This was a big step for me, and I didn't take it lightly. I've been using people-powered machines exclusively for over twelve years, and I love them. There's just something about the combination of history and function, the beautiful iron ladies, the wood cabinets, and that tick-tick-tick sound when they're sewing. I'm not giving that up! My piecing will still be done on my treadles. And I'm confident I'll get the Davis going again eventually. But I've got a lot of quilting to do, and this new machine will help me do it.
As you can see, I bought a Pfaff. This machine is a Select 4.2, which is a mechanical machine, not an electronic machine. The main reason I chose it was the built in walking foot.
My first projects while learning this machine were some baby quilts for charity that I had already pieced, layered, and basted.
Here's what I've got done so far.
Sadly, this is another fail. I'm not sure if you can see the reddish discolorations in the blue border. Those are rust stains. Yep, I left the pins in it for all those years! I've tried a couple of rust stain treatments, with no luck. So I can't donate this one either. Sigh.
I used 3.5 in. squares (cut) to make 4 patches, and made the square in a square blocks with white squares cut 6.5 in. and more 3.5 in. squares on the corners, sewn on the diagonal. I had to make half blocks for the sides and top and bottom. If I was doing this again, I'd just make stars.
As I was quilting these quilts, I found that the new machine is really not as good at quilting as the Davis. I almost never had any pleats or tucks with the Davis, no matter how I basted. I think this is because the Davis is sort of unique, with not having any feed dogs and just the foot advancing the fabric. Some things were definitely better in the old days.
Overall, I'm satisfied with the new machine, at least so far. On the plus side, it's really fast. It takes me about an hour to quilt one of these little quilts. And you should see how many bobbins came with the machine! (I only have 4 for my Davis.) It's fun to have a few decorative stitches, too. One of the best things is the foot--it's the same size on either side of the needle, which is great when you're using the presser foot as a guide.
On the other hand, it's loud! I had forgotten what sewing with a motor sounded like. I'm learning to have more control with the foot pedal, but it's not like the control you have with a treadle. I was warned at the shop to plug the machine into a serge protector like a computer so lightning strikes can't fry the pedal, which is something you never have to worry about with people powered machines. If anything goes wrong with the machine, I am going to have to take it to the shop. With the treadles, I can solve many problems myself. There's just less to go wrong.
I hope all my friends in the treadling world won't think I'm a traitor. I'm considering myself more of a hybrid. A blend of old and new, to get the job done.