For any true embroidery fan, there
does come a time when they start to salivate over the new features of the
latest machines. For a reason that I cannot comprehend, we also tend to keep
our machines (if at all possible) and many embroiderers have multiple embroidery
machines. Possibly we are feeding into that old saying "the only
difference between men and boys is the price of their toys." (No
meanness intended, it is just true.) For women, it may be that we are now
feathering the nest and embellishing the outfits of the dolls we used to play
I remember my first machine, and it
was almost 12 years ago. It was a small 4x4 (see, our toys have a lot in
common with the man's vehicles) Brother. I remember it was LOUD!!!
I remember it was full of exciting things like lettering (one letter at a
time), monograms, fun designs and especially the Disney characters. I
remember having so many failures on that machine but for an unknown reason, I
never felt like I wanted to give up. I also recall
thinking about it being a waste of money and I was constantly needing to get
this or that for my appalling creations that ended up in the trash. Does
some of this may sound familiar to you?
Additionally, I started reading
about people who loved their machines and were getting 'sales and/or
compliments' from their friends and family. Ugh, I could not do something
that would make a decent drop cloth!
Five machines later, I realize that
there is much to know about choosing and loving a machine. So, in no particular
order, let me count the ways it is a genuine test of every skill you have ever
learned about making a purchase (and a few that may well be new to some of us).
- (This is my personal favorite, so it is first) The
person you meet in the store is a SALESPERSON who knows how to embroider,
NOT an embroiderer who happens to be there to help you.
Make no mistake, these people are on
some sort of 'plan.' It could be a commission or a sales quota or even
contest for a trip to the Bahamas. They know you are interested and they
are on a mission not to let you out the door until you make a rather substantial
They learned their trade from the
used car salesmen, keep as much information secret as possible.
The more in the dark you are, the more likely they will have a sale. How
much is the real price?? Good luck in figuring out what you are going to
pay! There is little or no information on the Net. There is no actual
price tag anywhere. It will likely depend on who you are actually dealing
with, how high on the food chain is the person pressuring you to buy?
Does that mean the higher up they
are, the better deal you might get? Not by a long shot. Of course the
sales person has to go to the boss to find some wiggle room, but they
have little or no leverage toward getting the best deal you might be able to
get your hands on.
Another thing that is in the
salesperson's favor is that they only embroider on a flat sheet of medium to
heavy cotton that is perfect for embroidery. The design is preplanned,
the stabilizer is accurate for the whole process - well you get the
picture. How many times will you be embroidering on a similar
project? Unless you are only doing decorative wall hangings and kitchen
towels, you are not in sync with the demo you are being given - it is similar
to the pitchman on TV. Therefore, If you are insufficiently informed, you
may well buy something that is not right for you.
Your best bet is to know the machine
before you meet with a sales person. How do you do that???? Several
methods are recommended and keep in mind that this is not a simple
process. It is not for the faint of heart either!!
- Take stock of the machine you already have. (If
this is your first, you are already on the right track in reviewing
information available.) What does your machine have that you
love. What doesn't it have that you would love to have? Keep
in mind that those numbers (speed) is the upper limit, not necessarily the
normally recommended speed for everything.
- Look at the different machines ON the Internet. You will want to review the company
information on the machines that you are interested in AND that support
and technicians will be available in your area. Those support and technical bodies will
be very important to your sanity once you own the dream machine.
- Find a group of users on the Internet and ask all the questions you can
think of. Remember that 'you don't
know what you don't know' so ask for input of the user group. Ask them to respond to your email (off
the group's forum) so that they may speak frankly. Most users group's do not allow for negative
comments. You want to know what
people loved, liked and hated about your prospective product.
- Find a group of users in your area as well. They already are entrenched in loving their machine. Again, negative comments are limited to being very confidential. See some of their work and what different machines can do. Remember, the sponsor is normally the store site where they meet. No dealer carries every brand so they are again - salespeople wanting to sell your something. The benefit is that these salespersons usually DO KNOW their machines. Not every salesperson does!
- My feeling is that you MUST be prepared to walk out the door no matter how much you love it. They watch your response and know when you are excited, be strong and see multiple machines.
Buying a new machine should be a fun
adventure and if you are knowledgeable, it will be. The Brother
PE-770 here at AnnTheGran is a great workhorse, dependable and I highly
recommend it for beginners or for anyone upgrading from their first small
BTW - You have no doubt seen the new
look here at AnnTheGran. I have been
checking it out and find that, so far, everything is still here, it is just in
a more 'menu driven' format. Menu driven
means that there are categories just like you are familiar with already. They have sub-categories and some may have
been switched just a little.
For instance, Blogs used to be a category
but it is now a sub-category under Community.
If you got to my blog via the email you received, you are at the same
place, but now under Community.
I have already discovered something
new and terrific!!! You can now get
graphics here as well! Good graphics for digitizing is so important and these
are created with embroidery in mind - something you may not find
elsewhere. Check it out -
It is really easy to get around the
new format, you just need to click and look.
Click on the new Logo to get to the 'Home' Screen -
Select the Designs category -
Click on Vector -
And you have lots of new ideas for your designs -
With so much to chose from, it is hard to decide where to start! (I am checking out the Diamonds.)