The infinitely useful Sew Mama Sew Blog has launched Sewing Machine Month with a meme that will be compiled into a grand list that can be perused by those in the machine buying market.  Here is my contribution.

What brand and model do you have?

I have a Kenmore 15506.

How long have you had it?

My mom got it for me for Christmas in 2004.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?

I think it was around $150-$200 but my mom would know better.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?

Primarily clothing, some home decor projects (pillows, curtains) and one quilt.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?

I sew more in the summer than in the winter but I would say on average I use it about twice a week for long stints at a time.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?

I would say ambivalent.  It’s not my ideal machine but it gets the job done.

I go through phases where I think nicknaming objects is cute but come the next day I’ve totally forgotten what I called it.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

Even though I often hear the siren call of fancy pants computerized machines, I like that my machine was simple to figure out.  I hate reading manuals so it was important that I could sit down and get to work.  My mom has a very old Kenmore (it’s probably about fifty now) that I learned on and the transition from one to the other was a piece of cake.  I also like that it’s lightweight.  I plan on getting Chris to drag it to Edmonton with him so Erin and I can stitch up some fun.  And honestly it can really hold it’s own for such a plain jane.  I recently sewed a very thick slab of felted wool to two layers of fabric and it didn’t even complain.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

If anything ends up annoying me it’s usually my own fault.  94% of the time it’s because I didn’t thread it properly.  But it has it’s shares of inherent grating quirks.  I don’t like that you have to slide out the little tool drawer to get to the bobbin.  It’s also loud.  I didn’t know this until I saw more high-end machines at work but I definitely can’t listen to a podcast or watch a movie and expect to follow along.  I wish it had an automatic button hole feature.  Some pretty stitches would be nice.  I’m sure when I delve deeper into quilting my wants list will grow.

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

Not really.  To be honest I was a bit disappointed when I got it because I had casually mentioned wanting a machine months before but I guess I didn’t really mean it.  Now I thank my lucky stars that my mom took me seriously.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

I would recommend it to beginners who aren’t too interested in quilting or making complex tailored garments but who just want to make a few pillows or tack up a hem.  I think it’s a bit foolhardy to go out and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a show pony when you just need a faithful mare.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

Number one would have to be what you are intending to use it for.  I think personal taste is also something to consider.  If you wear clothing with a lot of detail, like smocking or embroidery then you might want a computerized machine so that you can replicate that look.  But you also need to consider your technical prowess.  If it hurts you head to think of making a blog header or typing a letter instead of hand writing one you might be happier with a simpler machine.

Do you have a dream machine?

I really covet a Bernina with a Janome coming in as runner up.  I’m not sure what model but I have loads of time to consider since I won’t be able to afford one any time soon.  In the meantime I’m grateful that I have a reliable machine.

I’m really looking forward to what other people have to say.

My sewing mojo has been eclipsed by a reading binge this week.  I finished A Handmade Life and really enjoyed it and now I’ve started Sons and Lovers which I purchased at a library book sale years ago.  I have been dreaming about bags since I won Sew What Bags from the Canadian Living Make + Do blog.  It’s a fun book to flip through and would be perfect for adventurous beginners.  I think the series and it’s choose your own adventure style is more appropriate for garment making, like the Skirts book that I also own and refer to often,  but it’s always great to round out the craft library.  I am itching to make an over the shoulder bag for my trip since all the bags I own seem to be oversize or small handbags.  I especially have my eye on the Town Bag from Weekend Sewing because the leather really classes it up but unfortunately I have no tinted leather in the dwindling stash.