The Mother of all Posts

I’m   A L I V E !!!

No, nothing happened to me, I’ve just been stuck in a sewing rut and not the stitch in the ditch kind. I pieced my sister’s quilt 3 weeks ago, finished the backing but dreaded quilting it so I started making zipper bags and fooling around with craftsy stuff.

In November, I mentioned the Craftsy online course on free motion quilting (FMQ)  and how I kept breaking thread, quickly becoming frustrated. The kind folks on PatternReview suggested changing thread brand and type, trying different needles and when all else fails, bring the machine in to see if there are any burrs. Burrs usually occur when the rotary hook, shuttle or needle plate are damaged when the needle hits them — your needle usually breaks. My Jukie isn’t even a year old and the only time I broke a needle was when I tried fmq.

Bernina 550 QE (image from Bernina website)

Then I discovered the Bernina 550 QE.

Berninas are notoriously more expensive than any other machine on the market. In my mind, they are the Mercedes or holy grail of the sewing world and out of reach for me… until now.

Yes, that’s right, I am now the very happy and proud owner of a Bernina 550 QE! After just 5 minutes with this beauty, I knew the difference between Bernina and every other brand of sewing machine. I have sewn on Singers, Kenmores, Baby Lock, Elna, Domestic, Viking, Janome and my Juki and none can touch the craftsmanship of this Bernina. Everything is S O L I D on this machine and built to last!

Bernina Stitch Regulator

The Bernina 550QE came with all but one attachment a quilter would want or need. The 1//4″ foot, walking foot (with three soles!) and the patented Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR). The BSR helps you regulate your stitch length and quality by only stitching when you move the fabric when FMQ. It does not help you with your fabric movements, of course. IMHO, quilting gloves are a must for FMQ and I can’t imagine doing without.

I spent most of Friday afternoon merrily fmq a piece the size of a placemat. Although my fabric movements need a lot of practice and  work, I was very impressed and happy with the results I was obtaining. I tried a few different beginner patterns covering the entire piece and when there was no room left, I started to applique fabric scraps to create a scene.

Bernina Walking Foot

The walking foot is the heaviest and most quiet walking foot I’ve ever encountered. I had one with my Baby Lock which I also tried on the Brother and Juki, all of which worked but were extremely noisy and clunky. The Bernina walking foot in comparison is smooth and although not silent, but quiet.

The bottom line is that Bernina is worth every cent you pay. Yes, it is probably the most expensive sewing machine on the market but it holds it’s value, even when the model is no longer in production.

Today may be a double post day, I want to take photos of my fmq to show you how the BSR can help an amateur build confidence and get results they can be proud of.

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4 thoughts on “The Mother of all Posts

  1. CONGATULATIONS on your new machine.
    I too have the Juki F600. (I bought it after seeing your videos on it).
    I bought the Bernina 580 without the embroidery arm just 3 weeks ago. I wanted a Bernina (never had one before) and I was very interested in the BSR foot for free motion. The Bernina 5 series are lovely solid machines.
    I have been doing a little practise on it but I found I had to slightly turn the bobbin case screw to get a good straight stitch. I think Bernina must have tested it with another thickness of thread.
    The BSR is lovely but I do find it a little difficult in doing free motion because my fabric moves in a jerky way due to the non shiney/smooth bed on the machine. (The Juki is made of a more shiney plastic) I think I will have to find another table perhaps in plexi glass or use a teflon sheet (supreme slider) for free motion.
    I’m interested to know what you think and if it works better for you.

  2. It’s okay if I hate you just a little bit now for having a Bernina, isn’t it? 😉

    Seriously though, I’m happy for you! And I see you’ve been having some fun with it! Yay!

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