Reading the title of this post, you might think I've finally taken one stitch too many and have gone utterly insane.
But in truth I really have just purchased a new, old, but new machine!
Yesterday I drove to a quilters house in Hollis, NC and bought a Bernina 1230, which is technically a "new" machine to me.
But it's also an old machine because it was built sometime between 1989 and 1998.
But it's ALSO a NEW machine because it has hardly been used!
When G. emailed me about this machine, she was really asking for advice as to whether she should sell it and get a bigger, quilting oriented machine. She already had the exact same model and came by this machine via a friend.
I instantly went on the alert because I've been waiting patiently for one of these awesome older Berninas to walk across my path again.
Allow me to digress for a moment into a bit of my sewing history:
Once upon a time, I was a newly married woman and starting a new job sewing garments for a living. The brother machine I was using at the time gave out after just one week of hard sewing.
I obviously needed a machine that could take the heat of high speed, high intensity sewing. So I went to my local Bernina dealer, at that time in Asheville, NC.
And what should I find waiting for me? A gorgeous, used, Bernina 1130.
This was my first introduction to this amazing line of machines. I played on the 1130 for more than an hour. No, I didn't need all the fancy stitches. No, I didn't need all the bells and whistles, but golly I fell in love with that machine!
But...I couldn't afford it. I had exactly $400 in my pocket thanks to a college refund check and the price on the 1130 was $675.
Looking back I realize what an unbelievable deal it was. That machine was complete with all the feet, knee lifter, the works. On ebay these regularly go for over $1000.
But I couldn't swing it. Josh and I refused to go into debt for ANY expense, even our wedding, so going into debt for a sewing machine seemed like a silly thing in comparison.
I walked out of that store and went to the local Viking dealership which advertised a machine for $300. Truthfully I was very satisfied with the Viking Prelude 340 I left the store with, but in the back of my mind I never, ever, forgot about that Bernina 1130.
As the years have gone by, I've kept an eye on these machines. Not just 1130s, but 1230s, 1630s and pretty much any other machines in that early computerized line. Pretty much ALL of these machines are golden. They've kept their looks and their awesome stitch quality which means their value is actually increasing as these machines get harder to find.
Every couple of months I'd check Ebay auctions looking for one, but I've never found the "right" machine.
Because it was such luck to run across that 1130 in that quilt shop, I always felt I'd get another lucky break and the machine that was meant to me mine would wander across my path.
And as luck would have it - one did just this week!
What's totally unbelievable is that this machine is ALMOST new. Every piece is here, even the original advertising books and print out guides:
It honestly feels like running across a mint condition tea set that was previously owned by Queen Elizabeth, with ALL the pieces, nothing scratched or chipped. It feels like this machine left the store and came home with me, despite the fact that it's probably more than 20 years old!
What I love the most about this machine is its stitch quality. Every stitch is - literally - perfect. As I said on facebook this morning - Truly nothing pieces like a Bernina.
Now you might be wondering about quilting. Yes, I most definitely can free motion quilt on this machine. Berninas have one of the best feet designed for free motion quilting - the open toe embroidery foot.
You might think the quilting ability of this machine is limited by the small space between the needle and the motor of the machine. This area is called the harp space and in the 1230, this space is around 6 - 7 inches (I haven't actually measured it yet).
But I don't think this is a limitation to quilting. For the last two weeks I've been quilting on a very small Janome HD 1000 with a 6.5 inch harp space and I haven't found this space to be terribly detrimental to quilting.
I believe the biggest reason it hasn't been a challenge to quilt on the Janome HD 1000 is because it's on a level surface with the table surface. It's much easier to move the quilt in general because I'm not pushing and pulling the quilt over the edges of the machine bed.
So I will definitely quilt on the Bernina 1230, but mostly plan to use this machine for piecing and applique. I always have two machines set up these days - one for piecing quilts and one for quilting. This way two projects can be going at a time and I'm not constantly having to switch out machines.
Now you might be wondering about my Janome Horizon 7700 - have we had a falling out?
Absolutely not, though it's hard to love a machine deeply when it's broken!
The catch spring on my Janome Horizon broke a few weeks ago and it turns out the whole tension unit in the machine has to be changed in order to fix this little bit of metal.
It's not all bad though. Since I have to drive all the way to Greensboro to get it fixed, we might as well have a workshop while we're at it!
I'll be teaching at Ye Olde Forest Quilt Shop on February 18th from 10 am - 3 pm. Give the store a call to sign up for the class and I'll see you next month!
I'm off to shut up and quilt on this new, old, new machine!