Are you considering a new machine?

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 with. 

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 purchase. 

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 machine.

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.)

Comments (2) -

Hi Pat,

Good blog and I think a lot of us have been there.  My first machine only had a 4X4 field also.

Now on to a new machine, I love, love my machine. It does everything I want and without a complaint (knock on wood).  A new machine that will do what mine will do plus the huge hoop would run about $10,000. At my age I don't think I would want to commit to something like that.

For the younger folk here please check on all the new machines that have come out lately and go ahead and get the biggest and best one you can afford for it will give you many many years of pleasure.


Marge - I understand what you are saying.  I agree!!  

However, I did make a commitment for that $10k machine and I have no regrets.  Embroidery is my addiction and I find that the joy it gives me exceeds the price.  

I cannot buy the house or car of my dreams, but I do have the embroidery machine of my dreams.

And, I reiterate - to the younger of us - a passion is a precious thing, it is a gift to yourself to have the best of the best.  Don't buy thoughtlessly, but remember the sacrifices you have made through your life and be good to yourself.  

I don't know anyone with a passion who has not spent just a little too much on their obsession.  I think the guilt goes away when we feel the pleasure of their work.


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