Quilt Shop Tours, Studio

Quilt Shop Tour (Sew Many Quilts) and Sewing Machine Maintenance

This post has two parts: Part I (the fun part) is a tour of the new Sew Many Quilts quilt shop location; and Part II (the less fun part) is a little discussion on sewing machines and their maintenance (with a request for your input).

Part I: Sew Many Quilts’ New Shop

We have wonderful quilt shops in Central Oregon. I have a full list and link to the shop’s websites in the right sidebar of my blog.

Saturday I need to take by Bernina QE in for service (more on that in Part II) to Sew Many Quilts and Bernina Center. They recently moved to a larger location and Terry the Quilting Husband and I were looking forward to seeing their new shop and layout.

We have lived in Central Oregon for nearly 12 years and Sew Many Quilts is one of the first quilt shops I went to when I moved here. They used to be in a very very very tiny location and you had to sometimes back out of an area so another quilter could pass by the area you were shopping in. Then they moved to a semi-industrial shop area but it was tucked away and I wonder if they were not getting enough traffic. Now they have moved to a highly visible store front strip mall type location.

This quilt shop is always dear to my heart as it is where I bought my first “high-end” sewing machine (but more on that in Part II).

Enough rambling, here is a photo tour of their new location (note they do not have their sign out front yet so I did not take many outside photos).

General quilt shop photos:

The Bernina Center (warning this section contains “sewing machine porn”):

There were many wonderful quilt samples on display, but this one was my favorite:


So next time you are in Central Oregon, be sure to add this wonderful quilt shop to your visit list!

Part II: Sewing Machines and Their Maintenance

Here are a couple questions for those of you who sew (at first I wrote “sewers” but I thought hmmm that would be like I am addressing all the underground conduits following my blog, ha!):

  1. What type of sewing machine(s) do you have; and if you have multiple machine – which one is your favorite?
  2. How often do you get your sewing machine(s) serviced?

My Sewing Machines

I have 2 sewing machines – a Bernina 440 QE (my primary machine) and  Bernina Active 210 (for travel/classes). I nicknamed my beloved Bernina 440 “Berny”.

My beloved Bernina 440 QE (“Berny”)

I began quilting on a Singer sewing machine and then upgraded to a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. At the time this was a huge purchase as a new quilter – $400 (on sale of course) for a sewing machine – could you imagine someone spending that much on a sewing machine, I could not (little did I know what was to come…)

After a couple years of quilting and taking classes and drooling over the higher end machines that other quilters had, I decided that to feel complete in life I needed a Bernina. I was very attracted to Bernina because of its reputation for being well constructed and reliable with durable internal metal parts. I did of course have “sticker shocked” when I saw what Berninas cost!

I would visit Sew Many Quilts and drool over their Bernina display. Then they had a sale with 12 months same as cash no interest and I decided to make the investment and purchase the Bernina 440 QE.

Overall I have been pleased with my Bernina and a couple of years ago bought a smaller Bernina for classes during another sale at Sew Many Quilts.

The one thing I wish my Berninas had is a thread cutter. I borrowed a friend’s Janome with a thread cutter and I fell in love with the whole automatic thread cutting experience (it made me coo with delight!).

However after years of quilting and talking to other quilters, I realized I could have bought at least one of my Berninas used and saved quite a bit of money. I have also sewed on other machines such as Janomes that a pretty nice too (and are less expensive).

I’ve also tried out used/older Berninas that work wonderfully and I now realize you do not always need the newest shiniest thing when it comes to sewing machines!


Berninas require regularly service/maintenance and you have to oil them (they come with a bottle of machine oil) to keep them running smoothly. We have one (that I know of) Bernina Service Technician in Central Oregon so if he is busy you have to be patient.

The recommendation is a once a year service which I have to confess I have not always followed. I am pretty good at regularly oiling my machine and keeping all the areas I can reach free of dust and lint. So sometimes I go up to 2 years before bringing it in for maintenance (clean, oil and adjust).

In the 8 years I have had my Berninas I have only had one major issue and that was because one of them got dropped on the way to a quilting retreat by an airport shuttle company. I did pursue a claim with the airport shuttle company and they did reimburse the repairs.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on sewing machines and sewing machine maintenance in the Comment section – thanks!


I have listened to a bunch of interesting “self-help” audiobooks lately while sewing or walking the dogs. In a future post will share a little bit about those books and key inspirational insights.

19 thoughts on “Quilt Shop Tour (Sew Many Quilts) and Sewing Machine Maintenance”

  1. The quilting shop looks delightful!

    I am nowhere near your skill level. I have two sewing machines which I’m embarassed to say I’m not even sure what they are. I think they are pretty standard, basic machines though. One is probably a Kenmore, and the other a Singer. One of them was bought used from my former quilting teacher. I have used it the most (I think that might be the Kenmore). I was learning paper piecing, but had to drop out of the class to care for my parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! Somewhere in your house are two sewing machines! But they are there if you need them :-). Sorry you had to drop out of your paper piecing class but definitely something more important was going on. Thanks for your comments and maybe pull one of those machines out from hiding someday 😉


  3. I’m sewing on a Viking Sapphire and I really, really, really want a new (or new to me) machine. My quilting pusher and her lovely sister sew on Pfaff’s and they are so very quiet when we get together and sew. Mine’s a little whiny — and I’m certain that this machine is why my seams are never as straight as theirs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard awesome things about Pfaff – some people are obsessed with them! “Quilting Pusher” – ha! That is such a great phrase. I ended up quilting due to a “quilting pusher” named Judy D.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a Bernina 145S that I bought as a used machine from the Bernina store here in Columbus. It had 10 hours of sewing logged on it (almost nothing!) so they gave me a good deal. Then the real spending began! I have all kinds of feet and a walking foot but I love my machine and plan to keep it! I do wish I had something lighter for quilt retreats, etc. I get it serviced once a year (when I will be out of town for a week or so). I oil it every 2-3 bobbins and clean out all the lint from the feed dogs. A+ machine for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah Bernina Sister – I should have mentioned those extras – good point! When I got my Berny I attended a class on “using your Bernina” and they showed me the book on the Bernina feet – yikes! Not only did I buy the set of books but I also got involved with purchasing some feet I have never used. I like your guide on oiling – every 2 – 3 bobbins – nice!


  5. I have two DSM plus my longarm. (It took me a long time to understand the term DSM, or domestic sewing machine, as almost no sewing machines are made in America. Finally I got the point — domestic or home rather than commercial.) The one I use every day is an Elna, and the smaller one is a Kenmore. Both are Janome-company made. I also had a Brother for a while and pretty much hated it. I traded it for the Elna and was immediately happier. It has a lot of stitch styles I don’t use, and needle-down function, and not a lot of other bells and whistles. I’ve had the Elna serviced once, I think. The servicing was basic clean-up work and cost about $100. I take good care of it, myself, and make sure I clean lint-gunk out from under the needle plate regularly. That’s about all it requires. It’s hard to think I’d need a fancier machine. I actually like the Kenmore almost as well, except it doesn’t have the needle-down function. It cost me less than $300, so I guess I am easily pleased.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have a Janome Horizon which I quilt on and do most of my sewing, I just purchased 5 months ago. I have my original Janome(20 yrs old and works as a back up), A Singer Futura Quartet sewing and Janome Serger. They go to the shop once a year for service. My Janome Horizon is my favorite. Thread cutter, pressure foot lift. Longer throat area to quilt larger items. I use it daily. Clean the bobbin every time I change the needle. Runs great. The older Janome lasted me 20 yrs before I wanted to update. That one I purchased used.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments! I have heard very good things about the Janome and I have sewed on them a couple times (in love with the automatic thread cutter!!!) 20 years is a very nice time for a machine to last! If I had to do it all again I might I have gotten a more reasonably priced Janome 🙂 (but don’t tell Berny that!)


  7. We are so blessed to have such wonderful quilt shops in our area!!! I have owned a Bernina and then switched to Janome…love them both but it is the price points which make the difference. my friend Jane just got a new Bernina and let me tell you have the machine tell you when the bobbin is empty…priceless

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anna for your comment! We are super lucky and I felt it was time I started honoring them and showing off their lovely interiors. It might not be until shop hop that I get out to shops like Homestead Quilts but as much as I go to the Stichin’ Post they might be next on featured quilt shops. Ah the new Berninas are pretty slick – I was drooling over them at Sew Many Quilt’s Bernina Center.:-)


  8. Wish I could have been on your tour! I have only one sewing machine, plus one serger. I occasionally think about a lighter machine to take to retreats and workshops, but I got a nice travel case for my main machine instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have half a dozen machines on active duty and more under the table… I use different machines for different things, not one machine for everything. Specialised machines give better results. I mainly sew clothes, and never use the same machine for fine silk and for heavy wool. Even if that machine could potentially sew both fabric types well, the adjustment is so different, that it is much easier to swap machines than to re-adjust.
    I never pay for service or repairs – can’t afford to. I learned to do it all myself, and regular service usually keeps the machines running smoothly.
    I have a blog about maintenance, if you fancy it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, and I am also totally jealous about your local shop!! I’m basically stuck to buying off the internet, but an actual shop “in the flesh” is so much better!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.