My workhorse is my Bernina 1230. I bought her in 1991 at my first Quilt Festival. I can't believe that she will be 20 years old this autumn! That was the most considered purchase I've ever made--I test sewed everything! At that time, computerized sewing machines were new and I wanted something I could grow into. The thing that really sold me on this machine was the presser foot knee lift--no one else had that at the time. It was a big purchase, but I've never regretted it. My recommendations for anyone buying a new sewing machine would be to shop, shop, shop then buy the best machine you can afford. I look forward to many more years with this machine.
And she was my only machine until 2007. That year, mon amie Odile, came from France to stay with us during the Quilt Festival. She had become quite a collector of machines a coudre. We were emailing in advance of her trip and I said how I always look at the Singer Featherweights but never get one because I didn't feel that I knew enough to be a smart shopper. She said she had just bought one (her second one) in the UK and would bring it to me as a gift. Well, I just cried! It was and remains one of the most generous gifts I've ever received. Encore, merci beaucoup, Odile! This past summer this little machine was my only machine while the Bernina was in the shop for 4 weeks. The little Featherweight is another workhorse and I love her as much as my Bernina.
Then in 2008, we had Hurricane Ike. At our house, we were only without electricity for 4 days and during those 4 days, I really didn't have the leisure to sew. But I swore that I would get a non-electric machine so that I could sew through the next (and we will have another) hurricane. So in spring of 2009, I got my Singer 99K hand-crank. She was made in Scotland in 1901 (I think) and is such a beautiful machine. You don't want to do complicated sewing with her as you are guiding your fabric with one hand while the other powers the machine! I have a simple zigzag top nearly completed with her help.
And now the newest member of my sewing machine fleet: my Singer 66 Lotus! Oh my goodness, what a BEAUTY! She is another hand-crank. Born in 1918, I'm not sure where (I just brought her home this evening--I need to do more research). What happened to the aesthetic that produced such lovely tools?!? Even as late as the 1960s, sewing machines would have some sort of pretty, scrolling decals. But early machines had beautiful, painted floral motifs, sometimes even inlaid shell! I guess now you can get 'clings' to 'pimp' your machine, but somehow it just isn't the same. Anyway, I think this machine is just jaw-droppingly gorgeous! I may not do much sewing with her, but so what! As I said before, she is BEAUTIFUL!!!