Friday, November 16, 2012

Know thy Machine : Post # 22 : Ivy

Today's guest is Ivy Gewirtz.

She is also one of the members from Modern Quilting group on Facebook. Those of you who are on Facebook, I totally recommend this group... Its buzzing with activity...

Since Ivy does not have a blog she's guest posting here

Hi, my name is Ivy and I don’t have a blog. Yet. I work full-time as a copy editor by day and I quilt
by night. I live with my two wonderful teenage daughters and my lovely boyfriend in sunny South
Florida, USA. I think I would be a lot more prolific if not for this pesky job, but something’s gotta pay
for all this fabric.

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

I have a Baby Lock Sofia 2, which is a sewing/embroidery machine.

 Bali just had to get into the picture!

2. When and where did you buy it? What were the reasons for selecting this (these) particular model(s).
What was its approximate cost.

Let me first say that I have a Kenmore lower-level sewing machine, which is what I learned to sew
on. I had given up quilting (the only type of sewing I do) for several years. When I started back, I
just felt like I deserved an upgrade. The Kenmore was giving me problems. I could have just gotten
my Kenmore serviced and been done with it, but instead I went shopping.

I think I bought it in April of this year. It was $689 for the machine itself, but I also got the extension
table for $70 (usually $100), the walking foot for $100 (and later when I realized how cool the guide
on those things are—you don’t have to mark or tape other than the center line—I got one of those,
too), and the quarter-inch foot with guide for $30 or so.

There really is a nice extension table under the quilt! I forgot to expose it!

Why did I choose this machine? Well, (1) it had a really nice stitch. I thought it was superior to
that of the higher-end machine, the Melody (a sewing machine with a focus on quilting), which
was about $500 more. That was a consideration for me. (2) The saleswoman told me that when
the ladies with the $10,000–$12,000 machines need an extra machine to take to class, they get the
Sofia, not the Melody. (3) It signals when the bobbin thread is running low. And (4) I thought the
embroidery option was a nice plus, although the amount I’ve had to spend on pricey embroidery
thread isn’t. (I’ve managed to make do, though. I did buy a bunch, and now I use what I have. I go
by the color, rather than the number. It’s affordable this way.) I will tell you, though, that I now
realize—duh—that the reason the ladies get the Sofia over the Melody for their class machines are

1. If they have a $10,000+ machine, they know everything and don’t need to take classes. Just

2. The Melody is too large and heavy to easily transport.
3. Those expensive machines are probably embroidery machines, so they get the Sofia so
they’ll have a mini-embroidery machine; their primary focus is on embroidery, not quilting.

I have a thing for trees. I bought five completely unique tree designs! I have to stop myself!

It comes with quilter’s piecing and quilting stitches that are supposed to mimic hand stitching (they
don’t), so in theory, you shouldn’t need a special presser foot. That is another reason I chose this

Also, I was told that the Sofia embroidery unit stitches impeccably and I figured it probably
sews impeccably, too. I was told there is no difference in the stitch quality between the high-end
machines and the Sofia.

And there really isn’t a difference. It stitches beautifully!

And it’s adorable. Very retro looking. It reminds me of something out of the 1950s, only

One more thing (I could just go on and on, actually): I wanted to buy a brand I could take classes
for and get serviced locally. My lqs offers free classes for my particular machine and I always have
questions—how do you do this or that?—so whenever I pop in there to buy some notion or fabric,
they just sit me down on the store Sofia and show me how to do whatever I want to know how to
do. That is very cool.

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

Well, it’s already got a name. I’m more of a Sophie person myself, but I just call it Sofia or Not My
Last Sewing Machine. It’s just that I’m still torn all these months later, thinking I should have gotten
the Melody, which has many more stitches, which I may not use—but I want! It didn’t come with
a built-in plastic case. It came with a thin fabric cover with a drawstring and I keep it in a hard
universal case. I really wanted a machine with a built in hard plastic case. I may eventually make a
cover for it, once I have a sewing space of my own, but right now I sew at the kitchen table so I have
to put the machine in its case when I’m done for the day.

Of course I do like my machine—

It’s cute
I can make adorable embroideries on it up to 4” square ( is a great site
for that) and I’m glad it’s limited to 4” because the bigger embroideries are a lot more
The stitching is really nice
I can choose whether to stop with the needle up or down
I love the automatic needle threader

I love the speed control and the ability to use the machine without the pedal
I love the automatic bobbin loader
I love the low-bobbin signal
The fact that I can move the needle over ever so slightly in either direction is lovely

Can you see how this could get addicting? I made six designs in one night. I just couldn’t stop!

And I love playing with each sewing stitch, deciding on the perfect width and length, and then
saving that information in the memory so every time I want to sew with that stitch, the perfect size
is up and ready to go. It’s still so new to me, so I’m sure that as I get more use out of it, I will find
other things that I love about it.

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

I would love to get into heavier weight threads, but Baby Lock says not to use anything heavier than
a 20 weight, so the 12 wt Aurifil is out of the picture for me. But that’s neither here nor there since I
haven’t attempted to sew with anything heavier than 50 wt at this point.

I have a serious problem achieving the right size blocks and that’s using every trick in the book.
I have the quarter-inch foot with the guide. That’s no good. Usually, it needs to be “scant.” I got a
scant quarter-inch marker, marked my scant quarter inch, and sealed it off with tape. My seam is
still off. I surrender; it must be operator error.

I once filled the bobbin incorrectly and my stitches looked awful. A trip to the lqs solved that

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?

I sew quilts. I would like to sew little bags, but haven’t tried yet. I also mend clothes on it. Someone
in my house always has a rip that needs tending to. And I would like to get into more stuff like
making mug rugs or pot holders—also quilted—and they make lovely gifts that come together
quickly. A fun thing to do with the embroidery feature on the Sofia is to stitch up a few designs and
make a tote or bag with them!

I’ve been sewing on it a lot because I am involved in a swap on Flickr and I am also in a bee with
my local modern guild, which means I learn a new technique every month. Lately it’s been paper
piecing and flying geese. I am getting into more hand work, like hand embroidery and English paper
piecing, but will always keep my machine busy as well. I’ve gotta get my money’s worth. Being
that it is both a sewing and embroidery machine, I really do get a lot out of it. I can stitch up a cute
little embroidery (I love!) to put in a quilt or on a bag or what-have-you. The
possibilities are endless! It is sew much fun!

These were all fun. You just press the power button on the machine and you can go make a cup of coffee or whatever. You only need to hang around to change thread colors.

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

I still think it’s important to buy a machine from a local (and I mean local—not an hour away),
reputable dealer. That is of utmost importance. My choices of dealers within a 25-minute drive
were Baby Lock, Janome, Viking, and Brother. Bernina was a bit further, but I like warm and fuzzy
shop owners and those particular Bernina dealers do not qualify. After that, you have to decide
on your must-have features, the most machine for your money, and how much you’re prepared
or willing to spend. Are you willing to finance a machine or do you just want to pay upfront? It’s
important to go to shops and test-drive several machines.

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

I have none … it’s not a family heirloom. Please don’t include this. It was just for you.

8. If you had unlimited resources in the world, which machine would you choose to buy and why?

Well, I would have to buy more than one if I had the means. I would buy the Baby Lock Sashiko,
which needs to be oiled daily, so I would have someone do that for me. Even though I’ve heard
wonderful things about the higher-end Janomes and Vikings, and Pfaff with its integrated walking
foot, and a Bernina would be oh-so-nice to have, I would probably go for the Baby Lock Crescendo,
their brand-new highest end quilting/sewing machine with a total of 573 stitches and 5 alphabets, a
guide beam and stadium lighting, a digital dual feed system, a color LCD screen, an extension table,
17 presser feet, and that is just the beginning! I foresee a lot of English paper piecing in my future—
near and far—that and a $5,000 price tag (!!!), so I need to put it out of my head

 My EPP obsession at work. Who needs a sewing machine?

Seriously, though, I have come to really enjoy and cherish my machine. I really love it now and am
glad I chose it over any other machine.


And now today's question

What machine(s) does Alyssa have?

Leave a comment with the correct answer ON THIS POST.

Winner will be drawn on Monday 19th November 2012 at 10.00 am IST.



  1. I am not sure what machine that Alyssa owns because I can not find her post. I clicked on the link yesterday and today but it doesn't bring up the post about her machine.

  2. _she doesn't seem to have a post about her machine but her quilt are wonderful.

  3. Alyssa's last blog post is Nov 13. She is really good about her almost daily posts, so it worries me there isn't one.
    Don't know about her sewing machine.

  4. I do not see a post about Alyssa's sewing machine.

  5. Alas, her post isn't there! :-(

  6. I don't find anything about Alyssa's machine but Ivy Gewrirtz's story is way cool.

  7. I don't see her post either :( I know she got a new one recently though, which sounds amazing. Loving reading about everyone's machines, all so fancy compared to mine!

  8. I follow Alyssa's blog and have not been able to find a post about her machine either.

  9. Unfortunately Alyssa didn't post about her machine. As I can't find it either... and I'm a follower of her blog too.

  10. I follow Alyssa's blog too and I couldn't find anything about her machine either.

  11. OH MY GOODNESS I am soooo sorry you guys!


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