Machine Adultery: Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 Review

Sewing Machine Adultery 
Alright.  The time has come.  I tried the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 a few weekends ago.  I immediately came home and wrote down my impressions, but took a pause before finalizing this post because I really wanted to think about what I thought of the machine so I can give an honest impression.  I am going to put my questions in pink, if you know the answer do tell!

First, let's be real here, I am not paid to review machines nor do I have any affiliation with any sewing machine manufacturer or shop.  There is a reason why the first piece of advice anyone gives you when machine shopping is go try them yourself.  Because, no matter this is only my opinion, and please, what the hell do I know anyway?

Secondly, keep in mind that I sew on a 15 year old sewing machine.  Now some of you may be thinking that in the scheme of things that really isn't that old.  True.  There are older machines.  I've sewn on lots of older machines and I learned to sew on industrial machines as a textile major in college.  However, when I bought my Bernina Activa 130 it was one of the few computerized machines available.  It was unique, a pioneer if you will, into the world of computerized sewing.  From my point of view I've always considered my machine to be cutting edge - until I recently realized that duh it isn't anymore!  That was such a shock and you can read about my impressions on that here.

Third, and most importantly, I am looking for insight here.  It is not my intention to offend.  I'm used to my Bernina after 15 years of using it.  So if you are a Janome lover and I mention something that I am on the fence about or am flat out negative towards please feel free to educate me!  That is the whole purpose behind Sewing Machine Adultery.  I encourage anyone reading this post later to peruse the comments and see what people add to my thoughts.

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My husband and I drove out to Super-Stitch to peruse the Janomes.  I have to say that this was a huge bonus as it was only 30 minutes away.  Unlike most of the other places that sell machines in my area I could actually go there and take classes easily without feeling like I've spent a lot of time on travel. When you purchase a machine there they throw in all the awesome classes, maintenance, and what I like to think of as *tutoring* or a get to know your machine course too.  The owners and staff were incredibly nice and, I shit you not, it was the first time that I walked into a local fabric shop where I didn't feel judged, sneered at, or the cold shoulder.  Granted, I was there with husband and infant in tow so maybe they took me more seriously than if I were a youngish looking woman entering the store alone.  Nevertheless, it made me feel so welcome and right off the bat that alone made me really really really love to buy a machine from these people.  {Ann if you are reading this I completely mean that!}
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I didn't fool around.  As soon as I was approached I said exactly what I was looking for, the 8900.  We discussed what I currently sew on, what type of sewing I do, I explained that I'd been a Bernina lover for 15 years and that I would be trying an industrial machine (Juki TL-2010Q) the following weekend.  After asking where I'd like to begin (6600?  8200?) I said let's go right for the 8900 - go big or go home right?

Holy Crap!  Let's be clear for those of you who do not know me.  I am a gadget geek, I want the latest & greatest updated version of whatever thingamabob there is, the more buttons it has the better, the larger the manual is to figure out all the random "who would ever need that feature anyway" the happier I am.  I am that kind of technology nerd.  I learned DOS as a child, took word processing in high school, have almost every version of an MP3 that has existed, and until parenthood I have always been the owner of whatever new cellular phone/camera/computer currently in vogue.  Believe me, if I had the budget, my technology itch would be scratched as much as financially feasible.

For me to say that at first I felt completely overwhelmed by all the STUFF, well damn, that is saying something.  Keep in mind that this is also because I am catching up.  I mean, my machine is b-a-s-i-c.  A $100 sewing machine at Walmart has more features than my machine these days.  At first I couldn't get my mind wrapped around pushing a button and sewing - my foot instinctually kept moving but it was completely useless.  What???  Where am I Star Trek?  (Yes, I am a Trekkie, shutup.)  I had this really weird disconnected feeling.  A bit uncomfortable but not so far as being discomfort.  More of a, *I could definitely get used to this* kind of uncomfortable.  Like driving my mom's BMW with its purring engine, fancy key fob, heated seats, and bluetooth phone system.  The feeling that I know I really shouldn't like it too much, because bam, before I know it I would be in love!  [When we last drove the BMW the Mr. translated the sounds of the car.  For instance, the perfectly toned BMW "Ding" = "Life is good, you are driving a BMW."]

Pros
  • The throat space!  The glorious 11" of space!  I felt like I was driving a car it was so wide.
  • Number of stitches
    • Specifically, some cool quilting stitches I'd love to try
    • I'd love to utilize the handmade stitch
    • I'd love to use the serpentine stitch
    • I'd love to figure out uses for every quilting stitch just for the hell of it
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  • Alphabets - 3 and yes I really want an alphabet feature!
  • Start/Stop Button
    • I loved that you could hold down the button a little longer to get a slow start/stop
    • Let's be real, I felt spoiled by the start/stop, how cool.  Weird at first but fun.
  • Auto Thread Cutter!!!  
    • Every time I used this I couldn't help but giggle!  It worked well too - it was effortless and all I had to do was move the fabric once it was finished cutting.  Delicious.  Must have this.
  • Auto Thread Cutter by Foot Pedal.  
    • As someone who is used to using her foot pedal for everything (Bernina Activa 130 has its up/down needle mechanism via foot pedal) I loved this because I like using my feet.  
  • Knee lift - how have I lived without this for so long?  And at 5'2" it was just right.  No straining.
  • Straight stitch plate = straight stitch  
    • Yup, so even if at 2am I am so out of it that I want to do a zig zag but forget to change the plate it doesn't matter, the machine won't let you do anything but a straight stitch with that plate on.  Wow.  Sleepless mothers everywhere rejoice!
    • Taking the plate on and off was so simple at just the press of a button.  That doesn't read impressively but after using that feature to switch plates it really was totally easy and I loved it.
  • AcuFeed
    • This was my first experience with a built in dual feed system.  I know Pfaff, Baby Lock and Bernina have their own variations on this but I've never tried them.  What is the difference? AcuFeed is also detachable - I guess that wasn't always the case so that is a nice option.
    • I had no idea that the AcuFeed system worked with different kind of feet!  I thought it was just like a walking foot and that was that.  I mean, true, I have no idea when I would need the other types of AcuFeed feet but there must be a reason for them otherwise why else would that be a big deal?
    • As Ann pointed out, using the narrow AcuFeed foot is perfect for sewing quilted fabrics to zippers.  And, having a quilted bag with a zipper that I had just recently sewn with me I knew exactly what she was talking about!
  • Ridiculous number of included feet
    • Bernina?  Not so many feet included as a standard.  I was shocked by how many feet I was being shown.  I have no idea what I'd use them all for!
    • Free motion foot was adjustable so you could turn a screw and get a different height on the foot depending on the thickness of your fabric.  No, not adjusting the presser foot pressure, I am talking about the height of the foot itself.  Very cool.
  • Buttons, I know it sounds silly but I like all the gadgety buttons.
  • It really purred instead of sounding like a jet engine.  
    • I can't say it was silent, but what machine is.  It just sounded like a nice hum.
  • Threading was very straightforward, bobbin winding - straightforward
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  • Beautiful sewing
    • The straight stitching was beautiful.  Perfectly straight line.  You couldn't tell top from bottom thread once you took the fabric and turned it over.
    • I tried some free motion quilting and loved the space for it, it just felt fun on this machine
    • Loved the serpentine quilt stitch
  • No awful vibrating.  It felt very solid.
  • The speed control.  Very cool.
  • Place for storage of feet.
  • Clear extension table included.
  • Needle threader
    • Liked how you pushed down and didn't have to hold it down like some other machines
    • It worked once I knew where to put the thread and how to work it!
  • Uh, did I mention the throat space?  ;)
Undecideds/Cons?  
I can't really call these cons so much as things I need to decide on a personal level whether I could live with them.  A lot of this comes down to being a Bernina owner (not insinuating that Bernina = better just saying I have habits that come with a Bernina machine) and deciding what I need in a machine.  Also, there is a lot of fact versus myth out there about machine features and some of these things are areas I need to research more. I'd love feedback if you have opinions/advice!
  • Computerized.  
    • Fact/Myth?: There is the argument that a non-computerized machine lasts better and is less fussy.  
    • Fact/Myth?: Straight stitch industrial machine is better for free motion quilting.
    • Fact/Myth?: 9mm stitch variable can be problematic for long-term straight stitch performance?  
  • Plastic bobbin.  
    • Fact/Myth?: Metal bobbins are better.  Lots of machines have plastic though so I am not sure if that is true.  I've also heard that metal against metal (like Bernina) is problematic and therefore plastic is better?  Who decides these things anyway.
  • Exacting stop.
    • After spending the morning with the Janome I came home and sewed a whole quilt top with my Bernina, showing her that I really do love her dearly.  I noticed that my 15 year old computerized machine just stops a whole lot faster by my heel pressing down on the foot pedal than reaching up to hit the start/stop on the Janome...is that just me knowing how to use her better?  Maybe.  Definitely something I need to do more research on.  If you know the answer do tell!
    • At the shop I was told "you probably still use your hand wheel on your machine" and yes, I totally do.  Especially when I want an exact spot for the needle to start.  So I never thought about it until later - can I NOT use a hand wheel on this machine?  Because, I like being able to do that.
  • Ankles & Feet.
    • I am not sure how to say this without pissing some people off - so again, I am not trying to piss you off I am trying to identify what I am unsure about when it comes to this very expensive, would be a life-long commitment, sewing machine.  The feet on this machine seem...wobbly?  That isn't the right word but I guess I mean less than solid.  The feet attach to the ankles of the presser foot mechanism.  In a way it is cool because you can pretty easily attach/detach them to whatever appropriate ankle you are using.  For instance, if you are using the AcuFeed feature then there is an ankle for those feet.  There is a separate ankle for non-AcuFeed feet.  (At least this is how I understood it, again, so much of my time in front of the machine was me trying to keep from drooling on it after using the thread cutter!  If I am mistaken please let me know!  For those of you reading I will edit if this is incorrect.)  While the snap on feet seems cool and easy the owners themselves even fumbled a little at placing them on the ankles.  I know Janome is not the only manufacturer with this feature, and again, not criticizing just comparing...but my Bernina's feet are freaking solid.  I mean, they would dent the wall if I threw them (uh, not that I know that from experience...clearing throat...).  The Bernina's feet are a single ankle/foot piece.  And they are so goddamn easy to put on!  Yes, true, I am used to that after 15 years so maybe some of you Janome folk can tell me how you feel about your feet...am I just not used to this?  Do you get used to it?
  • Price tag.  
    • $4000 machine.  
    • Whew that is a hell of a lot of diapers and groceries for a family with 3 little girls.
Bottom line?  Do I love this machine.  Yes.  Absolutely.  Without a doubt.  Would I use all of the stitches?  Hmmmm...knowing me I would find reasons to use them all just because they are pretty damn cool and I could get creative figuring out projects just to utilize the stitch options.  But, do I need them to sew what I sew?  No.    

For me these questions remain, and in this order:

  1. Do I want a computerized machine?
  2. Are all the extras worth the time and money it will take to save $4000 for a sewing machine?
  3. What do I NEED?  i.e. What kind of sewing am I really going to do? (I know that is Sewing Machine 101 when you look for a sewing machine but my needs keep changing.  I don't just quilt, I don't just make clothes, I don't just do home dec - I do a little of everything!  So what, I need an everything machine?)
  4. If I am going to spend $4000.00 on a sewing machine is this The One?  
  5. What other sewing machines should I try in that price range?  (Baby Lock Crescendo, Bernina 7 Series, Viking, Pfaff???)
Whew this has been a long post, and given how awesome my Janome Horizon MC8900 experience was it should be.  I was all bouncy and bubbly after trying the machine out - just ask the Mr. he can attest to that!  Thanks again to Super Stitch - I spent a whole Saturday morning there and was offered an incredible deal on an 8900 that had just been traded in with all the bells & whistles.  It was seriously too good to be true - and believe me I did a lot of long sighing in the car ride home - but I am still saving my pennies and in the meantime researching my options.  Anyone in my area interested in a Janome should go visit Super Stitch.  To learn more about the Janome Horizon MC8900 and its specs go to the Janome website and peruse YouTube there are some great videos out there...


- rebecca lynne

32 comments:

Leanne said...

Well, you have not yet mentioned the terribly annoying Janome thread blob that you get whenever you start to stitch unless you either hold the threads (a real pain if you use the thread cutter as now the ends are 1/2" and hard to fish out) or use a leader piece so it captures the thread blob. I love my Janomes (yes, I have a much less fancy version at my cottage and it also thread blobs) but I hate hate the thread blob. I have never heard of a Bernina thread blog. It is really annoying when you are sewing on something where the seam shows.

I never ever use the stop/start button. I use the foot pedal. I never use the knee lever either, my hands are at the machine anyway and I don't need a lever encouraging me to particular postures to reach it. I have my horizon set into the table they make for it so that means that I don't use the extension table or the storage boxes. I also have never used the needle threader. I have the Horizon 7700, which despite all this I do love.

I think that the Janome might be cheaper than the wide throat Berninas. I think there might be value in considering the Juki that only straight stitches too.

Issabella The Cat said...

a quick comment as I'm meant to be food shopping! :D
Thread blob is a pain yes! I use a leader piece of fabric when I remember if the seams will show, if they aren't going to be seen ie i'm making blocks I just leave them! I also don't use the start/stop unless I'm teaching my daughter (She is 11 on weds and V heavy footed!) It is a little slower that the pedal but not so much as to drive me around the twist. Yes you can still use the hand wheel (I do all the time) I've used Jenome machines from being little as that was the brand my nan used to teach me on and I'm not sure I get what you mean about wobbly feet (It did make me laugh tho) do you mean the clip part on the foot that you drop the shank into? or the bit that attaches to the shank when you're changing to dual feed from normal sewing?

Audrey said...

I bought a Janome 6600 from Super Stitch about 2 1/2 years ago after owning a loved Bernina for many years. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, my Janome and Super Stitch. You will not regret buying a machine from them. Their service beyond anything anyone could expect. The feet are very sturdy and I have never had a problem with them. I love the AccuFeed system. The 'thread blob' that others speak of won't happen if you make sure your needle takes it's first stitch into fabric. It's not an issue for me. I bought the 6600 as it was in my budget but some day I will trade up. I've never had my machine in for repairs - only for it's annual cleaning. You are right about Super Stitch - the staff is awesome. (I also buy my vacuums there!

Cathy said...

I did a lot of research before buying my machine. It is a Janome, but not the super duper one you are looking at. I do mostly quilting, so all the other fancy stuff wasn't necessary to me. The big decider for me between Bernina and Janome came down to price. I could get a lot more features on the Janome for what I was able to spend. I kinda look at it like the difference between and Ford and a BMW. It gets me where I need to go, and gets me there beautifully. I'm happy with it. As an aside.... I don't use the start stop button, and I love the thread cutter. Because I'm a quilter, I always have a leader/ender project going, so the thread blobs aren't much of an issue.

Farm Quilter said...

I don't have the Janome that you are looking at, but I did buy a Janome quilter's edition 3 years ago. I have some of the same features...love the button that allows me to sew without using my foot, but I honestly only use it when I'm sewing batting together or sewing my backing for a quilt together. I don't like needing to lift my hand from holding the fabric to punch the button, so 99.9% of the time I use the foot pedal. Love the snap-on feet and have not found them to be flimsy. I also have a Bernina Artista, but I only use it for embroidery. I have a longarm, so quilting on a domestic is not something I would consider - way too much stress on my back and shoulders!

I got both my Janome (brand new from a shop hop winner, half price) and my Bernina (gently used for less than the price of the table that came with it and I have a zillion feet, embroidery patterns, thread, stabilizer and attachments), so even if I never use every feature, I did great.

Archie the wonder dog said...

I really enjoyed reading about your trip to the sewing machine shop and your thoughts on the Janome machine. I don't think I have anything new to add to this debate at the moment but if I think of anything I'll be back ;o)

ferne said...

You did a really thorough investigation here. I have had a Janome 6600 for a few years and love it. I don't use the start stop button ever, tried when I first got it and felt I didn't have the control I did with the foot pedal. I don't use the knee control either. I love the Acu feed feet, but mostly just use the basic foot, the 1/4" foot requires you to move the needle position and I like my other 1/4" foot better. I also don't see the need for the dual feed when piecing. I do like having the multiple stitches and though I don't use them all as much as I thought I would I like having them available and hope to play with them more in the future.

Jules said...

you should try all machines in that price range if you are willing to put that kind of money down. i work at a shop in Roc,NY we sell Pfaff and babylock, there are new Pfaff machines that just came out after their latest conference a couple of weeks ago. you should try them. i love them. the pfaff 4.2 is wonderful, i want one!.
Btw see you on the 27th at Jacquies class!.

Sam said...

I am a 20 year Janome user, and am entering my 10th year on a Janome 6500. First up - the detachable feet are plenty stable, and I've never had an issue with them. That adjustable free motion foot is amazing - it stays flush with the fabric, and makes for smoother quilting. Also, because it doesn't bounce, it makes your eyes less tired to watch as you sew. This was my first machine with the knee lift and I will never, ever own a machine without it. I have sewn on other Janomes with the start/stop and would probably never use it because my feet are faster and I like to sew really fast. I sew a LOT - over a hundred quilts in the last three years. (I've worn out the foot pedals on two different Janomes) and only recently had to have a service beyond usual maintenance. I've sewn only a few hours on an 8900 and can't wait to fall in love with it too. I work at a store that sells Berninas and I think that the bang for the buck is so much better with Janome( esp with all of the feet that come standard). Best of luck! (http://huntersdesignstudio.com/2013/03/05/the-ultimate-power-tool/)

Tammy Lyons said...

Hi! I purchased my Janome 8900 about 2 months ago specifically because I am a HEAVY quilter and was tired of fighting with my little machine to quilt a queen size quilt. That said, I totally LOVE my 8900. I have NEVER had a thread "blob" on this machine, pulling it out or otherwise. As for wobbly feet? Nope. Once those presser feet are on the fabric, they're as solid as any other. I have done free motion quilting on this machine that I never would have attempted on my Brother (1 yr) or my Singer (about 10). The features that you mentioned are all awesome, and it sews thick fabric like cutting through warm butter. I only paid $2500 for mine, so shop around! I was actually purchasing a 7900 but my dealer traded me up to the 8900 because the 7900 had some issues. He's a good guy. :) Is computerized worth it? Eh, it has its ups and downs. I like it though, because honestly it's such a hassle on older, non-computerized machines to change out those round clunky drop in mechanisms just to use a different stitch. Computers are computers, from one techie to another. There will be problems. But as to date I have experienced NONE. I can honestly say that I would buy this machine again. I am happy with the Janome.

sewcrafty said...

I'm a Janome lover. I don't have issues with thread blobs. That problem may be where the needle is located when you start your stitching. I've owned the 6600 which I really loved and bonded with, but due to a fire I lost her and upgraded to the 7700. Loved the throat, but never really bonded with her. Just something was sort of off for me. I just recently upgraded to the 8900 and I can't begin to tell you the difference I see in this machine. FMQ'ing is a total breeze on this machine. They've done some engineering changes to use a left needle position and OMG eyelashes are GONE! It is so quiet compared to the other machines, I was told that it had a different motor in it.

Answer to some of your ?'s. With any computerized anything there are more chances for anything to go wrong, period. My dealer is awesome and I know would work with me if something happened to it. Like I stated before the FMQ'ing on this machine was awesome and no I didn't use the blue bobbin holder either. Just set it according to mfg directions and started playing. Was really amazing! I don't know if the 9mm could be problematic for long-term straight stitch, but I really doubt it. You do have the option to use the accu feed at 7mm if you want to. I couldn't wait to upgrade to the 9mm. 9mm doesn't sound like a big difference, but it really is. The possibilities of what you have to work with now as increased substantially. I'm doing a crazy quilt and am absolutely out of my mind excited that the 9mm will work beautifully when I don't feel like hand embroidering. I have a machine that I can use either steel or plastic bobbins in that is 20 years old and never saw a difference in performance. As far as your Bernina stopping faster, I think that just has to do with you're more in tune with that machine and its quirks.

I don't think you'd be disappointed with this machine.

KellyS said...

I just got my 8900 from Quilt Con after their amazing deal. When I told my husband the initial price at my store ($4000) he said when I was 50 and retired I could look at machines that cost that. Then luckily a few weeks later my friend was at Quilt Con and told me how much the 4-day used machines were going for and I jumped. I am not going to say how much I paid, but it was roughly 60% of the store price. And thankfully my amazing hubby let me get it. And I LOVE her. Love Love LOVE her.

I don't use the start/stop I only use the foot pedal, the ridiculously huge foot pedal that has space to store the cord inside. I love that pedal! I use the hand wheel... I don't know why you couldn't? That might be something I need to read up on in my manual. I do admit my thread cutter has issues and needs to be looked at, it doesn't work and makes a horrible grinding noise when I try and use it. But I can wait until she needs to be cleaned to have that fixed, since I would have to pay for the service on it at my local store (I did not buy it from them, hence I have pay for service, but I assume not for parts that are covered under the warranty).

I have yet to try the knee lift because I have little ones and really I don't want something else for them to play with (my sewing room is the main level laundry room/kids toy room).

And like Tammy Lyons said the feet are solid once they are down and in contact with the machine/fabric. My previous machine was a computerized Pfaff, so all I have ever used are the snap on feet. I do notice that this machine skips stitches more often. I have noticed it when my needle needed replacing (duh) and possibly when I was trying to beat the bobbin and use every last inch of thread. I am not completely sure on that last one though, because I didn't notice the skipped stitches until later, and all I could think of is I changed bobbins.... that will be something I will have my store check when I send her in for her pampering.

FMQing on my Janome is amazing. I bought her mainly because I am a quilter and drooled at the 11 inch throat. My Pfaff has like 6 inches. I have my Janome set into a table with the acrylic table laying on top of the table to fill in the gap around the machine. It is so wonderful to have all that table space and throat space to work with. I haven't quilted any quilts with her yet, I have just been practicing, but so far I love what I see.

I did also notice that this machine doesn't do as well with denim as my Pfaff, but I think I was trying to hem denim for doll shorts... multiple layers on a tiny piece of clothing.

ozarkjoy said...

The 6600 has most of the features except the free arm. If you sew clothes that might make a difference and 7 mm instead of 9 for 1/2 the price. Love mine. No thread blobs here but yeah no computerized does as well with denim as a mechanical . Have Viking mega quilter ( st st only) love it too. .jOY

EMILY NIE said...

I got the 7700 in September right before my local store got in the 8900. It is very close to the newer one but cheaper. I love the large throat, I had a cutter on my older. smaller Janome, and I had needle up or down on my really old Viking (no cutter on this one). I love the cutter, and the single hole auto plate, all the feet and the accufeed (I once had a Pfaff and the only thing I liked about that was the even feed foot thing). I make all kinds of things including large quilts, wall hangings and art quilts. I love the machine but after a few months of using the cutter, it needs an adjustment (the shop will do it for free). I also use the foot pedal but can see where the on/off switch could come in handy. I had to get used to the slower start up but I like that it doesn't take an extra forward stitch when I want to go backward. I couldn't wait for the new model and I also got a Gidget table that it fits in, that is the best height for the machine for me. It is a good machine.

Ma4Grandma9 said...

I have sewed on Janome's ever since I traded off my Riccar yrs ago. Blows in Fargo ND are great to work with!! I got the first 8900 sold from their shop and I LOVE LOVE.....it! With all the sewing I do and that as my sewing room is my "happy place" I decided the $ was worth it and am making it work. I love the 9mm, the 11"work space and the Accu feed. I would like an easier way to change between the plain and accu feed systems. I have had no problems with the feet staying on or being solid. I am looking forward and getting brave enough to try MQ with it. I also love all the stitches and fooling around with them. I agree with Leanne about the thread "blobs" and I don't find the needle threader easy to use, am looking forward to getting the Optical Magnifyer that just came out for the 8900. Janome is also coming out with new feet for the Accu feed all the time. I don't use the ext. table and use the start/stop feature only when sewing LONG seams. I would buy another 8900 again, maybe some day in my dreams I will get the TOP machine.

Lisa said...

Very informative Rebecca thank you for all the details! I use the start/stop on my old Kenmore which Janome made for Sears to do alphabets but not much else! I would love a new machine but not hapening anytime soon! Your review let me know to keep saving my pennies because this sounds pretty awesome. Thank you!

Prof. S (the enchanted bobbin) said...

I know many, many people adore their Janome 7700s and beyond, but I recently sold mine and replaced it with 2 machines: the Juki 2010Q and a 1980 Bernina Nova (the latter for garment sewing, primarily). I find the FMQ on the 2010Q sooooooo much less finicky than that of the Janome -- you can even start piecing or quilting right after using the thread cutter (also by foot pedal, yay!). NO BLOBS!!!!! I have to say that although I liked many things about the Janome I grew to detest the drop-in bobbin and the huge amount of plastic, most especially in and around the bobbin race but also throughout the machine's design. But then again, I am most definitely NOT a gadget hound. I like things simple, clean, well-made and reliable...that's all! So it really will be a matter of taste. Having a great dealer makes a huge difference and it sounds like yours is wonderful! Good luck, whatever you choose.

Sandy said...

I own a New Home Memory Craft 6000 that will be 30 years old next year. I love it. It's only been in the shop twice. Once years ago I wanted them to look at the bobbin winding which was ok and just this week to have a "tune up" (tension and timing) before I give it to my niece. It didn't even need any repairs. It sews beautifully and I've never had a problem with it. I hate to give it up but I just because the owner of a new Janome Horizon Memory Craft 12000. It's expensive but it's my retirement gift to myself. I'm in a learning curve with the 12000. It has many of the same features of my old MC 6000 (regular and decorative stitches). What is new to me is the embroidery. I'm using the start/stop button but I have attached the foot petal and prefer it but I'm practicing embroidery patterns now and you can't use the foot petal. I'm use to the snap on feet and love them. Never had any issues with them whether plastic or metal. I've used metal bobbins with my vintage Singer but my MC 6000 uses the plastic bobbins and again I've never had any problems with them. Thread blobs - yea, they happen. On every sewing machine I've used. Including my new one - had one the other day but it was due to using a defective needle. I haven't tried the thread cutter yet on my MC 12000. Didn't have one on the MC 6000. So far I'm very happy with my new MC 12000. The MC 12000 instructional manual isn't very professional - spiral bounded (hate them can't turn pages easily), cheap paper and the overview design charts at the back of the manual are teeny, tiny and fuzzy. You can't tell the colors at all. I mentioned this to my shop where I purchased the machine and in particular compared this manual to my old MC 6000 manual which was beautifully printed on quality paper with great drawings and photos. The shop said that all of the manufacturers have reduced the quality of their instructional manuals - I guess trying to save money but when I'm buying a top of the line machine for big bucks I expect a top of the line manual. I hate the black background on my MC 12000 machine's screen but apparently there is a 2012 software update that includes an option to have a white background. I'm not sure why my machine didn't have these upgrades on them already but I'm going to try downloading this upgrade. My only other complaint is not being able to use my Apple MacBook Pro with the Horizon Link Software. I'm totally a MAC lover and currently we don't have an extra PC that I can use with my Janome. So I haven't been able to download that feature (((yet))) which is a bummer. I enjoyed your review of your Janome model. I just wish I could have 29 more years to sew on my MC 12000!!! My human engine won't last that long. If the MC 12000 runs as well as my MC 6000 does I will be very happy.

Lauren said...

I don't have the 8900 yet (I have the 7700) but since I have a similar machine I'll jump in. I only use the stop/start when my 8 year old sews. He can't reach the foot pedal. I LOVE the knee lift and always use it. There are a few issues with the 7700 that the 8900 fixed (which is extremely annoying as a 7700 owner). I had a Janome with a Kenmore label for years before I got this machine. I absolutely love the 7700 but given the couple of issues am probably going to trade up (today). My local shop Sew E-Z in Virginia Beach, VA is always very good at giving good value for a trade in.
I really love the space for free motion quilting. I have a Grace Start Right frame and this machine does great with that heavy duty free motion work. You will love it.

quilterliz said...

G'day. My first visit to your blog. I was interested in your review of the Janome 8900. The craft and quilt fair is on at the moment here in Melbourne, Australia and I was in there this morning looking at all the fabulous goodies to inspire and buy. I had a Janome for 28 years and used it all the time, up until 3 years ago when I purchased a Bernina Activa. I am thinking of getting another Janome, so was interested in the 8900. Had a good play with it and found some terrific features. Walked away to look at other machines and drifted back to the Janome stand. A lady was having a go on the 8900 and I heard her say to the sales assistant that her earlier Horizon model felt much better to sew with!! The good thing about the machine was that it was on special (only at the show) for $2,900. This included a good sized fold out table that the machine sits on, worth $500.00 the assistant told me. All in all, probably a good buy. But, like you, I had to ask myself, did I really need all those fancy stitches and will I use them. Answer is, probably not. I don't use many of he 200+ stitches on the Bernina now and was I prepared to pay that amount of money? Needless to say I didn't buy it, but came home and started looking at reviews of it and this led to your blog, which is great, by the way. Take care. Liz...

Madame Purl said...

Yes... I agree the feet are wobbly and I can't seem to get a bang on 1/4 scant stitch every time. I like really precise small pieces and sometimes it works and sometimes not. I recently got a Pfaff Passport and it sewed a bang on 1/4 scant stitch right out of the box no fussing at all. I'm starting to think of selling both my Janomes and getting a bigger Pfaff for my stay at home machine. I also have a Brother PQ1500s and I bought that when the Horizon balked to heavy seams.

Diana M said...

I believe your review was a solis review, but had to stop before I was finished with the article and jumped to the comments section. I think you would be better served to not use profanity throughout your posting. You would be viewed as a more viable reviewer. Yeah I know, I don't have to read your post, but I really wanted to. I have a 8900 and love all the features....I purchased one that was used for 30 minutes in a demo class for $2100. Wonderful machine, Janome fixed all the issues with the 7700 when they cme out with the 8900. I also own the 6600....a real workhorse. I look forward to learning more on the 8900. Be professional, Be respected. I appreciated the feedback from everyone.

Caroline Bush said...

HI -
I just wanted to add - and I realize someone else may have said this but I have not gotten through all the comments yet - but I will. anyway - I just went to a quilt show this weekend and my local store is selling their 8900's that were used in the classroom for 3 days at 1300 off what they sell normally sell them for used - so I can get one for $2999.
I am seriously thinking about it. All of the dealers were doing that at the show - this might be a great way to get a newish machine at a nice little discount!!
Sorry if this is a repeat of info.

BTW - I love your blog - how you write - cracks me up - I am working on getting better at this I hope I can be as entertaining and informative as you are one day!!

Kristine said...

Thank you soooo much for this review! I have been going insane trying to decide on my new machine. I currently sew on a Pfaff Ambition 1.0 (my first real sewing machine) and am looking to move into something a bit faster, and with more work space. I have called a few shops and can get it for $2100 with a table!! and that's not including what they'll give me for a trade in. Should i bite the bullet?

and what ended up being your dream machine?

Thanks!

Linda Wulf Koenig said...

Thanks so much for this review; it's just what I needed to find. I'm a Horizon 7700 owner, and while I think it sews like a champ (I mostly free-motion, but love the programmed stitches, too), I'm excited about the changes that have been made for the 8900. They've fixed everything I've complained about, which isn't much, in the 7700. My favorite 4 changes: bigger foot pedal; detachable dual feed (the 7700 dual feed swing-down bracket gets in the way and catches on thicker quilts when not in use); 9mm stitch width; and easy throat plate removal (having to remove 2 screws every time is a bitch). A fifth thing, which is an option I'd happily pay extra for, is the magnifying lens. My eyes were never great, and now that I'm in my 60s, I have a harder time seeing what's going on under the needle. That's really important when your doing FMQ. Also, I love your writing style; it both educates and entertains. Kept me reading right to the end and wanting more.

Linda Wulf Koenig
(Linda's Landscapes)
lwkoenig.blogspot.com

ARTSAVVY said...

I own a 6600 and a 8900. Just warming up to the 8900 and all the bells and whistles. My advise to you is to get a 6600 which will still amaze you and you will love it. Lots of "B" friends who absolutely love the 6600 and want one of their own. It will be one of those machines that hold value and keep on sewing. It has a 9 inch throat and that is adequate for most sewing, auto cut and leg lift and acufeed. It will sew leather and most anything you want with the right needle. It has a solid feel to it and is a great machine.Thread painting and free motion sewing is a breeze. Repairing jeans is a breeze. The 8900 is overkill with the same and more. The major difference being 2 inches in the throat and 9mm stitch length. If you want the best and beaffest machine on the market go 6600. Another advantage is there are a lot of second hand ones out there because people have upgraded to 7700 or 8600 or 8900 just because they are machine junkies like me. Go 6600, you will still like your Bernina but you will use the Janome.

ARTSAVVY said...

Opps, forgot to say I never use start stop button, have a friend who is in wheel chair and she does for obvious reasons, only time I did was when I was sewing yards and yards with no stopping. Worked well not having to keep foot on pedal. No problem with feet being anything but sturdy, cool to press little button and snap out feet, which can cross over to some babylocks and brothers. I don't have any eyelashes or blobs of thread, which are all results of bad needles, tension or thread. Not machine problems,

Mary Ann said...

Thanks so much for this review. I've read a lot of reviews today purchased my new 8900. I'm really excited! Even more so, the second time I read this review, I realized that the shop you are referring yo is the one I'm buying my machine from! Made me feel double good! Thanks for the thorough and well written review!

Susie Sheldon said...

I purchased the Janome 8900 after owning a Singer for better than 20 years. I new to the quilting and wanted a machine to do the work. A friend of mine has the 7700 in which that is what I really wanted.

Now for the bad news about my 8900.. It does not sew seams without leaving a ridge in them. So I took it back she said it was out of adjustment.. Im thinking this is suppose to be a brand new machine so how could it be out of adjustment. So its adjusted and I have to drive an hour to drop off my machine and another hour back home..
I get it home and bring it back to my craft room and set it up.. Sit down to sew on my machine.. I sew 2 seams oh its doing great... ok.. time to put these pieces together.. Ok putting them together and I hear a funny noise and sure enough it skipped.. Ok hmmm I thought it was fixed.. Well, Im going to try one more piece but before I do that I check the book to see what the issue is. So I changed the needle which it didn't need to be changed for it was new but I changed it away.. Then I also changed the thread.. Yes this is a pain but Im trying to get this piece of junk to sew right. So I put the pieces together and sure enough it skips again.. Now you can imagine, I am really getting mad because I paid a lot of money for this machine. So I took it back to the dealer.. I am very disappointed with this machine... Im thinking I need a refund and purchase a different machine..

Frank Story said...

I've had the same problem with my Janome 8900. It's so rubbish it's not worth sewing with. I'll be taking it back to the shop again next week and if they can't fix it I'll be asking for a refund.

Cindy Dy said...

I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post.

Brent
www.gofastek.com

Hazel said...

I've had my Janome 8900 for a few months love it for FM.I had the accufeed foot in my hand last night and it fell apart ( I've never used it )Thank God it was in my hand the little pin that fell out could have caused a lot of damage had it been on the machine .Still wondering if I should replace it .