Bernina 830 versus Janome MC15000

My conclusion, each of these machines has pros and cons. I COULD live with either one. But I am lucky that I can afford both. So I generally piece quilts on my Janome, MC1500, while I appliqué and free motion on my Bernina 830. I will use either machine during embellishing art quilts depending on what stitches or effects I want. I embroider much more on my Janome because of the ease of monitoring and changing thread (nice threader).

I have been a member of the The Quilt Show for several years. Recently we started a thread about machines and features. I felt compelled to write about my two favorite machines. Here is what I posted to the forum on the Quilt Show.

Since a few have posted about their Bernina 830 experience. I thought I would too. I did not get a lemon and I absolutely love my 830. It is a solid workhorse for me. It takes any thread I throw at it even metallic. And I love the huge hoops. I also have a Janome MC15000 and I like it too. However it doesn’t free motion as well. It straight stitches better. However the Janome has a tendency to have nesting thread on the beginning of a stitching line. The Bernina does not.

Here is my experience Bernina 830 vs Janome MC15000

Straight stitching: Janome wins with a beautiful straighter stitch but with the caveat to use a bit of scrap material to start other wise I get a rats nest on the bobbin thread at the beginning of a stitching line. Holding the top and bobbin works too, BUT who wants to do that if they have an automatic thread cutter. You can attain a very nice straight stitch on the Bernina if you use a single hole plate, and carefully match your thread to needle size. But still Janome’s is a prettier straight stitch.

Thread cutter: both machines will cut thread. I think cutting is faster on the Bernina than on the Janome (this is an impression, not measured with a stop watch). Bernina sews without nesting after using it’s cutter. Janome will form nests if you sew after the cutter. On the Janome you will need to use a bit of scrap or pull out and hold the thread tails when you start sewing again.

Freemotion: Bernina wins hands down, no contest

Needle threader: Janome’s is better and more consistently threads the needle. Both machine’s needle threaders work better than my lower end machines.

Heavy or lots of layers : It really depends. Heavy tight weave several layers like quilting on a denim from denim backed with batting, I use my Bernina. Thick tough fabrics like cordura 400 or 600, I use the Bernina. The Bernina doesn’t skip stitches like the Janome can in situations like this. “This” is comparing same thread, same needle, same fabric, same number of layers, and sewing at half speed machine, etc. I do like the dual feed on the Bernina, especially when piecing flimsy or wispy light weight chiffon or silk fabrics. BUT! I like the ease of adjusting the pressure for the dual feed on the Janoma. I think the dual feed on the Janome is better for normal quilting cotton and cotton batting. I go to my Janoma for doing straight stitch quilting in a modern quilt kind of look where you would quilt with lots of straight lines or expanding circles or spirals. Bernina actually recommends an extra walking foot for this kind of quilting.

Embroidery: Both work great. Both do a great job. But due to thread change on these single color machines, I prefer the Janome because of it’s more consistently working needle threader. (though I Think the thread path on the Bernina is easier to do). MC15000 has an extra pro: I like the fact this machine is wi-fi capable.. that I have an app on my iPad that I can ‘see’ where in the process the embroidery is, if thread broke, if the machine stopped, and if i need to change colors. I can run around my home and do chores while doing embroidery without having to check to see the status of my machine. I actually get more embroidery done because of this.

Knee lift: have to put two paragraphs one for each machine explain this one.

Pro for the Bernina is that the knee life is mechanical. This makes doing appliqués more fun on the Bernina instead of the Janome. I can barely raise or take the pressure off the fabric when turning curves or corners and still have some pressure from the foot helping me keep things lined up and it acts like an extra hands. On the Janome, the knee lift seems to actually be an electronic switch, when I use the knee lift, there is no infinite range of lifting the pressure foot, it is either up or down. I don’t like this. So I typically do appliqué on my 830. (I also prefer the double blanket stitch the Bernina has over the similar stitch on the Janome).

Pro for the MC15000 is the knee lift will set to control other things besides lifting the presser foot, you can use it to control stitch width. Yes, really! So for an art quilter, I can use it for neat effects. I also use it when couching lumpy irregular yarns and other items to art quilt while embellishing. It’s very fun once you learn how to control it.

Conclusion

My conclusion, each of these machines has pros and cons. I COULD live with either one. But I am lucky that I can afford both. So I generally piece quilts on my Janome, MC1500, while I appliqué and free motion on my Bernina 830. I will use either machine during embellishing art quilts depending on what stitches or effects I want. I embroider much more on my Janome because of the ease of monitoring and changing thread (nice threader).

Fall is Here and a Pumpkin Class

2014PumpkinClassWhat a week! Fall is here! It was 97 F yesterday and 80 F today with rain most of it. I almost got naked and did a thank you rain dance. I’m sure my neighbors were thankful because I rescued them from the ghastly vision of my interesting bits by deciding to go shop hopping instead. It was much more important grab two more shops on the Quilts Across Texas Shop Hop than it was to frighten the rain gods into dumping more water on me in an effort to make put my clothes back on. We got plenty of water today.

This past week my friend Jamie reposted a photo of a class sample that I did back in June. She showed off the quilt as you go watermelon table runner. Jamie got a big response from her Facebook peeps and they asked me to teach it again. I will in the spring. I offered to do something “Fall or Christmas” instead. We talked and decided a pumpkin would be very apropos for the next two months at least. So a pumpkin it is.

There are some vintage looking quilt as you go pumpkins made of strip piecing. At first I though we’d do that. It would be made just like the watermelon table runner but a pumpkin. Sounds easy. I decided to actually make a sample this time.

But as things go in my world I decided to change the plan just a bit to make things prettier.

There is absolutely nothing on a pumpkin that is a straight line. So, I decided that instead of strips, we’d do curves instead, easy-peasy no-pin mild gentle curves that would suggest the 3D shape of the pumpkin. Great! I drew out a pattern and it is beautiful! Oh no! I realized we can’t do the stitch a strip and flip it over technique as easily now. We got those curves to deal with. This is intended to be a beginner level class… so what am I to do?

I have said all year that I would teach a Fast Piece Applique class à la Rose Hughes style. It’s fun, it’s fast, it gets fabulous results in a short time. Her books are great and I tell my peeps to, “buy them, buy all of them. Rose’s books will inspire you and teach you stuff, she’s great!” I decided that this is my chance to spread the news about the greatness of Rose. However, Jamie and I did put the news out that this is a quilt as you go kind of beginner class. So what to do?

I decided we will do Rose’s technique and mangle it into a quilt as you go kind of thing and shorten the process just a bit. I put it together tonight, and because of the big pieces of pumpkin, it will work just fine. I think this is gonna excite my class! I’m excited to share it.

I was really surprised how the process fell together and how it sped up making the whole darn pumpkin centerpiece. And, best of all, it was fun and not that complicated.

I’m not going to show how I did it yet… I want to find any interesting foibles by making another sample tomorrow. For now… Here is a pic of what I did in just under an hour and 30 minutes.

Modified Fast Piece Applique Quilted Pumpkin
Modified Fast Piece Applique Quilted Pumpkin

Pet Post Cards

SAMQG is doing pet post cards as a charity outreach project and the cards will be available at the Houston Quilt Show 2014. I was inspired to make these by a memory of my bad cat who tormented my fish. Actually, I always thought the fish were tormenting the cat. He never managed to catch a fish. Though he did get wet.

My Bad Cat Pet Post Cards
My Bad Cat Pet Post Cards

We made post cards that used all kinds of techniques. My Bad Cats are raw edge appliqué and have a rat tail cord art quilt edging method to finish them off.

The rat tail cord edging is actually pretty easy. First use a narrow long zig zag to seal off the edges of your quilt sandwich. Then widen your stitch just a teeny bit, lay a rat tail cord right next to and touching the edge and zig zag it on the quilt. THEN, widen your stitch just a bit more and change the length so it is not quite a satin stitch. Since you stitched around twice already, there is enough thread already laid down that a true satin stitch won’t be necessary for a neat and pretty finish.

I’ll show in some future post how to make the ends of your rat tail edge meet up nicely.

Ink jet printing on freezer paper

Today, I discovered that my HP inkjet printer will print beautifully on the uncoated side of Reynold’s Freezer Paper.

That means an easy way to replicate designs for appliqué. And, an easy way to do multiple copies of a pattern I made. When I use Rose Hughe’s fast piece applique technique sometimes I want to separate out smaller particles or focal objects to layer on top. Making copies of my pattern with the printer will make this really quick!

I’ve been wanting a larger epson pigment based inkjet for a long time. Now I want one that will accommodate 18 inch wide banner paper too. 18 inches happens to be the width of a freezer paper roll. 😊

20130704-123455.jpg