My first sewing machine:
During high school my parents bought me my first new machine. The best gift ever. A Sears Kenmore beauty very similar to this one (picture borrowed from this post):
I put many, many miles on this machine through high school and college sewing up clothes for myself, my sister, for friends, neighbors, and anyone else who asked! Think double knit polyester, cotton shells, and pantsuits. Oh boy.
As a senior in college this amazing machine came into my life. She has been by my side for 35 years.
So last year I returned to sewing (via quilting) after a few light years of not doing much and decided to treat myself (actually a Valentine's Day gift idea by my husband...love that guy) to a new machine. Welcome Helga:
- Many features that making piecing and quilting quilts so much easier: needle up/down, stop/start button, scissors, lots of quilting friendly feet attachments, SPEED.
- Worthy of mentioning alone and really the deciding feature when I purchased this one is the large harp space.
- This is hard to explain, the needle up function (and the foot control) allows you to partially lift the pressure foot up just a little to adjust fabric placement.
- Loads of stitches...more than I will ever use!
- She sails over depths of fabric like I have never seen before. Think hemming denim pants and going over the side seams...no problem!
- And isn't she just pretty to look at?
On the negative side, I have had some problems with the upper tension. Fortunately, I purchased the machine from a shop with an in-house service person and although it has taken a few visits to get this fixed, the folks have been very good there and I am optimistic that this issue is behind us. She also makes rattly noises in the bobbin case that seem to mysteriously come and go but as they do not impact the quality of the stitch I have learned to ignore these noises.
FMQ'ing with Helga has been an adventure that I attribute more to my learning how to free motion quilt than the machine. It has been trial and error...foot to use, needle, thread, machine speed, etc. But we are making good progress.
(As an aside, I purchased a 1/4" foot for the Athena, thinking it would be a nice backup quilting machine. Only to find that the poor thing is not able to sew a straight stitch! I just had her tuned up last year before I bought the Viking but I plan to bring her into the Singer service guy one more time to see if she can be repaired.)
The blog post author has asked what our dream machine would be. Good question. I have to say when Helga was acting up, I did look at the Berninas. I have read so many wonderful things about these machines and am particularly tempted by the stitch regulator. But for the additional money and the smaller harp space, I decided not to make the switch. And then there is the temptation of a longarm? One of those 16" harp quilting only machines? If only I had more space...
Thanks for letting me share my personal sewing machine journey! I know you all have one too, short or long, full of memories of all the special projects you've created with the help of your sewing machine(s).