Pink Christmas, all sewn up

It’s done, and I LOVE IT!

The tree is finished, quilted, bound and baubled. I made 20 or so yoyos from scrap. I had 6 little silver baubles from a Secret Santa gift. I also had a long, thin gold-coloured wire of tiny ‘grain’ sized lights on a battery pack, which looks perfect.

It’s hanging in front of one of our living room bookcases (steel ruler through a rod pocket on the back, sitting in a couple of Command hooks on the bookcase. It looks so sweet, twinkling away in the corner.

And let me just tell you, the quilting was a breeze! Aretha came up trumps. While I’m on the subject, can I just give you some pros and cons after a day’s use?

The yellow thimble gives you an idea of scale…

She’s a Quilter’s Choice 300E, which is an Australian rebrand of the BabyLock Jazz. I was a bit dubious about a non-computerised machine at first, but I must say, I’m beginning to appreciate the benefits.

First, the cons: No pedal speed regulator; speed is entirely down to how hard you press. The dials and knobs are a bit chunky-clunky. There’s no knot-off button to finish off your thread. There are fewer settings for tension, stitch length and stitch width. Threading the needle is a fraction harder. Threading the machine is definitely very different and it’s going to take a while to get really comfortable with that. Pulling up the bobbin thread is a little harder. The knee lift for the presser foot is very firm (but may ease off a bit in time).

And now, the pros: Very powerful. Much quieter. The LED light is much brighter and better positioned. The stitch quality and consistency is very good. There is no on board computer to go wrong or be vulnerable to power surges or cuts. LOADS of work space in the 30cm (12 inch) throat. Lots of storage space at front and back. All the stitches I wanted, plus a few more I’m looking forward to trying. Knee lifter means I can keep both hands on the work if necessary. The bobbin winder is very smooth and less prone to tangles than my Janome. Most of the knobs and dials are on top and disappear tidily under the cover when in use, so fabric doesn’t get caught on stuff. And best of all, the presser foot has adjustable pressure; I quilted the entire Christmas tree hanging in half an hour without having to shove the quilt about by force in order to prevent puckering.

In all, I’d say it was a bit of a revelation. This machine would be worth its original $1,000 price tag. The fact that I got it for just over half price is a wonder and a blessing.

Can’t wait to give her a run on something really challenging!

58 thoughts on “Pink Christmas, all sewn up

  1. Perfect tree for a quilter! So glad your new purchase is performing well.

  2. nanacathy2 says:

    This is a lovely Christmas tree, a family treasure.

  3. Marty K says:

    Love the tree. The lights add a wonderful touch! Best kind of tree too — no needles to Hoover (hopefully!). 😉

    Aretha looks like a keeper. So glad she’s working out for you.

  4. Lucyannluna says:

    Love your tree & enjoy your new machine

  5. Kirsten says:

    Very festive! Love that you have put lights on it. Hope you have a lovely Christmas x

  6. It’s a gorgeous tree and your embellishments are just perfect. So glad you are so happy with your new machine. Such fun!

  7. Going Batty in Wales says:

    Your tree is gorgeous! And I am glad Aretha is making your life easier. A good investment.

    • katechiconi says:

      Aretha was absolutely an investment. Although she’s a heavyweight, she’s also powerful and very simply constructed, so she should last and last. Glad you like the tree 🌲

  8. LOVE ❤️ the tree 🌲
    And Aretha sure is a beauty… I’m waiting for the New Year to open out my beauty 🤩

    • katechiconi says:

      Hopefully by that time I’ll have discovered a few idiosyncrasies or tips I can pass on to you. I do think you might find the knee lift a bit heavy, I certainly do. But she whizzed through the quilting as if the layers of fabric and batting weren’t there, and the stitching is beautifully straight and regular.

      • Yes I can’t wait for all the pointers and I’m definitely looking forward to the FMQing on it …
        Does it need professional cleaning at all or will the cleaning we do be sufficient?

      • katechiconi says:

        I think a service every couple of years would be a good idea, but the manual tells how to clean the bobbin race. I think it’s self-oiling, too. I must find out where the nearest authorised service place is, or if my clever bloke in Townsville can do it.

      • I’ll need to check with spotlight here as the warranty is with them

      • katechiconi says:

        Thing is, the warranty office is in Melbourne and the chances are good they’ll have someone there, but it’s a bit far for me… Off to bed, it’s dayshift. Talk tomorrow.

  9. A marvellous Christmas tree, and I love the decorations. So glad you are happy with your new tool.

  10. Charming tree quilt! What a nice way to introduce Aretha to life in your world.

  11. That tree is just so cute and twinkly. Love it. I am so glad you are happy with Aretha.

  12. kymlucas says:

    Tree = gorgeous! And those lights = perfect!

  13. Sharon says:

    Absolutely perfect ~ your so creative – you always inspire me….Marry Christmas

  14. mlmcspadden says:

    Your finished project looks great! And thanks for the review on the machine. I’ll have to keep it in mind should I have to replace my 40+ yr old Kenmore. Well actually I should just sell the $3000+ machine I’ve never used (bought for the larger throat space) and buy the US equivalent to your new one because I’d much rather have a mechanical one rather than a computerized one

    • katechiconi says:

      I would say if you want a machine that does straightforward sewing and quilting really well, this fits the bill. There are no fancy bells and whistles, but it’s comfy to use and I see no need for computerisation. I’d say sell the one you don’t use, and buy this, which you definitely will!

      • mlmcspadden says:

        I definitely don’t need the fancy bells and whistles. So selling the one that I’m not using is likely to be on the plan once I have my stuff out of storage and out here in Arizona with me.

  15. craftycreeky says:

    Love the tree, very festive 🙂 Glad you are happy with your new machine, I never gelled with my last one, I’ve recently changed it for a Janome Memorycraft, love at first sight!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve never fancied the very sophisticated ones, on the basis that I like to try and fix things myself. I know my own limitations…. Glad you’ve found a soul-sister machine too 😊

  16. Dayphoto says:

    I LOVE IT! You are the craziest wonderfully talented soul!

  17. Emmely says:

    That is such a fun tree! I love it!

  18. magpiesue says:

    Wonderful! I’m so glad you’re pleased with Aretha. And the tree turned out beautifully; what a good idea for anyone with limited space. Love that you were able to include lights!

    • katechiconi says:

      The lights were an afterthought, but they totally make the finished effect come to life. And yes, it’s perfect for limited space, both during Christmas and afterwards, when it can be rolled up and put away.

  19. qldmaggie says:

    A lovely tree, beautiful work, H ave a VERY HAPPY , HEALTHY, CHRISTMAS…………..and stay cool in the Queensland heat XXX

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! The forecast is for the low ’30s, with a 40% chance of rain, so not as hot as it might be. I reckon we have a 30% chance of eating lunch outside! A very happy Christmas to you too.

  20. Ah! Sewing a project on a new machine is a Christmas joy indeed! Your lighted pink tree makes me smile and your new sewing machine looks like a dream. And at that price, I’d say you are having a very merry Christmas! Enjoy the sewing:)❤️

  21. What a perfect tree for you! Very interested to read about the machine too. There is much to be said for mechanical sewing machines with no computer… at least there’s a chance of being able to work out what’s wrong and repair them.

  22. claire93 says:

    I wonder why they decided to make a different theading method on this machine?
    Anyway, pleased to hear it works well and did the job! Your pink tree looks fab!

    • katechiconi says:

      Something to do with how long the machine arm is. There’s a whole new section in the middle to hold and keep tension on the thread so it doesn’t sag between thread spool and the tension plates. It’s not that hard, just not intuitive when you’ve worked with several previous machines that threaded up the usual way. Glad you like the tree!

  23. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    OMG that is an amazing Christmas tree !!!

  24. tialys says:

    The tree is a triumph and I’m glad you’re so happy with your bargain.

  25. Your tree is a delight and so is your new machine. Thanks for the quick review. I did a bit of sewing this week on my ’96 Bernina, sandwiching four layers of fabric for two lines of “quilting” to keep the center in place. It made me long for my theatre days when I sewed with an industrial machine. They weren’t fancy but they were powerful and strong. You could sew through anything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.