Baby Lock Sashiko BLQK Review

Baby Lock Sashiko BLQK Review
Baby Lock Sashiko BLQK Review
Author
Users
  • Stitch quality
  • Speed
  • Ease of use
  • Maintenance
Beginner
Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
Intermediate
Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
Expert
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.

Conducting a full review of a specialty sewing machine like the Baby Lock Sashiko II model BLQK was a real learning experience. Not long ago, I was browsing through Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics in South Florida to check out some of the newly released sewing machines.

While strolling through the specialty machines’ section, I came across the brand new Sashiko from Baby Lock. Hand stitching is an art that home sewers and quilters are quite familiar with. Imagine being able to get that great looking hand stitched look with a machine.

Baby lock sashiko BLQK

Baby lock sashiko BLQK

The new Sashiko is a very interesting quilting machine that brings the look of hand stitching to your sewing room without having to go through the actual process of sewing by hand. It the produces stitches that look exactly as if they were made by hand.

Pros

  • Achieve the look of hand stitching with a machine

Cons

  • Special purpose machine – capable of performing limited tasks
  • Extension table is an optional accessory

At A Glance

To look at it, the Sashiko II looks like any other sewing machine. A second look, however, reveals that the threading process is somewhat different.

First of all, there’s no threading guide. That’s not a real problem for anyone accustomed to using sewing machines because there are certain aspects to threading a sewing machine that are simply the same, no matter which sewing machine you are using.

I’ll share a humorous story about my attempts to thread this specialty sewing machine below when I share my thoughts about working on the Sashiko BLQK.

Features

Buttons adjusting stitch length and spacing

Buttons adjusting stitch length and spacing

When you work on the new Sashiko BLQK, you will find some of the most interesting features, such as:

  • Uses 30-weight or lighter thread or embroidery floss
  • U-Shaped fluorescent lamp
  • Color LED Panel for stitch function
  • Adjustable stitch length and spacing (2-5mm)
  • Presser foot pressure adjustment
  • Presser foot height adjustment
  • Needle plate seam markings in inches and millimeters
  • Electronic foot control adjusts and sets speed of bobbin winding
  • Built-in accessory storage
Adjustable stitch length and spacing

Adjustable stitch length and spacing

Working on the Sashiko BLQK

Anyone with any experience working on a sewing machine is usually able to figure out how to thread it, even when the manual is not available. I sat down to thread the Sashiko BLQK and immediately realized that the threading guides looked a little different.

Hand stitched effect

Hand stitched effect

Specialty needle

Specialty needle

Rather than blunder through and possibly damage a brand new machine, I sought the assistance of a sales associate. I stopped feeling silly when she, too, couldn’t figure out how to thread the needle.

It wasn’t until Cynthia, the shop owner, came upon the scene to not only show is how to thread it, but to demonstrate how it operates. First of all, the needle is NOT threaded.

The Sashiko operates with thread in the bobbin only. As it turns out, the specialty needle works with the latch wire system to help shuttle the thread through a hook that creates the hand stitched effect.

The spool pin and thread guides on top of the machine are for winding the bobbin which rests inside a compartment that opens on the lower left side of the machine.

Bobbin Case

Bobbin Case

The Sashiko BLQK can not only give you several different single stitch sizes and spaces, it is also excellent for topstitching, scattered stitching, couching, attaching beads or lace and a wide range of other options.

Wide range of stitch options

Wide range of stitch options

After looking at samples of some of the work done on the Sashiko BLQK, it was clear that anyone who has the space and the desire to add a specialty machine to their sewing room would not be disappointed with this one.

No doubt, if one of these babies were in my sewing room, I’d come up with lots of great creative things to do with it. A brief look through the project book and kit lets you know just how much you can do with this machine.

Just imagine… all the beauty of everything you can do by hand and none of the painstaking drudgery. Think about the possibilities. With the Sashiko BLQK it is now possible to get that hand quilted or hand embroidered effect in a matter of minutes rather than a few weeks.

Hand embroidered effect

Hand embroidered effect

Another great advantage of having the Sashiko BLQK is that taking care of it is as simple as caring for any other sewing machine.

Fabrics

  • Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
  • Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
  • Knits
  • Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
  • Upholstery
  • Leather/suede
  • Fur
  • Reptile skin
  • Canvas/Twill
  • Plastic/Rubber
  • Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers

Accessories

When it comes to specialty sewing machines like the Sashiko BLQK, you can expect to find many of the same accessories that are included with other multi purpose sewing machines.

The standard accessories included with the Sashiko BLQK include:

  • 3 Extra Needles
  • 3 Extra Latch Wires
  • Quilting Guide
  • 2 Screwdrivers
  • Tweezers
  • 3 Spool caps (Small, Medium, Large)
  • 3 Bobbins
  • Cleaning Brush
  • Exclusive Baby Lock Creative Project Book and Kit
  • Heavy duty black canvas cover
  • Quilt hook
  • 2 screwdrivers
  • Lint brush
  • 3 extra bobbins
  • 3 spool caps – small, medium, large
  • Optional 18 x 24 extension table

Maintenance







After each useMonthly*Once Each Year**As Needed
Clean race hook and feed dogs
Wipe head with soft dry cloth
Wipe head with soft damp cloth
Lubricate
Service by sewing machine repair professional

* more often if the machine is used for extended periods of time or if used frequently

**more often if the machine is used heavily or if it is not operating properly

Tying Off The Loose Ends

The Baby Lock Sashiko BLQK isn’t for everyone. It deserves five stars because it does what it is intended to do and does it exceptionally well, far better than the multi-functional machines on the market that offer a few stitch options which simulate hand stitching.

This single purpose specialty machine is not for beginners. Nor is it for anyone who has limited space for sewing equipment or expects to attempt making anything on it from start to finish.

There is a definite learning curve here – even for the most advanced of home sewers. If you have never used a machine like this before, you should plan on spending a little bit of time learning how to use the Sashiko BLQK in order to get the most out of it.

Sample Design made with Sashiko BLQK

Sample Design made with Sashiko BLQK

Most retailers offer free classes to anyone who purposes a Sashiko; and I recommend that if you purchase this machine, you take advantage of this valuable resource.

The $3999 MSRP is only a little more than I anticipated it to be. My honest feeling, however, is if I’m going to pay that much for a specialty machine, I would expect that the extension table would be included as a standard accessory.

This machine is ideal for quilting. In my opinion, an extension table is a necessity for any quilting machine, not an option.

Another sample design with Sashiko BLQK

Another sample design with Sashiko BLQK

All in all, the Sashiko BLQK is a great specialty machine, rendering some of the best imitations of hand stitching I have ever seen.

Truth be told, if I had not been told that the samples I saw were made on a machine, I would have sworn that someone sat down and did all of that beautiful stitchwork by hand.

If you have a penchant for producing work that has that hand stitched look but don’t want to invest the time and energy in all that tedious work, I strongly urge you to take a look at the Sashiko BLQK from Baby Lock. It’s the next best thing… and it’s affordable.

7 Comments

  1. Thank you so much. This is the most helpful information that I have been able to find on the Internet. You have provided a comprehensive and well-written review.

  2. This is a wonderful review. Now I am wondering what the differences are between the original Sashiko machine and the Sashiko 2.

    • I was in a sewing store looking at that very Sashiko machine today and was told the difference between the original and the Sashiko 2 is the fact that some slight changes were made for the “2” because of slight problems notice in the operation of the original machine. This is one reason I never buy a machine when it is new on the market. I did see one of the “originals” there and it looked no different from the “2” and was stitching beautifully.

      Think I’ll treat myself to this machine and have some fun with it.
      The look is so rich and beautiful.

      • Did you find out the special change made from #1 to the sashiko 2? It was the addition of the speciality stitch mode that enables you to do couching techniques, as demonstrated by Evy Hawkins in her techniques book.

  3. I have treated myself to the Sashiko 2 machine and have successfully made a Sahiko style mat, and have just started quilting a cot quilt with it. I did have some problems when I first tried quilting on a large, bed-sized, quilt,finding that the 30 wt cotton produced an unattractive look on the underside. However, after making up two sample pieces with different waddings (batting), I tried different threads and found that the 30 wt was good on one of these, not so good on the other, the best results have been with good quality embroidery threads. Lesson learnt -always test out the combination of fabrics and thread!
    I am now using a 30 wt cotton on the cot quilt with lovely results. The top achieves the hand-stitched look and the back has a neat row of ordinary looking machine stitching. I now find I need lots and lots of bobbins, as I have to wind some of each to try….
    The videos demonstrating this machine on the web do not show the underside. If anyone is interested I will try to add some photos of mine…

    • I would love to see some pictures of what the underside looks like! Thank you!

      • I have found your e mail at last, after it disappeared, somehow! I will try to attach photos of the mat, front and back so you can see the difference. I am finding the Sashiko more successful on small objects, though I have quilted a quilt on it, but found that harder as the thread broke often.

        Can’t see how to attach a photo?? Any hints? This doesn’t offer me the “insert photo” option.
        The back looks like close machine stitching. The front is really great!

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