Thursday, June 6, 2013

Should I buy the Juki TL-98E ? Any Advice?

I get to go test drive the Juki TL-98E in the morning, and I just hope someone following me has used, or knows something about this machine, specifically regarding free motion quilting. I did find some nice ratings online, but I am hoping for some first hand knowledge from a quilter:-)

I have been the proud and happy owner of a Bernina 1020 since 1991. Here is a little bitty about it, and why I justify an additional machine, (even though I have no idea where I will put it!)
I wanted a machine that would last a lifetime,  so I went for this all-mechanical machine. The cams are all metal, and it is a 25-30lbs workhorse. It runs over heavy fabrics with only the occasional pause (do I have to go over that?), and has all the stitches I have needed over the years.
No decorative stitches, but great utilitarian stitches. It has had heavy use, without many problems over the years and I love this machine. I have read that it is becoming a collectible machine, and I know why!

I was even lucky enough to find a Bernina table on Craigslist about 10yrs ago that seems to have been made for my machine. And I found a CutNSew on Ebay, (good thing it was a bargain since I haven't used it much).
 The biggest downside to this machine is when Free Motion Quilting. I have never outsourced quilting, nor have I ever taken a class. I did a lot of straight-line quilting in those early years. I have managed to work around the small bed space, but when I began branching out to FMQ, I quickly realized that not all advice I was receiving at the quilt shop, in books, etc, actually worked with this machine. It tends to skip stitches, and needles are generally thought to be the cause of this. But there are certain threads I just avoid, and I have to change needle types ALL the time. I regularly use Universal and Topstitch needles to Quilt, in sz 70, 80, and 90.   I have needles with notes on them all over the place since I change them so much. Actual Quilting needles have never worked with this machine. Using Bernina brand needles, or Fons and Porter did not help either. I like the stitching on the back to look just as sharp as the front. So, over the years I have just found what works for each project, and made it happen. However, I spend a lot of frustrated time trying to set it up to work well each time, and often use my second choice in thread. And when I find a happy combination of needle, thread, wadding and tension, I will still occasionally have skipped stitches when stitching a curve , (usually moving the quilt to the upper right).

If you have any Juki experience, I appreciate anything you can share before I make this purchase:-)


  1. I have had my Juki TL-98Q for over 6 years and it's an amazing machine for FMQ. I'd highly highly recommend it!

  2. I want a juki!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to watch this feed to hear how things work out

  3. I'm afraid I can't help but I'm going to watch with interest. Have you read Rebecca's thoughts on looking for a new machine?

  4. H hope you'll let us know what you decide!

  5. Hey, what did you think of the machine when you test drove it? How was the throat space? It's so daunting to find the right machine to purchase, and everything's getting so crazy expensive, it really intimidates me!

  6. Loved reading about your purchase. Your quilting looks great!

  7. I know this posting is old, but I work on vintage Berninas and yours skipping stitches during FMQing is a sign that it's slightly out of time. It can be doing embroidery stitching o.k. but it has to be dead on to FMQ properly. If changing the needle, thread and bobbin didn't help and it wasn't any better the next step would be to check and redo the timing. I had this same situation on a 930 I own. It was slightly off and was skipping stitches while free motioning. After retiming it, it does the job beautifully. Hope this isn't too late to help.

  8. Thank you Candace for sharing this info - You are a no-reply blogger however I am interested in emailing you if you do read this message! I would love to learn to service my own machines! Indeed, it has not been serviced for a couple years now, but at the time of this post it should have been 'in tune'. I do often have trust issues when paying the high price for servicing and have not found a great source since moving to NV.

    Anyhoo, I love having both machines now and try to keep them both busy!


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