Over the winter, I did even more sewing, and in the late fall, I decided that a new machine would be a great way to mark my 40th birthday, in July. I had researched several machines, and had decided initially on a Juki F600, because it met all the requirements I was looking for (I had a spreadsheet. Of course.) but then I tried a Viking at the local dealer, which is inside a Joann Fabrics, and that was pretty nice – and I would not be able to test drive the Juki, but just go on what the internet reviews said. I had looked at Janomes, but their basic models were too basic, and their next step up was a giant leap up and too much machine and way out of my price range. BUT THEN. Janome introduced a new machine in late fall, that seemed exactly what I wanted. My $150 Brother had served me well as I learned, but I also knew exactly what I wanted in my next machine – a bigger harp space, better lighting, thread cutters, and a knee lift (or other hands free ability). I also wanted it to be solid and sturdy, and quiet – my Brother was prone to having to be chased across the table when I worked on bigger projects, and that could get annoying.
I loved the hover foot on the Viking, but dealer reviews left me a little leery. Janome had a fantastic dealer at the Fabric Garden, a LQS that was on my way to the mountain, so a place I passed and stopped at pretty often , and they were always a great place to visit, and after a couple of missed opportunities, in February I FINALLY got time to stop in and test drive the Skyline S5. It was exactly what I wanted, in all ways. I went to the mountain and told my parents, and Dave, that all I wanted for the next few occasions were gift cards to the Fabric Garden, so that I could buy the Skyline. I was sold.
Later in February, less than a week later, actually, an email came through from Janome about a contest – I read the details: submit a picture, unlimited entries, winner chosen from a random drawing. It sounds a little woo, but I read that and had a feeling wash over me of “I am going to win this.” I immediately found one of my pictures on Flickr and uploaded, and shared the contest with my sewing group. I decided I’d make an entry for each day. The contest ended March 31, and I missed some days in the middle, so I did a big push at the end, but in the end I think I had posted 35 pictures. It seemed like the other entrants thought it was a ‘get the most likes/comments/shares’ contest, but it wasn’t – the terms and conditions clearly said it was a random drawing, with unlimited entries, so odds are better when you enter more. The terms also said that the winner would be notified by 10 am on April 1.
All month as I took pictures, Ingrid was excited to help, and she knew that I was entering a contest, and on the morning of April 1, when I left for work she knew that was the day of the drawing and she was very excited, gave me a big hug and said “I’m crossing EVERYTHING hoping you win!!” I went to work, and watched the clock. 10 am came…. and went. Oh well, I figured, there were still 85% OTHER entries, so I did what I could, and would keep entering contests if they showed up. And then, at 10:06, an email popped into my inbox. Subject: Congratulations on winning a Janome Skyline S5 Sewing Machine!
I was floored. I went back to that day I first entered, and how I’d just had this sense that this was going to be mine, and couldn’t believe I was RIGHT! A flurry of emails, and the machine was backordered from the company, so I FINALLY managed to get it on April 24…. from the Fabric Garden! Not only did I win the exact machine I wanted, I was able to get it from the exact dealer I wanted, so I get those dealer benefits, too. Kala and her staff there were so great, and almost as excited as I was that I won. We took photos for the company, and I got a lesson and bought some accessories, and since it was the month of the Maine Quilt Shop Hop, Ingrid and I spent the rest of the day driving through Maine to get our stamps and spend the day together. She inherited my old machine, which was just as exciting for her.
Fall is when I usually get the sewing itch, but with the new machine I have been trying to scratch it earlier. The very first thing I made was a weighted blanket for Willa – we had picked out the material on March 31, HOURS before being notified I’d won, and once I knew my dream machine was on its way, I couldn’t bear to use my old one, so she got her birthday blanket almost a month late. It was a simple project to start with, but also a good one to start with, because I found that when I accidentally hit a bead, the machine just basically stopped feeding until I noticed, and cleared the bead, and then it would go on. No loud noises or error codes or broken needles, just a “hey there, something in the road, mind checking it out for me?” pause in the action.
When Willa’s dance pants needed to be hemmed (by a LOT), the Skyline handled the stretchy lycra with no problems. And I made my first Hour Basket, and the thick seams didn’t slow down the Skyline for a second. I LOVE this machine.
One of the things I felt bad about was that by my winning a machine, the Fabric Garden ‘lost’ an actual sale – but the week after I got my machine, I took it to my sewing group and a week after THAT, a member of the group went to the Fabric Garden and bought one for herself!
I plan on doing a full review (and comparison to my Brother, which was a great machine to learn on) but I also wanted to get the story of winning my machine written down. I know that so many contest winners smile for the pictures and then turn around to sell their prize for money, which is fine, but this was a prize I REALLY wanted, and am so thrilled to have received.
Janome has hit the sweet spot for a sewist like me – someone who has learned some, but wants to go farther, with a quality machine. Before the Skyline, there was a big gap between the 4160 and the Horizons, and this machine bridges that gap PERFECTLY. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to go a little farther with their sewing – the convenience features mean I spend more time sewing and less time doing maintenance, and that is just amazing to me – I feel so lucky to have won.