Monday, November 25, 2013

The New Sewing Machine

I had a sewing machine pretty much fall into my lap!

Cindy, my quilting sister, has a quilting friend who is moving up in the world, and offered her previous machine for sale.  It's a Bernina Artiste 640.  She was asking $500 for it.  The package includes several standard feet, a walking foot, a Bernina Stitch Regulator foot, and an extra-large table for working with quilts.  I might expect to see a package like this on E-Bay for nearly $2,000.

After a bit of discussion, I decided to buy it.

We decided to drive to Pennsylvania to pick it up, and to see Cindy's newly remodeled kitchen.  Mom wanted to see it too, so we invited her.

In the meantime, Cindy was familiarizing herself with the machine, and found that the stitch length adjustment knob was broken.  The knob is connected to the machine by a thin plastic shaft, and it can easily be broken if the knob is pushed sideways somehow.  So she drove to her Bernina dealer, an hour's drive each way.  The dealer replaced the knob, then opened the machine, cleaned everything out, and made sure it was working perfectly.  It took two hours.  Cindy asked him how much she owed him.  He said, "Nothing".  She insisted on paying something, so he charged her $12.50, the price of the knob.

Lynn was concerned about possibly ugly snow when driving, but weather forecasts looked OK.  We'd expect some snow, but it shouldn't be bad.  Wrong.  We stopped at a gas station maybe an hour away from her house.  It wasn't snowing when we went in.  When we came out, it was near whiteout.  We proceeded anyway.  The only way I could tell where I was supposed to be going was by following the taillights of the truck in front.  We got to the Phillipsburg exit and called Cindy to ask if we should get off I-80 there or stay on.  She said to get off.  About that time, the snow tapered down to a reasonable amount, and the rest of the drive had no problem.  We found out the next morning that there had been a multi-vehicle accident on I-80, about where and when we would have been if we had stayed on I-80.

We had a very pleasant stay with Cindy.  She introduced me to the machine's main functions.  At one point, she tried to show me how to use a buttonhole stitch to do applique.  We set the machine for 4-mm stitch length.  It gave us 0 stitch length.  Other decorative stitches actually stitched backward.  She couldn't figure it out.  Finally, since Bernina calls the machine a sewing computer, she decided to do what you do when computers act up:  turn it off and back on again.  That cleared up the problem.

I asked Cindy about Y seams.  Those are seams where three seams have to meet at a point.  She said that you just locate exactly where the seams will begin and end, and make sure that's where they do begin and end.  If you do that carefully, it works.

When we got home Sunday, Lynn worked to straighten up the office so I could have a place to sew.  Tonight (Monday), I finished moving things around and got out the machine and tried to do a Y seam.  It worked!