One of my favorite school time tasks was to take out the erasers at the end of the week, clapping them creating clouds of chalk dust, better yet clapping them on the brick wall creating patterns and designs. Inhaling chalk was, I’m certain, just part of what happened and though it wasn’t a lot I’m sure it wasn’t particularly good for me. Ahh the wonders of being young.
As a quilter I became a happy camper when I found out about chalk pencils and powder. They mark well are easy to see and easy to remove. As evidenced by their quick removal under my hot little hands. After posting on one of the old message boards a friend shared with me that she uses hair spray to set the chalk marks. Makes sense and shouldn’t damage the fiber. As I don’t keep hairspray in the house wasn’t going to purchase any and came to love the FriXion pen. Well, not exactly, I use very little if anything really.
Stitching with the #24 foot it really doesn’t matter what is used to mark the quilt. The most that is going to happen is the foot will be coated with chalk powder. Not a big deal, a little bit of canned air and voila! All better.
When it comes to the BERNINA stitch regulator the rules change. Let me restate that: different tools have different care needs. Technology at ones makes our lives easier and somewhat more complex. Computer fans need to be kept clear of dust so that the heat generated from the processing doesn’t damage the chip thereby effecting any ability to use the computer.
These new sewing computers can be effected by power surges and brown outs so we’re careful to plug them into surge protectors, real honest to goodness surge protectors, you know the ones that have the good insurance in case lightning strikes. The one that will power down the machine if there’s a brown out, meaning not enough power to keep the sewing computer running.
I managed to get a really good image of the bottom of the BERNINA Stitch Regulator. The black area is a sensor that reads the movement of the quilt, keeping the stitches even as we quilt. If we start out running it there is a built-in alarm to let us know that the sensor can readily read the movement. If we out run the BSR we risk skipped stitches resulting in the need for our favorite seam ripper out of its hidey hole.
When using chalk powder or chalk pencils the fine dust can cover the sensor or get into the BSR itself through “weak points” where the BSR is put together or around the perimeter of the sensor. Every good thing has a weak point. Power surge on an unprotected computer or sewing machine and the mother board is fried, an expensive replacement to be sure.
If the BSR starts hesitating or skipping stitches for no good reason:
take a nap
reduce the presser foot pressure – if the pressure is too tight the sensor won’t be able to read the movement of the quilt easily
rethread the machine
change the needle (either up a size or just new)
clean off the sensor (the natural oils from our hands can obscure the sensor)
if stitching out really tiny work (micro stippling or very close stitching) reduce the stitch length to something that allows the BSR to stitch smoothly.
I can’t stress practicing enough. Practice, practice, practice to get the feel of working with the BSR. It’ll be one of your bffs!