I get asked a lot about what machine to use or buy, and what machines I have. I confess I have amassed somewhat of a collection over the years. Some I use more, some I use less. I have pretty much run out of room to add anything new to the stable. There are some specialty machines that I would love to have, but needed something three times a years doesn’t necessarily justify the expense or the space.
Some things to consider are that many machines have a limited range of what they can do either in terms of specialty work or the materials that can be handled. With one partial exception, there is no machine that can do it all. So here is what I have currently:
Bernina 1130. I purchased this machine in 1987 to replace a Viking 6000 that I burned the motor up on. For many years, this machine has done almost everything I have asked of it. It is limited by speed, and for heavy fabrics both by piercing power and the inability to run heavy thread. However, it is incredibly precise with beautiful stitches. I love the “needle-down” function, the ability to one stitch at a time, and the buttonhole. I don’t use it nearly as much as I used to, but for precision work, button holes and certain repairs it is still very handy. It has even survived lightning strikes to the tune of $300 in circuit board replacement.
This Rex walking foot has been a shop mainstay for many years. I purchased it out of the nickel ads 15 years ago. It was a true “driven on Sunday by a little old lady” find. While the foot is not as high lift as some other walking feet machines out there, it will handle just about anything tough I can stuff under the foot. It lacks real speed, and is not suitable for lighter fabrics. This video illustrates exactly what a walking foot aka compound feed machine does. Additionally, it is designed to run heavy thread and use big needles. Nowadays I use it primarily for repairs involving packs and heavy materials.
More about the rest of my machines soon!