When I finished sewing the binding of my first quilt, at my daughter’s house behind her sewing machine, within my heart bubbled various emotions, the most overwhelming being a tie between the utter joy of having something to give to my dad and that no longer would I be stuck by an errant pin. I’ve found that being stabbed by sharp pins is probably the only part of quilting I dislike, and I plan to use safety pins for future large projects that aren’t going to be tied. I wasn’t bothered much by the pins until I sat at the machine to affix the thin blanket employed as the quilt back. During my scrappy quilting adventures, I grew weary of being poked and prodded, and have learned yet another lesson on this quilting way.
But despite the pain of pins, I have embraced machine quilting as my preferred method, for two reasons; it’s far quicker, and hand-sewing makes my right shoulder angry. I can bind a quilt by hand, that’s no problem. But piecing squares is too much for this woman. Once that was realized, I had a decision to make.
What kind of sewing machine did I want to own?
Now, that’s not a simple question to answer, although right off the bat, I knew it wasn’t going to be a computerized model. My daughter has a Brother CS6000i, which was fine to use for that initial quilt. However, I’m a Luddite at heart, and although my daughter made a great point that all those fancy stitches might be something I’d enjoy in the future, for where I am on my quilting journey, a practical mechanical machine would suit me more. And not be so intimidating…
I might publish my own novels, but mastering a sewing machine was a little scary.
I have embraced an idea from one of the many quilting blogs I was perusing; be fearless with your machine! Okay, fearless. Well, to me fearless starts with a machine that I can, after a short period of study, feel comfortable in using on a daily basis. So that means a machine that is sturdy as well as, well, not simplistic, but perfect for a beginner. If nothing else, I am such a beginner at this.
I’m also blessed with seamstresses in my family; Mom and Sis both sew, and I picked their brains. Mom’s machine is a beaut, but they don’t make Whites anymore. Hers is from 1969, still going strong. Until bitten by the quilting bug, I didn’t notice her machine, even if she made the slacks I wore for my daughter’s wedding. It was a sewing machine; aren’t they all the same?
Ha ha ha ha ha! Uh, no.
Sis has a ten-year-old Janome, a Horizon, I think it is. I knew nothing of that brand, but it was easy enough to investigate. I did thorough research, for I wanted a machine that would serve me well as a novice, but remain relevant as my skills increased. I’m not thinking I’ll get forty-some years from my machine, but a decade or two would be good.
Now, during my searches, occasionally my husband teased about his mom’s old machine, which we’ve had since returning from England. It was in storage while we were there, given to us when his parents moved to Florida. I knew nothing about it other than it was quite old, maybe as old as my mom’s, and that it was encased within a table that serves as a base for our laser printer. Now, bless my husband’s heart, I wanted a top-loading bobbin, which I knew that old machine did not have. I wanted my own machine, and while it would be in part plastic, it would also run strong, and although not have 87 different stitches, it would be new.
At the end, I chose a Janome Magnolia, and I couldn’t be more pleased. It runs very well; I’ve hemmed frayed beach towels, tripling the fabric at the corners. I just finished a little quilt for my other sister’s stepson, heavy cotton-poly work trousers with substantial cotton-poly shirt material, and even going through about five layers making mitered corners, the Magnolia was a champ. So far I haven’t needed a walking foot for the straight-line quilting, but am considering it down the road for my youngest daughter’s quilt; hers will be backed with thin fleece. But for now, with mainly cottons, the Magnolia is a beauty with the heart of a warrior, and I’m hoping for many productive years and heaps of quilts along the way.
However… Curiosity got the better of my husband about a week ago; what sort of machine was lurking just underneath our laser printer?
More about that in the next post!