When the BSR first came out on the market I decided to wait for a while to get the new machine just to see what other quilters thought about it. The reviews at the time, as they are now, were mixed with lots of quilters loving it and lot’s of quilters struggling it.
When I took a beginner machine quilting class in Lancaster we had the opportunity to play with the BSR’s in class. I walked out conviced that the BSR wold not be part of my quilting tool kit. Nope, not for me. Frustration set in as I could not get the BSR to work with my movement, I felt like I had training wheels on my mountain bike.
Fast forward to last summer when I was invited by Pokey Bolton as a guest on Quilting Arts TV. Prior to the trip to Cleveland I spoke with Jeanne Delpit the National Events Director for Bernina just as a check in for what I needed. Jeanne was quite delightful on the telephone.
When I arrived Jeanne asked me if I’d demo the BSR on camera, we had a quickie chat about my experience. She asked if I would try using the Bernina in a different way and see what I thought. She set the machine up with the BSR set in Mode 2 with the open to “C” shape foot. I agreed to give it a try and sat at the machine. Mode 2 starts and stops with the foot pedal – which is how I think as a quilter – and the needle starts moving with my hand movement.
I started playing around and within about 10 minutes I was quilting swirling feathers at top speed with a consistent stitch. Two happy quilters, Jeanne Delpit and me. Jeanne because at the end of that time I told her I would be able to demo this on camera and me because I realized this would eventually become part of my quilting tool kit.
In quilting with the BSR (I still do not own one) over the last year I’ve also realized that depending on what kind of stitching I’m working on sometimes changing the stitch length down to a lower is necessary for effective functioning of the BSR.
So when I quilted the piece for Jeanne to use as a sample I followed some of my usual tips:
1) 90/14 top stitching needle & reduced the tension to work with the King Tut thread I used on top
2) reduced the stitch length to something that is more in line with my own stitch length for the pebbles and the micro stippling I dropped it down to about 1.5 or less. I’ve heard from Renee that the stitch length can be dropped down to “0” and still create a consistent stitch length, however for beginners please don’t set the stitch length at zero, work your way there.
3) set the machine to BSR, Mode 2 and plugged in the foot pedal and got started quilting
In about 2 1/2 hours the 17 x 17 piece was quilted. Normally that would take me a bit longer than that. I had a blast quilting and was able to spend a little bit of time talking with a couple of different customers and a couple of my coworkers.
My red sketchbook arrived the other day from the Art House Coop. My theme is “lines and grids” though we can do anything in them, it’s an exercise in stretching and growing.
As you can see I’ve already started giving the cover a look that reflects me quite clearly. I’ll be finishing the swirling feathers of it all and probably filling in some more detail with it.
I’ve done one sketch in the lines and grids theme and am looking forward to seeing what comes next