I haven’t shared this with you before, but I have a new and amazing sewing machine! For the last 15 years I have been sewing on a Viking machine that had clearly seen better days and it finally went to the eternal hunting ground for sewing machines back in October. (What exactly sewing machines hunt for is beyond me. Lint?) My best friend is going through a non-sewing stage in her life and let me use her Viking machine which was brand new. For the first time in my life I had a foot with a hover function and a needle-down option! WOW!
I have never been that big of a sewing machine snob and I have always proudly claimed that any limitations in the quality of my quilts is from a lack of skill (or too much red wine) on my part. But I have to say that with the introduction of my monster-heavy Bernina 880, I am starting to appreciate my ignorance.
Sure, I should have been able to sew immaculate quilts on any well-functioning sewing machine, but it sure helps when your sewing machine is fantastic. Not only does it make it easier to do basic things like piecing and machine appliqué, but my new Bernina 880 also yells at me if it isn’t threaded right, makes sure I use the right foot, the right needle, and the right stitch plate for my stitch.
For the first time in my life I have nifty attachments like the Bernina Stitch Regulator which makes sure that my machine quilting stitches are the same length by reading how fast the fabric is being fed through the machine. First time I tried it I kept wanting to regulate speed with the foot pedal and if was like driving an automatic for the first time after a lifetime of driving a stick. I am getting the hang of it though…
This is an entirely new and exciting world to me. My new machine doesn’t do any of the goofy things my hold Viking did, like swallow fabric down through the stitch plate…that was always my favorite and made piecing much less fun.
Awesome as the 880 is so far, I am also a bit intimidated by it. I haven’t even opened the box for all the embroidery stuff yet because I have no clue how to use it, or what I would want to use it for. So it sits on the floor in the living room and my cat sleeps on it. On the other side I feel like trying new and complicated things, like piecing something with tons of inset seams and tiny pieces, just to see what I can really master without the excuse of a limited sewing machine.
Today however, my machine is sitting quietly on my desk as I recline back to do some hand quilting. I don’t think any machine can make me fall out of love with hand sewing.
Do you have a preference? Machine or hand or a bit of both?