Sewing machine reviews pt 2, Elna Grasshopper

Sewing machine reviews pt 2, Elna Grasshopper

Last Christmas my dad turned up with this little beauty. She was made in 1947 and still purrs away today. I use her all the time as she makes a gorgeous straight stitch and has a tiny free arm. And looks so handsome too 😉

She is operated with a fold out bar which you push with your knee, rather than a pedal. It takes a little getting used to but it’s pretty cool. At least it never wanders off like pedals do.

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It comes in an at green metal case, making it look like something used in WW2! The case folds open to provide a work table around the machine, which is very handy.

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To wind a bobbin you place the empty bobbin on the pin at the side and the machine “knows” you are winding a bobbin and automatically turns off the needle. That is something that wasn’t incorporated back into machines again until fairly recently and is very snazzy!

She’s a beautiful old lady and I would highly recommend getting one if you ever see one for sale. It still stitches as beautifully as the day it was made!

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Husqvarna Viking 875 review

Husqvarna Viking 875 review

I splashed out and treated myself to a new sewing machine. I really wanted a machine with a bigger throat (the area to the right of the machine) for bigger quilts, and this seemed like the ideal compromise between price (it was not £2500 like the equivalent Bernina) and features (it has one of the largest work areas of a domestic machine for example. So I sold my industrial machine and my Husqvarna Rose and ordered the Viking 875.

And boy am I glad I did! It is amazing.

Some of the features I like:
*Automatic fixing of stitches at the beginning and end of stitching. No more backtacking. Ever.
*It automatically cuts your threads, and pulls the top thread down to the bottom of the fabric. So handy when you are in the middle of a large piece of fabric, no more endlessly long bobbing threads pulled out. Also good if you don’t want to move your sewing too much. Really handy.
* It adjusts the pressure on the foot automatically depending on what you are stitching. And this is not just a gimmick. I accidentally stitched some fabric with buttons which went under the presser foot, and it just went over the buttons like they weren’t there. No hiccups, no stalling, no jamming. Like a tank over an ant’s nest. And buttons is about the most extreme thing I would ever throw at it, and it just adjusted itself easily. Update: I stitched over hems made up of four layers of tweed and lining and it stitched it beautifully!
* The functions are mostly very intuitive. Good thing too as my machine shipped without a manual so I am having to figure it all out without one. Maybe helped by the fact that I was so familiar with the other Husqvarna’s functions but it is easy peasy to find your way around.
* Two bright lights. It lights up the whole sewing area, no more shadows on your work.
* It remembers your settings. So even when you turn your machine off it will go back into the stitch tension and needle position you were using. Annoying when you were previously reverse stitching as I discovered today but otherwise amazing. On the old machine I often left it on for hours or even days so it wouldn’t lose my settings. Now I can just turn it off. 
* The machine tells you when the bobbin thread is low. You can ignore it but then at least you have been warned. Really helpful!!
* When you start stitching it lowers the foot for you, when you take your foot off the pedal it raises the foot a little so you can pivot your work, and when you are finished (and have fixed and cut your threads) I will move the foot up and the needle out of your work so you can take your work out. Lowering and raising the foot is done by button at the front, no longer with a lever. Other than me automatically moving my hand to the back to do this (I am learning not to now!), it is very useful. And most of the lowering and raising is done exactly when you need it to be done so you don’t really all that often have to use those buttons.
* It has so many cool stitches!! Bicycles, cars, sweeties, stars, cross stitches, letters, hearts and about 150 more.

I have for the first time in about a year shoved the Jones straight stitch only aside and this is now my new baby!

Sorry, no pictures (yet) as my photostream from iPhone to Mac takes ages to update and I want to get this posted…

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