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Janome Magnolia 7318
Since I was struggling with my 1970s Kenmore while taking a Quilting 101/beginner class at a local quilt shop, I ordered a Janome Magnolia 7318 online at a great price.
It is a basic machine, easy to use out of the box and produces a nice, consistent straight stitch as well as a nice variety of utility stitches. It is lightweight and would be easy to transport to quilting classes and the like.
I have had problems with ordinary quilting fabrics feeding evenly when sewing 1/4 inch seams. (I plan to try experimenting with its variable needle position feature on my next project as I think the issue may be that contact with the feed dogs is not complete for the 1/4" seam when the needle is in the center/default position.) I purchased a straight stitch throat plate separately and use it for piecing quilts and machine quilting.
I have to report that machine quilting even with a high quality open toe walking foot AND a large, custom plexiglass extension table, both which I bought separately online is very, very challenging.
My machine lacks the needle down feature and its electronic foot pedal seems prone to jack rabbit starts and overly fast sewing speeds. (The speed issue has been partially solved by rigging/taping a firm plastic cylinder to the bottom of the pedal which prevents full excursion and thus limits the top speed and helps to slow it down a bit.)
The final issue which affects machine quilting is the rather small, 6" throat space so machine quilting even 50" square baby quilts seem difficult for a beginner quilter such as myself.
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