Last Tuesday I packed my car full of nice sewing and quilting material to go to BERNINA at Steckborn. It was funny not to go there for teaching workshops but just to enjoy some days for testing and playing on the new Longarm series, the BERNINA Q20 and the Q24.
I had a finished quilttop, batting and backing in a box and some wonderful dyed Heide Stoll-Weber fabric, that I wanted to combine with coloured Vliesofix and lutradur.
For months I could hardly wait to test the new BERNINA longarm machines.
So, finally Wednesday morning I made an appointment with Sarah Caldwell from BERNINA for a short lecture.
I did not only meet Sarah in the creativecenter, since a few days my dear blogger colleague Grete had been working on the Q24 to get into it. Very easily the quiltling went out of her hands…
Ok, there we go. I got some first impressions about the Q20!
In the basic state, the 20″ free longarm is mounted on a fix table, whose base is already 0,91m x 1,15m sized. Under the front area of the tabletop, magnetized shelves with grooves are mounted right and left sides. Very useful for accessories such as needles, scissors to keep handy at all time.
The tabletop is resizable. Through the drifting apart, there is not only room for two shelves, each 91cm x 40,5cm, but other storage space is provided in two incorporated surfaces. Very clever, made of BERNINA.
Covered by the two shelves, the stored material is perfectly hidden. And the enlarged quilt range measures fantastic 0,91m x 1,96m working surface!
The area below the free long arm is perfectly illuminated with a series LEDs.
It is quite customer friendly that the BERNINA Q20 and the Q24 are equiped with the usual pressure feet – quilting feet – the ones we use for the normal sewing machine work. Likewise it does not need a special sewing machine needle.
The change of pressure foot is just the same as with all other BERNINA models. Quick and easy.
The ingenious technique for the BERNINA thread guide looks quite complicated on first sight, but can be easily handeled after some practice.
Another great detail for this longarm series is the invention of the BERNINA thread tension meter:
The bobbin case including the bobbin is snapped into the device, the thread passed through the small wheels and tightened. The tension is shown in the display and can then be regulated through the small screw on the bobbin case.
Sarah told me quite a lot about the different functions of the Q20, especially about the various types of BSR. I rather prefer the manual function, since I do not want to work with the same stitch length in my form of artquilting. To start with, I chose a speed with 880 stitches per minute, that shoud be fine.
Well, what can I say: just the fact that I could spread my work of about 100cm x 150cm on the machine table was quite something!
To have space. Without checking, rolling together, rolling apart, checking again, continuing a little bit of quiltling and rolling again and again…..no way.
The luxury to be able to work on the piece. The ease the machine does quilting. The precision and quality of the stitch image. Terrific.
The first abstract sunflowers find on the fabric. Very quickly I find my own rhythm and moment. Effortlessly it just goes ahead. And then I increase the quilting speed. I go up to 2107 stitches per minute. Just keep going. Quiltling like drawing lines with a pencil on a pieces of paper. Like fast sketching, just let the needle flow through the farbic. It is really breathtaking.
It was also very surprising that in this extremely high speed, the upper thread never broke. Only the lower thread broke three times during the entire work on this piece (total 13 hours working time). Besides that, there were no problems with tension or thread. Just perfect working.
The first flowers found into the fabric, the structures that occur are quite pleasant.
Now, that the base was worked into the quilt, I startet with the surface design. Big flowers in painted Vliesofix found on the fabric, that were quilted again.
Especially in theses large flowers (diameter 30-35cm) I felt the slogan “quilt big”. With wide large arches and curves I could retrace the petals, without slowing down and settle, just getting into the flow of quilting. It was obvious, that the design itself became independent with the use of this machine.
Further material was placed on the surface and gave a certain three-dimensionality:
The “Blue Autumn” is finished and photographed in daylight. Therefore the colours changed and are in the origianal now.
And then, there was more excitement! Sarah helped me again in mounting the quilttop, the backing and batting on the huge BERNINA Q24.
I had no idea about a quilt pattern I wanted to do. I rather wanted to let things happen and follow my hands – and arms in this case. Same with this quilt. Sarah made me to try the BSR modus, but in fact, the manual modus is for me :-). And I had a go. Fixed the quilt with basting stitches and then startet. The machine flows easily over the fabric, and seconds later I got along with quiltling. Oh, that was great fun!
Thursday evening I was too tired to finish this large quilt, so I decided to stop and to go on the next morning.
Returned at 7 in the morning towards the “sleeping tiger” and made him purr again by switching him on. It can be so easy ;-).
There is a detail of my quilting – it is not that bad for the first time…
Short time later, the quilt for my daughter is finished (180cm x 220cm). Just to take of the basting threads and to sew the binding on.
I am totally overwhelmed by these two new BERNINA machines, the Q20 and the Q24. Both can be operated easily and without any trouble. It will certainly not be the last big quilt that I made this year, there is much more material in the cabinet, that likes to be changed into quilts and artquilts and the processed on the BERNINA longarms.