I forgot to talk about this because I got so excited about my roses! Pfelicia is my Pfaff Creative 2134, combo sewing and embroidery machine. I looked at a whole lot of machines before I adopted her, and I seem to remember getting a really good deal on her. As I’ve had her for almost a year, I figure that I have enough experience to review her as a machine. I know I might be a little biased because she is mine and so I love her, but I thought I loved my Brother too. No I don’t mean my brother, yes I love him too, but I actually mean my old Brother sewing machine… an LS something something that I sold to my friend G for 30 or 40$ to get her started.
The other reason that I wanted to talk about Pfelicia is because every time I run into a problem with her, Google knows nothing about it. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a slightly older model, or because Pfaff’s aren’t really that popular here in NA, or if it’s because in general people that are sewing are not people that are computer-ing. But I believe the best way to increase a knowledge base is to add to it, so I’m going to talk about my Pfaff.
Why my Pfaff Creative 2134 is the best thing since perforated toilet paper:
- I has an IDT foot: integrated Dual-feed Technology. It’s this crazy little black walker that snaps into the back of most of the feet that walks along the top of the fabric. This is a god-sent for anything that normally slides around, like quilting, slippery materials, lots of layers. It’s like having feed dogs for the top of the fabric.
- Automatic thread tensioning: I always have a beautifully balanced stitch because my machine is constantly tensioning my thread. If you’re switching fabrics drastically (like say going from denim to lace) make sure you do a little test run on the new fabric to get the machine to properly calibrate itself, but it always comes out beautifully in the end. And, of course, you can always manually adjust it too.
- Needle threader: I didn’t know how much I needed a needle threader until I had one. It’s this little hook that comes down and pokes through the eye of your needle and grabs your thread. It should always line up perfectly, if it doesn’t then make sure that the needle is all the way up (the crook at the top is at the highest point).
- Embroidery attachment: this is a handy little arm that attaches to the sewing machine and turns it into an embroidery machine, so you don’t need to have both. This saves space, money, time, and effort learning another new machine. I have one user manual that runs both my sewing and my embroidery. More on embroidery later!
Besides all of those features, this machine is just really smooth. It hums along quietly doing its thing, it rarely jams or comes out of tension, it’s just a very polite, well behaved machine.
Now, reasons why the world would have been better off without the Pfaff 2134:
- The timing: I had a melt down one night when I was trying to sew a zig zag; the needle was coming down on top of the shuttle and it took me about a package and a half of needles before I figured out what was going on. I had been sewing a thick plastic and I don’t know if it was me that threw off the timing or some of the horrible horrible bobbin tangles from embroidery, but I was crying by the end of it. I called the store where I bought it the next day and they adjusted the timing for me for free because the machine was so new. I’m no longer scared of the timing going out on my machine, but it does mean a trip to the other side of town to drop it off and another trip to pick it up, so I am now scared of the roll of plastic sitting in the kitchen for which I had so many fabulous ideas…
- The horrible horrible bobbin tangles from embroidery: as mentioned above. Before I really figured out some tips about how to smoothly run the embroidery, I had some awful disasters. See the section on “Tips”!
Tips for running smoothly and thus making your experience the best thing since perforated toilet paper:
- Stabilizer: I think this has been the one biggest helper in my embroidery! I noticed that the test fabric that came with the machine stitched out beautifully, and my first projects stitched out horribly. Then I noticed that the fabrics that I was stitching on were significantly thinner than the test fabrics, so I tried doubling the stabilizer. It was like magic, everything started working beautifully. Now I always use a double layer of stabilizer unless I’m stitching on something heavy, like canvas.
- Lift the presser foot: the tensioning disk is actually visible from the top of the machine, and you can hear and feel it rattle when it’s released. Lifting the presser foot makes the tensioning disk release! Do this any time something happens with the thread, or fabric, or bobbin, it really does help.
- Rethread. Completely: Because there is so much going on automatically, just take everything apart and rethread it all at the same time, and then try all over again. No really, it does help.
- WTF does all of this beeping mean?!?! There is very little help on the internet for this. Read the manual, if you don’t find it there, then you’re probably SOL or you need to contact a professional. But next I’m going to tell you a story about what happened to me last night.
Make that horrible beeping stop!
I turned on the machine, pressed the “hoop” button, it checked the hoop, entered “4” for design #4, it took a long time, and then switched to display hoop 1, and blinked to indicate thread color #1. I threaded it and pressed the start button. It shifted up to check the hoop and then started beeping and flashing hoop 1 and thread color 1. Over and over and over again. I’m an engineer so I started troubleshooting methodically:
- step 1 – Google. That really didn’t help much. I used to work for a search software company, so I know how to search. All I found on the entire internet was some lady that was having trouble with her Viking Rose doing the same thing, and the answer given was basically RTFM, there’s something wrong with the hoop. Well thanks Sherlock, the hoop symbol was flashing, I don’t know how I ever would have figured out that there might be something wrong with the hoop!
- step 2 – Play Cityville. For an hour. What can I say? When I get frustrated I get distracted, but distraction is also good for subconscious problem solving…
- step 3 – Start narrowing down where the problem might be. Well, it could be that the design is too big. I had another design that was too big and I had to shrink it. But the software to transfer the design from the computer to the card usually alerts me and doesn’t let it transfer if it’s too big. The one unknown here is: how does the Pfaff handle the Grand Hoop? My hoop is about 5″x7″, but it’s actually 225mmx140mm, but there is a Grand Hoop that I’ve only heard about in fairy-tales that is magically 250mmx225mm and unicorns dance while emitting rainbows out their posterior ends, also mysteriously listed in the manual as Hoop 1. So what could the problem be?
- wrong sized design for the hoop
- something bad is happening because it’s a bulky garment in the hoop
- my machine has lost its marbles
So while I can’t really determine the truth of that last one without taking it into the shop, I can start to narrow it down. I could try shrinking the design or read up about this magical mystery hoop. I could try removing the garment from the hoop and see if the machine stops the infernal beeping and flashing. In the end, I kinda did all three.
I opened the design with the intention of shrinking it, but it was only about 119mmx174mm, which isn’t really even close to 225mmx140mm. So started to read up on the hoop. It turns out that this magical hoop is really just a double hoop with connector thingies on both sides, so you put it in one way, stitch out the design, turn the hoop around, and stitch the other half of the design. So it has the same 225mmx140mm limitation, you just split the design in half. I was about to unhoop everything and try it again when I decided to just trying moving the bulk of the fabric out of the way, unhooking the hoop and hooking it back up to the embroidery arm again… and it worked. The hoop icon was flashing because it was demanding Hoop 1 (the largest size) and it was sensing that there was something amiss with the hoop, either because it couldn’t see the entire thing or there was something wrong with the way it was hooked up. The rest is, as they say, history.