In 1992 I moved from Yorktown Heights, New York (in Westchester County just north of the city) to Williamsburg, Virginia.
I quit my job as a fairly well paid programmer at IBM research and became an unpaid stay at home mom. My husband at the time went from a well paid researcher at IBM research to a not as well paid staff member at NASA. It was an abrupt end to our extravagant DINK (dual income no kids) lifestyle.
The security deposit we got back from the townhome that we were renting in NY, where everything is expensive, was the last of the spare money we would see for a very long time. I had recently started doing quite a bit of quilting so I decided to splurge and buy myself a new computerized sewing machine with my portion of the money.
I spent 6 months shopping around for a machine, very worried I’d buy the wrong thing and regret it forever. I knew this machine would have to last a long time and I wanted to make sure I bought one I really liked. After a lot of test driving I finally purchased a Bernina 1650. A day later I saw a demo of a Pfaff 1475 and fell in love. I returned the Bernina, something I was told no quilter has ever done as Berninas were – and maybe still are – considered to be THE machine to own if you quilt.
I then hunted around for the best deal I could find on the Pfaff. I finally found a place in New Jersey selling these machines for $1800 – half the normal retail of $3600. I suspect the place wasn’t exactly kosher but that was all the money I had.
I’ve been in love with my 1475 ever since.
I have a custom table for my machine, which you can see in the photo at the top, where it sits recessed down into the table so I have a large flat work surface. This makes it much easier to quilt large quilts as the quilt doesn’t hang down off the side the machine and get caught on things. It also keeps the machine in place. These Pfaffs and relatively light weight and like to jump around when going fast.
Someone asked me a few weeks back how I can quilt for hours at a time without fatigue. As you can imagine from the picture below manipulating a large quilt around and through the machine while quilting it can be a challenge. I can usually quilt for 10-14 hours a day and am mostly okay. I have a very nice ergonomic office chair and I try to relax and keep my shoulders down. Doing yoga and some shoulder exercises with weights each morning helps also.
Unfortunately my machine is getting old, almost 15 years now, and I get worried about it breaking down. They only made the 1475s for a few years and in my opinion all the Pfaffs made since are junk. So a few years ago I bought a second machine on ebay as a spare just incase. Today I bought a 3rd machine as a spare to the spare.
Maybe I’m obsessed. I’m clearly set in my ways when it comes to the tools I use to make my artwork.