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Thread: Advice on free motion quilting...

  1. #1
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    Advice on free motion quilting...

    Hi! I'm relatively new to quilting- I've FMQ a baby+ sized quilt and make another easy strip quilt. I just bought a Bernina 530 and am debating about the best way to quilt. I've been seriously considering getting a straight stitch machine like the Brother PQ1500S for my quilting- these machines look like powerhouses and I wouldn't worry as much about damaging the machine while doing FMQ as I would with my new Bernina. (I noticed when FMQ my last quilt that it seemed hard on my Pfaff 2046). Or should I just spend the money on a BSR? Or is it not worth it to shell out more money, and just go for it on my Bernina?

    Thanks!
    Robin

  2. #2
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Wow, that's a tough one. Bernina is generally known as a tough machine, and I wouldn't worry about it not handling the quilting. What is the throat space on the Bernina? The bigger the throat space, the easier the quilting because you have to manhandle less bulk through a narrow space. I just bought a HQ Sweet 16 to do my FMQ because the Pfaff Grandquilter (the equivalent of the Brother 1500) did not provide me with adequate space.

    The Brother is a straight-stitch machine and it sews very fast. If you wanted to set it up for just your quilting then you wouldn't have to change the settings on the Bernina from piecing.

    Knowing now what I didn't know then, I would not buy the Pfaff. I would continue to use the DSM and save my money for a dedicated sit-down quilting machine. Good luck and have fun with your decision.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    I have a Bernina 430, with the BSR. If I had to do it over again, I would not get the BSR. It didn't help that much, and I found the results with my open toe stippling foot to be virtually the same as the results with the BSR.

    Your Bernina should do just fine with FMQ. I used my 430 for the first time in a long time recently, and I'd forgotten how quiet and well-behaved it is while quilting. My previous machine broke needles like they were going out of style, and it's a pleasure to be able to sit and sew without waiting for something bad to happen.

    Janet

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    I have a 10 year old (or older) Bernina Virtuosa 150 on which I've machine pieced/quilted quite a number of quilts, from wall hanging to king sized, with a lot of meanders. Never noticed any degradation in the machine.

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    Before you buy the BSR - go into your dealer with some samples and have them let you try it. Some people love it and others not so much. I am thinking you could get a Brother 1500 for about the same price as the BSR foot, so unless you LOVE the BSR that is the way I would go. That being said you can quilt on your Bernina (without the BSR) perfectly fine. The Brother does give you a little more throat space.

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    Thanks, all! I should add that I have not yet bought a walking foot for the Bernina ($170ish). I could also get the walking foot plus the bsr for $800 total but need to make a quick decision on that as it's supposed to be a day of purchase deal only (I bought 2 days ago). Of course I'd also want to get an extension table so thats another $100... The brother comes wih a walking foot and an extension table and is $700. My bernina has 7.5" space to the right of the needle and the brother has 8.9". I'm definitely limited by price. Any other input would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by monkeymoto; 08-23-2012 at 01:15 PM. Reason: posted before finished

  7. #7
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I know nothing about your Bernina, but I do hve the Brother machine you mentioned. The Brother is a good machine for me. I can quilt a king size quilt on it without going crazy. My Brother came with the extension table and the walking foot.

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    Glad to hear you like it! Is the extension table sufficient for quilting? Also, does the needle button really put the needle in down position when you stop sewing? I've read varying things on this. Thanks!

  9. #9
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    I have the PQ1500, and yes, you can set it to the needle down position. I've only made one quilt with it so far. The needle always stopped in the down position. I loved it for FMQ, but I have nothing to compare it to. I'm new at this and hand-quilted the only other one I've made.
    Jenel Looney
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  10. #10
    gml
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hinterland View Post
    I have a Bernina 430, with the BSR. If I had to do it over again, I would not get the BSR. It didn't help that much, and I found the results with my open toe stippling foot to be virtually the same as the results with the BSR.

    Your Bernina should do just fine with FMQ. I used my 430 for the first time in a long time recently, and I'd forgotten how quiet and well-behaved it is while quilting. My previous machine broke needles like they were going out of style, and it's a pleasure to be able to sit and sew without waiting for something bad to happen.

    Janet
    I agree with Hinterland. You still need to practise, practise, practise with the BSR. If you are jerky in moving your fabric, it will show in your stitches whether you use BSR or not. To me, the benefit of the BSR does not justify the cost. Have a trial run at it before you purchase. I know there are people who find the BSR does wonders to their FMQ.

    God Bless
    gml

  11. #11
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    I agree with those who have said that any DSM can handle quilting. Going through 2 layers of cotton and a layer of batting is nothing compared to sewing Jeans! The quilting in FMQ has more to do with your ability. When you practise a lot, your motion becomes smoother and more intuitive. When your motion is smoother, your stitches look better.
    Personally, I wouldn't succumb to the pressure of your "same day sale" deal. There is always another sale, and there is always another deal. $800 is a lot of money, and I think your dealer can come up with just as good a deal later after you've had time to decide what you want to do. Whether you buy it today or next month, they'll still make a profit on it so do what is best to you. IMHO
    I used to be "hot", now it's just "hot flashes!"

  12. #12
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    Go to your Bernina dealer - with fabric and batting in hand - and try FMQ with the BSR to see if you like it or not. No one can tell you if you should buy it or not, you need to try it out to see for yourself.

    I have the BSR and I use the BSR when I quilt.

  13. #13
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    I jut got a Brother Pq11500s and LOVE it. I was sewing on a Singer Quilter and it sews nice but was a ** for FMQ. Brothers has a larger throat so that makes it easier. Love the speed of the stitches (1500/min) which makes it easier to do meandering/stippling and get even stitches. It also sew nice for peicing. I bought mine from Amazon for $600 with free shippingh and no tax. Amazon is authorized dealer so I should be able to take it to Brother Authorized sertvice shop. Go to Sewing center and test "sew" differtent machines to see which you like!!!!!

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    I have tested the bsr and have been underwhelmed. I think it's the good price and pull towards cool new technology that makes me want it. I have tested a Janome 1600 and really really liked it. I agree my bernina can handle fmq but I do like the idea of having a dedicated machine for quilting. I bought the bernina with garment sewing in mind. Guess I'm answering my own question! Now I just need to test the brother 1500s and the Juki 2010 to see what I like best. Leaning towards the Juki for speed control even though it's a bit more than the brother.

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