Straightforward Machine Embroidery
|May 24, 2004||in Product Reviews|
A review of
In the last issue I reviewed the Pfaff Creative 2144′s sewing features. In this issue, I’ll take you through the embroidery features.
While machine embroidery can be a big, intimidating deal on some sewing machines, Pfaff’s approach to machine embroidery on the Creative 2144 makes it no big deal.
Embroidering on the Creative 2144 is simple because its embroidery features are so seamlessly integrated with its sewing features. To ensure your success, the directions are easy to understand, and Pfaff provides critical information about the right materials to use.
Pfaff Keeps It Simple
The Creative 2144′s approach to machine embroidery is straightforward – there are not a lot of fancy options. But there are enough options that you have good control over embroidering your design.
You can, for example, easily resize a design by enlarging or reducing it up to 20%. You can move it around in the hoop, combine it with another design, add letters to it, or mirror it horizontally or vertically. You can also rotate it or twist it along a path like a circle, a curve, or an S.
The Creative 2144′s embroidery features are so easy to use that the instructions only take up 27 pages in the manual. The instructions tell what kind of stabilizer to use with each kind of material, thus clearing up one of the most difficult parts of machine embroidery.
The instructions also tell you how to hoop the fabric properly, and how to avoid permanent scars on leather. Having proper stabilizer and hooping information will save you a lot of wasteful trial and error.
Combining Embroidery Designs
The instructions also cover two important processes: combining designs by moving the hoop, and combining designs within the hoop. Moving the hoop allows you to make running designs that extend beyond one hooping of the fabric – a design that runs along the front of a garment or the border of a quilt, for example.
Unlike many other embroidery machines, the Creative 2144 can treat any design as a multi-hoop design, and it can do so no matter which hoop you use.
To test this feature, I embroidered a large floral design that comes free with the Creative 2144. I re-hooped, mirrored the design, and used the hoop template to align the starting position of my mirrored design with the design I had just finished embroidering. I embroidered the mirrored design, and the new, continuous embroidery came out beautifully.
During my testing I had to change bobbins in the middle of a design. With the Creative 2144′s swing-away accessory compartment/wrist-rest, I could access the bobbin case easily. The machine was back to work in a minute or two.
The Creative 2144 uses a separate motor for winding bobbins, so I could rewind the empty bobbin while the machine continued stitching the design.
There’s a warning light to tell you when the bobbin is getting low, but if it’s turned off, the machine continues to stitch the design without any bobbin thread. Fortunately, I could use the forward and backward buttons to get the needle back to the point in the design where the bobbin ran out.
Once, I was really daydreaming and didn’t catch the problem until the machine had gone several hundred stitches beyond the end of the bobbin thread. I found that I could recover by entering the exact stitch number that I wanted to get back to.
I had to keep guessing at the right stitch number, of course, trying to home in on the right spot. Once I got pretty close, I used the forward and backward buttons to get to exactly the right spot.
A few features that I expected to find were missing from the Creative 2144. There is no clock on the screen, no way to know how much more time a design will take. And there is no stitch count or remaining stitch count on the screen.
The thread colors for each design have no names or thread numbers. The colors are shown on the screen as generic color tiles from a big matrix of colors. I didn’t particularly mind, since I never use the colors manufacturers recommend. But if you have trouble imagining what designs look like in different colors, you would want to have this feature.
One of the Creative 2144′s virtues is simplicity, but if you want more features there is a very comprehensive software suite that sells separately for around $2,000. This embroidery software adds many features, including the ability to select colors based on the thread numbers of all the thread manufacturers I’ve ever heard of.
Hoops And More
The Creative 2144 comes with a large hoop (140mm x 225mm) and a small hoop (80mm x 80mm) with a hoop adapter. Pfaff makes other hoops you can buy, including a medium round hoop, a baseball cap hoop, and several buttonhole hoops. I’d be putting designs on everything!
Pfaff sells embroidery designs, like all the other manufacturers. But unlike the others, Pfaff offerings start as low as $10. I like this idea. It’s Pfaff’s way of letting you choose between buying a single “pattern” or buying a whole “book.”
The Pfaff Creative 2144 makes machine embroidery very easy. After only a few embroidery designs, I felt comfortable enough to embroider on everything.
You can read Part 1 of this review here
A big Quilter’s Review thank you to the owners of The Constant Quilter of Andover, New Hampshire. Cleta McCormick and Linda Barnes have been very pleasant and helpful, especially during the product testing for this review.
Even though The Constant Quilter has been open for only a few weeks, it is drawing quilters from all over the state. Everyone is happy to have such nice people running such a nice shop. I am so lucky to have this new shop just down the hill and across the covered bridge from my house!
The Constant Quilter
139 Pancake Road
Andover, NH 03216
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