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New to Quilting - will my machine work?

New to Quilting - will my machine work?

Old 07-29-2020, 06:31 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 4
Default New to Quilting - will my machine work?

Hi all! 👋🏼 Thanks for letting me join your group!

Iíve been wanting to learn to quilt for years and Iím thinking now might be the right time for me. I own a vintage Elna TSP machine that worked well the last time I used it (about 8 years ago for DIY wedding stuff). Would this possibly be a machine that I could start with? Or would it just not be capable? Appreciate any insight you can give me - I really know very little about this!
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:35 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
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Welcome to the board. Everyone on here is kind, generous and full of ideas and advice. I think your machine would be just fine to start out with. After you sew a few quilts you may find some features on a new machine that would be very helpful and easy to use. Just take your time and please don't get discouraged if seams don't match or anything like that in the beginning. Just remember, we all start out on a learning curve. Much good luck to you.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:40 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Near Seattle, WA
Posts: 4,418

Hello Jules! I'm waving from a safe personal distance away in Seattle. Welcome to the boards and the hobby.

If the machine works, it will work for quilting. I've used a variety of machines in my quilting career, some with a lot of bells and whistles, but mostly I've used a vintage post-war Japanese Badged machine, whose highest ability is zig-zag. Sometimes it seems like most of the quilting shows are more about "look at what my machine can do" rather than "look what I can do"... but mostly all you need is a good strong straight stitch and desire.

I have a fancy modern computerized Bernina "sewing computer" as they call it. Both it and my trusty vintage machine went down during the Covid lock down and I spent a couple of months on a bottom of the line Brother, the type that costs about $100. It is light (I finally blue-taped it down), it doesn't have a lot of options but it worked fine for basic quilting and mask making for months.

Many of us are self-taught. Some have had friends, family, or classes to help guide them. With the internet, being self taught can be wonderful because we have videos and pictures and guides that I didn't have available to me when I started.
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:19 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 4

Hello Jordan and Iceblossom! Thanks for the words of encouragement!! I’m glad to hear that I can get started with the machine that I already own. I need to dust her off and see if everything is still in good working order.

Iceblossom, I’ve been perusing the internet for ideas and tutorials - there is a ..of information out there! I don’t really have friends or family that quilt but there are a few quilting stores in my city so I can hit them up. My plan is to go through my supplies and figure out what I need to get, to get started. I also need pick out a pattern and fabric combo - just need to not get bogged down in everything and get started.

And Jordan, I will try very hard to take your words to heart about not worrying about seams lining up. I tend to be a perfectionist with things and I need to practice “letting go” and just doing.

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 07-30-2020 at 03:40 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:24 AM
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,795


If you get stuck, just Google the name of your machine and lots of video's come up on how to use your machine. It looks like it will work just fine.

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Old 07-29-2020, 07:42 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 2,221

I have no idea of how old that elna is, but it may need oiling. Check the manual to see where to put it. Use only sewing machine oil , which you can get at Jo Ann's fabric, Hobby Lobby and probably at Walmart (I never looked for it there), or gun oil (usually branded Hoppes), if you have some.
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:53 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: MN
Posts: 23,349

Hello, and welcome.

You will find lots of help - and differing opinions - on how to do things here.

If your machine does a decent straight stitch - that is the only thing it needs to do for piecing. The rest - seam allowances, etc. - is up to you.

When it comes to the actual quilting part - top, batting, and backing - you machine may or may not be cooperative.

Jinny Beyer has been famous for hand stitching many of her quilts - with just a needle and thread (and fabric, of course).
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: River City, Orygun
Posts: 86


Sorry for the long link (I'm mostly illiterate) but is this the machine you have? If so it is a wonderful machine and will work very well. You'd be hard pressed to find a new computerized machine that will be a good for piecing as this one.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:05 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Houston, AK
Posts: 1,878

Welcome to the board from Alaska! This really is a wonderful group of people on here, as you can see. Happy sewing when you start your first quilt.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:54 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 4

bkay, Good point! I did have my machine serviced 8 years ago when I got it. My coworker actually found it at a garage sale for just a few bucks and I spent far more getting serviced (it was a little leaky if I remember correctly). I will do some research into this; it has sat so long it probably needs oiled.

bearisgrey, I will cross my fingers that it will work for quilting. Iíd hate to get the piecing done and not be able to quilt with my machine. I honestly donít know how I feel about hand quilting; Iíve done some cross-stitch when I was little with my mom. I imagine quilting by hand is entirely different.

oldmanquilts, that is my machine! Iím glad to hear itís a good one and feel lucky to have it to start.

You guys are getting me encouraged to get started 😊
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