Me: I’ve got nothing. I need something to blog.

IZ just looks at me.

Me: No, seriously, nothing. Say something funny.

IZ rolls his eyes and starts to leave the room.

Me: Oh, come on! Say something funny!

An hour later he sends me an email containing a fully written blog post. It’s like 3 pages long! I was totally kidding him (sorta) but since he went to so much effort, what kind of wife would I be if I didn’t publish it? He says if he keeps giving me blog fodder he should at least get his own category; I keep telling him to get his OWN blog, but does he listen? NO! So, I’ve given in and supplied a category. He isn’t wasting any time in fulfilling his threat promise. As it turns out, it’s the first in an installment of three…he promises to write the other two if there is demand for them.

Without any further introduction, a guest post from IZ. Also known as: How My Husband Totally Spilled the Beans on What He’s Giving Me for My Birthday.

Bernina, Pfaff, Viking, Oh My!

And they say buying computers is difficult. They have no idea. You think the geek debates of AMD vs. Intel and Apple vs. Microsoft are heated. You haven’t a clue. Oh, and the terminology? Gigahertz, Gigabytes, DRAM, Bus type – sound like Latin? Think again.

My friends – NOTHING – I mean NOTHING can compare with buying a sewing machine!

Why? Why on earth would I be out looking for a new sewing machine? Because I’m married and I’m married to a creative soul who is cursed beyond measure with a machine that is old. Old and one that was never really a “top of the line” machine to begin with.

Poor Wende – she’ll be working away on some marvelous craft and then a heated debate begins. It is almost predictable in its nature. Ka-chung, Ka-chung says the Monster Machine. Then come the onslaught of profanities followed by an inaudible but still there, “I’ll show you” – and they are back at it again. That Wende is able to turn anything out from Monster Machine is a matter of dark sorcery and deep magic that I have no knowledge of. Somewhere on her book cases there must be one titled, “Incantations to make your Singer Sing”.

Playing the role of white knight, I decided I should rescue my fair maiden by taming said beast and replacing it with a kinder, gentler sewing machine. A friendly dragon of sorts that could eat through leather but still respect fine silk. (Amok, Amok, Amok I run with a cheesy metaphor!) Such a lovely notion – but alas – not so easily accomplished in real life.

First, let’s talk about brands, shall we? There are plenty of them. Singer, White, Brother, Baby Lock, Juki, Janome, Elna, Viking Husqvarna, Pfaff, and Bernina to name a few of the “biggies”. But which should I consider? Who’s brand is really worth something? It seemed everywhere I turned I was given one story and then another. I consulted with the oracle of Internet and it gave me a rather garbled message – “Singer is garbage, White and Elna too. Viking, Pfaff and Bernina – we love you.”

Armed with such superior information I began to “Internet shop” to see what I could find… and what I found was that for the most part – getting a price of a sewing machine over the Internet is not exactly an easy task. What I did learn is that no matter what, sewing machines are EXPENSIVE. Did I mention they’re expensive? *cough*ouch*cough*

And this is just it. We men understand “investing” in our power tools with their lifetime guarantees and in the 40″ 1080p flat screen TV instead of that 1080i that is $1000 cheaper… but our temptation when it comes to sewing machines is to say, “Honey, THIS one looks just as good and it costs half as much – let’s get it instead!” Or, at least that’s what I tend to do! I was bound and determined by sacred oath that on this journey I would not fall for such a siren song. No, my love was going to be with this “friendly dragon” for the next 10 or 20 years… she deserved something that would sew her through thick and thin. (I love me some cheesy metaphors. I use them in real life just to watch Wende squirm.)

As I talked with different vendors and listened to their tale of why they were the best and why ONLY the machines THEY sold should be considered, I peppered them with strategic questions to fill out my rather empty book of understanding. Then, the pieces began to fall into place…

(For updated 2008 information please see The Embroiderer Strikes Back)