Creative articles about quilting

Sketching with the basting function of the BERNINA Q20

It’s been one and a half year, since I startet quilting on the BERNINA Longarm Q20 and I realize, that it has well “grown” into my hands, since then. Anyway there are still many new things to discover.

Today, I like to show something about sketching with the Q20. The machine is equipped with two differend BSR functions and a manual modus (no stichlength regulation), but also got a special basting function with three differend stitchlengths. We can choose within SPI 1, 2 and 4, which operates in 1 stitch per inch, 2 or 4 stitches/inch.



You might see, that a straight line quilting is not that easy with the basting-function, but it’s not essential to do so, when only basting the three layers of a quilt. The machine does just place the needle, depending where the fabric is moved to. Its the same with usual quilting, you might think now, yes, it is, but it is not that easy. Stitchlengths are very short whilst usual freemotion quilting and that makes it a lot easier, than this sketching.

Some days ago I finished some new work and started thinking about the layout with yarns and quilting.  The sketches, that I had printed on it just brought me to the idea to use the basting function. I had a go for it.


The first quite simple lines for the hair where easy to do and I got a good feeling for drawing with the long stitches, the unexpected points, where the needle would hit into the material and the special rhythm. The heavy and deep structures where fascinating.



I tried to stay relaxed and cool and continued to draw out the first lines of the faces. Meanwhile I felt quite comfortable in sketching and hatching and continued  drawing with the longarm. Deliberate yourself from perfectionism and jump into the free designing. It is such good fun.





and if I feel to add some more depth I continue sketching over and over again



The five similar portraits got a quite different appearance due to the yarn-sketching and coincidence played a mayor role in this creative game. There are nuances of smallest lines which lead to different layouts and the slightest movements of your fingers and hands on moving the material under the needle.





The large working space of the table and the huge size of the maching offer a constant and comfortable survey over the piece of work. This makes the formative part much easier.



Five of the different “Hommes” are meanwhile finished and are waiting, how I am going to continue with them.







The yarn-sketches are looking like an intense hatch done by pencil, but the sculptural optic that accurs can only be done by yarn. That makes the work by quilting so unique. The BERNINA Q20 stitches absolutely perfect, even in this unusual and alienated technique.

Have a go for it!

Jutta Hellbach

Difficulty level: Advanced
Time to Complete: Evening
Used Material: fabric, paper, Q20
Used Products:
Cording Foot with 5 Grooves #25
Cording Foot with 5 Grooves #25

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