Sewing Machine

Bernina Q20 and the B770 Update

The year of 2017 has pass by more than half. This year has not been smooth for me. Followed by the D&C last year, I was diagnosed with Asherman’s Syndrome (while having vacation in China!), which led me into two hysteroscopy surgeries/examinations and three months of hormones treatment. 

Quilting time has been scanty but it’s definitely a therapy for me. So far I’ve managed to finish two big quilts (the sampler quilt and that Liberty cotton lawn quilt) that I started making in 2015/2016. Stay tuned for pictures!

Just to keep myself happy, in April I upgraded my Bernina 710 to 770qe + embroidery module, and I ordered a sit down longarm, the Bernina Q20! I signed up the free classes offered by my dealer. It’s been so much fun to explore the possibilities of machine embroidery, which I had never tried before.

I set up new sewing corner for my creative adventures, and hope to produce more and more quilts and crafts here.

The Q20 arrived in May. My machine was stubborn at the beginning that a synchronization error message kept popping up, followed by a restart of the machine. After several trips to the dealer’s place, and several rounds of checkups. I finally brought it home permanently in July! It runs quite smoothly so far, with only two error messages appeared so far maybe because I left the needle down when I turned the machine off or the needle threader was not at its proper position. I could definitely say that the Q20 is very sensitive… (which may be a bad thing) but when it is running properly I am so in love with my Q20 indeed. The stitch regulators, the LED lights, and big throat space, the hefty and solid table… ah! It’s heaven! It’s also so much easier maneuvering a large quilt on the Q20. No more fighting with the throat space!  I also ventured into the new world of rulerwork but still in the learning/practising stage and trying hard not to get the straight lines shifted or off track.

A feature that I am not satisfied with the Q20 is the lower thread indicator. It’s not helpful at all as you have to enter at the beginning the total length of thread in your bobbin, which is never accurate. Therefore the machine cannot really tell the exact length of thread left in the bobbin.

One thing that I wish to be installed on the Q20 is the thread cutter. A foot lower/upper control function like my B770 would also be lovely. With such an expensive price tag, the Q20 is lacking some of the bells and whistles that a high end machine should have.

While fighting with my Q20, I worked on a FMQ sample. It’s by far the biggest practise sample I’ve ever made. It’s big enough (19.5"x38") to use as a table runner, though the color of the fabric does not really match the style of my dining room.

Face fabric and backing is cotton sateen from Fabricland. Batting contains a layer of Hobbs Heirloom Wool and a layer of Quilters Dream Angel Request Cotton. The center feather motif was stitched with Superior Threads king Tut/Gutermann Embroidery Thread (both 40 weight), and the rest was stitched with WonderFil DecoBob (60 weight). Stitch definition and drape are both great. I seldom use the fancy stitches on my sewing machine. This time for fun I tried an "x" stitch for binding. It's not bad, eh?

Bernina Nova 900

I got this super cute Bernina Nova 900 in November. Too bad it's now in the tech's shop because the bobbin winder rubber ring got hardened through the years and the machine now refused to wind a full bobbin. I really hope the tech can find a replacement for my machine as it's just the perfect size and weight and package for taking out for classes and trips. Looking back, I am sure the seller lied to me. She must have been aware of the bobbin issue! It's my fault, too. I tested everything, found the bobbin winder didn't work smoothly, and thought it would be an easy fix. I should have asked for a better discount to compensate for the defect. 


I can hardly find any parts for this machine on ebay. How sad! It's just an impulsive purchase. I should have done more research. My tech said this machine is very sought after and it is worth $700+ if working properly. Well, that makes me feel better. 

She weights about 1/3 of the 710, and much smaller. She was solidly built with over 90% metal parts. 

Ah! She is just so cute!

New Foot - 97D

After a long wait (maybe 100 days), I finally had my 97D foot home today. I tried it right away, and immediately felt the difference. NO MORE WOBBLING of the fabric. Bernina should have made this foot years ago when they introduced 9mm machines. The foot is very well made, the guide is so so (not very well polished). Anyways, I got a discount from the dealer, so I felt better. Plus, I don't see myself using the guide often. As long as the foot is working great, I am happy. Piecing and patchwork will be resumed tomorrow. Several quilts in my sewing room are waiting to be finished and unveiled. 

Also, notice the 1/4" tape on the slide-on table? It's the tiger tape for learning to produce even hand sewing stitches. I found the tape thick, sticky and strong, so I used it as my sewing guide. The left edge aligns with the needle centre position, and the right edge aligns with the 1/4" marking. That way, the tape can be utilized for making quick HSTs and QSTs without drawing diagonal lines, and for aligning long strip pieces before they enter the foot area. 

I start to love my Bernina

1. The cricket sound is gone after my dealer replaced the circuit board for me. 

2. My dealer told me the reason of the wide slot openings on the needle plate: they are designed for side-way motions in B780 (710 & 750 do not have that function). Ok... I am optimistic that Bernina will supply us with normal needle plates later. 

3. The just-launched firmware update will solve the securing stitch issue. Great! I am waiting for that update to become available on the Bernina website so I can "update" my sewing "computer".

4. Previously, my machine occasionally has wonky stitch issues. I feared that it was a machine flaw. Today I made up my mind and played with the top thread and bobbin thread tension. I found the sweet spot for my favourite piecing thread: Aurifil 50/2. With bobbin tension set at 1 o'clock, top thread tension at 4.5, and with a size 75 quilting needle stitching at 1.8mm, my 710 produces almost flawless stitches on quilting cotton.  So happy!


So my first Bernina was home on Jan. 31, 2014. My B710 works out fine but has very annoying noises (like cricket, like jet engine take off, etc.). My dealer has confirmed that it's the circuit board problem and he placed an order to replace a new one for me. Other than the noises, there are actually a few minor things that I don't like about the machine: 

1. The 9mm feed dog is too wide. And the slot openings on the needle plate for the feed dogs are too wide, too, leaving gaps in-between that I afraid they would eat my fabrics!

2. The machine automatically locks the beginning stitch for me even though I do not select the function. (I still have no clue how to shut it off in the settings.)

3. Only 11 positions for a 9mm machine is not sufficient! Even the 5.5mm machines have 11 positions...

5. It's actually not as quiet as I've expected. (I am spoiled by my Singer 201!)

Having those said, there is actually nothing "wrong" with the machine. I tested the straight stitches, decorative stitches, buttonholes, free-motion... B710 sews everything beautifully. I love the precision that a Bernina sewing machine promises, and I really love the interface of the touch screen. The needle-down function and the pressure foot lever work like a dream! Oh, how should I forget the bright LED lights and the eco mode! They are scrumptious. A plus: the jumble bobbins! Oh yes, I love the high-quality Bernina presser feet, too!

The 37d foot gives accurate results!

Stitch quality? No complain! 

Free-motioning with B710 is so much fun! B710 is slower than Singer 201, and the needle-down function gives me so much more control!

My beloved Singer 201 is now my back-up machine, and my reliable Pfaff 2027 will be my go-to-class machine. They are all meaningful in my sewing soul!

Last but not least, I am working slopingly on several quilting projects since last Christmas. I can't wait to reveal them. 

P.S. I was chosen to be the quilter of the month in my guild. So thrilled but at the same time a bit intimidated since I haven't done a presentation in front of a big crowd since my MASc thesis defence over a year ago!