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I took a class on Free Motion Quilting in March and had a heck of a time with the tension on my machine – a Brother XR-60 that I purchased in 2004. We figured out that my bobbin case had some damage to it which was probably causing the bottom thread tension issues. I was able to source the part at a sewing machine shop up the road but I also started looking at new machines. I told myself a year or two ago that if I started quilting more and made oh I dunno 8-10 quilts then I could graduate to a newer and fancier sewing machine.
On Saturdays I would pop in to some of the local shops and check out their machines. Then as NQA approached I got more serious (hoping to find a good deal at NQA) and I took a Tuesday off to visit the couple shops that are harder for me to get to on the weekend. I spent at least an hour at most shops and well over 2.5 hrs at the shop I ended up buying from. I made quilt sandwiches to test out FMQ, took bits from an old bridesmaid dress, and cut up jean shorts of my husband’s to test out how the machines sewed on all the different materials. Because I’d last purchased a machine at Wally World for about $100 this was a new adventure in completely uncharted territory. I was mostly looking for a machine with a slightly bigger throat, – the easier to quilt with my dear! – a free arm for garment sewing, the ability to FMQ, and the automatic needle down feature seemed like a useful perk. I ended up with all those things AND a lot more. I’ve also found a shop close to home that are wonderfully supportive, very very happy to have stumbled upon them. 🙂
The Saturday before mother’s day I popped in to Westerville Sew’N Save to double check a price from them after test driving the Vikings sold within Jo-Ann’s (I really liked these machines and they reminded me of the Pfaffs who apparently makes them). They said they could tell I was a very competent sewist who needed more time on the machines to make an informed decision and then they sent me home that evening with a machine to test drive for the weekend!!!
I was so excited that I told Chris we didn’t have to do any of the other house projects I had planned for the weekend and practically floated home to dig out several of my sewing WIPs, some that had been languishing for nearly 3 years! I spent the rest of the day sewing and all the next morning before we went to hang with my in laws for mother’s day (my mother was on a lovely vacation at the time) and then I came back home and sewed. I did NOT call off work on Monday to stay home and sew (as much as I wanted to!). I also sewed all Monday evening and Tuesday morning. After work on Tuesday I took the test machine back and came home with the next model up. 😀
I also may have joined instagram just before I bought my machine so you can see all of my weekend of test sewing documented in my feed. It felt great to finally knock out some of those languishing projects. It’s funny how getting a new tool can really reinvigorate a craft. It seems what I really needed was a machine that just made nice stitches – which my old machine did reasonably well but lately they just hadn’t been as nice no matter what I did. I’ve been sewing on average for a couple hours every day since I brought my new machine home. My mind is exploding with quilt projects I want to make and clothes I want to sew to wear right now! Hopefully, I’ll have lots of great FOs to show as the summer goes on.
What have you been working on lately? Have you recently acquired a new machine or tool that has helped reinvigorate a past time for you?