October 6, 2013

Bernina 750 QE : A One (1) Year Update

It has been one year now since I purchased by 750 QE. What can I say? I am loving it. Although I need more time to use it. As with most crafters, we also have family and home to take care of. Oh yes, and need to sleep in there too.

Following is a quick update for the first year with my 750 QE.

Projects Completed on my Bernina 750 QE

* Reflective collars with Velcro back for Search and Rescue Dog Team
* Embroidering of Name and Title on T-Shirts and Polos for Search and Rescue Team
* Alterations: sew on patches, hemming, take in seams
* Embroidering of Designs on Aprons
* Quilt Piecing (Dear Jane, Crazy Curves, Grandmother's Flower Garden and misc quilt blocks)
* Cuddle / Minky Quilts
* Corn Hole / Bean Bag Construction
* Embroidering of Logos on Corn Hole / Bean Bags
* Sewing of misc craft items for sale: Kleenex covers, coin purses, hot pads and placemats
* Garment Construction: girls ruffle skirts, pajama pants, tshirts, easy skirts

Performance Comments / Maintenance Update

One (1) Trip in to the Bernina Doc
My 750 QE has been into the shop once in the year. And it could have been avoided. I knew better than to use old, hand-me-down thread. The lessor quality thread broke several times while sewing and a small piece stuck in the uptake created terrible straight stitch. A quick trip in and she was sewing back to the usual Bernina high standard.

My 1/4 Inch Piecing Issue
It took me a bit of time to settle in on my choice of foot for 1/4 inch piecing. I landed on the 1C and moving the needle. While I sewed with the quarter inch foot (37), I struggled with the fabric not feeding evenly. Others I have spoken to have no issue with the 37 foot, so I assume it is user (ie ME) error.

When piecing I do not use the thread cutter. When using the thread cutter, the first stitch following is a tack. When piecing this created some issue with the fabric getting pulled down into the bobbin area. I have not been able to find where / how to shut off the tack, so now only use sparingly. Anyone know how to shut it off?


Overall, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Bernina 750 QE. As with every machine, there are quirks and small learning items to figure out. But my machine has been trouble free, a joy to use and helped me create a myriad of items.

How do you like your 750 QE?

Dear Jane Block A2

Dear Jane Block A2: One-Two Buckle My Shoe
Machine Pieced on Bernina 750QE
Completed 10.06.2013
Fabric: Cheddar and Crème
Number of pieces: 40

Dear Jane Block A2 is complete, utilizing my Bernina 750QE. The instructions provided with the BOM from Stitchin' Heaven were for precision cut piecing. However, I decided to give foundation piecing a try. Using my Dear Jane software, I printed out the Foundation Piecing Template. This was my first attempt at paper piecing. First row was a goof. But it was great for working out the kinks and learning how to paper piece. Am pleased with how it turned out - if you look close there are 2 spots that points don't match up, but who's counting?

Next Block: A3

September 2, 2013

And I knew that old thread is a no-no...

It was a moment of weakness, perhaps desperation. As usual I was in the middle of a late night sewing session (doesn't everybody sew in the middle of the night?). I could not find the matching thread I had bought anywhere. And having a stash of high quality thread, I was quite surprised I could not find something to blend. (Note to self: I need to expand my thread stash to match my fabric stash).

Then I remembered a box of thread stashed in the back of the armoire. I had a box of thread given to me by a friend, of which I had added spools that my mom and others had given me. I knew the thread was old - it was even dusty - but I wanted (note I did not use needed) to get the little project done. After what should have been a quick 10 minute stitch session had turned into a nearly hour long battle with my machine, I finished the little project. Long story short, no matter what I did - new needle, rethread, change tension, rethread and rethread - the thread kept breaking. Thinking I was done with the battle, I went to bed and over the next week came back to sewing my Dear Jane Blocks.

But ohhhhhh I was far from done with the repercussions of using the old thread! After stitching 20 half square triangles, I inspected my work. UGH! Missed stitches on each an every block. Out came the seam rippers and I ripped out all my work and restitched. Now I should have checked after a couple, but only after I re-stitched all 20 for a second time did I check my stitching. Not again! It was as if the bobbin thread was laying flat on the fabric. I began to panic.

I had read the reviews of the 750QE, and had seen the multiple complaints revolved around tension issues on the 750QE, but almost a year in with not a single issue, it just couldn't be. I promptly took my machine into the shop. Ryan, at Heirloom Creations in Sioux Falls, SD worked his magic. And much to my chagrin, the issue was a broken thread in the thread uptake. And I knew the exact time and project that caused the issue. After sheepishly confessing to using less than stellar thread, laughing about how I used to be such a thread snob, I took my machine home. She was placed back in her Ausie Kanagroo Cabinet and was back in the groove. Perfect straight stitch, purring as she worked and I smiling with great relief.

I must admit - I am a thread snob - and shall never waiver again. I use Isacord, Mettler (cotton or silk) or Permacore thread exclusively. If there is one thing you change in your sewing, I highly recommend using high quality thread exclusively. When you have trouble with your sewing machine, you will commonly be asked by the repair man, "what thread are you using?". For more detail on thread, check out this article on About.com.

Lesson Learned: When someone gives you some leftover thread from Grandma, their closet, something they found at a rummage sale, politely thank your gifter and when no one is around, toss it out. Don't be tempted to save it for an emergency! Thank and throw. That is my motto. And by the way, I found the matching Isacord thread. It had rolled behind the foot of my sewing cabinet - right there for everyone to see.

August 9, 2013

Dear Jane Block A1

Dear Jane Block A1: Pinwheel Gone Awry
Machine Pieced on Bernina 350PE
Completed 08.09.2013

Completed my first Dear Jane Block. Machine pieced using my Bernina 350PE. The instructions provided with the BOM from Stitchin' Heaven were a breeze. And I must have followed the instructions well, as my points came out just perfect.
Next Block: A2

August 5, 2013

Dear Jane 2013 BOM #1

My first Dear Jane BOM packaged arrived in the mailbox today from Stitchin' Heaven in Mineola, TX. Neatly packaged in a plastic zip top bag : a cover letter, pattern/instructions for 8 blocks and 2 triangles, a oh so nice crème background and fabrics for the blocks. Oh I can't wait to get stitching. But alas, that won't happen until later in the week. But just had to share. Cheers!

August 3, 2013

A New Adventure: Dear Jane

Several years ago, I came across a blog about the popular Civil War Era Quilt, Dear Jane. I bought the Dear Jane book, soon followed by the purchase of the Dear Jane Software. As I visited quilt shops in the area, I picked up Civil War Reproduction Fat Quarters, as well as a bolt of natural (unbleached) muslin, with the intent of making this quilt. Well, 10 years later, I have yet to start on Dear Jane. Then came a blog entry from my friend Kwilty Kim of Thread Heads Unite. Stitchin Heaven was offering a Dear Jane Block of the Month (BOM). Seriously! I didn't have to pick out fabric! I didn't have to decide which to work next! It was perfect. So starting this month I should have a package and begin my Dear Jane adventure.

Stop back to see my progress and get a glimpse of the kits from Stitchin' Heaven.

Happy Stitching.

February 24, 2013

Vegetarian Chocolate Cake (using a box cake mix)

My husband is a vegatarian - he eats eggs, but no meat or fish - and the one item we've been missing is dessert. There are pies (if made with vegetable based products), dry cookies and other non-fun desserts. So today I venture into trying out a modified box mix: 1 Duncan Hines Devil Food Cake Mix 1 1/4 cup water (as noted on the box) 1/2 c Vegetable oil (as noted on the box) To replace the 3 eggs noted on the box: 3 Tbsp White Vinegar 3 Tbsp Water Water 3 Tsp Baking Powder And 1/4 cup of sour cream (I always add this to a box mix for moisture and density) Mix a cake mix, water, sour cream and vegetable oil together on low for 30 seconds with hand mixer (or however long directions noted on box for initial mix). In a separate bowl mix the vinegar water and baking power. It will get foamy and fizzy. Add this to the batter and mix for the amount of time noted on the box. In this instance it was two minutes. The batter got airy and looked delish! Follow pan prep and baking instructions on box.

February 15, 2013

My Viking Huskylock S25 Has Arrived

I have been wanting to have a coverstitch machine for many years now. And after completing a custom sewing project (a girl's applique tshirt and ruffle skirt) I decided it was time to start hunting. I however determined I did not have room for a 4th machine. So looked for a serger/coverstich combo. I took fabric with me to test drive - including the heavy #12 duck fabric I use to make Cornhole/Bean Bags. I wanted to ensure that I would not be giving up a sure thing by adding some bells and whistles.

I landed on the Viking Huskylock S25. I traded in my Viking Huskylock 910 and brought home the S25 a few days ago. In addition to the coverstich capability, I liked how smooth and quiet it stitched, the extra space in the throat area and the bright/updated lighting. I hesitated as I wondered whether having no free-arm would be an issue. But in thinking about the how I've used my serger in the past, it really is not a must for me. Even with a free-arm on the 910 (to slip a sleeve over and stitch), I didn't use it. The S25 has a bigger footprint than my 910, but still works with the Horn cabinet I have. And as a bonus, the S25 comes with the sew steady clear acrylic table. Love that!

While I have yet to stitch on it at home, I have a few projects in mind to test it out. In the works are:

* shortening a couple of t-shirts (for coverstitch)
* a couple Cuddle Scarves
* a Serge and Merge Quilt

Happy Stitching!