What brand and model do you have?
Bernina Aurora 440 QE (Quilter's Edition)
How long have you had it?
3 1/2 years
How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
$2700 plus tax (which in California was a pretty hefty addition)
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc)?
I've used it to make small quilts (mini ones and baby quilts), some children's clothing, purses, cloth dolls and their clothing, miscellaneous projects, oh, and once to attach some safety gear to my husband's fire retardant racing suit.
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does this machine get?
It depends on how many deadlines I have. It varies from 5 hours a day for a few days in a row, to just a couple days a week of 1-2 hours.
Do you like/hate/love your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I love my sewing machine. It's one of the best ones that I've ever owned and sewed on. Sadly I'm not really one of those people who name their cars, computers or sewing machines. Yet my husband has found a moniker for my car. Perhaps I should enlist his help with the sewing machines.
What features does your machine have that work well for you?
Needle stop up or down, reverse button, speed control, automatic buttonhole (the easiest way to make a buttonhole ever!), ease of changing feet (because I change quite a few during one sewing project), bobbin winder, 180 stitches!, fantastic walking foot, cool white light, BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator which allows me to free motion quilt with pretty fantastic results), and a new goodie - Needle Punch Accessory (it's like having an embellisher machine without the added space). One of these days I'll drill a hole in my sewing table so that I can try out the presser foot knee lift. I've heard great things about that function.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
Nothing really. It didn't fit into my sewing table (an older style one that I bought on craigslist) because it's a newer machine. However I have found a solution to that problem by using a wooden extension table that now makes it a perfect fit. Not to mention much more inexpensive than ordering one of those fancy sewing furniture that the shops all advertise.
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper? Got it from your Great Grandma? etc!)? We want to hear it!
Nothing too exciting. One day my husband had looked up the Berninas on their website and asked me which one that I wanted to buy. (He knew that I had wanted to upgrade to a newer machine.) The next day I dropped him off at the airport for a business trip and then I drove directly to the store and bought it.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
Yes! It's a fantastic machine, solid manufacture and one of the few sewing machine companies that still is owned/operated by the original founders.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
Reliability, ease of changing feet, smooth tension, and quality technicians to service them in case of hiccups. Always bring a sample of what you like to sew when test driving machines. In my case I had been looking (drooling) at them for over a year before I bought it.
Do you have a dream machine?
No, I already have it. But one day I would like to buy the embroidery attachment that goes with the Aurora.
N. Rene West of Fembellish Journal has a much better list of all the cool things that she loves about the Aurora over here.