After reading this chapter, I realize that my Janome will reluctantly have to do for now. It has only a few recommended features: The bobbin case is accessible from the front, so that is good. Adjustable top tension, check. The foot control is comfortable for me. As far as accessories and other features, my machine has none of these. It sews a straight line (as far as I can tell) but frustration is a major factor in any project I attempt with this machine. Maybe it’s the quilter…
But then I think to how much I enjoyed borrowing my aunt’s Elna. It was such a dream to work on. I completed projects! Whew, it’s not the quilter.
I start to look around and ask what machines my quilt group ladies like to use. I pay special attention to those whose work I love the most. This is when I start realizing that I may have already outgrown my basic machine. This is encouraging!
From my grandmother, “I would not know where to even start directing you toward machines. Berninas are good. I have a really old model. It works great. I love it. Realize that they have to keep coming up with new features to sell more machines. But the older ones work just fine.”
I find this article on wikihow. I come up with some parameters: I want to use my machine to piece and quilt, free motion and with a walking foot. I want features listed in QA p.7 and in Heirloom Machine Quilting p.26-32. I will spend a couple of weekends per month during quilting season (October through February) working on projects. The machine will likely go unused the remaining 6 months of the year. I decide a price range of $1,000-$1,200 is a chunk of change, but it will get me a great used machine.
I talk it over with my man, and we decide that it’s worth spending more money on the best tool for the job. I’m now on the lookout for a used, well maintained Bernina 1020, 1090 or 1230. I also start saving my monies.
I search craigslist in Austin and Houston and everywhere in between. I call local machine dealers in my area, and I check their website listings daily. This is where we leave off as I dive into the next lesson…
What about you? What is your favorite machine to use? What do you love most about it?