I had a wonderful day today. I spent the work portion of the day at the local quilt shop where I am the Bernina manager and then I came home and worked on a very old Bernina for a neighbor.
Let me start with this afternoon, when I was able to play with new machines. I worked with our Bernina tech on a client’s 820 (yes, I have an 820 at home), smoothing out some operational kinks. For those of you with 8 Series machines, a few tips: [Disclaimer: I am not a Bernina tech. These tips work for me, but they are not official Bernina recommendations.]
- Don’t be afraid of bigger needles. I had a client who was repairing a microtex jacket using a satin stitch. She had tension and stitch width issues with an 80 universal needle, but all was wonderful with a 100 jeans needle. Match the needle to the job. Keep in mind the needle may be larger than you would expect.
- If your top thread is wound on the spool in flat rows, like Superior, Signature, or Sulky, you may run into some top tension issues. To avoid this, swing the multi spool holder out to the right and hook the thread on to an arm of the telescoping wand that is not directly above the spool. This should ensure that the thread pulls away from the spool rather than directly up where it can catch on the end of the spool and get hung up.
- If you are freemotion quilting without your BSR, consider using a #15 foot. My tech just recommended this to me and I really like it. The opening is bigger and the front end is curved up ever so slightly. It makes all the difference.
- If you are quilting with your BSR (8 Series machines only) and you are experiencing skipped stitches, you may need to have your spring replaced. Ask your tech; it’s an easy fix. My BSR functions beautifully now with the new spring.
Neighbor's Bernina 707 Minimatic
When I got home tonight, I worked on an ancient Bernina for my neighbor. I should be careful who I call “ancient!” The machine was born in the 60’s and so was, well, never mind. My neighbor asked me to look at the tension because she was having trouble adjusting it. The machine is a gem! It’s a 707 Minimatic that was purchased in Africa. The manual is in Dutch, which my neighbor speaks, but I had to rely on the pictures. After a thorough cleaning and some oil, the machine is working again and the tension is perfect.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
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Posted in About Me, Product Reviews, Uncategorized, tagged Bernina, Bernina 730E, Bernina 820, Bernina 830, Bernina of Northern Virginia, embroidery module, The Quilt Patch on Tuesday, December 8, 2009|
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Whenever I lecture or teach on the road, quilters ask me what sewing machine I use. Until about a year ago, the answer was easy. I had been sewing with the same brand for almost thirty years, first with a mechanical model and then with a mid-level computerized model. I developed a relationship with the manufacturer and even filmed a webisode for one of their websites. I loved those machines, and so I never really compared brands.
The Quilt Patch
A few years ago, I started teaching at my local quilt shop, The Quilt Patch, also known as Bernina of Northern Virginia. Each time I carried my non-Bernina sewing machine into the shop to teach a class, I was faced with a classroom of mostly Berninas. I started to learn about Berninas and I started to covet those Berninas. When the 830 came out (followed closely by the promise of a more affordable 820 without embroidery capabilities), I started to seriously consider converting. Last year in Houston, I visited the Bernina booth and had wonderful discussions with the Bernina professionals. I played with an 830 and learned more about the upcoming 820. That was the moment when I drank the Bernina Kool-Aid.
Fast forward about a year: My, how things have changed!
My New 820
I am now the proud owner of a Bernina 820. I try to put in a few miles every day so that I can learn all about its capabilities. I can’t wait to take the mastery classes!
I am also the new Bernina manager at the Quilt Patch. I’m learning all about Bernina machines as quickly as I can. I go to work full of anticipation and I come home full of new information. There’s so much to learn!
And if this weren’t enough, here’s one more announcement: Bernina has accepted me into their National Artisans Program! A brand new Artista 730E arrived at my door yesterday. I get to play with that machine for a year, during which I will produce a few products for Bernina and I will put the machine through its paces. I’m really looking forward to playing with the embroidery module.
What a difference a year makes. In future posts, I’ll share what I’m learning about my Berninas. Right now, I have some sewing to do!
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Posted in Product Reviews, Publishing on Friday, July 31, 2009|
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So, how does a Kindle Addiction relate to quilting? Read on and I’ll tell you.
For those of you who know me, it will come as no surprise that I am an electronic gizmo junkie. I can’t afford to feed my habit as regularly as I’d like or I’d have an iTouch, a Blackberry, a better laptop computer…but I digress. The point is I have some toys.
I didn’t realize I was a junkie until one weekend when my husband and I were driving to the outlaws for a visit. We were collaborating on an eBook we’re writing and I found myself defending all of the stuff I had in the front of my Honda Element – plugged in, charging, or in use. My iPod was plugged into the auxiliary jack, playing one of my favorite playlists. My cell phone was charging, my laptop was up and running Word (We were writing, remember?), and I had my Kindle out so that I could see how well one of my PDFs held its format when it was transferred to the Kindle. Maybe I have a little bit of a problem.
Okay, back to the Kindle. I saved for my new Kindle for almost a year. I had a hard time justifying the purchase of an electronic book reader as long as I could simply open a paper book and read it myself. Why spend the money to buy the electronic reader and then spend additional money to buy each book? Oh, but I wanted it. I really, really wanted it. Finally, I made the purchase and waited eagerly for the UPS man to stop at my house. Of course, it arrived while I was out of town teaching at a quilt show!
You may be thinking that you love books and you’d miss the feel of the book in your hand, the intrinsic beauty of words on the page, the instant knowledge of how far you’ve read and how much you have left. The little voice in the back of my head was afraid I’d miss it too. But no. Here’s why I love my Kindle and how it all relates to quilting.
- My one little Kindle will store about 1,500 books. Now I have more room on my shelves for fabric and pretty design books that shouldn’t be read on a screen.
- Kindle books are less expensive than paper books. Most bestsellers are around ten dollars for the Kindle, even those only available in hardback. Some are more expensive, but many are less. In fact, I’m reading some books that were free. That means more money to spend on fabric and paints and thread.
- I can shop for books from my laptop or directly from my Kindle and download them directly to the Kindle within 60 seconds. There are over 300,000 books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs available. No need to drive to a book store and interrupt sewing time.
- I don’t need my computer or a wireless network to download a book. I can shop directly from the Kindle from anywhere there is a 3G network for mobile phones. While I’m waiting for my flight to a quilt show or I’m in a hotel room after giving a lecture or workshop, I can always find something I want to read.
I’ll take my Kindle to the Houston show this year and I’ll be able to carry it with me in my purse (because it’s lightweight), read whenever I’m on sensory overload and need a break (because it has an incredibly long battery life before you need to recharge), and shop for new books right there in the Convention Center (assuming there’s a 3G network there).
Now if I could just get the Kindle to clean my house, I’d have so much more time…
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- Lesley Riley’s New Book
When I started this blog, I never really thought about doing reviews, but Lesley Riley’s new book has made me to want to share. Fabulous Fabric Art with Lutradur is the book I would have asked for if I had really thought about it. My friend Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts has been talking about Lutradur for a while and I’ve been reading about it on the pages of Quilting Arts magazine. In fact, Laura Cater-Woods talked about it in class last year. Well, hearing about it wasn’t enough; I wanted to know more.
That’s where Lesley’s new book comes in. She starts out by telling you about Lutradur — what it is, how it’s made, and why it’s so special. Then she describes 27 things you can do with Lutradur from adding color and pattern (think of the fun things you can do with paint, inks, and dyes), screening and printing, glueing and fusing, needle felting, and even using heat to cut and distort it.
After the techniques, Lesley shares a broad array of projects made by a variety of fiber artists. There’s a project for every taste and temperament, incorporating the techniques in the earlier section of the book. Want to stamp and stencil? It’s in there. Want to create three-dimensional objects with Lutradur? It’s in there. It’s all in there. I can’t wait to try some of these wonderful ideas.
And she makes a suggestion that I really appreciate: she says to pick a new technique for which you already have the tools and try it on one of the pieces of Lutradur included in the back of the book. Yup! The book includes one sheet each of two different weights of Lutradur. And so once you’ve bought the book, you can actually play with the Lutradur without any additional purchases.
Even with the Lutradur in the book, you’ll eventually want more. I recommend visiting Artistic Artifacts’ website for either the 70g- or 100g-weight fiber. To buy the book, visit the Favorite Things page on my website and follow the link. The book is also available from Artistic Artifacts (in person in Alexandria, VA, or online) and the Quilt Patch in Fairfax, VA.
Have some fun with this new mystery fiber. And send me pictures of what you do! I’d love to see it.
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