Monday, August 27, 2012

Welcoming a New Addition! :)

Well, new to me, anyway. If we're counting such things, he's actually got a few years on me!

Some of you may remember "Peggy" from my "Where I Sew" post. Good ol' Peg. She was my very first sewing machine, a 1969 Singer that belonged to my grandma. When I moved to New York for grad school, my father (over) oiled it and my mother optimistically sent it across the country with me. Peggy sat in the front closet of my apartment for four years before I decided to start sewing this past January.

Peggy, in all her glory.

I can't really complain about her performance. I could never get the stitching to be quite straight, but it's very possible that owes more to my complete lack of understanding of tension rather than anything Peggy did wrong. She started slow and it took a bit of a special touch on the foot pedal to get her going, but like learning to drive a stick shift, you eventually get the feel for it. And though the bobbin didn't hold much thread, I liked that you didn't have to unthread and re-thread the machine in order to refill it.

But the past March when I was home, my mother, so excited by my re-entrance into the sewing world, took it upon herself to see what better machines might be available on Craigslist. Through pure luck, she found a Bernina Record 930 for sale, identical to hers and the one on which I learned to sew, except in even better condition. After she took me to the airport (I was home on Spring Break when this took place), she went to check out the machine and bought it for me (I have probably the best mother ever)!!!

 It came with all of this neat stuff too! (Terribly lit picture, so I put a fancy filter on it. That's what all the cool kids are doing, right? If you use an Instagram filter, it's not crap, it's art! Magic!)

Unfortunately, from the fact that I'm announcing this now and she bought it in March, you can tell that I was separated from my new toy for quite some time. Sewing machines are not all that portable in the best of circumstances, and all of this sturdy Swiss mechanical goodness weighs, by my estimate, a solid half ton. Shipping wasn't an option, so I just had to wait until I drove back to Nebraska again, which wasn't until July. It traveled back to New York with me (via a stop in Michigan, where it sewed a very quick beach blanket) and it is now happily set up on my dining room table.

It sews so beautifully, you guys. It is AMAZING how much difference it makes to sew with this machine vs. Peggy. It just feels different--it so smooth and you can tell that all the things inside the machine are moving just as they are supposed to. It's also really easy to thread compared to Peggy, which I appreciate. Even though it is 30 years old, I can tell that it's a machine that is going to be with me for a very, very long time. It is magnificent!

Bingley inspected and approved.

So thanks to my dear mother, I am sewing on something that I could have only dreamed about for many more years. It was a truly generous gift, and I am already enjoying it so much! I guess I should probably sew her something for Christmas, eh? :)

And we shouldn't feel too badly for Peggy in all of this either. Peggy went back to Nebraska with me, and then she took a trip to Kansas, where she now resides with my sister-in-law (recipient of this table runner) who is hoping to learn how to sew as well. So Peggy continues her role as a great starter machine!

All that's left now is naming the machine (and a walking foot--I really need one!) I've already figured out that this one is a boy. I want something Swiss-sounding, but I don't know what sounds Swiss besides "Roger" and "Stanislas" (tennis players) :) and I don't like either of those names. I know there is some German influence in Switzerland, so I'm picking a German name (I hope this doesn't make me sound totally "ugly American"!) Whether it's very "Swiss" or not, German names are pretty badass, and so is this machine, so it works.

Here are the leading contenders:

--Tobias (Fünke) ;)

It is important that it be just right, you know. :) Thoughts?

Update 3/18/13: This machine has officially been christened "Tobias" and I've since purchased a walking foot. We're all very happy together. ;)

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  1. Hooray for sturdy, vintage machines! I started out on a cheap plastic modern thing, and quickly upgraded to a vintage mechanical one (a Singer, as it happens; an older model than your Peggy). It felt so much better, right from the first stitch!

    It's great to have that extra space to the left of the needle, too. I bet you two will have a lot of fun together!

  2. Yay!!! I love the little organized tool box it came with too. My vote for name: spray paint it blue, call it Tobias ;)!

  3. LOL Tobias Fünke, yes yes yes! I will add Brüno to the mix. heh.

    And yes.. I am so jealous. What a beauteous machine! Your mom rocks. :)

  4. Congrats on your new machine! You could go the Sound of Music route and name it Friedrich or Brigitta. :)

  5. My husband wanted a German name for his dog when we adopted a brother and sister pair of German Shorthair Pointer mixes, so now we have Emma and Fritz. It works...

    SO jealous of your lovely machine... :)

  6. Hi' I'm stopping by from Plum and June's blog hop. Congratulations on your new machine it it beautiful. My vote for the name would be Tobias. Which got me thinking... I have not named my machine. I think I should start thinking on names.

  7. Love your machine, I too have a Bernina and I'm still in love with her. It's great that you're naming him and my favourite is Gunter for the Friends/NYC connection if that works for you. Where are you studying in NYC and do you frequent The City Quilter, Purl Soho and Pins & Needles as much as I do?!

  8. I learned to sew on a SInger just like yours!

  9. You will love this machine,I owned one for a short time and wish I could have kept it but I wanted to upgrade and I had to let something go. They are real workhorses and if you are interested there is a great yahoo group for these vintage Bernina's lots of information .

  10. Thanks for linking up and sharing Tobias with us :) I really enjoy hearing the stories of how our machines were acquired!

  11. What a great story! I love how the machine was just seemingly found for you. Glad you have a walking foot now too...I was going to suggest I often look there for feet for my Bernina. I'm always happy to save a few bucks. =)

    Visiting from the Tilted Quilt link up.

  12. Loved reading this story - and I completely identify with the lighting/instagram/insta-art! I also have a Bernina and I'm basically obsessed. It's making being a beginning sewer much easier!

  13. Loved your post!
    And everyone does love their Berninas, don't they? Me thinks I best be looking at them, lol!
    Thanks for linking up with us on our hop!

  14. Happy to meet Tobias. I love my older Berninas. I'm sure you will have many wonderful years with him.