Sunday, 9 July 2017

Handiquilter Sweet 16

Sweet Sixteen In Studio
Image from handiquilter.com

So I went for my test drive on the HQ Sweet 16. I have been researching this machine for some time now and also have tried it many times at the local quilt shows over the years. I went to do a bit of a test drive to look at specific issues that were important to me, like
Thread: brought a spool of Aurifil thread with me and ask the lady to stitch with that as this is the thread that I use most of the time; she quickly changed over the thread, did a few adjustments and off we went. Stitched like a dream.
Speed: Obviously I am not used to that level of speed adjustment (from 0 -100%) and did a bit of playing with that, stitching initially at about 30%. Did some swirls at that speed...noticed that my points were very tidy due to the speed. There was no hesitation and stitching a couple of times into the point. Looked much neater overall. One of my main concerns was precision...I can stitch very precisely on my Pfaff 4.2, aligning my needle where I want it to be, stitching back over the same line of stitching in an orderly fashion (in fact I make a bit of a sport out of backstitching into the same hole of the stitching when I get bored with repetitive designs).
Actually quite funny, as I was talking about not being able to reach the hand wheel to align my stitch, I saw that I would not need that due to the visibility that you have. Sitting on my Pfaff QE 4.2 I am looking over to the needle which is a short distance away due to the machine being sunk into the table. On the Sweet 16 I felt that you are looking directly on the top of the needle due to being much closer to the machine...hence no issues with aligning the needle if you want to start at a particular spot. I then played with the different speeds, going right down to 10% to test the backtracking. While this would require some more practice, I found that I could be fairly precise...probably just need to find the appropriate speed for me (10 seemed a bit slow and 15 seemed a tad too fast for backtracking.
Ruler foot: the machine comes with two feet, an open toe foot and a closed ruler foot. They also now have a new Ruler foot (Sure foot) which is a bit higher but I did not try that. I asked the lady for a ruler and played a bit with that, being ever so careful 😀(had visions of breaking their ruler!). That felt obviously very different than doing it on my DSM, so I was a bit extra careful and went super slow. Loved it of course, as the visibility was really good.
Basting stitch: The machine has a basting stitch that you can set for several different intervals. I could have used that for my last wholecloth  (had to hand baste it as I had two layers of batting and going over that with my machine did not work). That was fun to do and I could see a multitude of uses for that. Very handy indeed.
Apart from that I was just playing, so much so that I told the lady I was just playing around and did not need to explore this any further. I have watched a ton of videos and read lots of reviews so I knew the other features of the machine and what was involved for example with the tension adjustments.

Cut a long story short, I put down a deposit and will have the machine in about 2 weeks. I love my Pfaff QE 4.2 and the way it FMQ. I am fairly proficient and have no trouble quilting a quilt on the machine, however my posture and the visibility have been an issue. Posture mainly because my machine is sunk into a Horn cabinet...which is great due to the flat surface, however I am slouching over the machine and no matter what chair I am using I quilt in that slouching position. Given that I quilt for hours this gives me a lot of trouble with my shoulders and back. Visibility on my machine is overall very good, however particularly when quilting with rulers the machine is in the way of seeing how to align the ruler. So you end up looking slightly sideways around the face of the machine...again, not good for the neck and shoulders. That is probably the main reason I started to look at sit down longarm machines. I did see the Simply 16 with the Little Foot frame, however I was pretty clear about not wanting a frame. I am a pretty lazy quilter and the thought of having to clamp a quilt repeatedly onto the frame was just not for me. I reckon that that would drive me crazy. I prefer freedom of movement and do not mind pushing a quilt through a machine.

Anyway, now I need to change rooms to accommodate the machine. While the HQ is not huge, I do want to keep my Pfaff in the Horn cabinet and also want to keep my cutting table and the current sewing room is just too small, so we are going to change one of the bedrooms around and make it into a sewing room. This will still be squishy but I think it will work. Bit of work ahead to move everything over, but I am just happy that I can have a dedicated sewing room.

As luck has it, the sewing shop will participate in the Handiquilter Ruler of the Month Club which will start in August, so I signed up for that as well. This will run over 6 mths with demonstrations and tutorials and you will get a different ruler every month. This will be handy as I only have one ruler at the moment which is the 1/4in thickness required, so this should give me a good selection to start of with.

Super excited!


Karin

8 comments:

  1. Congrats. I have the stand up HQ 16 for years now and still,love it. Still stitches like a dream.

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  2. Herzlichen Glückwunsch und ganz viel Quiltfreude mit der Neuen 👍👍👍
    Liebe Grüße
    Jeannette

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  3. Great news. I think you have a wonderful Pfaff, but as you push free-motion quilting to be the best it can be, you deserve the very best for FMQ. I look forward to hearing about your new machine and seeing the beautiful projects you FMQ with it. Congratulations.

    QuiltShopGal
    www.quiltshopgal.com

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  4. CONGRATS!!!! Oh what fun lies ahead!

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  5. Congratulations - and I'm very envious :) I have used a Sweet16 over a retreat weekend for two quilts and I really loved it - but they're even dearer over here in NZ. Maybe one day when the kids have left home and finished uni...
    Monika from Himmelgarten Quilts

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    1. Thanks Monika...yes maybe by then they will have brought a wider variety of machines into the country. There is really only 2 machines you can choose from if you want some service over here.

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  6. I've been following your thinking through the pros and cons of purchasing the Sweet 16 with great interest. I think you've fallen in love and with no reservations about its performance I can see many a happy hour ahead quilting without the physical limitations of the Pfaff. It deserves a gentle retirement, well at least from quilting. PS I had to gasp a little at you back tracking into the right hole. I'm pleased when I'm vaguely in line!!

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  7. Congratulations! I have had one for a few years and love it! So much more space than using a domestic. Sounds like you already love it too!

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