Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hey there Delilah

I mentioned that I would have a bit more to say about my new machine, so thought I'd write up a quick little review of my new machine (ha!! Who are we kidding!? This is me we're talking about....I'll try to make it quick but no promises! rofl).

Meet Delilah. :)

Do not ask me where I came up with the name cuz I really don't know. It just kinda popped into my head and then the song "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's got stuck in my head and wouldn't leave so...Delilah it was!

The Janome Horizon 7700 isn't a new model, it's been out a few years already. Actually, this particular version is being discontinued....they've come out with a 'new' 7700. The new 7700 is basically the same machine with just a few changes as far as I can tell: they added the 'New Home' portion under the Janome name, they also took away the beautiful red front, it's now a very pale grey, or white, I forget which. It's actually able to be sold online now as well (before the change, per Janome's rules, it was only able to be purchased locally). All things considered, I'm glad I was able to get one of the remaining 'old' Horizons.

I LOVE the love love it. It's beautiful and one of the first things I fell in love with about the machine. It just calls to you from across the room and it's lust at first sight. Kind of it's own version of the little black dress!! Hey....I like a good lookin' machine, what can I say?! ;)

The lighting on this machine is great. 5 LED lights, one set of which shines on the bed area. So, all in all, you can actually see what you're doing when sewing on this machine! (Novel idea huh?! lol) I still use my ottlites of course, but they're almost not absolutely necessary like they are with other machines I've used.

The stitches are plentiful. A little bit of everything and they're all grouped well and pictured for easy selection right on the lid of the storage/threading area of the machine. (No more knocking off the stitch card or having to look em up in the manual like The Babylock.) Do I need 250 stitches? Of course not, but they're fun and will give me things to play around with when I'm looking for a decorative stitch. There's also a couple of cute ones that I actually see myself using for various things. :)

Some very cute decorative stitches!

The touchscreen works very well and leaves everything within easy reach. There's also a jog dial with a selection button which some people like and some don't. Personally, I don't mind it....I like being able to scroll thru things quickly to find what I like rather than repeatedly tapping the touchscreen umpteen times to get to what I need. A number pad to just punch in the stitch number you want would have been nice honestly, but the dial is fine. I'll get used to it and it won't bother me at all. I think it will also be nice for those days where my fingers don't want to work so well. Big storms wreak havoc on my hands and something big and tactile vs. a touchscreen is often helpful on those days. There is a little stylus to use on the touchscreen as well, that has it's own little place in the top storage. I rarely use it, my fingernail is usually quicker.

The APC -Automatic Plate Converter- feature is one of the main features that drew my attention. At the push of a button a plate magically slinks into position converting it into a single hole needle plate. Now, I know you can buy a single hole needle plate for any machine out there, but A) those usually require you to use a screwdriver to change it out...each time and B) I know myself...I'd bust more needles than it'd be worth to use. LOL With the APC, the machine monitors everything....if the APC is engaged it will not allow you to select a stitch that requires the wide stitch plate. Jackpot!! No broken needles for this girl! Well, at least none related to forgetting to switch a stinkin needle plate. :D

The arrow is pointing to the APC plate. That little plate slides back and forth at the touch of a button to turn it into a single hole needlplate.

The Accufeed (AF)... Janome's version of dual feed. Some have said that it's big and bulky, that the feet were too wide and in the way or not as effective as they could be. Well....I look at it this way. Without this feature, I'd be using a walking about something being in the way! Yep, I'll take the Accufeed tyvm. :)

The feet and storage are another thing that's welcomed. There's not only the typical storage in the compartment by the freearm, but there's storage behind the freearm as well as on the top of the machine. There's a place for each foot as well as bulk storage for odd the extra AF feet! They are oddly sized so having an area that they fit so perfectly is fantastic! I love having a place for everything! Janome includes the normal AF foot with the machine, but my dealer also thru in the open toe version as well as the 1/4" AF foot. The only AF foot I'm missing, and will likely pick up at some point, is the edgestitching/ditchstitching foot. I did use that alot on my other machine. I like it for edgestitching when I make bags and such. The non AF feet are nice as well and they include a good selection of helpful feet with the machine....the 1/4" piecing foot, edgestitcher, cording, open toe, etc. And last but not least, I L.O.V.E. the quilting foot Janome designed. It's adjustable and doesn't hop!! I don't like hopping feet and typically break off the little bar that makes any feet hop anyway, but this one is adjustable so that it just skims the surface of the quilt you're working on. It's awesome....and has multiple feet to choose: a standard quilting foot, open view foot, and echo foot. All neat and tidy.

Yes, that is where Mr. Owl sits most of the time! ;)

I also love the way she FMQs!! No eyelashing, no thread mess on the back, no tension issues or stitch ugliness. I can definitely improve my FMQing now. And, speaking of quilting....let's not forget to mention the 11" of harp space she has!!! *gasp* That's pure crazy!! heh I will surely be able to quilt any quilt my little heart desires now! I could house a small village of Mr. Owls in there I swear! :)

I'm usually one that likes my machine to be dropped into a table. Since Delilah is so much bigger than The Babylock, it doesn't fit into the table I had, so I need another and Curt's going to build me one......once it's warm enough that is. Damn winter messing with my plans!!! So, for now, my machine is sitting on top of a plastic folding table...much to the poor table's displeasure. lol I've had to take a piece of wood to brace the table under the machine as it was starting to bend and bow due to all Delilah's weight! LOL She's a hefty gal. ;) Anyway, since she's relegated to the table top, I've been thrilled to use the acrylic extension table Janome includes with the machine. I never used the one on The Babylock, even when I had to sew on a tabletop. This one tho is so much nicer. It's clear for starters....that means I can see the things I place underneath it and nothing gets lost. *snicker* I also like that the feet are removable and straight. They make the table more sturdy and stable than the other one's I've used. Being removable will also help when Mr. Man builds me my table as I can remove the legs and use it as in insert instead of having to pay for a separate one. All in all, it's workin' for me.

Of course she has all the normal features you'd expect of a modern machine...needle up/down, thread cutter, start/stop button, needle threader, pressure foot adjustment, lockstitch, knee lift (adjustable which is nice). And some very nice things that you don't see....metal frame, metal parts instead of plastic, a dial to adjust the feed dogs or align stitches that are 'off' as well as another dial that allows me to adjust the AF...speed up or slow down the top feeding to match the bottom. Oh! AND the switch to drop the feed dogs is in a convenient location for a change...right by the power button, NOT under the free arm where you either need to remove the storage drawer or dig under a table/lift the machine out of the table to access it!! That's one of those things you don't realize how nice it is until you have it. Odd things to have for sure, but all very helpful!!

There are of course things I wish were different about the machine....well, not so much different I suppose as things I do actually miss from The Babylock or wish worked just a bit differently. The things I miss that The Babylock had...a Fantastic automatic needle threading system. Delilah has the typical assisted needle threading....pull down the little thingy (yes...that is the technical term!!! Ha!) catch the thread in the little hook and let the thingy go and finish pulling the loop of thread thru. With The Babylock it was just a matter of threading the machine correctly (there was an extra little holder doojobby at the end) and then pushing a lever...presto...done and fully threaded! I miss the fast bobbin winding feature...rather than sticking the thread thru the little hole, then winding a few go-rounds, stopping and trimming before finishing the winding, you simply wound the thread around the bobbin 5 times or so, caught the thread in another little holder doojobby and then wound it. Other things I need to adjust....while I love the thread cutter, it cuts the threads a bit short for me. I like my tails a bit longer so I can bury them if needed....Delilah cuts em to just shy of 1/2". Kinda rough to bury them that way. I also don't like the thread nesting at the beginning of stitching. I was hoping to leave the threadbunny's in the past, but no...still gotta use them. So, nothing that's really terrible or that I can't live with, but there always has to be a few things you wish were different. ;)

Now, what is the thing that surprised me the most about Delilah? The sheer size!!! OMG. You cannot get an accurate idea of the size of this lady from any online photos. I had looked at a million photos of this machine before walking into my dealer's shop and when I saw her, my jaw nearly dropped. I'm not joking. I wanted to come up with a way to accurately give you all a true indication of her size. So, I came up with of her next to our Brother machine for comparison. The Brother is a pretty typical mid sized machine, so I think it shows her true size in an understandable way. She is massive...and I love her. :) With the full metal frame she's very heavy....which translates into sturdy and steady and I like that very much. I don't care for wimpy little machines that bounce all over the place when stitching at full speed! She's got a lot of space to spare which I like as well. After all, gotta get that 11" of harp space from somewhere! lol

So far I'm very very happy with my machine. And I don't see that changing any time soon!! It's amazing the relief you feel when you no longer dread the thought of a big project. Which is even more wonderful since my Newbee Quilters bee quilt measures about 106" by 100"!!! Seriously don't know how it got so large!! But I look forward to quilting that one now. :)