Last week I finally took my poor little Betsy into the repair shop. I got the prognosis on Friday: Betsy's nearing the end of her usefulness. The doc didn't say how long she has to live, but that she's got some parts that were manufactured cheaply and that are worn out. He said it's really not worth the labor to try and fix this type of machine, as they're basically built to be disposable (i.e. the labor and parts would cost more than a new machine).
Because of this built-in obsolescence, she's skipping more and more stitches lately when I'm trying to do free-motion quilting, and I'm cursing at her more and more. You can see the evidence of her unruliness if you look closely at the stitching in the photo above.
Soooo.... My dear, sweet husband started looking for machines on E-bay and Craigslist this weekend, and decided to pick up this little beauty for $50.
I don't know what to call her yet, but I've positively fallen in love. This one's a Singer Stylist 834. I love the older machines. They just seem sturdier- better built. And she just HUMS. Even before Betsy started doing the "chunka-chunka-chunka" routine, she never hummed.
At first I was a bit wary- I'd never used a machine with a drop-in bobbin before. But she came with a manual and the purchase paperwork. Someone bought her new in 1980 and took great care of her.
Anyway, I read through the manual and got her going. The threading was a bit complicated at first, but I figured it out. She runs SO SMOOTHLY. I know I'm going on and on about this, but this is the first machine I've had that just... PURRS! *Insert Happy Dance Here*
I also LOVE the little envelope that all the information came in. Isn't it just darned cute?!
Another really cool thing about this machine: I found the repair manual online. So if she starts acting up on a Sunday, I'll be a bit more confident about tearing her apart and tinkering with her.
Not that the lack of a repair manual stopped me from doing the same to Betsy when she started to seize up a few weeks ago. But hey, after I oiled her innards (had to tape an oil bottle to a chopstick) she ran fine. Except for the chunka-chunka. Which is due to the badly-stamped plastic parts.
However, I wouldn't have been able to use her at all had I not taken off the bottom cover and dove right in. Just sayin'.
Here's the new machine next to Betsy. Richie says we can put Betsy in the living room and I can delegate straight seams and easy stuff to him to sew on her if I want. How on earth did I get so lucky to find this man? Oh yeah. I chose him and laid in wait for him. Heheheh.
This last photo below just shows a bit of the projects I was working on this weekend. If you're wondering about the stippling, I found a great site with some great free-motion quilting ideas and templates: Patsy Thompson Designs Ltd. I took the idea from the Revolving Axis free motion quilting designs in her free downloads section, then I free-handed it. I drew it on paper first, just to get the feel of it, then free-handed it with the machine. You can print it out and pin the paper to your quilt sandwich as well. I found her Pre-Flight Checklist for Newbies helpful as well.