By Lori Baker, Quiltmaker Acquisitions Editor
I’ll admit I’m a sewing machine enthusiast. I have quite a few sewing machines. I’m sitting at work and trying to count in my head – I think I have 9. Some are classics from the 1940s and 50s, some are old reliables from the first decade of this century and some are nearly new. But still when I’m asked to see what I think of a new machine, I’m instantly excited and ready for the “task,” except it doesn’t feel like a task because it’s just plain fun.
I spent several hours testing the new Pfaff performance 5.2 a couple of weeks ago. I completed this pretty table topper and I’m completely in love. It’s a beautiful machine, all sleek and shiny. And it’s big. When I unpacked it the first thing I noted was that they were thinking of quilters with that big space to the right of the needle.
One of the things I am an absolute nag about is reading the manual so once I had the machine unpacked, I spent a while reading. I found the manual easy to read and by the time I was done, there were several things I wanted to check out.
The performance 5.2 has lots of decorative stitches, many are 9mm wide and the maxi stitches (stitches where the fabric is moved side-to-side as well as forward and backward) are up to 48mm wide. So first I had to play with stitches.
The machine comes with a single hole needle plate and a 1/4” foot. That’s so nice for quilters. And they’ve built a sensor in so when the single hole needle plate is on the machine, it reminds you if you select a stitch other than a straight stitch.
I had a handful of leftover string-pieced blocks from another project. It’s a funny story about my math mistake that you can read here. So I started trying out stitches on those leftover blocks.
First, I tried some of the simpler ones. I used three different brands and two different weights of thread for the decorative stitching and the machine worked well with all three brands and both weights.
Then, I stitched a scallop to check out the satin stitches.
Next, I stitched one of the embroidery stitches, a decorative triple stitch, 3 “layers” of thread for a denser looking stitch.
I moved on to a couple of the special functions. I combined two stitches with the sequencing function. But then laughed because there is an identical stitch already built into the machine.
And with Stitch Creator, I edited a stitch. I don’t particularly like my new created stitch but the possibilities are certainly intriguing.
Stacking stitches are something I’ve not played with a whole lot but I thought this looked wonderful. I stitched the leaves first in light green thread then went back over the same line and stitched the flowers with dark green. With a little practice, you can get the performance 5.2 to stitch the “stem” part so both colors of thread are stitched in the very same place. There are 20 different stacking stitches – 10 sets of 2 stitches that work together.
The ribbon stitch was the last of the feed-dog driven stitches I used on my quilt top. I love this stitch. It tacks the ribbon in place and then does a few extra stitches on the background fabric, changes direction and goes to the next place to tack the ribbon down. The performance 5.2 has 6 built-in ribbon stitches. Crazy quilters and those people sewing for little girls will love these stitches.
Another thing I always test when I’m trying out a new machine is the free-motion stitching capabilities. I did a simple loop-de-loop on this little table topper and was super pleased with how nicely it worked. You can see that in all the previous photos.
Then it was on to the label. I chose one of the four 9mm alphabets and easily stitched the words on my label and then added 2 different styles of buttonholes just because I wanted to test the buttonholes.
My final analysis – the Pfaff performance 5.2 is a super machine. I’m grateful Pfaff gave me the opportunity to play around on their machine these past few weeks.