Monday, June 01, 2009

Sewing Machine Month

The good folks at Sew, Mama, Sew have declared June to be the month of the Sewing Machine. Here is a chance for all us to get to know our machines a little bit better.

They've started it off with a lovely meme about our machines.

What brand and model do you have?
Bernina Aurora 440QE (Quilter's Edition)

How long have you had it?
2 months

How much does it cost?
MSRP is around $3500, including the optional Bernina Stitch Regulator.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, etc.)?
All of the above.

I have ongoing quilting projects for babies being born as well as an annual quilt challenge with the women in my family. I posted about it here and here. I love my walking foot and my 1/4" foot for quilting. My machine also has the Bernina Stitch Regulator which is about the coolest thing ever for quilting.

I sew a lot of clothes, but mostly simple things for myself and the kiddos, though I am known to throw in zippers and buttons when I need to!

I sew bags. Lots of bags. See side bar for the Farmer's Market Tote Bag pattern I sell.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I try to sew at least twice a week (when my older son is in preschool). The machine gets used, but lovingly. I can really tell a difference when the machine is well oiled and the needle is new, so I clean my machine almost every time I sit down to sew and for sure after each quilt I finish.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I loooooooove my machine. Some days even more than I love my husband. She doesn't have a name (yet), but I am passionately in love with her. While my previous machines were really incredibly awesome (see prior post about the one for sale), this one is the first machine that I bought on my own instead of getting as a hand-me-down.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?
Things I love:
-Knee lift for the presser foot
-Needle down (when it comes to a stop and/or at the push of a button)
-Variable presser foot pressure
-Winding a new bobbin while sewing
-Specialty Presser Feet
-Start-stop button (for sewing without the foot pedal)
-A rad needle threader
-Pattern begin button (great when turning corners while zig-zagging or with decorative stitches)
-Speed control (especially with decorative stitches and quilting, to get a consistent speed)
-The Bernina Stitch Regulator. It can be summed up as:
The BSR presser foot reacts to the movement of the fabric under the foot and controls the speed of the sewing [machine] up to the maximum possible speed. The following applies: the faster the fabric is moved, the higher the speed of the machine. A set stitch length is maintained.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

Would you recommend the machines to others? Why?
Of the Bernina Auroras (430, 440, 450), I chose the 440QE because it came with the walking foot (a $150 value) and the 1/4" foot (a $50 value) and the Bernina Stitch Regulator ($a $900 value). The 430 didn't have those particular bells and whistles. The 450 has a 9mm wide presser foot, which didn't appeal to me. I have the option of adding the embroidery module later.
I think Bernina makes the absolute highest quality machines on the market.
And their manuals are very easy to read, making the machines easy to master.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
For me, see above under Things I Love.
For you, see my FAQ at where I address just that question.

Do you have a dream machine?
Yep, the one I have!

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