Today’s post is brought to you by questions from a couple of user groups that I participate (read usually) in. This falls into the Frequently Asked Question category: “How on earth do I use my BERNINA Stitch Regulator?”
A way back in 2009 when in the Green Room getting ready to shoot episode 503 of Quilting Arts TV (by the way congratulations to Susan Brubaker Knapp, the new host!) I learned how to use the BERNINA Stitch Regulator. This adventure was told in two blog posts here and here. While there Jeanne Delpit, Manager of National Events for BERNINA taught me in 5 minutes how to use the BSR so that I would be able to demo this feature on camera. It worked so well that I’m happy to have one with Janie!
There are two modes:
BSR 1 – the needle starts going as soon as the start/stop button is activated or the foot pedal is pressed and held down.
BSR 2 – the needle starts moving with your hands and either the start/stop button is activated or the foot pedal is pressed and held down.
With either mode we can use a straight stitch or a zig zag stitch. I’m going to talk about the straight stitch as it’s what I use. The default stitch length is 2.0. At the very beginning this preset felt jerky as I tried to stitch. I felt like someone put training wheels on my Trek 750T.
Aside, I am a pokey quilter. If you’ve ever watched me stitch the machine is at a medium speed, not full tilt. I have good control of the stitch length because my hands and the machine speed are coordinated.
Reducing the stitch length to somewhere between 1.5 and 1.9 (yes that .1 mm makes a huge difference in the responsiveness of the BSR) made the BSR much more responsive to my hand movement; meaning the training wheels were taken off and there was no jerky movement as I stitched. This is exciting stuff! I love this little bit of technology.
You may (or may not) have noticed there is a choice of the start/stop button or the foot pedal. Yes, either can be used to engage the BSR. When using the start/stop button simply remove the cord for the foot pedal and set it aside, not too far away so it can easily be plugged back in again. Press the button until it turns green, stitch to your hearts content. To disengage the BSR press the button again until it turns gray.
When using the foot pedal just press it (full tilt is easiest) and keep it pressed to stitch. When you’re finished stitching take your foot off the foot pedal, disengaging. The foot pedal must be pressed while you’re stitching – this tells the machine that the BSR is active.
Essentially we have choices with the BSR that will help us use it in a way that is easiest for us: Mode 1 or Mode 2, using the start/stop button OR the foot pedal to engage the BSR. It took 5 minutes and a few questions from Jeanne for me to love this gadget. So as you’re sitting at your machine with the BSR engaged try both Modes, reduce the stitch length and try it with the foot pedal (remember to keep it pressed while stitching) or the start stop button.
We will all have some variation that works well for us. My friend Jules loves Mode 1 – using the start/stop button, where I’m a fan of Mode 2 – using the foot pedal.