New Addition to the Sewing Machine Family

White, Singer, Brother and now Janome... my wife continues to add to her family of sewing machines. With her embroidery, craft work, art work, home decor items and clothing construction she uses her machines each day. She also needs different machines to do the different jobs she does and to relieve the pressure on each machine. By having and using the various machines, she has not had to service nor repair them too often.

The work horse in the family is Knight, her White sewing machine of 40 years. Yes, for 40 years this White Knight has come to the aid of my wife while making curtains, duvets, clothing, wedding dresses and more. She has hauled her White Knight to the cottage, to other homes and sewn with it in many less than perfect working conditions -and continues to do so today. Straight stitch and zig-zag -hard to imagine all the work she did with those two stitches. Hail! fine and faithful friend.

At one point 9 years ago my wife wanted an embroidery machine and the Brother Pacesetter PC 8500, known as Minerva, fit the bill. With cards and computer programming (which she has yet to master) she monograms and embellishes towels, covers, art work, craft items, etc. A wedding dress with embroidery and pearl embellishments was one project done on this machine. Smooth, quiet, hard working -a great addition.

To relieve the pressure on the White Knight, which was still being used for all straight stitching, we went looking for another machine to do the job. Oh, right! my wife also wanted the machine to be able to sew leather and tougher fabrics as she upholsters and makes book covers, purses and other items. Lo and behold! she found this Singer in an antique shop, on the floor hidden beneath other treasures. Five dollars lighter we took it to a sewing machine repair shop to be serviced and found out we had a sewing machine that could be used for all she desired at the time. And so Arachne, a tough dynamo, joined the family.
(The machine looks more like a black widow to me.)

On yet another antique and flea market adventure we came across a pretty looking sewing machine that had been in use in the Peoples' Republic of China. It looked like the Singer but the material it was made of was not as hardy. Bought for $20 it is serviceable and can be used, but not to the extent that my wife requires. And so Farfalla, Italian for Butterfly, joined the sewing group, but is mostly for show, despite the fact that it can be and is used.

Note the Butterfly symbol, and thus Farfalla.

And now for the newest addition. I need to preface my remarks with the fact that I had been taking my wife's Brother 2200 down the stairs to her studio when I missed the last step and banged the machine against my knee and the wall. Needless to say it did not work so well after that and we had to take it in to be repaired. At the time, it was the most used machine in my wife's studio and was the one that now was taken to other places to do the home decor work The 2200 was the new work horse bought about 7 years ago to relieve the pressure of Minerva and the White Knight.
The 2200 had to be sent away to be repaired, and, we found out, the mechanisms inside had been worn to the point of replacement because they were made of plastic. (we had not known this when buying although we had researched many machines in that price range at the time). The repairs were to cost more than we had actually paid for the machine.
So, off my wife went to look for the next work horse. My wife already had an embroidery machine, Minerva, so that did not have to be part of the equation.
She found what she was looking for and had worked out a deal with the additional purchase of a felt embellisher. That was until she asked me to go along to see what a fine deal she had made.

And so the Janome Professional Memory Craft 6600, Athena, with table, joined the family. (To note: no embellisher, at this time.)
What with 163 Stitches across 4 modes, 7 one-step, sensor buttonholes, block and script monogram stitches, AcuFeed: Built-in layered fabric feeding system, start/stop button (a most cool item as I watched this machine sew in a straight line without my wife holding the material), maximum sewing speed: 1000spm/Straight; 700spm/Zigzag, visible pressure guage, jam-proof, magnetic, top-loading, full-rotary hook system, independent motor for bobbin winding, automatic thread cutter, speed control lever, arm and bed space: 9" x 5" (225mm x 120mm), external feed balancing dial, individual and combination stitch editing, auto-lock, Lock-a-matic, and needle up/down quick command keys, knee lifter, adjustable stitch width and length, 14 standard feet, weight: 26.5lbs. (12 kg)(tis heavy but apparently this is good). extended seam allowance guide and a few other things that I didn't understand during the instruction time, I was impressed. My wife was also impressed although she anguished over the difference in price to what she had originally intended to buy -but did admit it was superior for doing the things she demands of her machines. (With all the bells and whistles this baby should open up her studio and get down to work while my wife has her first coffee.)
Throughout her work out, Athena ran quietly and smoothly with no puckering of material, even when layered. This machine will be good for quilting and making curtains and duvets because it has that larger arm and bed space. The machine will also stitch leather and use the metallic threads my wife often uses. Athena will now do the warrior's work in the studio.

This machine will need to do the work -let me tell you. Athena does not come cheap -she would have been more than a down payment on our first home. I justified the purchase by saying for the amount of use it will get and amortized over 10 years (remember my wife still has the White Knight of 40 years) the machine will cost her a Tim Horton's medium coffee per day of use. The machine is warranted for 2 years and 15 years extended, so using those figures the cost is even less. (Pat, the owner of the store from whence we bought the machine asked to use my justification in future sales at his shop. Knock yourself out, Pat.)
My wife has been on the machine since it has come into our house yesterday (at least 8 hours so far), and, at this point, Athena is delivering the goods.

Welcome to the newest member of our sewing machine family.


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