A Sneak Peek and a PS on the Ruler Foot

B790_StandardThe B 790 and all its amazing features will be adorning my sewing table sometime this weekend.
There are New Features to explore, such as the stitch creator, and that new bobbin system.

There is a new stitch count to raise.

And, she needs a name.

Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting!


PS – Now you all know that I love working with rulers on my home sewing machine. I’ve seen their potential in the domestic sewing machine world for years.
There’s been a lot of chatter about the BERNINA Ruler Foot, #96. BERNINA is not officially releasing it yet, they are redesigning it for the home sewing machine user. There’s a problem with the height of the foot and potential for the needle bar to hit it, with some force, when the foot is in the highest position. If you’re like me, and I know a lot of you are, instead of using the hand wheel to drop the needle into the quilt to pick up the thread, I tap the heel of the foot pedal. This sends the needle down with some force, that has the potential to cause some damage. This damage will not be covered under warranty.
It’s for this reason that I, personally, wouldn’t purchase and use an aftermarket foot for the machine.
The further chatter has included the question, “why would BERNINA be worried about my machine?” Well there are so many reasons. The one I’m going to focus on for now is two-fold: one on the business end, the other on the consumer relationship end. First the business end: they know that the consumer is wanting to use rulers on the home sewing machine and they have taken the time to do the testing with the foot for all possible outcomes. The possibility for real damage to the machine exists and BERNINA, therefore is taking the proactive approach to saying we don’t recommend this, and here’s why.
The second part is relational, if BERNINA chose not to make us aware of the potential damage to the machine, we then, as the consumers would be really ticked off with the company should a whole lot of us purchase the Ruler Foot, use it and then, in some weird, freakish way, damage the machine. As much as they can, BERNINA wants to maintain a good relationship with its consumer base.
It’s never easy for any business to maintain a good relationship with its consumer base however, in this case the company is trying to do so. I have to give them kudos for taking the time to do the testing before hand. For my part as the consumer, this little bit of education and a little personal experience are going a long way to Waiting for a ruler foot that will work with the domestic sewing machines. The personal experience comes in the form of sitting at my machine and going through the steps to bring the bobbin thread up. I had the #24 foot attached, and used the hand wheel to drop the needle down to pick up the bobbin thread. I did this on purpose to see where the needle bar stops and why there would be any concern at all. With the foot was in the highest position, the needle bar comes right to the top of the #24 foot. If I’d used the foot pedal with the #96 foot, the needle bar would have hit the top of the foot with some force.
So, I’m waiting. Impatiently, but I’m waiting.


BERNINA Q 24 thoughts from a domestic machine quilter

The Presser foot is interchangeable with any BERNINA hopping foot

One of the questions from my previous post asked about the BERNINA long arm, to please give my thoughts. Note: today’s photos are linked from the BERNINA website, I have none of my own from the Ambassador Retreat as I was busy stitching happily along.
First thought, “it’s a BERNINA, how could I not love it?” Well there was that strong possibility that I would not love it so much. It might not be quite right.
Over the years I’ve stitched on lots of long arms at quilt shows wondering if the long arm was the way to go, because “you can’t do that on a home sewing machine.” There is a difference between the long arm and the domestic machine and essentially it’s do we move the pencil over the paper or move the paper under the pencil. I’m heading out a step further and saying that I think that essentially the movements are the same, it’s the layout of the quilt. That layout does make a huge difference for a lot of people. So if quilting on a domestic isn’t working, the bulk of a quilt is hard to handle then by all means work on a long arm. I will say that with some practice I could switch back and forth between the two. (Pssst – there’s that word again, Practice)

Q 24 User Interface

A bit about the Q 24: the user interface should look quite familiar. It’s about the same as you’d find on the computerized BERNINA’s making navigating around quite easy. The background color and texture are changeable and a welcome greeting can be programmed in. Not a high priority but fun.

There are 3 BERNINA Stitch Regulator Modes; BSR 1 and BSR 2 are the same as on the home sewing machines and BSR 3 is a basting stitch, and there is a Manual Mode.

Any of the BERNINA hopping feet will fit on this machine so you’ve got your choice of feet. This machine uses home sewing machine needles so it’s unlikely that we’ll run out and if we do, goodness gracious it’s just a trip to our local quilt shop for what we need.

Q 24 side shot featuring the bobbin winder, thread stand and programmable handles


The threading path on this is quite easy beginning over and slightly back from the user interface. It’s similar (with some differences) to a home sewing machine. BERNINA has incorporated the needle threader making that part a snap. The Bobbin winder is on board, place the bobbin on the winder, follow the thread path and fill that sucker up. The bobbin goes in like any other push-in bobbin and on this machine the door closes.

I’ve mentioned I quilt as much by sound as I do by sight. Partly what I’m listening for is the speed of the machine and the bobbin. On my 1080 I could hear when the bobbin was running out and most of the time I can on the B 780. The sound of this long arm is similar to the B 780 and the 1080. There’s something just right about it. I could listen to it all day.

And the movement. . . this long arm moves with ease and finesse. I was doing some of my teeny tiny pebbles while we were stitching on them. As a teacher I will tell you that stitching around the motifs on the fabric is one of the best ways to practice and that’s what I started out doing, just stitching around the motifs on the fabric loaded onto the frame. I was getting fairly close to being on those lines with little effort, with some serious practice I’d be there soon.

quilting practiceIf I had the foot print for the machine the Q 24 would be my long arm of choice. There, I’ve said it. I like this long arm just based on the features I’ve shared here.

The one quilting photo from the retreat I can share is this one. We were learning more about the BERNINA Stitch Regulator (on the home sewing machine) and I started stitching this out. you might notice that some of the words are going left to right and some are going right to left. Yep, I can write backwards.
Just like learning to write cursive well took us some time, learning to quilt well will take some time. Either way…have fun.

Happy Quilting!



Refreshed and renewed

One of the coolest things about working with and for Generation Q Magazine is working on the blog/book tours. I often read through books ahead of time and share some of the highlights. It’s not always easy as there are some really good books out there. Books I would love every quilter to get for their quilt making pleasure. Alas not every book speaks to every quilter. We all have different styles and likes and interests.
Years ago I watched a PBS series where a group of families (hang with me here) leave every modern convenience behind to live for several months in a settlement community, as though they left the east coast migrating west across America. It wasn’t an easy life but choosing a life like that and willingly giving up all the mod cons like the potty and the phone was challenging. For the kids, accustomed to being entertained (tv, internet, books) some adjustment was made. In the end interviews one of the kids said that he “learned imagination”.  How cool is that? He learned imagination!
14490434835_b5c9427846_bBack to the book tour on Gen Q.
Carrie Bloomston’s book The Little Spark – 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity is one book for every quilter. Creativity and imagination are linked. Head on over to Gen Q to read a bit more and follow the link over to Carrie’s blog to read more. Perhaps spend a few moments following links to other bloggers.

Ambassador Retreat

Normally I’m the “sales girl” or “the teacher” or “the blogger”, the one in the front of the room. Attending the BERNINA Ambassador Retreat is a treat. I’m not that front person presenting I get to learn and play and generally have fun. This year had a different tone for me since most of us “new kids” from last year were going back to meet friends. There is a sense of camaraderie and laughter and for me a much more relaxed way of being. I learned a lot and I like that. One of the biggest things is threading the bobbin on the 8 Series machines for embroidery and quilting – whoa! That was big. The learning continued  yesterday at work when I learned how to set the time on the B 880. I have to say the simulator and the information stored on the machine makes a lot of things so much easier.
The lovely thing about a retreat is the confirmation that I’m doing what I love for the right reasons with the quilting and teaching. That saying yes to quilting is such a good thing.

Happy Quilting!

Mandy Leins
My BERNINA project at the front door. I still love that vintage button I used.
With Associate Editor Tracy Mooney
Jenelle Montilone of trashn2tees we spent some quite morning moments as the early risers
tired and inspired Ambassadors Mel B McFarland, Joanne Sharpe, Mandy Leins and Kari Carr



Quantum Stops and Starts

talenti jar stops and startsThere are a myriad of ways to stop and start when quilting. My preferred method is burying the thread. What usually happens is the thread snips end up on the floor around my feet. No big deal there’s a mat for my office chair so I swoop them up and off to the bin they go. Yesterday a fascinating thing happened. I started counting the stops and starts in one block for Quantum Leap.
quantum leap back neon pink quiltingEach block is 7.5 inches square.
Each block has a kaleidoscope block with 8 wedges, so the original motif is repeated 8 times forming the kaleidoscope.
Each block is embroidered with a seed or bead stitch to give the kaleidoscope shapes presence. Jeanie carefully chose thread to highlight the block.

What that means for me as I quilt around each of the major shapes is that I can have as little as 1 stop/start (2 sets of thread buried) and as many as 8 (16 sets of thread buried). Depending on the block, shapes, colors etc well let’s just say that jar doesn’t quite tell yesterdays stop/start/bury the thread story. I’d tossed that much away when Debby’s blog post reminded me I have these jars.

quantum leap on machine

In the end all of the stop/starts will be worth it. In the meantime I’m reminded of how beautiful this quilt is.
I’m reminded why it’s important to have a sewing table at the appropriate height for my person. At 5′ tall the table the machine is sitting on is a wee bit high.

I’m off to do some blogging for the magazine and more quilting on this beauty.

If you’re going to be at Quilt Market stop by the Generation Q Magazine booth and say hello. I’ll be there most of the week.

Happy Quilting!



the back of Quantum Leap

Today I’m sharing the back of Quantum Leap. Here are 7 individual blocks from the back. The quilting really shows from the back right now with the high contrasting colors. I’ll be excited to get to the border soon. Enjoy!

Happy Quilting!


QL back 7
Echo Quilting Rules!
QL back 4
I used Angela Huffman’s Ruler to get these straight lines
QL back 6
I like the effect of the echo quilting and the monofilament thread in the center
QL back 5
Echo quilting is highly effective…from the front it’s not nearly as noticeable as the background of the block is lime green
QL back 3
center of the block, will fill in the rest later
QL back 2
Echo Quilting and swirls
QL back 1
Using Angela’s Ruler started the triangle shapes in the corner of the block.

Whole Cloth Challenge Update & a wee bit more

CAM01733I know I say this a lot, but, I love to quilt.

I am loving this whole cloth challenge.
I am loving the process of creating.

I like that after several hours of quilting the piece looks very, very different.

I like that silk thread allows me to add teeny tiny stitching and detail work.

I love that with each stitch the piece takes on a whole new look. It’s exciting to watch what happens.

CAM01738 (2)

I like how adding a bit of King Tut – a 40 weight 3 ply, variegated cotton thread in orange/yellow & purple added a sense of light and helped create movement in the quilt.

When I got to this point last night I thought maybe I’d finish the background in a similar color to the Radiance, but as I look at it now, I think not. There is more to add to this quilt top.

CAM01729Paula Nadelstern‘s visit was quite delightful. The quilts were hung in a way that she was able to take the attendees on a tour, talking about each quilt and her process. One thing that I love that she says when anyone asks her how long it took to make her quilts, “as long as I’ve been quilting”. It’s experience. The experience of this quilt leads to the next and the next and the next. We learn as we go along.

If you get the chance to see any of the trunk shows that Benartex puts together with Paula please go see it. These trunk shows are amazing!


I was invited to dinner that same evening with this delightful quilter, Luke Haynes. I must admit to getting all giddy when helping to show one of his quilts – with Joe Cunningham. Oh my goodness. Two quilters that I admire. A lot.

Well I’m off to do a little more blogging and quilting before heading out to work.

Have a fab quilterly day!


Having fun!

One of the things I get to do as a BERNINA Ambassador is blog and give quilting/sewing tips. Here’s the most recent tip on We All Sew. Somehow I have manage to not hit a pin while stitching. I’ve heard stories and Jo Leichte shares one of her own. Once I saw where a little kid was in someones sewing room and pushed a bunch of straight pins down the hole that is there for the screw (think binding attachment, circle attachment) that did some major damage. While our BERNINA’s are tough durable machines sometimes stuff just happens. Did you now I have a whole page of tutorials & helpful hintsthe back of the quilt John Cardin dyed fabric?

A couple of weeks ago I posted Feeding Artists showing you all of this gorgeous hand dyed cloth from John Cardin. I’m working on my whole cloth challenge giving an update the other day.  I’m using one of the pieces John sent me as the back. You might be surprised to learn I’m using silk thread on the back. Yep it is spendy but work every.single.stitch.
I’m loving the dense texture I’m getting with it. I can stitch so close together.

variegated silk so pretty

On the front so far I’m using a variety of silk thread including this variegated Tiara silk that I still have some left from the project I sent off to Superior. Even 50 weight silk lasts a long, long time.  There are little spaces of Tiara here and there.

tiny bubbes on my quilt

If you look really really closely here. Right here you’ll see some teeny tiny bubbles. I did them in pink too but for some reason I can’t resize the picture well enough to upload it here. I’ll just show it to you in a day or two.

I don’t have a name for this quilt yet. It’ll come when it’s ready it always does.