As a newly-minted Viking Ambassador, one of my most important duties is to use the machine which has been sent to me! This may seem like an easy thing to do (because it is) but I didn’t want to just yank it out of the box and slap it on a table. No… I wanted this to be an experience.
If you’re anything like me, any new equipment I get immediately strikes fear and anxiety in my heart. It doesn’t matter how confident I am as a quilter, how comfortable my test drive was, or how at-peace I was with my purchase decision. New stuff makes me nervous. I worry that I won’t be able to figure out how to use it, or I’ll just be intimidated by all the bells and whistles. If this is you, let me help you get over your anxiety at having a new machine by giving you some practical tips to get started.
Tip #1: Unpack it in style.
In case you missed it, I did a live unboxing of the arrival of my Viking EPIC. It has all the trimmings of a live video – unfettered, bouncy excitement; loud exclamations; and the occasional puzzled queries as I guessed at what some of the unfamiliar items might be. You can watch the replay here:
Wow. Gotta love the goggle-eyed still frame being used for the video preview! It was fun though.
Tip #2: Set it up on a sturdy table.
During the unboxing, I wondered aloud at whether Legolas (yes, that’s what I named my EPIC) would fit on my existing table, and whether a trip to IKEA would be warranted to get new furniture. (I can never resist the idea of a trip to IKEA.) But it’s no fun having a new machine that sits around all sad looking for want of new furniture. So earlier this week, I decided to find a way to make it work!
Looks like we were worried for nothing! Well, maybe he’ll need more room to embroider, but for now he looks pretty happy where he is. But what if he hadn’t fit there? Well, I’ve got a dining room table – maybe you do too! the point is, find a place to put your new machine and plug it in. You want to start using it and getting to know how it works. The sooner you get comfy, the sooner you can sew!
Tip #3: Get out the manual so you can identify and put away your accessories.
I’ve got a long history of Viking machine ownership, so in some ways I knew where the plugs went and how things worked in general. But there’s nothing like looking over the diagrams in the manual and getting to know the various bits and parts.
My EPIC came with a vinyl bag of a TON of awesome accessories, but if I hadn’t read the manual, I wouldn’t have known all the clever ways these accessories fit into the trays. For instance!
The machine came with a straight-stitch plate, and there’s a molded slot in the bottom of the tray for it to snap into. It’s a fantastic way to store this extra plate, and this way I won’t lose it. If I hadn’t read the manual I probably would have stuffed this in a drawer.
There’s a slot for needle packs! I got my original inspira needle pack in here, plus a pack each of Schmetz Chrome Topstitch and Chrome Embroidery needles. I don’t have my quilting needles in here because I buy those by the hundred. Maybe I’ll find a nice spot for those too.
Oh! And, we wondered on the video whether this grey foot was a free-motion spring foot; that’s partially correct! The manual says this is the foot used for hoop embroidery! I’m new to embroidery, so we’ll get to that soon. But this foot is also for free-motion sewing, quilting, and embroidery. It’s a pretty versatile foot it seems!
I also found this cool slot that’s especially for my buttonhole foot. I have one of these for my Sapphire – it’s a one-step buttonhole foot, and is one of the best innovations in sewing as far as feet go (in my opinion.)
Tip #4: Wind some bobbins.
You can’t sew anything without some bobbins, and my EPIC came with 9 bobbins to start. The EPIC uses larger bobbins than my Sapphire, so I can’t interchange those.
Huge aren’t they! And such a pretty blue. BONUS: bigger bobbins means more thread which means more sewing without changing bobbins!!
Bobbin winding on the EPIC is done on the side of the machine rather than at the top. It reminds me of bobbin winding on some of my vintage machines, so I love the nod to history by moving the winder. It’s also pretty entertaining to watch, especially on this backlit display. And FAST! It winds bobbins soooooo fast. I love you, Legolas.
I left a few bobbins unwound because I’ll be using a different weight thread in the bobbin for embroidery, so it made sense to leave some bobbins for that purpose. There’s a handy spot in the accessory tray to store maybe 20 bobbins? But not to worry, I have an entire empty bobbin box just waiting for me to accumulate EPIC bobbins. Just you wait.
Tip #5: Thread it up, find your 1/4″ stitch, and sew something.
Admittedly by this point, I was getting pretty anxious to sew something. I won’t say I cut any corners, but learning to thread it was high on my list of priorities. It’s funny, I think that just going through the ritual of unpacking the EPIC and setting it up did a lot to calm my worries. Being able to name the parts, finding where they go, successfully winding bobbins – all of that set me up for the desire to sew on this new machine.
Of course the threading path is a little different than on my Sapphire, but I learned that the EPIC has an automatic needle threader. Oh, my aging eyes thank you, Viking!
You just thread the machine until the last guide before the needle, then you click the thread into the guide for the threader, press a button, and voila! I think a video is better for this part!
How cool is that?!?!
I did cheat a little bit though when it came to selecting my sewing stitch. For years I’ve had a favorite foot with metal guide, and moving the needle all the way to the right position gives me a 1/4″ seam. So I swiped this foot off my Sapphire, snapped it onto the EPIC, moved my needle, and just started sewing. Yes, I need to learn the menus and buttons and all that, but getting to the sewing part just couldn’t wait any longer!
A huge thank you to Viking for sending over the EPIC for me to use and learn and love! I will have many more adventures to share with you as the EPIC becomes a fixture in my quilting journey. Do you have any tips for new machine owners?