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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another great advantage of having the Sashiko BLQK is that taking care of it is as simple as caring for any other sewing machine.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
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
- 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
|After each use||Monthly*||Once Each Year**||As Needed|
|Clean race hook and feed dogs|
|Wipe head with soft dry cloth|
|Wipe head with soft damp cloth|
|Service by sewing machine repair professional|
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.
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.
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.
- Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
- 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 – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
- Achieve the look of hand stitching with a machine
- Special purpose machine – capable of performing limited tasks
- Extension table is an optional accessory