Bernina 550 QE Firmware Update Fixes!

This is for those with a Bernina electronic machine — update your firmware! Hubbs updated my machine this weekend and the problems I’ve had with the lack of responsiveness when attempting to reverse have been solved! My machine is more responsive now and seems to be running smoother or maybe that’s because I cleaned and oiled it. ;D  I have one caveat however, since the firmware update the cleaning icon won’t go away despite my actions, this was supposed to have been fixed, I’ll have to check my manual to ensure I’ve done everything correctly. Check out the list of updates in this PDF.

Besides receiving the Gracie Queen quilt frame on Friday, I also received my fabric swap package from my partner, Crafty Oz Girl! I had requested Denyse Schmidt fabrics from Joanne’s and she sent prints I didn’t have in my stash, hurrah! Some of these we can’t get here in Canada so they’re much appreciated! She also sent some yummy chocolate, batting tape and dots to put on my rulers so they don’t slip. Thank you Yvette!

Goodies from Crafty Oz Girl


Dragonfly Garden

Dragonfly Garden

Today I started and completed another pillow cover.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out, especially the composition. This will be one of the first items in my Etsy shop when I open it but I need to build up more stock first.

I made buttonholes for the first time on my Bernina 550 QE and I have to say they’re spectacular, better than the Sapphire!

Saturday I managed to perfect my asterisk block and another mod pinwheel.

Craftsy January BOM

paper pieced pinwheel

What did you do this weekend? Did you manage to get any sewing done?

I Heart Craftsy!

A few days ago I received an email from Craftsy announcing that they were producing FREE Craftsy Block of the Month online video tutorials with hostess Amy Gibson. You bet I’m joining in the fun! No needing a flicker account to join, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone (except yourself), no limits on how many people can join and you don’t have to belong to a quilting clique to join, what’s not to love?!

Sewing Machine Cover

Yesterday was sadly my last full time sewing day, I was back at work today. One of my goals was to make a cover for my new Bernina 550 QE. Now that I’m comfortable FMQ swirly daises, I wanted to use that skill in this project without overdoing it. And since I have so many hexies made, I thought it would be fun to use some of them.

I measured my Bernina including the extension table  and cut some Kona Ash for the background then blanket stitched the Hexies onto it. When I started quilting the front, I decided I didn’t want the entire piece to be quilted and I really love the results!

I didn’t bother quilting or embellishing the back of the cover because I was running out of time and just didn’t have the energy . I rounded the corners using a drinking glass then sewed the middle strip to the front and back — the corner curves were a bit tight but I managed to do it without puckers. When I put the cover on the machine, it was loads too big. I’m not going to alter it for now but I do want a do-over in the future.

This vacation was tremendously successful and I would like to do more sewing after work in the future without commitment or pressure. There’s enough stress in life without enforcing sewing goals. Sure, there are many things I’d like to try like the drunkard’s path but I don’t want to feel like I failed if I don’t get around to trying it.

I started cutting 6″ x 6″ squares for our bed quilt, I adore half square triangle quilts, they’re so simple but the posibilites and visual impact pack a big punch. This is a project I can work on a little at a time without pressure.

Three more days till the weekend, I think I’ll try some paper piecing and that Craftsy BOM!

Having a blast!

I’ve been having such a good time sewing to my heart’s content!  Yesterday I made a little pillow for our wonderful neighbour using machine embroidery for the centre then free motion quilting all around in a swirling pattern. Although I still need a lot of work, I still love it. I bound the pillow the same way you’d bind a quilt using a contrasting colour. For the back of the pillow, I used a slightly darker shade of blue and simple quilted in a meandering pattern. I’ve decided that all my practice pieces should be used in other projects like this.

Today I made my son’s grandmother an apron with built in oven mitts using this tutorial. Sorry, no photos as it’s already on its way to the recipient.

Tomorrow I plan to make oven mitts for DH and pick up some batting for my sister’s quilt, which I can’t wait to start quilting!

Yes I can!

Check out my first free motion quilting efforts using Bernina’s Stitch Regulator on my new 550 QE:

Free Motion Quilting and Applique

Free Motion Quilting and Applique

Close up of FMQYY

You can see I tried some meandering, swirls and pebbles and although my fabric movement wasn’t perfect, the stitch quality is quite good, I really love the BSR!! Below is a sample using the walking foot  following the pattern on Joel Dewberry’s Heirloom fabric.

Walking Foot Test

Noodle Head Zippy Wallet


Just for fun I made this little zippy wallet using Noodlehead’s Zippy Wallet tutorial using my Cosmo Cricket’s Circa 1939 fabric. I also made Noodlehead’s basic boy’s wallet using the same fabric (different pattern) for my nephew.

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.