Elna Xquisit, Part One
|April 28, 2003||in Product Reviews|
A review of
This is the first part of a two-part review of the Elna Xquisit computerized sewing and embroidery machine. In part one I cover all the new and exciting features of this machine, things other sewing machines don’t do.
In part two of the review I’ll cover Xquisit features that are also available on other sewing machines. Some of these features the Xquisit does better than other sewing machines. Other features are the same or perhaps not as good as on other sewing machines.
Elna Xquisit, Part One
Just when you thought that sewing machines are as smart as they are going to get, Elna comes out with something smarter. Since the Xquisit is a top-of-the-line machine (MSRP $5,999 USD), it has most of the fancy features of other embroidery machines. But the unique extras are great!
One of my favorite features threads the machine. The Xquisit goes way beyond providing a manual needle threader for the quilter to use. And it goes beyond automatically threading the needle using an automatic needle threader.
The Elna Xquisit actually threads the sewing machine automatically, through (almost) all the loops and hooks and down through the needle at the touch of a button. It’s fun to watch the Xquisit perform this feat of magic.
First Loop By Hand
But it took me a while to figure out how to get the automatic threading to work every time. I kept missing the first loop after the spool, which is the only one you have to thread by hand.
This loop controls the rest of the threading. All other loops and hooks are done by the machine. Once I figured that out, I was able to get the automatic threading to work first time, every time.
I found I could thread the Elna quite easily by hand. Because the left side of the machine head opens, it provides a good view of the thread path.
And like all machines that come with a needle threader, the Xquisit let me use the needle threader manually for the last step of the threading process. It’s a clever design that works easily, both automatically and manually.
Slow Start Prevents Knots
When the Xquisit begins to sew, it does the first three stitches slowly. Thanks to that slow start, I didn’t get any thread knots on the underside of the fabric.
After the initial stitches, the Xquisit sews at the speed to which I had set the speed button, anywhere from Turtle (slow) to Rabbit (fast). I don’t know exactly how slow or fast that is in terms of stitches per minute. But I was very happy sewing at a little beyond the point half-way to Rabbit.
I’m sure I’d get used to this machine in no time and run at full-throttle Rabbit before long. The top speed of the machine when doing embroidery is 850 stitches per minute.
Eternal Bobbin System
The Xquisit uses a drop-in bobbin, making it inconvenient to replace the bobbin when doing an embroidery design. Elna solved this problem by designing a special bobbin system for embroidery. This Eternal Bobbin System is the dream of everyone who does machine embroidery.
When embroidering, the Xquisit automatically stops when the bobbin thread runs out. You push a button and the Xquisit automatically refills the bobbin from a spool of bobbin thread, then continues embroidering.
But Elna made a big mistake implementing this feature. It works only in embroidery mode. If it worked in sewing mode, too, everyone would want one.
Two-Color Stitch Patterns
The Xquisit is so smart that in normal sewing mode it can create a two-color stitch pattern. You just put a different color thread in the bobbin than on the top spool and press the two-color button.
The Xquisit sews the first part of the pattern in the top thread color. Then it automatically resets the tension to sew the second part of the pattern with the bobbin thread.
I would definitely use this for garments, especially children’s clothes. Unfortunately, it only works if you choose just one pattern. Once a second pattern is selected, the two-color sewing option is not available.
The Xquisit does four-directional sewing for putting on labels, crests, and emblems without having to rotate or pivot the work. This is really nice if you are attaching a patch to a large piece. It eliminates struggling with the fabric as you rotate it under the arm.
Circle Stitch Guide
The Xquisit includes a Circle Stitch Guide, a tool that you attach to the machine and to your fabric. As you sew, the Circle Stitch Guide rotates the fabric. The design is sewn while the cloth rotates around evenly in a circle.
The Circle Stitch Guide can make circles of stitches with diameters from 2-3/8 inches to 7-7/8 inches (6 to 20 cm). It looks nice to enclose a monogram or any single small design using the Circle Stitch Guide with a decorative stitch.
Sewing Lesson On Board
The Xquisit’s Index button displays information, including all the different techniques of sewing, from utility sewing to heirloom sewing and quilting. Each topic recommends a stitch and a foot to use. It tells you how to accomplish the task and suggests uses for each stitch.
I found this information handy, since I couldn’t imagine what a few of the stitches do or why they are used. Now I know how they work and how I would use them.
The Xquisit’s optional Continuous Hoop is used for endless patterns along the edge of a pillowcase or a bed sheet. It would also make nice edging for the front of a jacket.
I used the Continuous Hoop with the optional Border Patterns card. The Xquisit finishes the pattern on the hooped fabric then embroiders a “V” to use for alignment when you reposition the hoop. By moving new parts of the fabric into the hoop, the design could go on forever.
These are the main features that make the Elna Xquisit unique. It’s an impressive list, and in almost every case I found the features intuitive and easy to use.
In part two, I will discuss Elna Xquisit features you’ll also find on other sewing machines. The Xquisit improves some of these features over the way they appear on other machines. Others aren’t really an improvement, but just a different way of doing things.
Once again I’d like to tell the wonderful people who work at Nashua Sew & Vac in Nashua, New Hampshire, how much I appreciate their help and hospitality.
I spent two days in their shop testing the Elna Xquisit machine. Eddie and Ruthie, the owners, and everyone who works there make Nashua Sew & Vac a great place to shop.
Special thanks to Pam for sharing her knowledge of the Elna.
Nashua Sew & Vac sells Husqvarna Viking, Pfaff, White, and Elna sewing machines and accessories, and Oreck, Miele and Sebo vacuums.
They also offer many sewing and quilting classes. Visit their Web site or call them at (603) 888-2757 for a schedule of classes or to be added to the mailing list for their newsletter.
You can find this great shop with great prices at:
Nashua Sew & Vac
228 Daniel Webster Highway
Nashua, NH 03060
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