Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Know Thy Machine Blog Hop

Have you ever been curious to hear about the machines that others are using? Well, here's your chance to share a little about your machine and hear about what some others are using. Today I'll be sharing what I sew with as part of Shurti and Emily's Know Thy Machine Blog Hop! 

1. What machine(s) do you have? Brand and Model.

I sew on a Brother XR-65 and a Janome 8002D serger. But since I spend the most time with my Brother, I'll mainly be talking about this machine today.

2. When and where did you buy it? What were the reasons for selecting this(these) particular model(s). What was its approximate cost. 
Wow, I was going to say that I received my machine about 5 years ago, but upon more reflection, I'm realizing it was gifted to me about 7-10 years ago by my parents. They purchased it at Costco when I thought that sewing sounded like a fun thing to try out, but wasn't sure I actually wanted to invest much in it. It was approximately a couple hundred dollars.

3. What do you like about your machine? Have you named it? Have you made a cover for it? 

My machine is pretty basic and I like that it is really easy to use and is portable. I've been sewing seriously on it since 2009 (all years prior to that it sat brand new in its box... so you can see why I thought that I only received it 5 years ago :)) and I think it has really held up considering it is an entry level machine. My machine has no name and no cover. Hmmm, maybe I should request a cover in one of my swaps (if you have visited me before, you know that I am a swap addict!).

Although my machine is nameless and coverless, I seem to be irrationally devoted to it. Hubby has offered to buy me a nicer machine (I've had my eye on Janomes), but I'm kind of attached to my Brother. It's been good to me, so it feels a little disloyal to get a new one just 'cuz.

4. Does your machine give you any problems? Could you tell us a few? 
I make bags, garments and quilt on the machine and rarely run into any problems that can't be chalked up to user error. The only slight difficulty I can sometimes have (which is probably a mixture of user error and machine difficulty) is quilting on the machine. My machine came with a quilting table and the appropriate feet, but after making a bunch of quilts, the walking foot doesn't seem to actually guide fabric correctly. I've solved the problem by purchasing a new foot (my machine uses a generic foot, so this is an inexpensive problem to fix). Then again, I've quilted everything ranging from a small wall hanging to a queen size quilt on this little guy so I think he has every right to get a little tired now and then. Ummmm, plus my machine has never.been.cleaned. You read that right! I have tried, but it was not built to be dismantled (I've had many a quilting friend try and help me with this in the thinking that perhaps I am weak, but that doesn't appear to be the case).

5. What do you sew on it mainly? Quilts, Clothes, Bags etc. How much time do you spend sewing on it? What are the features of the machine that help you improve your work? 

If you are a picture person, these are some of my favorite makes and give you a pretty good idea of the variety of items I sew.

(for more details, click here)

I sew about 3 hours a week and when possible, an hour or two every night (the latter is rare these days, but one can wish/hope for a time machine!). My machine is pretty basic so there aren't any particular features that help me, but I do like that it is portable. In that way it has come to many sewing classes with me and I'm able to learn how to do things on my machine and that makes me more likely to continue to practice those techniques at home. 

6. What advice would you give others when deciding about which machine to buy? 

I'm probably not fit for answering this question since I had no input in the decision to get this particular machine. I have considered what I will do when I purchase my next machine and I think it is important to know what features you can't live without. For instance, now that I know how much I love to quilt, I will make sure that my next machine has a much larger harp space. But I'll also just be tickled to have a needle up/down function!

7. Will you share with us a special memory associated with your machine

My machine has offered a lot of opportunities for me to bond with family and make new friends. My mother in law actually taught me how to sew on my machine and I think her son kind of thanks her for that (I'm not sure he loves my fabric stash, but he loves that we have common interests!). We started by making little stuffed animals with curvy arms and legs. That was a great experience because now as a quilter, I've had less fear of curves. My toddler also has grown accustomed to the hum of my machine and we've done a little sewing together. 

Sewing has also brought me into contact with people from all of the world. I've participated in swaps, blog hops, and quilting bees. It's been so much fun to meet new people who share a common love for fabric and creation.

one of my favorite bee quilts from do.Good.Stitches made from quilters around the world!

8. If you had unlimited resources in the world, which machine would you choose to buy and why? 
I've had my eye on Janomes because I've sewn on them before and really love the way they work. Perhaps I'd go for a Horizon as that would have all the bells and whistles (and then some!) but I haven't really dug deeply enough to sort out the specific model that I would want. Now that I've realize that my Brother is actually a little older than I thought though, maybe it is time to give him a rest and consider getting him a sibling :)

Thanks for stopping by! Now please hop on over to Shurti's blog where you will have a chance to win some great prizes!

There are more stops for the blog this week, so please check out:

Monday, November 5: Debbie from Esch House Quilts
Tuesday, November 6: Dana
Thursday, November 8: Heidi from Buttons and Butterflies
Friday, November 9: Teresa

And finally, should you be so inclined, I'd love to hear about what you sew with or about any special sewing memory you'd like to share!


  1. I have three machines. I sew mainly on a Babylock, Grace. She is not the bottom of the line but not the top either. She does a great job most of the time. I have a thirty year old Kenmore that I use for sewing the heavy stuff like bags. Thanks for shing.

  2. Awesome post Elaine! :) I think you deserve a new machine! Go for it!

  3. Hi Elaine, it is nice to meet your machine :)
    I have my eye on a Janome Horizon for a while, maybe one day. I really like what you said about your machine helping you bond with friends and family, it is very special.

  4. I'm having a withdrawl right now! I took my Janome Horizon in for a clean up and up grade and haven't been able to sew! I want it home!

  5. Time for a new one! I think you have enough mileage on this one!