Firstly, my ordinary machine. I've had this little beauty for about twenty years now and it's been wonderful all this time. It's a very basic Janome machine, that is capable of forward stitching and zig-zag and has a reverse toggle. Yup, that's about it!! Of course it does buttonholes too, but that is just a manipulation of the zig-zag stitch.... It also has six fancy stitches, which are on the far right of the green and blue labels on the top right. I've used these stitches only once or twice in the whole time I've had it. I've done all my adult sewing on this machine. I really like it because, being so basic, I can service it myself, and have managed to carry out a few minor repairs once in a while too. The most complex thing I've done is change its drive belt. It has no computer and so no fancy automatic functions, but this suits me to a T. My mother has a wonderful computer driven machine, and the one time I used it it's automatic "needle up"/"needle down" function both startled me every time it did it, and frustrated me too. Plus, she always seems to be having to take it in to get "looked at". because some timing thing is out or some such trivial disfunction, which renders it unusable. So annoying. This would drive me round the bend if it was my machine.
The one "modern" application I've seen on new machines that I think would be pretty useful is the automatic buttonhole maker. I've seen shirts made using this function and the buttonholes are works of art, while my efforts fit into the category "the best I can do". After years of practice though at least I think I can say my buttonholes are now consistent, if not as perfect as the computer produced ones. Meh. Other than that, I've never felt the need for more than the basics offered by this machine. It's sewn its way through countless garments for me, countless clothes for my children through every stage of their lives, er, three shirts for my husband (poor man!), quilts, handicrafts, the curtains for two entire houses... I couldn't be happier with my little beast.
And here is my overlocker. If my ordinary machine is the golden child in this family, then my poor overlocker is the problem child. The Cain. The evil sister.
I got another Janome, and the big plus with them both being Janomes is that I can use the same foot pedal for both machines, I just switch the power cord from one machine to the other and bob's your uncle. Handy. I have a love/hate relationship with this machine. When all is going swimmingly then we are happy and harmonious together, completing our project. If my overlocker is having a bad day, say has taken a dislike to the fabric I'm using, or has been threaded in a way that some tiny weeny little thing is not quite right then it can rapidly become the machine from hell. Sometimes it can be the tiniest thing, one thread de-threads itself, overlocker throws a tantrum, and the re-threading can take ages, and use metres of thread. I really only use the basic 4-thread serge, and the rolled hem function. I don't trust my sanity to try anything trickier on this thing...
There is a note in my overlocker instruction book that has me puzzled. For oiling of the overlocker, it recommends once a week for normal use, and once in ten hours in continuous use. (double take) Huh? Every ten hours? I'm wondering if this is some manual-writer's idea of a joke. I can imagine a few nerdy Janome technicians hunched giggling over their computers, "Ha ha ha, I've got a good one, let's recommend re-oiling every ten hours, hehehe!!" I mean seriously. And what is "normal" use anyway (ah, the age-old question...!) I only use my overlocker about once a week, anyway.
What machines do others use?