Collecting 101

I was told that once you have three like items you are officially a collector of that item. So how many quilters out there are sewing machine collectors? Come on—be honest with yourself.

I happen to have four machines, and each has a very good reason to be in my house. Or at least that’s what I keep claiming. I’m not sure my husband is still buying that line. Let me introduce you to the ladies, and you can decide.

The oldest is a Singer treadle. My mom picked it up at a garage sale in the 1970s. I’ve sewn a couple of dresses on it, but currently it functions more as a place to display a dollhouse. Something tells me, however, with a little cleaning and oil, it would run without any problem. It would be handy if we ever had an extended electrical outage.

Next I have a Singer Featherweight. This one I bought from a friend just a few years ago. According to an Internet search of the serial number, she was “born” January 22, 1948. I have used the Featherweight for travel because of its light weight and compact size. It is the perfect machine if you need only a straight stitch. With a minor amount of fiddling, it does fine at free-motion quilting. My only complaint is that it hates my favorite King Tut thread and is much happier on a diet of Coates & Clark.

I bought my third machine in 2000, a Pfaff 2040. She has served me well, as she is not too heavy, has lots of fancy stitches, and, overall, is a nice little workhorse. My only complaint is the ease of switching to a fancy stitch when you don’t want to. In fairness, this is a minor design flaw that was pointed out prior to purchase.

The star of my stable is the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0. Initially, we had a rough time agreeing on our working relationship, but we are now fast friends. She has spoiled me with her automatic pressure foot and thread cutting, and she loves King Tut thread. I keep her set up for free-motion quilting, letting her sister the 2040 do any boring straight seams.

At one time I had another machine. I gave my first Singer to a budding seamstress when I acquired the Featherweight. Because, really, how many sewing machines does a person actually need?