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Thread: Bernina Stitch Regulator - Is it worth the price?

  1. #1
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    Bernina Stitch Regulator - Is it worth the price?

    I have an older Bernina that works just fine for piecing, and a walking foot for stitch in the ditch. But, I stink at free motion quilting. One of the problems is varying length of stitches. The Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) sounds like a cool tool. Problem is that in order to get one, I have to buy a machine the BSR device with software will work on. Just went to a Bernina store today and looked at used machines. The lowest I could get a machine and BSR was $2400 --quite a bit over my budget. So, is it worth it to bite the bullet and pay that much? Is it really that good?

  2. #2
    Senior Member igorsews's Avatar
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    Try one before buying it. But, remember that FMQ will only get better with practice. I use my BSR all the time. Wouldn't be without it.

  3. #3
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I know from experience it does take practice. I do not have a bernina or a BSR I recently took classes on fmg and the teacher told me my stiches were good and I have had several people tell me the same thing. I do keep practicing but now I am not afraid to do it on my quilts. Have you ever tried silk thread #100?? It is very forgiving and silk thread is very stong. I am sure that is what has helped me using it and trying different designs.

  4. #4
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I machine quilt and piece on a Bernina 1530 and yes it just takes practice. I just hadn't done any free motion and much stitch length was a little short in length but I was able to stay on the lines. I am going to make some charity quilts for kids and use them to practice on. GOOD LUCK and hang in there. What Bernina wants for a new machine is just TOO RICH for my budget...
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  5. #5
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    some like it and some don't. One can learn good FMQ without it.

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    I have not heard of silk thread #100. Who makes it and where can I find it. What makes it better than the cotton?

    Quote Originally Posted by newbee3 View Post
    I know from experience it does take practice. I do not have a bernina or a BSR I recently took classes on fmg and the teacher told me my stiches were good and I have had several people tell me the same thing. I do keep practicing but now I am not afraid to do it on my quilts. Have you ever tried silk thread #100?? It is very forgiving and silk thread is very stong. I am sure that is what has helped me using it and trying different designs.

  7. #7
    Junior Member quiltgal's Avatar
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    Free motion is like any other skill - you have to practice! The key to even stitches with the feed dogs down is to move at a consistent speed! Free motion on standard home sewing machine are good on smaller quilts say baby quilt size (40 x 60) at the most. I have quilted a bunch of quilts even up to two of them 120 x 120 and it is a hassle on any of my regular home machines! I have tried out longarm quilting as well. Even there with a stitch regulator, it takes practice to have even smooth lines on a long arm (where stitch length is good and steady) but practice helps with the smoothness.
    Don't beat yourself up about free motion and practice on quilts that are not important to be perfect. I have to relax and white wine helps to get me going when I am doing free motion.
    Bottom line: a Bernina with stitch regulator would be really nice to have, but at that price I would have be making enough money to not mind the cost.
    Kathleen Clendennen
    www.thequiltgal.com

  8. #8
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    I had one and sold it when we got a long arm.It is like the needle is the pen and the quilt is the paper-to me it was awkward.It did work great-just awkward to me.When you use a long arm you are moving the pen and the paper stays still.I advise sitting a dealer and playing for about an hr. You will at least know if you are going to be comfortable quilting that way.For me anything very large was not fun on a domestic machine.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  9. #9
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I would love a stitch regulator, there isn't one for me. I do FMQ on one of 2 of my Domestic machines. I've done lots and lost of big quilts, a little tough getting started in the center, not too bad.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  10. #10
    Junior Member simplyme's Avatar
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    The BSR is great. I have it on my 830. But remember itis not a magic too that will take the place of practice. It is just an aid to help you. You will still have to learn with the BSR. I found it easier to learn without first and then got better when I got my new machine. The more you FMQ the better you will get. Don't be so hard on your self.

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    #100 Kimono silk thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Dee View Post
    I have not heard of silk thread #100. Who makes it and where can I find it. What makes it better than the cotton?
    I bought two of the "try me" specials from Superior Threads. You can't select the colors with the try me, and they sent me a buttery yellow and burgundy With the special they were about $11 or $12 and normally are $17 a spool. I absolutely love the silk!!! It's strong and very fine. It is wonderful for piecing, and especially piecing small pieces. I haven' quilted with it, as I mostly thread paint with #30 or #40 wt.
    I would love to have an entire selection of silk thread though. And since it is fine, soooo much fits onto a bobbin.

  12. #12
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I bought the Bernina 440QE with the BSR and I love it, although I now have a longarm with a stitch regulator. The BSR made learning to FMQ much easier, so to me it was worth the price. However I was buying the new sewing machine anyway, so the BSR itself didn't cost me that much. I don't think any quilting tool (or anything in life, for that matter) is "worth it" if you can't afford it at the time.

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    I actually bought a Bernina 440 QE strictly because of the stitch regulator! I have a Bernina 1031 that I just love, but no matter how I tried (and what classes I took), I just couldn't get the hang of FMQ. Looking back, the BSR was training wheels for me. It gave me confidence, and that is what I needed. I now have a Sweet 16 sitdown quilting machine without any stitch regulator, and I do just fine. However I know that the confidence I got with the BSR was key. Yes, it is perfectly possible to learn FMQ by practice, but it was much easier for me to do it with the BSR.

    Pam

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    I have a Bernina 1530 and have been looking for a walking foot. Can't afford the $180 price tag, so have been looking on EBay. Have a bid in on one, but so have 7 others! I have to be patient, I know, but that is not one f my virtues!! If anyone knows of one at a reasonable price, please let me know.
    Thanks

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    Super Member scowlkat's Avatar
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    I tried the BSR but it couldn't keep up with me! Or at least that is what the dealer said the problem was. I believe if you just keep practicing, you can bypass the need for a stitch regulator. Keep all those left over pieces of batting and make small practice pieces. Don't worry about becoming perfect - no-one is! Play with your machine settings also. If your machine has a slide bar to control the speed, try setting it half way. Eventually you will find the right combination of moving your hands to the speed of the machine. Oh, and every time you are about to work on an actual quilt, grab one of those practice pieces to warm up with. It really makes a difference. Just relax!

  16. #16
    Senior Member 1000projects's Avatar
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    With fmq, you will get better with practice. I have been going about 6 years with no BSR. (also with no Bernina, lol) if you use a #50 wt thread and color match the thead somewhat closely to the fabric, the details of the stitching will be pretty invisible. Also, my fmq was hugely improved when i switched from 30 wt coats and clarks to 50 weight thread. Instanty better!

  17. #17
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    superior threads has #100 thread Well as I stated it is very forgiving in showing the thread so you can actually quilt using this thread and learn without ruining your quilt. Once I get better at it I will use other threads I actually used Isacord polyester #40 wt. and it worked out good .

  18. #18
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    I bought my Bernina 440 QE this year with the BSR. I got a good deal on it and my Bernina Activa was acting up. While it was in the shop I really thought hard about this second machine. It turned out my Activa only needed a $100 repair so it's now my back up machine. The BSR has improved my machine quilting. I don't get the micro stitches like I used to. As someone mentioned, it gave me the extra confidence to do more machine quilting. Of course more machine quilting meant I got better anyway. It is not fool proof so if you want to practice, practice, practice, you can probably improve without it. If you're in the market for a new machine anyway, go for it.

  19. #19
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    I can't imagine free motion quilting without my BSR. It has become a secruity blanket for me. In fact, I tried to do FMQ without it, once, and I did not even know what to do. Other quilters gave you good advice. Practice on one for at least an hour, and then try it without one again. If you use a Bernina with the BSR, make sure you have it set at BSR 2, then you can control the stop and go by the movement of the fabric, not the button. Not all dealers or owners of the BSR know will tell you that.

  20. #20
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I love my BSR but I also FMQ'd fine for many years without it. But, my stitches are perfect with the BSR and it's a great tool. But, some people don't like it. Make sure you test drive it and see what you think.

  21. #21
    Senior Member AnitaSt's Avatar
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    I have a Bernina 430 and the BSR. I love the BSR but still need a lot of practice on making my FMQ designs look the way I want them to! I do think the BSR is a valuable learning tool and a "security blanket" so you don't have to worry about stitch length, but I don't know whether I would buy a new machine just to get a stitch regulator. On the other hand....Berninas are fantastic machines and you won't regret buying one.

    Anita

  22. #22
    Super Member grammysharon's Avatar
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    I have a Bernina 1530 that is my travel machine without the BSR and I love FMQing on this machine. My home machine is a Bernina 830 which does have BSR but I don't always use it as I am more comfortable without it!! This is just my opinion!!!
    A quilt is a blanket of love. Sharon

  23. #23
    Super Member Doreen's Avatar
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    I have the Bernina 440 with the BSR. I do almost all of my FMQ on my Viking Mega Quilter. I've learned to regulate my stitches. Yes, it takes practice. Don't be in a hurry and be patient. Breathe in and out!

  24. #24
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    I love mine, and my sewing machine. But it won't magically cure your FMQ problems. As others have noted, there is no substitute for practice.

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    Thanks so much for the feedback. I guess I was expecting the BSR to be a fantastic help with free motion quilting, but the practice and skill seem to be the biggest factor. I'll think about the 440 a little longer and maybe the pricing will drop some more. It still amazes me how much the electronic sewing machines cost!

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