Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Meet My Juki TL98Q

Today I'm participating in a fun week-long blog hop, hosted by Sew at Home Mummy and The Tilted Quilt, called Meet My Machine. If you're thinking about buying a new sewing machine, this blog hop is a perfect way for you to get up close and personal with many, many different kinds of machines and find a good fit for you.

My Juki TL98Q

I'm excited to finally sit down and write about my new-to-me Juki TL98Q. I found this machine on Craig's List back in December, after reading for the last several years about the awesomeness that is this semi-industrial sewing machine. I bought it from the previous owner after doing a thorough test drive and falling in love with it.

Juki TL98Q Pros:

This machine is fast. No doubt about it. Faster than any other machine I've owned or test drove. And because of that speed, it sounds a bit noisy, perhaps a bit industrial. Very much like the machines you see on Project Runway, actually, which I don't mind a bit. The thread cutter, which is located on the foot pedal, is also a bit noisy, but I actually like that - so that I notice if I accidentally tap that part of the foot pedal! By the way, having the thread cutter on the foot pedal is positively genius. All sewing machines should have this feature!

Love this foot pedal

The Juki is also super sturdy. The body and exterior is die-cast aluminum, as opposed to the plastic bodied machines that we're all so used to, so it feels like it could last forever. It's a mechanical straight-stitch machine, so no fancy computerized stitches or computer to deal with. As a result, this machine does an amazing straight stitch. Even the sewing feet are metal, including the compensating 1/4" foot. Because of all of that metal, it is hefty to lug around, but it's do-able.

This machine did come with a knee lift, so far, I haven't really used it. I do know that lots of Juki owners love the knee lift, it's just something I haven't tried out yet. I keep meaning to when I free-motion, and just keep forgetting to attach it.

Oiling the Juki is definitely necessary, and I try to do it every day that I sew on it. Fortunately, the oil is clear and I haven't had any leakage, but I make sure to sew on a test scrap for at least a few minutes after oiling the machine, just in case.


While the machine is semi-industrial, it does take standard sewing machine needles. So far, I've used mostly 90/20 Sharps and 100/16 topstitch needles (for my FMQ journey on this machine, see my post here) on it without any problems. The previous owner of the machine said that I needed to use Organ needles, but I have not found that to be true. I've used Schmetz and Klasse needles, without any trouble, and one Organ needle, which caused a great deal of thread breakage. I've also found that the machine isn't particularly picky about thread, as I've used Aurifil and Gutermann on it without issue. I prefer to piece with the Aurifil, and the machine has a shelf on the back to set large cones, so that works great for my huge Aurifil cones.

Rocking a full cone of Aurifil

Free motion quilting on this machine is beautiful. I use a Sew Steady extension table and a Topstitch 100/16 Needle and just go to town with it. The large throat space makes quilting large projects a breeze, and it's got a needle up/down feature as well so I can make sure that every time I let up on the foot pedal, the needle stops in the down position.

Needle up/down button - so necessary!

Being a mechanical machine, the Juki is also the kind of machine that you can open and see every inch of. It even came with a repair manual! I feel confident after I clean out the lint from my Juki because I can see and get to all of the places the lint could pile up, unlike on my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire.

Yay, a service and repair manual!

Juki TL98Q Cons:

The only real con that comes to mind with this machine is the lack of light - I do wish there was more light on the machine, but that's easily fixed by adding something like Mighty Bright Sewing Machine Light, which is quite inexpensive and easy to install. I also use my OttLite Desk Lamp to add some extra light to my workspace.

I'm still getting used to using a side loading bobbin, and I often have to dig out the manual to make sure I thread the bobbin properly and load it correctly. This isn't really a con, more that it's a challenge for me, since this is the first side-loading bobbin machine I've owned. It's getting easier, and I'm sure it will become old hat soon enough.

Side loading bobbin

For those of you who are familiar with my other machine, the Husvqvarna Viking Sapphire 835, I do still own it. And I do still use it, from time to time, but the Juki has become my primary machine. All in all, I love my Juki. Piecing on her is easy and accurate, and if I had to do it all over again, I would definitely buy it again! I use it nearly every day, and more than that, I thoroughly enjoy sewing with it.

The Tilted Quilt meet My Machine Linky Party

Not only can you link up your own machine post right here as a part of this blog hop, but you can read more machine feedback throughout this blog hop at the following blogs:








  1. I love this blog hop and you're right, reading about the machines others sew on is definitely exciting. Thanks for sharing today.

  2. Very nice description of the Juki....I've wondered a lot about this machine,,,,thanks

  3. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for sharing your machine with us. If you don't mind my asking, did you hang on to the Sapphire or completely switch over to the Juki?

  4. The thread cutter on the foot pedal is blowing my mind a little bit!

  5. I don't know a lot about Jukis- thanks for sharing! :) Here's where I blogged about my machine today- http://meandelna.blogspot.com/2013/03/meet-elna-and-her-crib.html .

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your machine story with us today. I'm having a blast this week learning about everyone's sewing machine. I've seen lots of Jukis this week :)

  7. I have heard wonderful things about the Juki. Enjoy. i am currently sewing on a Pfaff creative 2 with an embroidery attachment and love it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Looks like a great machine. I've been dreaming of a Juki.

  9. I have really enjoyed learning about all of the different machines out there. Thanks for your great post!

  10. Looks like a sturdy machine! Thanks for sharing!

  11. What a fantastic review - thank you so much Elizabeth!
    I have yet to meet a Juki owner who didn't like their machine - they really do sound amazing.
    Question for you - do you think you could insert this machine in a table?
    Thank you SO much for participating in the hop with us - we really appreciate it. I've already had several emails and comments from people whom are watching the hop closely as they are looking for their next machines and need a bit of guidance. I appreciate you helping everyone with your wonderful post!

  12. Ah I love your machine - it's my machine's sister. :) There's so much to love about it!

  13. I like the first photo. My harp space seams similar big to your's but maybe I'm wrong. Of course my Brother will not be as strong as your Juki. I searched Ebay Germany for Jukis but they're quit expensive over here. And nothing similar to your Juki. Very new oder very old or very industrial. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.

  14. Checked out the Juki at the Lakeland Expo. For now, I'm very satisfied with my Bernina Aurora 440 for piecing and sewing (clothes), and my Pfaff Grand Quilter for sit-down FMQing. Someday though, for FMQing, I'd like to own either a HandiQuilter Sweet 16 or a Babylock Tiara, which are identical machines.

  15. Ha! I grew up in Lakeland (although I'm in Chicagoland now), so I'm not surprised you got stuck behind a chicken truck! Ah, Central Florida!
    It sounds like Juki's are pretty tough machines. I got my machine (Pfaff QE 4.0) for the large throat space but it looks like you have much much more space than mine. And I'm still not quite understanding how/why there is a thread cutter on the foot pedal. Do you have to pick up your foot pedal any time you want to cut the thread? I'm trying to wrap my brain around this feature... :)

  16. Good info!! How ingenius for a thread cutter on the pedal! Wow. Wish I'd thought of that/had one right now.

  17. Sound slike a wonderful machine. Nice to have that extra throat space for quilting.

  18. It was your very first post about your Juki that got me looking into them. I searched a while for a used one but had no luck, so last month I finally purchased a brand new TL2010Q online (from California). I tracked it across the country until it finally arrived in Tennessee - Boy do I love this machine! Thanks for the inspiration.

  19. I'm definitely referring anyone with Juki questions to this post - so much information!

  20. A needle up/down feature sounds so cool!

  21. I love my Juki as well. I agree with the lighting issue; I attached the bright light and it is a life saver! Now I am thinking of the running lamps that go under the arm as well.

  22. I have heard great reviews on this machine and I think it would be great to won. I enjoyed your post .

  23. Thanks for the post, great information and I'm seeing more of those Juki's lately. They sew really fast!

  24. Great review! I did not know much about Juki until now.

  25. Thanks so much for this review. I too have a Juki (that I bought used) and after piecing a rather large quilt I'm bringing the Juki out today to do the quilting. I tried with my Janome 6600 and it just doesn't compare to the Juki. I wish I had room for both machines in my quilting room!

  26. I just got this same machine. Do you pull the thread up and leave a tail each time to start sewing? It shows that in the manual but when I use the thread cutter the bobbin thread is always hiding in the machine. Thanks for the help.


  27. to Rachel S, I have the TL2010Q, and at first I was really worried that the bobbin thread was left underneath when the cutter snipped it off, but it makes no difference! Just start sewing a little slowly and the stitches will be fine. I love that! Now, my 8-month old machine is already going back for repair, which is very frustrating, but I do love it and hope that it comes home quickly. Anyone in the market for a Juki needs to be very careful about where they purchase if it is not from a local dealer who they know!

  28. Hi Elizabeth, I too bought a Juki TL98 Q on Craig's list from a lady who stored it in her shop for 3 years with no use for that time. I tested it then and there and it sewed like a charm. It is my go to machine for most of my piecing and free motion quilting. However, the last time I quilted on it, the thread kept fraying and breaking. All the usual measures (needle change, thread change, cleaning and oiling) did not good. Straight sewing is still perfect but free motion quilting is not. Any ideas. I read up on it online. Other people with similar problems indicated that that their problem was lint. Do you know if there is a way to clean the upper part of the machine, like where the needle comes down? I have another Juki (computerized model) where the needle mechanism is open. I brushed that part and a huge chunk of lint came out and the machine has been working well since (same kind of problem with that one). Hope you are still out there. You seem so knowledgeable about Jukis. Thanks. There are no local dealers.

    1. Hi Peggy, congrats on your new-to-you machine! One of the things that's really fantastic about the Juki TL machines is the ability to "get" at most of the parts for cleaning, unlike most computerized machines I've met. If your previous owner did not share this with you, there is both an instructional manual for the machine that's very thorough as well as a service manual. Here's the instruction manual - http://www.juki.co.jp/household_en/pism/img/tl98q/download/98qim.pdf - and you'll see on page 29 a good diagram that shows you how to open the upper thread assembly, as it's showing to replace the lightbulb for the machine, which is in that upper housing. You'll also see how to remove one of the bottom plates of the machine for a more thorough cleaning of the bottom housing on page 28. I find, for me, that when my top thread is breaking, it's often a symptom of needing oil, but it sounds like you've tried that. The other thing you may want to try is a completely different needle - what kind of needle where you using? I've found that my Juki is a bit particular about what kind of needles it wants for free-motion quilting. Embroidery and topstitch needles tend to behave the best for me. Last but not least, what kind of a break are we talking about in your thread - is it more of a clean break, or does it look frayed? That can be really indicative of what's going wrong as well. Let me know, I'm happy to share whatever knowledge I have! Also, here's that service manual, should you ever need it: https://www.juki.co.jp/household_en/pism/img/tl98q/download/98pqsm.pdf


Thank you for leaving a comment for me! I appreciate each and every one of them and try to respond when time allows. Your comments totally brighten my day :)

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
The Epic Sampler BOM Club kicks off Oct 1st
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