Hens and Chickens

Hens and Chickens

Sunday, 31 August 2014

My new not-so-small baby.

Retirement so far has been wonderful.  Wet windy days spent piecing and quilting, and generally catching up on all of my UFO's.  Hot sunny days in the garden, mostly weeding, sometimes helping OH to paint the newly acquired summerhouse.  But suddenly, summer has disappeared, and the wet windy weather has returned with gusto - which can only mean one thing - sewing time!

I bought a Husqvarna 500 Computer sewing machine about 23 years ago, which in truth has seen very little wear.  After completing my first patchwork quilt for my then teenage daughter (she's now married with two children), I embarked on a second one for my younger daughter which to this day remains unfinished.  Life somehow intervened, we were so busy building up our own business, that there was no time for hobbies. 

My first patchwork quilt 

After we moved house several years ago, I decided to start sewing again, and about three years ago, I treated myself to a Janome MC11000SE.  Right from the start I found her to be oh so very temperamental.  Although I could stipple quilt by hooping my quilts, I could not sew anything which had thickish seams, hence no bag making for me.  After quilting my Autumn Table topper and my Xmas quilt, I started stipple quilting my Jolly Jelly Roll quilt.

Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt (pattern by Christa Quilts)

Although not a particularly large quilt, I still needed to hoop it 80 times.  All went well for the first 75 hoopings, but on the 76th, disaster struck, my bobbin case ended up deeply gouged and something went very wrong with the top tension.  After speaking to my dealer, it was arranged that I would drop it in for repairs.  Whilst there, I couldn't help but notice the many different sewing machines on display, especially the Berninas.  The very helpful lady demonstrated the many features and answered all of my questions.  Can it deal with thick layers?  How does the BSR work?  How good are the feed dogs?  How many presser foot pressure settings?  Can I unprogram the locking stitches at the beginning and end when quilting in the hoop?  And so on and so on. Then I test drove it.  I was sold.  This machine (750QE) just oozed quality.  Better than that, my husband was also sold, and promptly ordered it for me along with the Embroidery Module.  He says it's worth it just so he won't have to listen to me whinging about the shortcomings of my Janome.

Here she is, not even unwrapped.

The accessory cabinet (Barbie wardrobe)

Awesome LED lights
I cannot sing this machine's praises highly enough.  She is quite simply fantastic, and an absolute pleasure to sew on.  In just one week,  I have finished handbags on her, one for my daughter, one for myself, and two children's messenger bags for my grandkids.  I no longer have to be afraid to press the start button.  No bobbin case disasters, no crunches, broken needles or spoilt projects. This baby sews everything  I put under her.  She laughs at the thickest of seams, layers of harris tweed, fusible fleece, interlining and dec weight cotton.  Add some piping in - no problem, she handles everything with such ease and precision.  She is such a quiet machine too.  The BSR is amazing, and I have been eagerly practicing my FMQ. It's just so easy.  Never having owned a Bernina before I wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing in buying her, but she is just so easy and intuitive to use.  The needle threader has taken some practice, as it is not fully automatic like the one on the Janome, but I soon got the hang of it.  I can't think of one negative thing to say about her.

I am now busy planning projects on her.  Alas she is far too big for my Horn Nova cabinet, so I had to order a Horn Maxi Eclipse for her, which should arrive in the next couple of weeks.  Then I should be able to try out the embroidery unit.  I have already purchased some redwork designs for some cushions that I am planning for the new summerhouse.  

Ms Divers x

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