Friday, December 6, 2013

Juki HZL-F600 and Juki TL-2010Q Sewing Machine Reviews

I get countless emails asking me about whatever happened to Vera (my awful Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 835 sewing machine). Today I would like to address what has happened since I posted about Vera and which machines I ended up with. This will be a long, but hopefully informative, post.

To read the initial letter sent to Husqvarna Viking regarding the machine, click here.

To read the response to the letter sent to Husqvarna Viking, click here.

In the response post, you will read that I purchased a Juki TL-2010Q. Originally, I wasn't going to post a full review of this machine since so many other bloggers have already done the same. But, now that I have answered questions from dozens of other sewists out there looking for a decent sewing machine, I decided to go ahead and post about it here.

Monster - Juki TL-2010Q

Juki TL-2010Q

I purchased my Juki TL-2010Q (who has not been officially named yet, but has been lovingly referred to as "Monster" in my house) the first week of January 2013. Initially I had a few problems with the tension, not because there was anything wrong with the machine, but because setting the tension on the Monster is much different than setting the tension had been with Vera. As always, I keep my manual close at hand when sewing and referred to it often in those early days. My friends Cristy (Purple Daisies LLC and Sew Much Like Mom) and Alyssa (Pile O' Fabric) both have this machine and helped me understand how it works. If I ever had an issue, I called one of them. Isn't it nice to have such knowledgeable friends?! Honestly, I didn't have many issues then and still haven't encountered many almost a year later. This machine is just great.

The 2010Q is a true workhorse. The solid metal frame and casing means this machine has top notch parts not susceptible to heat or friction related warping. The straight stitch only design keeps the needle stationary, avoiding any needle placement/timing related issues. I really love that it is built to hold cones of thread rather than just tiny spools that feed sideways through the machine. And if you need to use a thread that may be more slippery than a traditional poly or cotton, the 2010Q manual draws out how to feed the thread through the thread intake to decrease the chances of the machine coming unthreaded.

There aren't as many bells and whistles on this machine as there are on some others, but the features that come with this machine are the best. There is an easy-to-use speed control lever ranging from tortoise to hare located on the front of the machine, making it convenient to change the speed of stitching mid-project. There is a large reverse lever for quick back-stitches as well as a knee-lift for quick turns. The machine has a needle threader which threads from the side, not unlike a long arm machine (did I mention this can be a mid-arm when placed on a frame?) taking the stress and anxiety off of having to re-thread a minuscule needle eye. The automatic cutter can be used by either pressing a button on the front of the machine, or kicking the heel of the foot pedal. Also, the thread cutter draws both threads to the back of your work, super handy when you don't want threads on the front. If you're lazy and don't like to pull the bobbin thread up before starting to stitch again, you can begin stitching immediately after using the cut function. Just know sometimes the needle will come unthreaded when you sew this way. The table this machine comes with is large and accommodating for piecing and quilting. And even though the bobbin is placed underneath the machine, the table offers a trap door making changing the bobbin with the table on the machine a breeze.
Juki TL-2010Q

This machine came with a walking foot. The first time I used the walking foot, I loosely quilted a queen size flannel quilt. The foot clicked and clacked and really just made it clear that it wasn't going to do a great job on the quilting. I managed to press through, quilting the entire quilt with the same foot. The quilt turned out fine; no tucks, tension issues or skipped stitches, but still the foot had been SO LOUD. I contacted the store I bought the machine from.

The store employees had not heard of the problems I was (or perceived) having with this particular walking foot, but ever the customer service based company, they replaced the walking foot, free of charge. A few months later, I used the new walking foot to quilt another straight line quilt, this one for someone's wedding day. I wanted it to come out perfectly, and it did, but not without more clicking, more clacking, and more paranoia from me. I called the store back to discuss the foot, only to find that the particular foot I had was very expensive, more than $100 on average. They, as well as I, were flabbergasted. Surely I was doing something wrong. If I'm being completely honest, I don't straight line quilt on this machine very often, or at all. I really like FMQing so I typically do that when finishing a quilt. Cristy lent me a couple other walking feet to try on the machine, but since I don't make many things that require a walking foot, I haven't had the chance to use them yet. I called another local Juki dealer to ask about the foot, and they were as puzzled as I was. They said I should make sure my foot pressure is high while using my walking foot. I don't remember what I had the pressure set to when I quilted these quilts. SO, this is my way of saying the walking foot that comes with the machine is supposed to be good (and costly) but I haven't had great luck with it. I need to tweak my technique before I can give an accurate review of this particular foot. But, since you don't need a walking foot for quilting, I'm not sure how detrimental this will be. Maybe if I were a bag maker, a shoddy walking foot would be a bigger problem.

Juki TL-2010Q

Juki TL-2010Q

The machine is sturdy, never scooting around my tabletop even when I have the pedal-to-the-metal on full "hare" speed. It's a great machine. Amazing. Fantastic. I would recommend this machine to anybody. AND I HAVE!

So then I was left with an amazing straight-stitch machine and Vera. Freaking awful Vera. I thought it would be okay to keep the Viking around for those times I needed specialty stitches, like zig zag or button hole, but she couldn't even handle those. At best, Vera had become a giant dust collector in my craft room.

Big Butt Hazel - Juki HZL-F600

Juki HZL-F600

Fast forward to May 2013. I still had not been able to create a consistent stitch with Vera. I had, however, still been able to churn out some impressive amounts of commission projects and quilts, buffering my craft budget enough that I could buy a new machine. I hemmed and hawed for a while, claiming I was completely satisfied only owning a giant, Vera-shaped doorstop and an amazing Juki TL-2010Q. But my husband heard me from my craft room. He heard the screaming, the frustration, the hate-filled words that spewed from my mouth and onto Vera's stupid, plastic face. He couldn't stand it any longer and so, set up a babysitter so we could go machine shopping.

I did some research online before venturing out into the claws of sewing machine salesmen. I knew the features I was looking for. The price I was willing to pay. I came prepared with a giant bag full of projects and no time limit. (I am a salesman's worst nightmare, I assure you.) I tried out many machines from many manufacturers. I stitched and quilted for HOURS, taking the time to work on some projects and giving each machine a real workout to determine how well it would hold up under pressure. Eventually, I found myself coming back to a Janome my friend had recommended to me. It fit my price point and had a stellar recommendation, but it still didn't quite feel right. I made up my mind to leave the shop and sleep on it for a few days.

Then, realizing they may lose a sale and grasping at straws, the saleswoman asked me how I felt about Juki.

Juki? I LOVE my Juki.

After all shock had worn off that I had even heard of Juki and a 10 minute vacation to the back room, she emerged with the Juki HZL-F600. Having never heard of this machine, I was hesitant, but wanted to give it a fair try, especially considering the company had earned my respect by making such an amazing 2010Q. As I pulled out another project, my husband began frantically bashing his fingers into his iPhone screen, searching for any and all reviews he could find on the machine. Turns out, there weren't very many out there, giving him pause over whether we should even consider this machine. After all, we couldn't find reviews for Vera either and look how that turned out.

Juki HZL-F600

Sitting there in that tiny machine shop, sitting on the too small chair and stitching in a too small area, I fell in love. Fell in love with the fact that the same great features I adored in my 2010Q had been transferred to this computerized machine; the knee-lift, the table, the cutter, the speed control. I fell in love with the sound it made as it whirred through button-holes and zigzag stitches, the sound it made when it performed the basic functions it was meant to perform. I fell in love with the storage it offered, both on the machine and on the case. It was sturdy and it never faltered once during my hour or two sewing session. I knew this was the machine I wanted.

Juki HZL-F600

The local shop I purchased from is fantastic. They are interested in pleasing their customers and worked with me on the price. My husband had found the machine online for a much lower price than they were asking, but I like to support my local economy and so asked the owner of the shop if he would match the price. I would pay cash. Satisfied with that deal, he asked for $50 more than the online price, which I wasn't going to argue. I also discussed with him my dilemma with Vera:

I had the machine and all the parts but it was a terrible machine. I didn't feel right selling it to someone on Craigslist or eBay. I couldn't, in good conscience, sell that awful machine to someone who thought they were getting a smoking deal. I just couldn't. I wouldn't. But trading into a machine shop toward a new machine would both give me a small return for my troubles through the years and still keep me away from any moral dilemma. If they chose to fix and resell the machine, at least they could offer customer support. Or they could scrap her for parts. I didn't care.

The owner offered me a more than fair amount for trade-in on Vera, saving me from that monstrosity once and for all. I cannot even tell you the relief I felt when I handed her over to the saleswoman! I was finally free! After a quick ride to the bank, I came back to find a brand new (not even the one they opened for me to play with) Juki HZL-F600 sitting, waiting for me. Again, I love this shop.

I have had the machine about seven months now with no problems. She sews brilliantly. Her name, Big Butt Hazel, comes from the fact that she has a very wide base, mostly due to her computer. I mostly just call her Hazel though. No need to cause a complexion!

I bounce back and forth between these two machines, sewing about 20 hours each week on each of them. They perform different tasks for me and both are staples in my craft room. Hazel usually accompanies me to guild meetings and sewing play dates since she's lighter than the 2010Q, while the 2010Q is my sole quilting machine. Hazel actually has some great quilting capabilities too, but I choose not to use them. Hazel is used for all alterations. She has a tiny free-arm. The 2010Q is used for most of my piecing.

Hazel is a self-lubricating machine (as are most computerized machines). I make sure to run her at least once per week to keep all her joints moving smoothly. The Monster 2010Q gets oiled about once per month (as needed). The manual includes detailed directions on how to oil the machine (made even easier by holes in the casing specially designed for oil) and also includes your first bottle of machine oil. Right now, I keep the hard case on Hazel when she's not in use, but I don't use the soft case that came with the 2010Q. I keep meaning to make a sewing machine cover for him, but it just hasn't happened yet. It's on my to-do list, I guess.

So there you have it: my reviews of my sewing machines. If you have any questions regarding these machines, please do not hesitate to ask. I would love to share my knowledge so everyone can make a more educated decision when purchasing their sewing machines.

The last bit of advice I will leave you: a sewing machine is an investment. Save up until you can afford the machine you really want. Don't settle for the machine that might work for now.

Danny

26 comments:

  1. I just got the 2010Q and I love it. My needle threader has been off for several weeks, but other than that, I find myself swearing much less when I quilt:)

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  2. I have had a 'Hazel' for nearly three years now and she has never, never missed a beat!

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  3. I think I'd like to get a Juki straight stitch too eventually. My machine is a good generalist and would work well for sewing clothes (whenever I finally get around to that), but it struggles with some of the quilt tasks that I'd like to do more of like FMQ. Thanks for the double review!

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  4. I have the Juki 98p, as that is all that is sold in Australia but it is nearly identical to the 2010q. I couldn't be happier!!! I love him/her (still deciding) to bits! I will tell you that my walking foot click clacks a lot too! I asked around and apparently this is normal. I do miss my "bobbin's almost out light" from the Pfaff I used to sew on, but other than that everything is perfection! Thanks for your review, I've been meaning to do one too.

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  5. Glad you found your perfect solution, and managed to offload Vera!

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  6. Thank you for posting this review! These are exactly the two machines I am debating between, though if I get the f600 it will likely be lightly used. My question is, if you had to choose just ONE of these machines, which would you choose? I am a quilter and would be using the machine for piecing and quilting. Thanks!

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  7. thanks for your honest opinions. The next time I buy a machine I am taking you with me

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  8. Thanks for writing this up! I am planning to start saving for a bigger machine for quilting (I have no problems at all with my machine except the throat space!) so it's good to see such glowing Juki reviews. I have really heard nothing but good things about Juki so that's definitely the direction I'm leaning... What shop is this, btw? I'm sort of local and would love to have some idea of a good shop to go to!

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  9. I have read several reviews on this machine and each one makes me want one even more!

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    1. Rose, I stalked this machine online for more than a year. I first saw it listed in a quilting mag at MSRP $2700 and I wanted it SO bad. Honestly if wouldn't shed a tear if I HAD paid that because it's so awesome and worth every penny! But I didn't... I paid about 1/3 that price PLUS got a 10yr extended warranty. Turn in all your pop cans or whatever it takes! You gotta have one of these :)

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  10. I have been having the same/similar problems with my super expensive Pfaff - made by Husqvarna in China now. I have gone through the same endless conversations & BS as you, always with the underlying snide belief that it must be "User Error".
    I have been sewing on all sorts of machines since I was 5. I'll be 52 this year. I don't think it's me :/
    I take solace in the fact that I have read many reviews on the net from people having the same problems as I am. I too cannot in all conciousness sell the damn thing on ebay. After job losses, cross continent moves etc I cannot possible buy a new machine.
    Hate being stuck like this. So pleased your Juki is a gem.
    Cheers
    Lush

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  11. Goodness sake, as I read your post I kept saying "me too.... me TOO.... ME TOO!..." Except for a few details: 1. I have a 3 yr old Brother door stop/dust collector, 2. I have a Juki TL2000Qi (nearly identical to your 2010) and 3. My husband wouldn't be caught dead or alive in a sewing machine shop and I'm OK with that. As long as he pays the bill for my lovely "Angel" Juki HZL F600 :D

    I love both machines so much! I do love to piece with the 2000 but it's a pain to drag it off the quilting frame rearrange the sewing table and set it up for straight stitch etc. Am I alone when I say, I can't believe how sweet the F600 sews? I just press the pedal and off she goes without and extra encouragement from me to sew straight. that darn POS Brother machine required that I hold the fabric at an odd angle for it to sew a straight seam because the feed dogs were not well aligned. And quiet? I can listen to an audio book or TV without having to crank them way up to hear over the machine.

    But the real reason I wanted to comment was your early comments and concerns about the big walking foot on your 2010. At first I was taken back by the sound of this contraption and I have used a walking foot for years! I have 4. 3 of them are regular sized that came with or were purchased for domestic/home sewing machines and the big honker that fits my Juki quilter. They all make a clackety racket just by the nature of how they work and what they do, but you're correct.... that big one can startle you. I just wanted you to know that I hear it too and I suspect yours is working properly and that you'll get used to the sounds it makes the more you use it.

    Happy Sewing/Crafting

    Kristina C in NE Kansas

    By the way... I had such a nice read at your table today, I believe I'll follow along for a bit.

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  12. I have been struggling to get the tension right on my Juki 2010Q...makes a fab straight stitch but I have challenges when I switch to free motion quilting. Can't seem to get a good top tension, the thread just lies on top of the fabric. Advice?

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  13. I too have the TL2010Q that arrived under the tree last Christmas. It has been the best thing since the interweb in my life! I have a Babylock for the fancy stitches, zigzag, etc, but I don't use her much anymore. I just piece and quilt with Sooki the Juki often, (nod to the Gilmore Girls...who also are awesome). I enjoy reading others loving these machines!

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  14. Can I ask what retailer you purchased your TL2010Q from?

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    1. Hi misty3034. You are a no-reply blogger, so you didn't get me response via email. :)

      I bought both my Jukis at Mulqueen on Dobson and Main. The lady who works in there is fantastic and the owner is willing to deal. Great experience. I would highly recommend purchasing from them again.

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  15. I have had the Juki TL-2010 Q for about a year now and I, too, love mine! I had some problems with my walking foot at first and had to send my machine back. They said the needle bar was crooked and that was causing the noise. However, the machine was no better when I got it back. I was getting really frustrated until I emailed Juki (not where I got my machine), and they sent me a new walking foot. Granted, it does make some noise, but the loud squeaking/clanking I was hearing is gone.

    The only thing I don't love about the Juki at this point is that I find the needle threader to be a little fiddly. Otherwise, I love my Juki! I have my first machine, a Janome HD 1000 for any zigzag needs. :) That is a great little workhorse of a machine, too.

    I'm sorry you had such a terrible time with your Viking but really glad to read that you have a great set of machines now, AND you were able to unload the Viking guilt-free! :)

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  16. Hi, thank you for the reviews - the one question I have is how many inches is the throat on the Juki 2010Q?

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  17. Thank you so much for this in depth post! Im shopping for a new machine and terrified of computer so am looking at the 2000 or 2010. I found the F600 and was wondering if it would do everything in one instead of having two machines. Are you able to quilt decently on your F600 if you had top? Straight line and FMQ, and how do the throat spaces compare? Thank you!

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  18. I'm glad you finally found machines you like -- I have the TL2000Qi and F-600, too! Yay for Juki! :)

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  19. Thanks for the reviews! I see that 2 people have asked if one of the two machines could be your do-it-all. I'm curious too. Does the F600 do FMQ'ing well?

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    1. Hi! Yes, I have had many questions about whether one machine would work rather than owning both. I typically respond via email but am replying here as you are a no-reply blogger. I hope you see this!

      As for the machines: yes. You could just purchase one. The F600 does button hole stitches, zig zag stitches, and has a free arm, three things I find completely necessary for any sewist. I use the F600 fairly often, but I prefer the 2010Q for quilting, which is primarily what I do. However, I could not own JUST the 2010Q without another machine that performs those other tasks I outlined above. The quilting on the F600 is good. I have used the walking foot on that machine more than once and had beautiful results. It just isn't AS good as the 2010Q when it comes to quilting. The 2010Q is faster, has more throat space, and it is the only machine I have ever used for FMQing (so I cannot answer your question regarding the FMQ abilities of the F600). I haven't had any problems with either machine, but many times, even if the F600 is the one set up and ready to go, I will take the time to tear it down and pull out the 2010Q. The F600 accompanies me to all guild meetings and sew-ins, as it is lighter and more versatile. So, I guess my answer is this: If you plan to only own ONE machine, go with the F600 so you can hem pants, appliqué, or add a button hole to a little girl's dress in the future. If you have a machine that can perform those tasks that you are planning to keep, get the 2010Q. It is AWESOME for quilters.

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  20. Thank you for your review of BOTH machines. I have the 98Q and love it. I also have a Janome 8900 which I do not love, or barely like most days. I think I will try to sell her and get the F600. There's nothing inherently wrong with "Fifi" (named because she is high maintenance and needs things just so), but is just not that good of a machine, considering the price.

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  21. I just got the f600 and there are lots of things I need to learn. the 1st one would be if anyone know this machine will do basting stich? it would help so much because I don't have to do basting stich by hand for a skirt hem line etc.

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  22. Thanks for the wonderful review. I am looking for a quilting machine that would be great for piecing. I had a brother before that always created a thread nest when I started and I was hoping to avoid it this time. What's your experience been on piecing with the f600? Are you able to start at the edge of the fabric without getting any "nest" on the bottom? Also, did you get to try out the Janome 6600 while shopping by any chance?

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