While visiting Sunshine Sewing and Quilting in Margate, Florida, I discovered that this exclusive Janome dealer was now carrying sit down quilting tables for home use.
As it turned out, the folks at Janome have partnered with Canada based Artistic Quilter Company and Janome dealers are now authorized to sell and service the Artistic line of home quilting machines.
This is great news for any home machine quilting enthusiast who is familiar with and loyal to the Janome brand. During my visit, I had an opportunity to get a close look at and review the table mounted Artistic Quilter SD 18, the first machine of its type to be offered for sale at Sunshine.
At A Glance
The Artistic SD Quilter SD is mounted on a table that has a drop leaf which allows the user to extend it while working on larger projects such as comforters for a king size bed, and keep it in the down position while working on smaller projects, allowing for more space in the sewing room.
With the leaf in the down position, the table is 47 inches wide and 30 inches deep. When the leaf is opened, the table depth of the table extends an additional 24 inches, giving you a total of 54 inches of workspace.
The arm is 18 inches long, large enough for very large quilting tasks, yet not so large that it monopolizes an entire room. The Artistic Quilter SD can be programmed so that the needle stops in either the up or down position.
There is also a goose neck lamp attached to the table, which guarantees that there will always be enough light to work on the Artistic Quilter SD at any time of day.
It also uses an M size bobbin, which allows you to sew for longer periods of time before having to stop for bobbin changes, and holds up to four large thread cones.
This feature really comes in handy when you are pressed for time and want to change thread colors in as little time as possible.
An added time saving advantage is the separate bobbin winder which allows you to wind lots of extra bobbins while you are sewing.
- 18” throat
- Programmable needle up/down
- Soft touch control buttons
- On board separate bobbin winder
- Uses M size bobbins
- On board gooseneck lamp
- Variable speed control
- Self-contained oil reserve
- Space saving drop leaf
Working on the Artistic Quilter SD 18
Setting up the Artistic Quilter SD 18, threading it and winding the bobbin are not nearly as daunting as one might first suspect when looking at it.
There are no on board threading guides that one might find on many home sewing machines, but if you are at all familiar with the sewing machine threading process you can figure it out.
The good news is the threading instructions are in the owner’s manual, so there is no need for guesswork as to how to thread the Artistic Quilter SD 18 or how to wind and insert the bobbin.
I do not claim to be a quilter, but know enough about the process to be able to affirm that working on the Artistic Quilter SD 18 is as easy as sitting down and with each hand positioned about six inches on each side of the needle, and simply guiding the fabric in any direction you like while engaging the presser foot.
It is not what I would call quiet, but neither is it disturbingly noisy. Listening to music, a movie or a television program while working on the Artistic Quilter SD is a definite possibility without having to turn the volume up to levels that are uncomfortable when the machine is not in operation.
The stitches are even and well defined. The table is solid and does not vibrate at all while you are creating your quilt designs.
Adjusting the stitch length or programming the needle to stop in the up or down position are very easily accomplished with just the touch of a finger and raising or lowering the drop leaf is no more complicated than performing the same tasks on a portable cutting table.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- Oil dispenser
- Owner’s manual
- Water soluble thread
- Hardware/software/programming [purchase these packages to give your quilting projects that professional look and feel]
- Robot with stitch regulator
- Quilter’s creative touch for quiltmotion
- Free downloadable patterns [use these as guides for your freehand quilting projects]
- Day Lily
- Sewing machine
|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
Although I am not a machine quilting enthusiast, I have performed machine quilting tasks from time to time and can certainly appreciate the craft of quilting – by hand as well as by machine.
The Artistic Quilter SD 18 is a machine that a person like me could appreciate. Rather than standing for hours at an oversized frame, quilting enthusiasts can sit down and create quilts without experiencing hip, leg and joint fatigue.
The drop leaf is an ingenious idea. With this feature, space is not a concern, especially for those who are working in areas with limited room to spread out. When the leaf is in the down position, the Artistic Quilter SD takes up just a little more space than an average sized sewing machine table.
If you have never before used a sewing machine, I do not recommend starting with a quilter such as this. While starting out on a quilter is not impossible, I believe having a familiarity with basic sewing machines and how they operate is helpful in understanding and operating a machine such as this.
Once the basics of sewing machine operation have been mastered, operating the Artistic Quilter SD and other machines of this type will be much easier to comprehend.
If, like me, you are familiar with, but not by any stretch of the imagination an expert at machine quilting, you can start out with the basic Artistic Quilter SD 18, like the one I reviewed.
This is not a machine for children. I do not believe any child younger than 12 or 13 should be allowed to even attempt to work on the Artistic Quilter SD 18. It is, however, a good first honest to goodness home quilting machine for anyone 13 years of age or older.
One thing I like about this machine is that it can be upgraded. As your skills improve, you can add one or more of the optional features and accessories which have been designed to enhance the quality and appearance of your finished projects.
I certainly encourage you to investigate some of the downloadable patterns. With these in place, you can create interesting designs and enhance your work right from the start.
They appear to be very easy to follow, and by operating the Artistic Quilter SD 18 at the slower speeds, even a novice machine quilter like me should have no problem whatsoever in executing perfect designs on the first try.
Unlike the many combination sewing and quilting machines on the market, the Artistic Quilter SD 18 is dedicated to quilting only. Therefore, it is necessary to also have a sewing machine available to finish the binding and other non-quilting tasks you may want to perform on any quilting project that you create on it.
This is yet one more reason why the space-saving drop leaf is such a great idea. If you really want to, you could actually use that leaf to support your sewing machine or serger, making even more efficient use of the space in your sewing room.
You could conceivably have a sewing corner in your home with a sewing machine and a serger set up on the same table as the Artistic Quilter. With this set up, all you need to do when you want to change machines is simply move from one side of the table to another.
There aren’t too many other machines that come with this kind of flexibility… and I’m willing to hazard a guess that it probably wasn’t even an intention of the manufacturers when they created this table design.
I like the Artistic Quilter SD 18 for its overall ease of operation. Its design, however, seems to make inserting and removing the bobbin a little bit of a challenge, but not one that is so daunting that you would be put off by it.
In order to reach the bobbin, it is necessary to use a screwdriver to completely remove the needle plate. This is also necessary when it comes to cleaning the bobbin housing and feed dogs.
After a few attempts, however, I doubt this will be a challenge, but it is something anyone interested in purchasing this machine should be aware of before making a decision to take it home.
This is, however, the only drawback I see to having and working on the Artistic Quilter SD 18. All in all, I think this is an excellent machine.
It not only has the reputation and background of the Artistic Quilting Company backing it up, it also has the backing of the Janome brand … one of the world’s most trusted names in sewing.
If you are interested in adding a dedicated quilting machine to your sewing room, but are concerned about space and the physical stress of standing at a full size quilting frame, visit your local Janome dealer and ask to for a demonstration of the Artistic Quilter SD 18.
- 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.
- Sit down large quilting machine for home use
- Bobbin housing difficult to access for cleaning