This week I made a big change.
I sold my Janome Horizon.
Now I certainly don't want to bad-mouth this machine: it served me really well for 2.5 years, I learned a lot while making 30+ quilts and lots of little girl clothes on it. It has a million and one features. It is loved by many.
But I had the sudden revelation that one machine cannot do it all -- piece, free motion quilt, hem, topstitch -- without being a wee bit...fussy. I asked a lot of the Janome Horizon, making it switch tasks repeatedly, and all she wanted in return was exactly the right thread, exactly the right needle, a perfectly wound bobbin...or else!
It dawned on me that what I really needed were two machines (try explaining that to your family, squeezed into a small urban house): one for quilting and another for garment sewing.
It also dawned on me that I had had it with computerized machines. What I really love are sturdy, heavy, metal, mechanical machines (I spend quite enough time on computers), ones that purr when you oil and clean them, and that aren't mystifying. My 1947 Singer Featherweight taught me that.
And I think it's important that you love your machine(s)!
And now I do, I really do!
I found a new home for the Horizon (wow, there'a ton of kijiji interest in that machine!), and now I have two machines that together cost a lot less than a new Horizon. To some this would look like a step down, but for me it feels like a huge step UP! Here are the details.
Garment (general) sewing
Channelling my great aunt Lucy, who was a fabulous seamstress and used a very simple machine, I focused on finding myself a beautifully-made, tuned-up zig-zagger with at least one decorative stitch, manual buttonholes, needle position adjustment, and I chose a middle-aged Bernina as my all-purpose, garment sewing machine.
Meet the Nova 900, built in 1980.
|stitching teeny tiny strips (ties for Frida's dress) was a breeze|
My yellow-trim Bernina Nova 900 came with all her original bits and bobs, including a hard-shell case (lined in lime green!) and the manual.
I invested in two more of those fabulous Bernina feet: a 1/4" piecing foot and an invisible zipper foot.
I am a total Bernina convert! (If I were in a position to buy a new Bernina, I would definitely go to Karyn at the workroom: to my mind, the ideal sewing machine dealer is one that is local and who actually loves to sew!)
This is by far the best sewing machine I have ever worked on...and because it's an old machine, it also was far from the most expensive.
I made Frida's birthday dress yesterday and I couldn't be happier with this machine! As an experiment I used the Nova and only the Nova for the whole project -- including seam finishing, which I did with ease with the Overlock foot (470). The Blindstitch foot (016) worked amazingly well for topstitching (who knew?!). I may actually make more clothing simply because I enjoy this machine so much.
(piecing, straight-line quilting, free motion quilting)
For quilting, I went with a straight-stitch, metal, mechanical, semi-industrial workhorse bought from a (recently-discovered) awesome local dealer (Cloverdale Sewing Centre, if you're in the Toronto area!).
Meet the Juki TL-2010Q.I'm in love with this machine too!
I tested my Juki thoroughly before committing...free-motion quilting with everything from beautiful variegated Aurifil 12 wt to a nasty, twisty, miserable 50 wt thread I bought at Creativ Festival two years ago, and which made my Janome Horizon throw a fit. I fmq'ed with tight crazy curves, swoops, twists, everything nutty you can imagine...and the stitching was PERFECT! No eyelashes at all, perfectly balanced stitches.
I finished quilting my version of "Scrappy Trips Around the World" as soon as I got the Juki out of her box (ummm, that would be yesterday! I got right on it!).
Working meandering loops with Connecting Threads cotton thread in white, the quilting was an absolute pleasure! By this morning I was making and attaching the binding (using the Juki's included walking foot). Ahhhhhhh!
I am one happy woman today!
And I'm very happy to talk machines, so please let me know which ones make you a happy stitcher.