Imagine that…working on a quilt, and not an art quilt! AND it’s a UFO! Here I’m trying out various design options.
We moved to Maine in 2004. This top pre-dates that move by at least a year–I made it as a local quilt group mystery quilt (design by Debbie Caffrey but don’t remember the name). I only made four blocks, made it into a small top, and it has sat in a basket mocking me lo these many years.
Fast forward: I SPLURGED. I ***seriously*** splurged. I bought a Bernina Q20 sit down. Yes, it costs as much as a nice used car. And Oh. My. Yes. it is worth it…what a DREAM! I figured you only live once, quilting is my favorite thing, so I’m gonna just go for it. And yes, I am beyond grateful that I have been able to earn enough by writing, teaching and selling my art quilts to be able to afford this indulgence! To each and every person who has ever read an article or my book, watched my DVD, or taken a class or bought an artwork, THANK YOU!
But that means need to learn to use it and not be a tad intimidated. Light Bulb Moment!!! Take those two UFO mystery quilts (yep, there’s another larger one) and use them to test-drive the new Bernina, named Birdie because of the beautiful bird’s eye maple cabinet (yes, I splurged a little more and upgraded to the cabinet…pics below). So I got the somewhat soiled, tired, not particularly well pieced tops out, ironed them, and decided to go for it.
You can see some of my quilting design. I planned to do some straight line work with a ruler and ruler foot in the green. I wanted to do more ruler work and curved cross hatching in the white spaces. And since I’m adept at free-motion, some of that using a leaf motif from the navy print in the corners and small squares. I’m not positive yet what I’ll do in the navy floral, but may just use navy and outline the flowers.
Here I’ve completed the straight line work on the green (not perfectly, but not bad for a first attempt as I get used to using the stitch regulator with the rulers. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE curved cross hatching! And then I began on the free-motion for the leaves. I plan to go back in with a lighter weight thread–I’m using 40 wt Superior trilobal poly here–to to a background dense fill around the leaves. There is a half inch outlined space between the leaves and the cross hatching.
I have to say the included-with-the-machine video was great, although I have no clue WHY Bernina doesn’t make it able to play on a DVD player–only a PC or a Mac. Have they not noticed that computers don’t come with disc drives any more????? Luckily, separate disc drives are cheap (about $30 or less) and I had planned on buying one for other reasons (moving CD music to the laptop). But still. The disc ought to be able to be played on a DVD player! Anyway, it is well done, as is the manual.
The Q20 comes with a bobbin tension gauge and the manual says (yes, I read manuals! you should, too) you should test every bobbin. So for now at least, I am. That helped me get my combination of thread–40 wt. trilobal poly in the needle and 60-wt very fine Bottom Line poly in the bobbin–adjusted with a minimum of fuss. The stitch balance is simply fan-flipping’-tastic. I DO match needle and bobbin thread always, though, just in case!
And here’s my beautiful Birdie Bernina on her maiden quilt. Contented SIGH.
I need to thank three people: Barb Black and Karen Miller are friends who have the Q20 (Barb’s is a sit-down like mine, Karen’s on rails) and Jeanie Cook-Delpit of Bernina for their advice, rave reviews and, from Jeannie, help. When I saw Barb at Quilt Festival I got a great big laugh out of her when I greeted here with “Thank you for leading me into temptation!” It’s totally true. And Jeanie — you helped make this possible. THANK YOU! You are the creme de la creme of Bernina Ambassadors. I’ll post more pics when done. Let’s hope the power doesn’t go out tomorrow during the incoming storm, which is supposed to be heavy, wet snow. I wanna quilt!