I had a horrible week getting used to the Juki which I concluded is not for me. Even though it sewed two layers of fabric together beautifully, I had to go back to the shop twice for help with the walking foot. Last weekend, I used Juki to quilt a 36" x 36" quilt with a large cross hatch and also to sew the binding on. It worked pretty well although it made a lot of noise going over seam intersections. It just wasn't that smooth a "drive." Toward the end, there was a lot of noise coming from the tension knob. Thinking it maybe needed oiling, I did so and that noise went away. The quilt is for the Parkinson's Comfort Project and looked pretty good after washing.
But I really needed to use the walking foot to anchor the quilt since it's 60" by 60". Now it would stitch a few stitches and come to a grinding halt. I rethreaded, changed the needle, cleaned everything I could, and rewound and reseated the bobbin. Nothing helped, and on Tuesday morning, I threw in the towel and packed everything up.
When I walked into the shop with the machine, Carl (so kind and patient!) agreed Juki isn't for me. He offered me an Elna Excellence 720 that they've had in the shop for demo purposes for a while, and encouraged me to take it home to put it through its paces. So far it's great. I love the dual feed foot, the start/stop and stitch lock feature, and the visible bobbin. The quilt is almost completely anchored in the ditch, and I've even used the walking foot to quilt a few curves. I will probably never use all of the embroidery/special stitch features, but at this point it looks like Elna will be staying with me. I'll take the weekend to decide, but I'm happy to be able to sleep more soundly now.