Meet the Machines

I currently have four sewing machines. Two are vintage Singers, one is a basic Janome (my first sewing machine ever) and one Pfaff sewing/embroidery machine that I primarily utilize.

Pfaff Creative 2.0 - KismetPfaff Creative 2.0 AKA “Kismet

I purchased Kismet used in December 2012 to replace my failing Viking Topaz 20. This machine had all of the features the Topaz did but also included many it did not such as a thread cutter, one touch monochromatic embroidery setting, on board design resizing, the IDT walking foot and many others.

There are many, many things I love about this machine. The throat space is huge (10″), the IDT foot is especially useful when doing binding or straight stitch quilting, it pieces beautifully and the thread cutter is very useful to have I’ve found.

I’m still working on getting better doing complex free motion designs on it like feathers but it handles nicely and loves to quilt with Aurifil thread. Like anything else, it takes time to get used to a machines rhythm for free motion quilting and the Creative 2.0 is no different.

I love how beautifully it embroiders. If I get a multicolor design and only want to use one thread color to save myself the thread changes I just have to press a few buttons and it switches the design for me on board without having to touch a PC.

So far so good! My first taste of a Pfaff machine has been wonderful and I’m confident I’ll eventually upgrade to something bigger and better in the future.

Singer 201-2 AKA “Betty” – born in 1951

Betty was found on Craigslist for $175 including her cabinet she was built into. I found her in August of 2010. The sewing machine and cabinet combined weigh somewhere around 80-100 lbs. The way the art deco cabinet was built with a permanent foot pedal means I can’t take the machine out without disconnecting the pedal.

My main intention on purchasing Betty was to have a good straight stitch machine for free motion quilting that had a large throat. After getting her serviced I set out to learn how to free motion quilt on her. Many, many hours of practice and we figured out how to work with each other.

When I upgraded to a computerized machine in 2011 she turned into my straight stitch machine used mainly for string piecing. We still have fun together doing straight stitching whenever I can. Nothing beats Betty’s straight stitch (except maybe Veronica). 

Singer 221k Featherweight AKA “Veronica

I spent many, many months wanting a Featherweight. My rationalization was it would be the perfect machine to take to workshops, sew-ins and classes.  It took a while to find the right one since there weren’t any available locally that were under my price threshold  I ended up purchasing her off of Ebay and getting her tuned up. She only needed a good cleaning and a new tension spring to be back to good working order.

She’s very handy to tote around and fits nicely in my little SmartCart. I’ve taken her to a few guild meetings for sew ins and she’s done her fair share of strip piecing since I did a majority of my Nostalgia quilt on her.

I’m hoping to eventually get her repainted Caribbean blue. Until then – I’m quite happy with her! She’s a joy to sew on.

Janome 415

This was my first sewing machine. It was purchased as a wedding gift from my Aunts who are both quilters. They saw me put a cheap sewing machine on my wedding registry and immediately called to tell me to remove it, they’d be choosing one for me.

I’ll admit – it got very little use the first five years of my marriage. When I got into quilting in 2010 it really saw some use and I quickly realized it wasn’t cut out to do free motion quilting for anything larger than a napkin. It tried it’s best though. I did everything on it from buttonholes to bindings before the reverse lever broke and then it was put away when I got my Viking Topaz.

I got it fixed in 2012 and took it to my office so I’d have a machine to sew on at lunch if I felt the urge. It does get some sewing done on it on occasion so it doesn’t collect dust. It’s a good little machine for light use but can’t really handle heavy duty sewing.

I keep it mainly for nostalgic reasons.

Comments

  1. how many projects do you have going at one time?? also when you find some fabric that you just love but not sure what you might do with it…..how much do you buy?? i just started quilting and never know how much to buy and my husband says to finnish one thing and start the next when the first one is done. help!!

    • I typically have 2-3 projects working at one time. I found I was unable to do one project at a time because I’d be interrupted with requests to make something for someone or it was time to finish a gift for someone because a birthday or a holiday was coming up. Stuff just got stuck on the backburner at times. It happens.

      As far as fabric goes if I find something I like I usually get 1-2 yards of it if I’m not sure what I want to do with it. You never know if it is going to go out of print or if you are going to find it again.

  2. I would like to know if you made up the pattern for the prayer shaw?

    Thanks, Katie

  3. Mariana Nortje says:

    I am so relieved after reading your UFO list! Some one else with a long list. Now I dont feel so bad thinking of my 17 item long list. 7 Quilts are finihed though and just need quilting. By hand.
    Love your blog and podcasts.
    Regards
    Mariana

  4. I had to write to thank you for your suggestion at the guild meeting about the Singer 201 machine. I found one on Craigslist earlier this week for $100. It was about an hour and a half drive but I decided to go give it a look. I am so glad I did. It still has all of the original parts/attachments and manual and even the original receipt. The person selling it had never used it so we plugged it in and I gave her a try. She sewed like a dream so I brought her home with me (not an easy task considering she was in her original cabinet and I drive a mid-size sedan). I gave her a good cleaning and oiling that night but I didn’t get to do any sewing till tonight and I just can’t get over how much better she sews than my new modern machine. I can’t wait to try freemotion quilting with her. Thank you so much for turning me onto a vintage machine, I never would have considered it an option.

  5. Pam King says:

    Hi Katie,
    I have just bought a pfaff creative 2.0 machine mainly for the embroidery designs and free motion but, I haven’t been able to find out how I can change the design from the memory stick once I’ve loaded into the sewing machine? Usually, it’s because I haven’t got the right hoop frame in and the only way I can change the design is to turn the machine off and start again, I know this isn’t right but cannot find any info on it in the manual, can you help please?

  6. Pam King says:

    Thanks Katie,
    I did manage to find out how to go from one embroidery sampler to another. It’ s not as complicated as I thought mad you can press the heart button and then key in the next sampler,you want to sew! Thank you for your help. Pam.

  7. Hi I see you have the pfaff power quilter 16 , I have just bought one and having real bottom tension issues ,I’m keen to know if you had any and if so how did you solve them .
    Thank you Maryanne

  8. Karen Colton says:

    I own a pfaff a 1957 Kenmore is my favorite machine mainly because it only cost me Ninety three cents to fix it besides has cams and does amazing things It is all metal the the cabinet opens to 6 feet all cherry wood someone was going to throw it out I believe the Pfaff machines are the best made machines on the market today I also have a what I say is my backup a Brand new Kenmore I paid $25 for at a garage sale it was never used and retail was about $300 I know all these things because I used to sell them in a shop a long time ago I am retired from nursing you would be amazed how many of us sew I want to whip up a bunch of those change purses and just thought I would say Hi

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