Tuesday, February 1, 2011

sewing machine saga

If you are not a Bernina lover, you might want to skip ahead! This might be sounding like a commercial sortof. If you use a sewing machine regularly, you know how important it is to have a machine that works well for what you like to do, and some machines might be much better for different types of sewing. Making quilts is very different from making clothing, or draperies, or backpacks. So, of course, there are reasons to have a different machine. People who don't sew usually don't get this, unless you compare it to something like a woodworker and an arsenal of power tools. You have to have the right tool for the job, right? And then there are the multiple brands of machines to consider, each proclaiming to be the best. And probably each is the best in some facet of the overall picture. My first machine was some unknown brand, complete with cams, purchased about 1971 in Spencer, IA.It was a thrill! Then after college and getting married, I was able to buy a nice little Kenmore and learned how to use that for many household purposes. Even learned to sew knits for tshirts! Much later, maybe around 1998, I was becoming more and more drawn to quilting and shopped for a newer machine, ending up with a Viking Lily 550, which has been my constant companion ever since. It is similar to this machine--
and is going to live with my daughter soon. It has been a fine machine and seldom disappointed me. We have gone many places together and turned out some fabulous (and some not so fabulous!) projects. But I have been working at a quilt shop that is also a Bernina dealer for over 10 years now, and decided that my next machine would be a Bernina. I was never involved in the details of the machines, did not go to the training needed to be able to work with customers looking at the machines, but I did use one occasionally and fielded generic questions from customers. Since we also do machine service and repair, I often talked to people about that aspect, also. And probably 99 out of 100 wouldundoubtedly say "There's nothing wrong with my machine, it is the best machine Ihave ever had, I just want to get it cleaned and checked out, yada, yada, yada." Recently I was finally able to buy my own new machine, the 730 Artista, like this--
This is a super machine in so many ways, and during my recent sewing getaway I took it along on its maiden voyage. I am even happier with it now than before! Here's some of the things that I discovered:
I love the knee-lift feature that raises the presser foot with a little sideways motion of my right leg. Reminds me of my mom's old machine that was powered by a knee bar instead of a foot pedal. This is a really nice feature when I am doing a whole string of short seams (chain stitching is what we quilters call it, a healthier habit than chain smoking) because I can just partially lift the foot to get the fabric edges fed under.
I love the thread cutter, I learned to use it a lot rather than grabbing for my scissors after each seam. Just touch that little blue button and snip snip!
I love the needle threader, my old machine didn't have this and I was never really troubled by vision problems that would make it hard to thread the needle, but the convenience of this threader is wonderful! And it works every time!
I love the touch screen for all the stitch controls, and the fact that it says "Hi Pam" on the screen when it turns on! Corny, I know!
I have had a couple lessons from the store (thank you Sharon, Beth, and Anne) and have just scratched the surface of what this machine will do. So far I have not only sewn some quilts, but also a pair of pajama pants and mended jeans. Good to know that I can patch up those jeans to make it all worthwhile! This machine is a keeper!

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