Wednesday, November 21, 2018

New! Bernina 770QE

Al, the owner of a local store called Sharky's Vac and Sew has been been a friend since we moved to The Villages in 2012. He sold me a Gidget II table and insert for my Bernina Aurora 440QE sewing machine. And a sewing chair. Next, we bought a Hoover floor scrubbing machine to wet wash, then vacuum dirty water from the tile floors. Then we bought a Simplicity vacuum cleaner with free annual servicing.

When Al decided recently to start selling Bernina sewing machines (he already sells Brother and Babylock), I was all over it. The first day Berninas were available - which happened to be a day when I needed to take our vacuum cleaner in for it's annual free tune-up - I got a demo of the Bernina 770QE. The 770 is the same model machine I used in a workshop at 2017 QuiltCon. 

I so liked what I saw on the Bernina 770 that I began talking with my hubs about buying that machine. Al sweetened the deal by adding in a wheeled luggage/trolly, a Sew Steady table (surrounds the machine bed to make it larger), and a Queen Supreme Slider (for helping slide the quilt during FMQ).

A Janome 1600QCP has been the machine I've used for FMQ since I bought it new in June 2016. I've added accessories to it: three different FMQ feet, including a ruler work foot; and my add-on strip of LED lights. It's a great machine, with a 9-inch harp (distance between needle and machine body). Al was willing to take it on trade for the Bernina, so that sealed the deal.

Having grandsons with us last week, I wasn't in a hurry to get the machine, but by Monday I was good and ready to pick it up!

I spent about an hour with Polly as she unboxed it. Together we reviewed all the parts - accessories, feet, manual, cord, etc. - and I checked items off a list. I think I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time!

Besides the 10-inch harp, the machine features dual feed that can be used with several different dual feed feet, and the BSR - Bernina Stitch Regulator. The BSR is a feature of my Bernina Aurora 440QE too, and though I tried it once to quilt an entire quilt, I never cared for it. However, after learning that the regulated stitch length can be adjusted - I find I prefer the stitch a little longer than the default - I've vowed to try the BSR again.

When the boys left Sunday afternoon, I returned the "guest room" to it's "sewing room" condition, and prepared space for the Bernina... ready and waiting. This is such a nice surface and arrangement for FMQ.

However, not having a quilt prepared for quilting, I wasn't able to start with FMQ!

So, I spent Monday evening piecing a quilt back, and pin-basting a quilt sandwich for my Comfort Quilt.

As this machine will become my all-in-one machine now (The 440QE will be used when I need to take along a machine), I am happy to play with everything it can do. To put together the quilt back, I used the quarter-inch foot, 97D ("D" means this foot should be used with the dual feed feature). The dual feed is engaged behind the foot (see the white piece). Piecing was a dream!

I screwed in the guide bar too,  so between it and the quarter-inch foot, my accuracy greatly improved!

When I discovered that my batting wasn't large enough for the 74" X 97" Comfort Quilt top, I sewed to join two pieces of batting. I've heard this called "Frankenbatting." (Get it? Put together in pieces like Frankenstein?) I used foot 1D (yep, the dual feed again) and stitch 4, a wide, long, wavy stitch, to join the two battings butted up to one another. I couldn't believe how good it looked! No pulling or tugged spots at all! Very impressive.

I edited this photo to add contrast, so you can see the stitch pattern... and that the butted-together edges of the two battings can't even be seen!

I spent a couple hours pin-basting, finishing at 10:45 pm.

I can't wait to have a good play with the next step! Quilting!



  1. Congratulations on your new Bernina. Looks like you will be having endless hours of creative stitching. I live in Inverness, and so man of my friends shop at Sharkeys too. They always have the best things to say about the shop. Think I will need to take a short road trip and check it out. D. Weeks (aka Momma Llama)

    1. Hi D! You're a "no-reply commentor," so I can't directly email you a response to your comment. But thank you for the congrats! You're so right about having endless hours of creative stitching. I'm finding that don't want to go anywhere or do anything else! But, I made myself exercise this week: line dancing and zumba. Can't let all that sitting at the machine get ahead of me! I hope you find time to visit Sharky's. Al's a great guy, though you might not see him. He's such a busy man these days, as he's working on a big expansion to the shop. But your Bernina go-to gal, Polly, will be there, as well as a half dozen other really nice employees. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! And thank you for commenting!

  2. Happy quilting! I think it may be hard to drag you out of your happy space for Thanksgiving dinner! That looks like a fabulous setup you have for your fmq.

  3. What a great set up and new machine! I'm a Bernina fan, so will enjoy learning what you think of your new machine. Sew far, sew good! I don't get down Wildwood way very often, but maybe should make a trip to visit the new machine offerings. Have fun- I know you will.

  4. So excited and happy for you!! WAHOO!!!! Can't wait to hear and see how much fun you're having with it!!! Congrats!!!!!

  5. I love your set up. What a dream place to sit and quilt at. Excited to hear how it goes on the new machine. I always love reading about your darling grandkids too. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and thank you for blogging and sharing all these years.

    1. Hi Rondi! What nice things you say! I'm replying here because you're a "no-reply commentor." I know I am most blessed to have the room and set-up that I do. Being retired, having such a space was a top priority so I can be in it as much as I want. I expect to continue to post about the machine, and definitely want to delve further into sharing about FMQ and ruler work. Just need to figure out how to take good pictures and videos in the glare of the 770's built-in LED lights! A happy problem, I think. :-) And thank you for your sweet comments about my grandchildren. Of course, we think they're pretty special. My best Thanksgiving Day wishes to you! Your comment about my blog/blogging make doing so very worthwhile. Thank YOU!

  6. Congrats on the new machine! Love your set up. I'm a Bernina owner too but have a very old 1090 that's still working. I look forward to hearing more about how you like this new one as upgrading to a newer machine has been on my mind for awhile now. I don't need tons of bells and whistles with a zillon stitches. Just a good reliable machine with a few stitches and more harp space. Mine is only 7" . . . probably one reason I don't like to FMQ.

  7. How exciting for you! Are you spending your Thanksgiving quilting then? Sounds like a great compromise! We are all looking forward to hear how your beautiful new machine works for you! Happy sewing!

  8. Hi LInda
    I'm sure you'll love your new Bernina. I have a 710 & a 350 ( for classes) and love them both. I've never put the guide bar on ...probably cause I never thought of it, but must give it a try.
    Happy sewing!

  9. Oh p.s. Linda, next time you pin baste a large quilt, can you show us some pics. Thanks. :-)

  10. Congrats on your new toy. I'm sure you are going to enjoy lots of productive hours together.

  11. Lucky lucky you!
    This machine is going to really set you on fire.

  12. What a nice Thanksgiving present to yourself! I too am a Bernina gal, as you well know, so I am anxious to hear all about your new baby. I am spending my days after a hectic Thanksgiving day trying to relax and rest a bit. Spent my whole Turkey Day, cleaning, cooking and cleaning up after to relax. Everything went smoothly, but was exhausted by 8 pm. Now it is ME time for the rest of the weekend- hopefully. Love your sewing space and look forward to seeing all your new creative projects in the new year. Happy belated Thanksgiving to you.

  13. Congratulations! It is so cool when a great machine can be matched up with a great quilter: the sky is now the limit! Such a fun post; thank you for sharing your excitement.


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