Know thy Machine : Post # 13 : Dana

8:00 AM

Today's guest in our list is Dana Michaels . she is a Facebook Friend of mine... Has been forsuch a long time that I don't even remember how long back it was!

Thats the thing about internet...You never really meet each other, but every time you post a photo of a quilt (or the kid) there are a few people who notice and take time to like / comment your post! Thats how you actually start connecting!

Thats how we connected...

Her work is awesome!

And since she does not have a blog (yet) she's guest posting right here!!!

Read on to know what she has to say....

 What machine(s) do you have?
I have a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116, a 20 year old Pfaff Hobbymatic  953, and a Pfaff serger.

At the moment, I only use the Viking for quilting. I used to have a corporate job where suits and skirts and nylons were required (yikes!), and so I made all my clothes on the two Pfaff machines. They work like a charm! Silks, woolens, and placket pockets….Poof! I have put so many hours on the Pfaff that now some part of the internal mechanism comes loose after a few hours of sewing. Then I pay $96 to have it fixed…Then sew for a few more hours…then $96 more dollars….so I have stopped sewing with it. But I keep it. Not so much because I am a hoarder but because I keep hoping I’ll find a person who can bring it back to its former smooth-sewing glory.  I have great hopes for future breakthroughs in the science…I’m the Ted Williams of sewing machine owners. 

When and where did you buy it? What were the reasons for selecting this particular model? What was its approximate cost?

When the beloved Pfaff started to spend too much time in the shop a few years ago…I went to my local dealer and looked for a cheap but reliable machine.  The Viking was just over $100, and then I added the free motion foot and the walking foot for another $50. Bam! Ready to go! Its parts are mostly metal, and it’s really well made. Since I am only working with quilting cottons, I really just straight use the straight stitch and very rarely the zigzag. I have it serviced once a year, and try to keep it clean. 

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

Awww…well now I just feel bad! My machine has no name AND no cover.  I do like it, because it’s utilitarian and gets the job done. But apparently I haven’t committed to our relationship because it (she? he?)  has no name. L My car has a name…does that count? My car’s name is “Mrs Puff” because I used to have an amazing puffer fish and salt water aquarium when I bought the car (and I was working for Spongebob Squarepants, whose driving instructor was Mrs. Puff).

Does your machine give you any problems? Could you tell us a few?

I’ll be honest here… I don’t really enjoy free motion quilting on my machine. It will be humming along with no problem, and then the tension will go haywire…..BUT not so that you notice on the top of the quilt! So, there you are, thinking everything is going along just great, and you turn it over and part of the stitching is messed up and you have to rip it out. Rip, rip, and rip.  Curse. Rip some more.  Also, the throat is really small, so quilting anything bigger than a baby or small lap quilt is really frustrating
There is a good side…the quilting with the walking foot is really great! So, I mostly just do that and then send the larger projects out to get done. I work long hours at my job, so honestly it’s kind of nice to be able to send out the quilt tops and have them magically appear ready to bind a few weeks later.
Other than that, almost any trouble I have can be solved by just stopping and re-threading the machine. J So that is pretty easy.

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?

I would guess I sew a minimum of 10-15 hours a week.  I sew most days after work for a few hours, and then some pretty marathon sessions on weekends and holidays.  I sew a LOT of pillows. I have a little obsession with swapping out my décor seasonally. Even the dog beds!  I also tend to make bags as gifts for people. But, mostly I make quilts. Quilts, quilts, quilts! I wouldn’t say there are really any features that help me improve, but only because I don’t really experiment a lot with the machine. I am kind of an “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” kind of gal. 

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

Personally, I don’t like really computerized machines. I have used them in classes, and took a few for a spin when looking for my last machine.  Again, that is just me. I feel like the more straightforward the machine, the less frustration to be experienced. For example, I don’t need a machine that embroiders, because I love to embroider by hand. So I don’t look for stuff like that.
The other thing that I think is important to stress is that you really DON’T need a $2600+ machine to quilt. I think there is a whole thing that has come about because of blogs and comparisons where people feel like they need to have top of the line stuff. Obviously, if you want it and can get it, then who am I to stop you?  But if you just feel the need to SEW, then just make it work. You can do that with a used machine, or your grandma’s old machine (after a service, of course!), or a no frills but reliable machine.  Just get started and make the most of your time and don’t be scared to try something new. There are tutorials to sew ANYTHING!

Will you share a special memory associate with your machine?

I taught my daughter to sew on my Pfaff, so I guess that is my special memory. She’s fearless about sewing, even though she’s not great about finishing projects.  But she’s a teenager, so I have to cut her a break in that department!

If you had unlimited resources which machine would you choose to buy and why.

I am planning on buying a new machine in the next year….I’d like a mid-arm so I can start doing a bit more quilting on my own.  I live in Los Angeles, and for some reason there aren’t a lot of Pfaff dealers here. So, even thought I was raised with Pfaff machines and I love them, I may look at a Janome or a Juki. I hear good things about both. But I will have to compulsively research before I decide. Even with my new unlimited resources (^thanks, Shruti!) I would still have to do research and ‘test-drive’ the machines. Now, about all the fabric I would buy with my newfound unlimited resources….that is a whole other story!


Thanks Dana!

Coming to the question of the day

What was Debbie's special machine memory:
1) Making her wedding dress
2) Making her daughter's wedding dress
3) Making her daughter a wedding dress for Halloween
Leave a comment with the correct answer ON THIS POST.

Winner will be drawn on Monday 12th November 2012 at 10.00 am IST.


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