Saturday, July 21, 2012

Getting acquainted.

It’s been two months now that I have had my new sewing machine, the Bernina 820. Pretty much right after it arrived I went away for ten days of teaching and selling fabrics. That was followed by a frantic week of dyeing the May-collection of my fabric club. 

Selection for fabric club, May 2012

So I did not really have much time to sit down and try out all those interesting features of the ‘sewing computer’, as it is called in the instruction manual.
Then followed two weeks of our family holiday on the island of Föhr. Basically I did not get around to sitting down and getting to know that new wonder of wonders until just a couple of weeks ago. And what I really would like to do, namely sit down with the instruction manual for a couple of days and work my way through all the different kinds of programmes, is not possible right now, but will have to wait until after the show in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines. So this current stage feels a bit like driving a Porsche without having had more than one driving lesson...
But I am learning. I have completely pieced “Play of Lines XXXI” and was very satisfied with the machine’s performance.

Play of Lines XXXI, before quilting

Although I was a bit worried for a little while because it kept showing me this little picture on the computer screen:

The instruction manual had lots of little pictures listed, but not this particular one. Searching the Bernina website did not help, either, and my Bernina dealer did not reply to my email of inquiry for a number of days. Barbara Lange suggested that it was the indication that the machine had realized that I was using a different foot and that it warned me not to put it into zigzag mode – which must be correct, because I was indeed using the walking foot at that time.
By now I think I have almost figured out how to use the automatic needle threader. The average number of attempts needed for successful threading is slowly going down. Sometimes it does not find the eye of the needle, sometimes it finds the eye, but pulls out the thread again right away when retreating. Sometimes it does work on first try, though.
This past week I have actually embarked on the first major quilting project, finishing Play of Lines XXVIIIThis is the quilt that had really sparked the whole machine trouble with the Janome, because the thread had kept breaking. So I was pleasantly surprised at the ease with which free motion quilting progressed on the Bernina. The stitch regulator may need a more intensive phase of experimenting for me to feel as if I have really mastered it, but it worked. No more than three thread breakages on a quilted surface that measures almost six by six feet, can’t complain about that.

In the process of being quilted: Play of Lines XXVIII,
behind the machine

Play of Lines XXVIII, detail

I have made sure to be very good about cleaning out dust from the bobbin case whenever I put in a new bobbing, but after finishing this major free motion quilting project, the machine complained quite a bit and kept telling me that the “lower thread surveillance” had discovererd some error, please check or rewind. Every two to five inches it would beep, flash that little sign, and stop. Can’t count how many times I opened the case, took out the bobbin, cleaned again...
But I finally seem to have got it all out, and then spent another day quilting Play of Lines XXXI, with the walking foot this time. It almost feels like I have entered the finishing straight. Not quite there yet, there are still several other UFOs hanging around which need to get finished before September 13, but I might actually make it.

No comments:

Post a Comment