Monday, June 22, 2015

Meet Melody!


Meet the newest addition to my sewing studio, Melody!

Oh my gosh, where do I start? I guess we'll start a little over a year ago, when I started thinking again about upgrading my sewing machine. I had a perfectly fine Husqvarna Viking 400, but it was closing in on its 15th birthday and I found that there were little things about the machine that were difficult for me to work around as my sewing skills improved. For example, threading the needle! My 50-year-old eyes struggle with this task, but the newer high-end machines have automatic threading. Ah, what a luxury. I'm also a rather slow sewer, meaning you won't catch me putting "the pedal to the metal" but my Viking's speed could only be controlled through the foot pedal rather than with a button on the machine that I could set to "slow." I wanted a machine where the needle would stay down in the fabric when I stopped sewing (my Viking does that only when you tap the foot pedal once) and ideally, a machine that allowed me to lift the presser foot without taking my hands off the fabric (using a knee lift).

A couple months ago, I put a small deposit down on a Pfaff Ambition. It was a rather spur-of-the-moment thing at a sewing machine dealership I often frequent. I felt a little pressured, to be honest, but I was assured I could change my mind. The Pfaff was fine, but it didn't have some of the features I wanted in my ideal machine, so I hesitated about going back to pay it off. The other machine I'd been considering was the Juki F600, which gets great reviews. However, not many dealers around here sell Juki home machines, and I didn't want to order one over the Internet without trying out ... plus, I want to support my local sewing machine shops, even if it costs me a little more. A good local dealer is worth more to me than a few dollars saved.

Then a couple weeks ago, I drove down to southeastern Massachusetts to Reliable Machines. Unfortunately I found out after driving there that they'd closed shop. Luckily there was another dealership nearby ... and they sold Jukis! However, they didn't have the F600, but the salesperson suggested that I try the Baby Lock Melody, which was similar. I did ... and I fell hard for it. Beautiful stitching, quiet, met all my requirements. The only thing was, it was a LOT more than the Pfaff. Much more than I had saved up. I figured it would take me a year to save up for it, so I put my machine lust on the back burner and said a sorry goodbye.

I digress now, but in the meantime, my mother had developed some serious health issues. She (amazingly!) bounced back and was filled with newfound energy and a desire to get back into quilting and sewing. I mentioned to her that I'd been in the market for a new machine, she said she wanted to buy a used machine ... and one thing led to another where she agreed to take my Viking and give me money to buy the Melody! I know that sounds like an uneven trade, but the Viking is a fantastic machine for machine for quilting (extension table, walking foot, piecing foot -- pretty much every foot a quilter could want!) and my mom knows I take good care of my machines. In fact, I'd recently had the machine serviced.

I was set to buy the Melody from the dealer 30 miles south of us, but then my local dealer gave me an even better deal (saving me about $200 extra dollars!) so that was it. I brought the Viking down to my mother's house last weekend and gave her a sewing lesson, she gave me a generous amount of money, and then last Friday I picked up my Melody from the dealership.

She was super easy to set up. Quiet, sews like a champ. There are so many features, I don't even know where to begin. My husband had a pair of chinos that needed re-hemming, so that was my first project. Now I'm getting ready to make bathing trunks for him and board shorts for O.

Here's the deal. I'm kind of intimidated by the machine. I walk by it and sort of get this sick, panicky feeling. Crazy, isn't it? I've only worked on fairly simple machines ... even my Viking 400, though computerized, was pretty basic. My Melody gives me the feeling of, "Where the *&^% do I begin?" It has been bugging me because I have so many projects I want to finish, and new projects I want to begin, but I get tense and nervous thinking about sitting down to start them. Then I start beating myself up and feeling guilty that I have such a beautiful new machine just sitting there, waiting for action. LIke I said ... CRAYZEE!

For the last couple days, I've been "avoidance knitting." When I'm stressed, I knit. I also do a lot of thinking when I knit, and I finally decided on a strategy to get over my intimidation. It actually came about by thinking about what I tell my magazine writing students who get overwhelmed by all the tasks they have to accomplish to build a successful career and that's to pick one task on the list and just get it done. It may not be the one thing that should be done first, or the most important task on the list or even the right task, but the point is, it gets you moving toward a goal ... a goal of getting published. Or in my case, the goal of feeling comfortable around my new machine!

Does anyone else go through this too? Or is it just me?

Happy summer! I hope to have some finished sewn objects to show you soon. :)


  1. That's an awesome sewing machine, Diana. It's funny because as I was reading your paragraph on being intimidated by your new machine I was all set to give you some advice. Then I read your next paragraph and saw you had come up with the same solution. And yes, I'm just like this about new things that have a learning curve. In fact, I got a new sewing machine for Mother's Day in 2014 and didn't get up the courage to start using it until that summer. And it is a very basic Janome!

  2. Hi, I don't so much get intimidated by new machines I jump in feet first and then may be regret it later. What I would say though, is instead of worring about existing projects is get some scraps of fabric and just play with the machine settings, button holes, zips for no good reason you should find that if what you are producing isn't 'important' to get right, you should be more relaxed and get familiar with the settings before working on your projects.


  3. That's good advice, Tracy, thank you. I've done a bit of that, but I think it would help if I were more methodical about it. :)

  4. Whew, glad to hear that, Kristie. The Janomes are nice. Are you using it a lot more? Oh, the lovely little things you can make for Lucy. :)

  5. I keep thinking about upgrading my very basic machine, but then I don't sew as much as I used to. That might be because my machine is basic, so perhaps if I had a better machine.....? Hmmm.

  6. LOL, well that strategy hasn't worked out well for me. I have several machines, and the ones I've used most are the "basic ones," like the Singer 99 from Scotland, straight stitch only, that can sew through leather, denim, and upholstery fabric without a hiccup. But yeah, the features like automatic threading and adjustable speed control should make one want to sew more. In theory. ;-)


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