by McKenna Linn, fiber artist (I love her pieces created from vintage men's ties), sewing book author, and sewing machine lover/refurbisher (not collector! according to her). Check out McKenna's site to see her gorgeous work and her stunning not-collection of sewing machines. Also check out the awesome sewing machine shopping tips that she put together here!
Love it, hate it, or something in between? Love it, it is one of the absolute best (easily in the top three) machines I've ever sewn on... and I've tried well over 100 machines.
When did you buy this sewing machine? About a year ago, bought on eBay and I refurbished it myself. As with most eBay machines, it needed servicing before I could use it.
When was it manufactured? May 1950. Elna stamped manufacture dates on the metal under the black circular plate on the handwheel-end of the machine. I believe these were first manufactured in the 1930s, through sometime in the '50s. Really ahead of their time.
Where did you buy it? eBay.
How much did you pay for it? About $175. But it needed refurbishing, which if I hadn't been able to do myself would have added another probably $200 to the bill (there were some major cosmetic issues, e.g., the rubber feet from the case had melted all over everything and took days to clean up and rivet in replacements).
How many projects have you done on this machine? No projects, I've just played with it... make free-motion quilt samples, etc. Plan to bring it on my next out-of-town trip.
Describe the kind of work you've done with it. It's straight-stitch only, but really, really good at it. A perfectly balanced stitch. Quiet as a mouse; it's incredible how quiet this machine is, you hardly hear it running. I've done seams, of course; perfect. And freemotion quilting, also perfect. Smooth as silk, with perfectly balanced stitching. The case becomes an extension bed, which gives plenty of support for freemotion quilting, too.
What do you like and what do you hate about it? Likes: As mentioned, the large extension bed, a.k.a., the case. Lightweight and portable. Quiet. Perfectly balanced stitches. Quirky design. Green. Beautiful design. The light switch. Handwheel at the bottom! Built-in knee controller. It's one of only two consumer machines every made with a true low gear, for heavy-duty work (you need the black gear-down mechanism for this, often missing from these machines). Attachment box, beautifully machined feet. Great at freemotion stitching.
Hate? There's nothing I even dislike a little bit about this machine.
6/25/2011: Krista here -- I've noticed that lots of people are looking for the Grasshopper manual -- see this post for some leads!