Quilts in Common

Welcome to our quilting world!

My Sewing Machines

Let’s start with Trouble:  My husband purchased Trouble for me brand new in 2005. He was my first computerized machine. I had already been quilting for about 9 years, and felt like I knew my way around a sewing machine. I had all kinds of issues with Trouble. I tried to solve them myself, but was unsuccessful.  I finally gave up and went back to the store. The sales lady recognized me when I walked in and asked, “So are you loving it?? I bet you have even named it already, haven’t you!” I had never named a sewing machine before in my life, so the concept was entirely new to me, but this machine’s name came to me in that instant. I replied, “Why yes, I have— Trouble!!!”  She had the solution to all my issues- I needed to take the free classes that they provide for all their machines 🙂 I took all the classes, and they helped immensely.  I had fewer issues, and actually grew to love Trouble.



Then– we moved out-of-state. “Put your sewing machine on the moving truck”, they said. “It’s in its original packaging, No worries!” they said. Well, even though it was in its box with all its molded styrofoam around it, its computer board was jostled during the move and irreparably damaged. Sometimes I had a blank computer screen, the reverse no longer worked, it couldn’t remember its stitches, just to mention a few of the problems caused by a damaged computer board.  He still did a straight forward stitch though. His tension was not consistent, but at least I could still sew. I continued to piece and do all my free-motion quilting on Trouble until 2012.

That is not my picture, obviously. Trouble is packed away too deep in the closet for me to get a picture of him. That probably best describes how often I use him too 🙂 Currently he is my go-to machine for buttonhole applique stitch.

Gertrude sewing machineGertrude came along in September of 2012.She is a Singer 301 short bed made in 1956 in Mocha. I had been reading all about vintage machines on Bonnie’s blog. She just raved about them, and I decided to really go out on a limb and buy one. I found one on Craigslist for $175. The lady selling it was also a quilter, and she belonged to my guild! She was getting rid of it because she had 2 backups and decided she only needed one backup (you can’t ever be without a 301). She said it worked perfectly. She even showed me how to sew on it. Once I took her home- I did all my piecing on her. Trouble was strictly for free-motion quilting. I could take Gertrude anywhere and not worry about jostling her- plus she had the most consistent stitch- no tension trouble at all. Gertrude is a wonderful machine and is now my back-up 301 for travel.


Once I learned about sewing, cleaning, and restoring vintage machines, I wanted to buy a million of them. I felt like they were going to go extinct next week and I had to have enough to last me for 100 years! I began to drool over all the machines on Craigslist. I scoured thrift stores for any sewing machines I could find. I bought several of them, brought them home, cleaned and oiled them up, printed out the manuals, and then returned them once I had completely mastered them. It gave me a boost of confidence and knowledge.

During one of my thrift store marathon shopping excursions, I found Bluebell. She is a Singer 347 made in 1960. I paid $12 for her in the spring of 2013.  She has many capabilities including a zig-zag stitch without any cams. She is a gear-run motor. And she came with her own case 🙂 She is so pretty and she sits displayed in my sewing room. She is my go-to machine for zig-zags.

Turqoise Singer 347

I always wanted a black 301, and a finally found Magnum at an antique store in Florence, Oregon. I paid $40 for him in August of 2013.

Clean Magnum

He is a dream machine. The name, Magnum, was Dylan’s idea. It totally fits him! I sew on him everyday.



He does all my piecing, binding, garment sewing, and any needed repairs. He also goes with me to all workshops or sewing times with friends.

And then there is Priscilla.  She is very elegant and has beautiful gold decals. I bought her off Craigslist for $20 in January of 2014, including her wooden cabinet. She does all my free-motion quilting and totally takes it in stride.

Priscilla sewing machine

And my new addition:


This was my grandmother’s machine- more like her pride and joy. She was very attached to it. I haven’t come up with a name for this special treasure yet. It’s hard to find a name that can carry the full weight of her preciousness. She is tiny, cute, and so dainty—a pristine featherweight from the 1950’s- still going strong. I hope to get to sew on her for many years to come. Thank you, Grandma, for investing in the best and handing it down to me.

Update: July 2018

Priscilla has had a rough year. While I was free-motion quilting with her, the large screw down bolt that adjusts the presses foot pressure flew out! Literally, it jumped straight up and out of the machine! I couldn’t get it back in. I tried everything. Ben worked on it for several hours one day and actually got it working again, but it was loud and skipping stitches unpredictably.  I bought another 15-91 off craigslist that was far away and was described as great condition- but when we arrived to look at it, it had been sitting outside in the rain for 6 months!!! I bought it solely for the cabinet because the machine was frozen in place. I cleaned and scrubbed it and eventually got it sewing, but it just didn’t have Priscilla’s smoothness.


After some disappointing searches, Dylan found Ruby at a local thrift shop for $25.

There wasn’t a cord or a foot control, but she sewed beautifully and was smooth and quiet. Just the way Priscilla used to be before the flying bolt incident. I hope we have many quilting years together.


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