Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

This beautiful little film is a Russian production and it's one I share each Christmas on this blog on Christmas day because I think it's so charming in getting to the heart of the matter and is such a nice change from the usual commercialism we are all bombarded with at this time of year. The detail is simply lovely, it's a pleasure to watch.


Merry Christmas




Wednesday, 18 December 2013

WOW: Christmas Time Linky 2013

Last WOW for 2013

Next wednesday is Christmas! So today WOW is dedicated to you and whatever you're doing in the lead up to Christmas. It's unlikely I'll get anything more done this year and I'm taking a moment to fully enjoy the season. I'm posting my most asked for recipe at this time of year - my peach biscuit recipe as well as my most popular crochet tutorial - my crochet christmas wreath.

I  invite you to link up any Christmas favourites and traditions of your own, it's always nice to see how other people celebrate the season. Of course, if you're still quilting I'd love to see your WIPs too!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Love Entwined: Part 7 is Launched

What a beauty! the final flower vase finishes the centre square; what a great block to end the year with!
So here we are, it's been 7 months since you started the Love Entwined journey and this month sees you completing the centre square. It's so rewarding to have completed the centre square of this very special quilt. The square top progress shots have been super impressive - each has its own style and each is stunning in it's own unique way. So far, you've really stamped this quilt with your personality!

I think these 7 months have gone by quickly. I had a lot of difficulty finally choosing the right fabrics to use (too much choice) initially, but now my mind is made up and I'm finally ready to start sharing my own progress with you next year.

This quilt is motivating. From the very first day it's inspired quilters to take up the challenge to make it. Each month the enthusiasm to complete each block has grown. What is it about this quilt?

The more you do, the more you want to do.

This month we finish the final flower vase in the centre square and when the square is completed, we add on the 1st border which is on mitre. All in time for Christmas. It's such a hectic time of year for all of us, I think many of us will print out this month and pick up again after Christmas - but then again I thought the same thing last year with my BOM at that time... and you all proved me wrong! So maybe you'll be fast to finish this month?... we'll see!

This is where we are up to:
Can you believe the centre square is completed this month? 
and we continue on January 15th with Part 8
‘Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet’ is a Free 18 Month Historic BOM
Each ‘block’ of the month is released monthly, on the 15th of each month. All ‘blocks’ are available for free during the month of their release. Any missed ‘blocks’ may be purchased.
All ‘blocks’ are available for download via my Yahoo BOM Group only
  

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

WOW: Someone stole my green bags?!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

This morning I’m a little late posting WOW because I was held up at the shops. I don't usually shop first thing in the morning, but given the time of year, I wanted to avoid the seasonal craziness by shopping as early as possible.


And when I was at the registers, I was distracted, and the shopper ahead of me stole my green bags. I still can't quite believe it. I packed 30 of them, all folded neatly and ready for the checkout. When I got to the checkout, I put my green bags up first so the lady on the register could fill them as I started loading my goods onto the bench top. When I’d unpacked all my goods and moved my trolley further down the register line I noticed the checkout lady was using plastic bags. Five of my bags had already been filled with groceries. Where were the rest?

Yes, I thought you had more bags’ she said, scanning my items quickly.

“More bags? I have 30 of them, where are they?’

We looked around; we looked under the register and next to the register and around for the shopper who had been ahead of me. Although she’d been loitering a few minutes before, now she was gone. And so were my bags. 25 of them. Now, I’m sure it’s possible to inadvertently pick up another person’s bag accidentally …but 25 of them? It’s just rude! ‘Oh well it’s no big deal’ my DH said when I told him about the bags

Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. 

I am so annoyed that someone stole my shopping bags that I decided to share it here on my blog and ask you, have you ever ‘lost’ anything whilst shopping? What shopping habits drive you mad?? and, speaking of WIPs, have you finished your Christmas shopping?

What's Your WOW ?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

WOW: Red December

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Red December is the FREE 2013 Christmas Pattern

I'm continuing my free Christmas pattern tradition - and yes, it's red and white! I like all my quilts but one quilt design I really haven't given enough time to is Red December. It's been sitting on my WIP pile waiting to be quilted and given some attention. I must say, this design is a favourite of mine and I have since used the motifs of this pattern to make a tablecloth and a cushion (they're in the WIP pile too!). I'm really looking forward to quilting it, taking finished photos and showcasing it some more in the next year as it's too lovely to be sitting forgotten in my WIP stash.


The reason it's been sitting neglected is that I was waiting for a new sewing machine and I put a lot of projects to the side until that time came, as my old machine wasn't up to the amount of work I had and have pending. Then, as many of you know, I've had a very difficult time with my new Bernina, so much so that I've really been put off even using it, as every sewing session ends in major issues and it's more work than progress, unfortunately. 

What this means is that Red December just hasn't been shown on my blog or given the love it deserves, so I am taking the unusual step of releasing it again. I think it's a beautiful Christmas Quilt and I know that when it's finished it will get a lot of love and use in my home. It's my pleasure to offer it for free to members of my Yahoo BOM Group.

Members can now download this file in my Yahoo BOM Group and it will be available until the New Year 2014.

What's Your WOW ?

Monday, 2 December 2013

Introduce a Quilt: 12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas is a festive wall-hanging I designed especially for Christmas. I always get asked about this quilt at this time of year, so here it is.


It was my 3rd free BOM. I love this wall hanging, I designed it to go up on Dec 1st each year and it already feels like a tradition. It’s a wonderful addition in my house, and given that I won’t have a tree this year (due to travel), it will have extra pride of place in my home.


It's a simple design with lots of room for embellishment, so you can make it as simple or fussy as you like! I must admit that I liked the tree diamonds even before the baubles were added and it could have worked as a tree with the peace dove alone...but I did enjoy making the 12 characters and of course, you could add any motifs to the baubles, I know a quilter has made this quilt with family photographs in place of the characters, so really, anything goes!

It isn't quilted yet – it’s been going up each year as is and whilst it’s lovely I can't wait to quilt it and post my quilting pics here on my blog. 


Like a lot of my projects, my old machine wasn't up to quilting it when I was ready to be quilted, so I was waiting for my new sewing machine so that I could finish all these projects for once and for all! But with my new Bernina issues, it just didn't get done this year. Hopefully it will be quilted for next Christmas, I'll keep you posted!

You can purchase the pattern for this quilt, as a digital download, from my online shop, via my website.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

WOW: Dog Sitting

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

Can you have a grand-dog? They require a lot of fuss, love and attention and I have one! And today I'm dog sitting so it doesn't look like I'll be getting much WIP work done.

It's a good excuse to go for a long walk and enjoy some fresh air...

Sometimes I just need days like this, as all my favourite things usually have me sitting down so this is a nice new favourite thing to do with my morning. Now that my knee is better, I've been trying to get more active so maybe I'll have to make this a more regular thing. Last week I started on the 5:2 diet, although I don't really see it as a diet, I see it as an approach to eating (and getting 2 days a week out of the kitchen! which means more quilting time for me, a win win!). I'm giving it a go until Christmas when I'll consider if it'll work for me as a long term thing, have any of you tried it?

she's an english mastiff and she's still a puppy!

What's Your WOW ? 


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

1790 Marriage Coverlet, an update

 Esther Aliu YAHOO BOM Group

I've been receiving requests to provide an update on the status of the 1790 Marriage Coverlet Quilt. Some of you wondered if my silence on this topic indicated that I was preparing to travel and see the quilt, or had some other exciting development going on. The answer is no; I know as much as you do. I have been silent about the quilt because I haven’t had anything to add, other than what we already know and I respect the current owner’s wishes to be left alone.

Jan Allston has been our quilt researcher on the ground in the UK and here’s her update:

"Unfortunately the owners of the quilt have categorically stated that they wish no publicity whatsoever and have not allowed us to see the coverlet.  Perhaps at some time in the future they may relent, but for the time being, we are not allowed to see it.  Esther and I would be grateful if we could all leave it at that.  If anything happens and there is a change of heart, you will all be the first to hear about it"  Jan.

I really appreciate the time Jan has taken, in the UK, to do as much for this quilt as possible and thank her for reporting back to us. All I can say here, once again, is that it’s my hope for the new year that the current owners come to appreciate that the eagerness we have for this quilt comes from a place of love and earnestness to see it take up its place in quilting history and that our intensity to see it is borne of that historic interest and welfare for its preservation.

Can you imagine what a treasure it would be to just once have the opportunity to see this quilt in person? In an exhibition? It would be wonderful and I continue to hope that one day it might be possible.

Whilst this news is somewhat disappointing because like you, I really want to see the quilt exhibited, I don't want to lose track of what has been achieved – because it’s a significant accomplishment:

This quilt was ‘lost’ to quilting, we didn't know where it was or if it still existed and this was a concern because it is a historically important textile and documents an extraordinary example of work in Georgian female and British history. It’s too important to forget or allow to be lost to time. And we found it.

We know it has survived to the present day and we know that the owners now know that they are holding onto an item of significant historic worth. This is staggering achievement and one I don't want to lose sight of.

I know many of you have felt called to make this quilt and I understand completely, it’s how I feel too. I had hoped that we would be able to discover something of the woman who originally made this quilt – we would need some serious quilt detectives on the case to uncover any such information. But this has not happened as it is not something that can be willed – it requires the active participation of the current owners.

I am focusing on the wonderful and positive energy this quilt continues to inspire in us – that certain something which seen so many quilters start the challenge which is Love Entwined.



Now, if you’re a member of my Yahoo BOM Group, you already know just how varied the Love Entwined quilts are so far – there’s a Love Entwined being made in almost every colour combination you can think of and each quilter is really making the pattern their own through pattern tweaks and embellishments, it is a real delight to see these quilts being made and to know that in the future there will be hundreds of Love Entwined quilts out in the world, shining and reminding us of the original – what a tribute to the forgotten woman who made the original coverlet. 

I hope one day to know more of her story. Until then, I respect the current owner’s desire for anonymity and invite you, if you are so inspired, to take up the challenge to make this grand quilt yourself.



This stunning block above is made by Jane Newble and is just one example of how beautifully and individually Love Entwined is being made and shared over in my Yahoo BOM Group. Jane has incorporated broderie perse in her block and I think it’s just stunning. As well as being an accomplished quilter, Jane is also a Moderator in the Group. 

In fact all our Moderators are highly skilled quilters and their work is simply breathtaking. We are so lucky, as a group, to have such inspirational and talented women give their time to help us out. They’re an inspiration in themselves.

I'm moving forward with Love Entwined and I trust that when the time is right, something special will happen which will allow all of us to see or know more of the original coverlet and it's maker. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

WOW: Progress

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays


I'm nearly done with my 10 inch challenge piece and it's so nice to be working on a WIP and share the nearly done progress with you. With all my sewing machine issues (yes, there've been more), its a good start. I'm so glad I didn't start Love Entwined on my new Bernina (as I had so hopefully planned) because I would have had to remake everything - I wouldn't have been able to put up with the constant tension issues on such an heirloom quilt - I'm too much of a perfectionist and it would have turned out to be double work - something I definitely don't need.


You can see the stitches and tension are still a real issue and no matter what I do, and despite all my experience, there's always a frustrating problem. This means I always have to be in the right mood to put up with my machine's attitude - not a good thing for a quilter with a WIP list as long as mine!


In the end I didn't use the liquid stitch pieces I had prepared as I changed the applique shapes as I went along - as this is a downsized pattern from my original, the shape didn't look right when shrunk down so I went back to my usual method. 



 What's Your WOW?


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Two Bad Birthday Cakes and a disappointing loaf of bread

I've just returned to my emails and I've noticed that a few of you have been asking about my birthday cake. Well, I do usually post about it each year so I thought I would post about this years cake too, even though its a few weeks late and doesn't have a happy ending!


Each year, my DDs get together to bake a cake for me and I'm so unaccustomed to even thinking about my cake that I simply didn't this year. And, with both my DDs away, my DH and I decided it would be best to go out for a piece of cake, which I thought was a great idea because it meant I wouldn't be snacking on leftover cake for the rest of the week (I have started the 5;2 diet and don't need the temptation). And I wanted a good sourdough bread too (as I haven't been baking at all lately) so we headed off to Healesville for what we wanted to be a good coffee and cake and some quality bread to bring home.

Unfortunately the cake range was suddenly very limited - my DH went for the eclair and I went for this pink cheesecake below. The first warning sign was that the coffee wasn't any good - you know that sinking feeling when you take your first sip? And the cakes were just OK, my DH only took 2 bites of his and I only finished half of mine. We walked around for a little bit and then decided to head home.

10 minutes later, on the way home, I felt suddenly ill. My DH was also feeling suddenly off colour and we both felt so sick, we had to stop at a petrol station to buy water and stop for a minute. We both felt dreadful. When we got home, I decided to make us both some toast with the bread which is usually so good. Except that it wasn't good at all, it wasn't sourdough or rye it was a plain, bleached flour loaf - which we don't eat.

Then, in the evening we had to cancel my birthday dinner reservations at my favorite restaurant because we were both feeling so ill.

So the tasteless cakes were a bad idea and the place I can usually rely on for good bread when I'm not baking, and cakes (when I am visiting) is now off my list. I dont know if the management has changed or if they have just dropped their standards, but I will not go back.

So my birthday cake post this year is not a happy one or even one I want to remember, but birthday wise I don't mind. I'm happy to be alive and feel incredibly blessed to be able to do what I enjoy and have the love and support of my family and that is the best birthday gift I could ever ask for - even if the day itself was awful.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Love Entwined Part 6 is Launched

It's time for: Flower Vase 3
You've done so much work! The workmanship on these flowers has been stunning: it's become a habit to look through our New Photo's Area before I do anything else online. And the colours - so many great ideas, so many interesting combinations, I love each and every one. There's so many great ideas and beautiful applique works being made. Thank you so much for sharing it in our group, I know it takes time to upload photos and share them with us and for that I thank you! We love them all!
So this month, it's more of the same. Take you time, enjoy each vase and its unique little personality and embellish. I learnt the hard way on my previous BOM Forget Me Not that it's so much easier to embellish and detail as you go along - don't leave it to the end.  Flower Vase 3 and 4 (next month) have an added shape next to the four hearts shape - so it's the perfect spot for some fussy cutting or borderie perse.
This is where we are up to:

No! it's not too late! 
Usually my patterns stay up for free for only 1 month, but Love Entwined is a very special quilt and I mean it when I say that I want any quilter, interested in making this historic BOM, to be able to do so for FREE, so for this reason; all the BOM parts up to the current block are still available for free over in my Yahoo Group. Go ahead, join us as we make it!

No, I haven't started yet!
With one thing and another, this quilt has conspired to stop me making a start on it! At least once a week I'll have an email from an interested quilter wanting to know if I've made a start yet. Well, the answer is, no I haven't. My year has personally been unexpectedly busy and I simply haven't had the space to make a start. This quilt is so special, I intend to make it my own way and in my own time and...hopefully...sooner rather than later.

Can't wait to see what you do this month...

‘Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet’ is a Free 18 Month Historic BOM
Each ‘block’ of the month is released monthly, on the 15th of each month. All ‘blocks’ are available for free during the month of their release. Any missed ‘blocks’ may be purchased.
All ‘blocks’ are available for download via my Yahoo BOM Group only

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

WOW: working on a 10inch beauty

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays


I feel like my computer troubles are never ending - every WOW seems to be more of a technological update than a WIP one so I've decided to do something fun to get my mind off my computer. Today I'm happy to have something positive to share with you - and yes it's a WIP. 

My challenge is to create a 10 x 10inch piece. Although a new project is the last thing I need right now, this one is short enough to tackle without taking time from anything else. I've decided on making the scaled down centre of a new design of mine- with my predictable favourite colour scheme of red and white. I'll let you know more about it when I reveal it finished next week...or thereabouts.


I always like to try new things and for this project I'm using liquid stitch, waiting for it to dry and then cutting around the shape. I'll let you know how it turns out.


I am taking a holiday from my computer until my repair person can finishing restoring it - apologies if I have not responded to your emails, I know there is something of a backlog at the moment, but I have had to get back to what I love - quilting - and away from the frustrations of the screen. 


What's Your WOW ?


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

WOW: Another Year Another Birthday

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

I'm taking it easy after my birthday and tidying up today. This year my DDs reminded me of a WIP I promised myself many years ago. I decided that at my  current age, I would work on embroidering an entire wool robe in thread and silk embroidery, from the collar all the way down to the hem. I was thinking of a dark blue robe with full coloured threads that I'd wear for many years to come. Of course, I had this idea before I started quilting and somehow assumed that I'd have plenty of free time by now..?? I don't think I have free time, I don't know what I was thinking those years ago, I never thought I'd be busier than ever with my children grown up!


So these birthday slippers are especially sweet because they remind me of what I'd be doing if I wasn't a quilter and they satisfy my need for some embroidery without adding another WIP to the pile!


What's Your WOW?
 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

WOW: One of Those Weeks

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

This is my desktop screen; I like to start each day with this beautiful image 
and imagine who's in that house? and what kind of quilts are draped over their beds?
Well, have you ever had one of those weeks? I feel like every technological thing in our household is out to get me; viruses, freezes, crashes, failed restores, system failures, cables burning out. I mean really, I don't even know half of what is going on. And then, on top of all this, a power outage. Right in the middle of a system reboot. I had my computer and printer updated a few weeks ago and nothing has been running smoothly. All the technicians that have come round keep asking me 'what I do?' they can't believe a "quilter" could possible need so much technology... 'for just a blog'

Just a blog, eh?

I talk about my tech problems a lot on this blog. Mostly because I feel that all this technology that so easily promises to be a tool, so often ends up being an expensive waste of time. Sometimes I feel like I need staff  (and an on call IT expert) to get through and accomplish everything I want done!
and this is how I actually end up feeling
Sometimes I dream about logging off forever. Then I consider how much work, updates and and installations would be waiting for me if I ever did unplug and then want to re-plug...and so I change my mind.

Do you ever feel like its too much bother? Or do you enjoy the new advances technology allows? Do you think it enhances your love of quilting? or something else?

Actually I love sharing what I do and blogging my quilting journey here, I just wish it was as fast and easy as they keep promising me with every software, update and gadget.

What's Your WOW?


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Pomegranate

 
AmysCreativeSideThank you Amy for so generously hosting another Blogger's Quilt Festival!
 

 I love sharing the stories behind my quilts as well as hearing about everyone else's quilts too. If this is your first time to my blog, welcome and thank you for stopping by.

This time around the linky's are under catergories (it took me a while to work this out!) and I am listing this link under Wall Hanging Quilts.


 
'Pomegranate' 
quilted wall hanging
  
I designed Pomegranate as part of a series of 'vase' wall hangings. At the time I had a set of three designed and this is my first. Each being of a similar design with the same vase used throughout but featuring different bouquets. My other vases centre around the pineapple and rose as their main themes. The idea behind the vase theme was to have an installation of 3 vase quilted wall hangings, each one representing a positive homely trait and blessing.
 
 
 For this wall hanging, the Pomegranate symbolises fertility, wealth and abundance. And my other two vases represented hospitality and humility and love and devotion, respectively. My other two are still WIPs (like a lot of my To Do's....) This quilt is hanging up at home in my lounge room, a reminder for me to get on with my projects.
 

Like a lot of my wall hangings, I often enhance the fabric with embellishments and pen work. When I do this, I use the appropriate medium so that my embellishments are permanent and colour sure.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog...

 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

WOW: Back from Retreat

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
 
This weekend I enjoyed a retreat in Warburton, it was a nice break from my WIP pile. I can't get into gear with my WIPs and just don't feel in the mood to make a start with any of my quilts yet - do you ever feel that way?
 

I just cant face all the work that's waiting for me. I know it's silly to be so affected by a sewing machine problem, but its definitely impacted on my schedule. I unpacked my new Bernina with such excitement and enthusiasm, it was the machine I was going to stitch my beautiful LE heirloom on, the perfect way to break in the machine, with such an intense quilt. But I'm really struggling with the 820 and now I don't feel enthused to do anything on it. I'm going to have to get over it, but for now I just feel overwhelmed with the whole thing. So here's a cheerful moment from the retreat: the decorate your plate challenge. I didn't enter it myself as I didn't have time - things are much too hectic in my house at the moment, but the entries did put a smile on my face...

this is the winner, it's so charming! 
and these sandwiches were my personal favourite,
(they remind me of my crochet WIP actually!)
but really I loved them all
and these just make me smile :)  
 
What's Your WOW ? 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

I'm going to "have to learn" to love it...somehow

For our 40th Wedding Anniversary, my DH bought me a Bernina 820 sewing machine. It wasn’t a quick choice, I'd spent months looking at machines, determined to get the one which best suited my needs.

I want a machine I don’t really have to think about (apart from a yearly service) and one that will cope with my sewing and quilting projects. I also plan on getting a long arm quilting machine when I’m ready for one (too busy and still travelling too much to consider one at the moment) so I planned on spending many creative enjoyable hours on my new Bernina in the meantime. I’m also downsizing so this was the machine supposed to replace all my machines (11 of them) and I was planning on quilting on it as well as it has a lovely bigger arm and great lighting.
Although I knew I wanted this specific model, when my DH bought it, it was actually a surprise when it arrived – I was taken aback and delighted. This is my second Bernina. My first Bernina is many years ago now, it was a 960 semi industrial and it was a dream. But I wasn’t a quilter then, it was for general sewing. Because we were travelling, moving house and downsizing (yes, all at once) it remained unpacked for a whole year before I set it up in my studio, full of anticipation and looking forward to many creative hours behind it.

But from the beginning, my Bernina 820 hasn’t performed as well as I expected. As far as Bernina goes, I know it’s a quilters favourite machine, so my experience has been a great surprise and disappointment and I really thought I was purchasing the best machine in its range.

I’m only talking about the Bernina 820 in this post, I still think Bernina is an excellent brand but in my opinion and experience, it’s clear that Bernina lost something when they launched the 820. I thought I couldn’t go wrong with a Bernina, after all, it’s always been a regret of mine that I didn’t purchasing a Bernina 440 Quilters Edition when I had the chance years ago– I was travelling a lot at the time and I just didn’t get around to it.

It’s so hard, as an experienced quilter, to get real feedback and reviews on machines unless you own them. Bernina spends a lot of money on advertising and talking to talk, but walking the walk? You’ve got to sit down and sew before you really know the machine.
Of course I recommend before buying a machine, to try it out at a show or in store and find out everything you can about it. However I did all these things and I was and am still surprised with certain machine elements that are beginning to add up to one big and expensive disappointment…and they’re mostly only things you can realise when you have the machine at home. I don’t know what to do with this machine now – I suppose I’m going to have to make the most of it.

What I do know is that the Bernina 820 is my most expensive quilting regret and if I had my time again, I would not purchase it.

The faults and shortcomings of this machine are too many to list in one blog post, but as I sew quilts in the future, I will share experiences that arise. I want to save another quilter experiencing my own disappointment.

My Bernina 820 experience is really a lot of small disappointments that have grown into a big frustration. The bobbin shuttle is annoyingly slow and getting used to this ‘function’ speed is ridiculous. I feel like a sewing novice as I wait for the shuttle to open and shut. The knee lifter is also hard to manage – in fact for now, I’ve opted to remove it, it’s too much hassle. I use the buttons instead. Speaking of buttons, as I sew I can’t actually see the buttons easily which means you have to memorise them. I know with time I’ll get faster and better at this as they become familiar but the outlay is annoying and I wish I’d noticed how badly thought out it was before I added the 820 to my wish list. There are so many little annoyances which I’ll just have to grow to love. I have to stop myself reaching for my old machines because I am sick of the Bernina already; it just seems like such an effort to do anything with it.

It’s not the quietest machine either; it starts off with a growl which was funny at first but now is just annoying. Something else I’ve noticed is that it hates invisible thread, which is becoming an issue as I use it so much, but definitely the 820 doesn’t like any fine threads.

The stitch regulator I was dreaming about? BSR. It’s completely useless to me (and possibly anyone with quilting experience) because it’s much too slow. I'm really surprised at that as I was looking forward to using it. My natural stitching speed is too fast for it which has been a real let down. And the feet? I really wish that all the feet included with the machine would be dual feet, there are feet in my 820 kit which are not and this is a shame.

I've now met a few other ladies (too late for me) who are also unhappy with their 820's and have gone through the hassle of taking their machines to the mechanic to be fixed over and over -only to be told that there is 'nothing wrong with the machine' with the insinuation that they don't know how to sew. I have to tell you now, I really dislike it when manufacturers step away from their machines like this. The women in question certainly do know how to sew. I've also been online and it seems that I'm not alone in my dissatisfaction - many comments and forums all over the world cover the same issues of thread tension, bad stitching and an expensive merry-go-round of mechanic visits that never get to the root of the problem. All in the 820 specifically. How I wish I'd read all this before buying the 820 myself. What a mistake!

For those of you who might be wondering if  I know how to sew, I’ve been sewing for 40 years, quilting for 12 and have won over 30 quilting awards in this time. Many for Domestic Machine Quilting (which I also regularly teach). All my award winning quilts have been quilted on various domestic sewing machines (without stitch regulators) so I know a little something about tension, thread control and stitching.
But despite all my skills and knowledge to date, I wasn’t able to improve this stitch line: look at the mess on the back of this simple stitch. I’m a perfectionist and this drives me crazy. I feel a little hot under the collar just posting this image.
And look at this blanket stitch. This isn’t my first attempt either, this is after tweaking and adjusting and re-adjusting tension control. I’m not planning to go to a mechanic every time something crops up! I own other automatic machines and I know what cutting threads and tying off should look like – and it’s not this.
And now for the straw that broke the camel’s back. After spending an hour tweaking my Bernina, this happened: the needle broke. Ordinarily, no big deal. But with my 820, it proved to be yet another episode in ill considered machine elements. I was attempting to change the needle when I realised the Bernina supplied tool for loosening the screw wasn’t working.
That’s strange I thought as I continued fiddling with it. No, this really can’t be possible I decided and carried on from different angles.
Exasperated (I was in the middle of sewing at this point) I called my DH who took a quick look and came back with a tool from his toolkit – his tool fit the Bernina screw perfectly and he removed the screw for me.

Yes, that’s right; the Bernina supplied tool didn’t work!
Now you might think, that's no big deal. But for me, this little detail highlighted a much bigger problem with the machine overall. Well, I thought, I wonder what this means? Is my machine all genuine parts? It was purchased brand spanking new and I couldn’t accept that Bernina would allow such a fundamental oversight as supplying the wrong tool, would they?!
So my DH went back to the shop and the Bernina supplied tool didn’t fit any of the Bernina 820’s on show there either. So the store owner unpacked a new Bernina from its box to see what was inside the packed toolkit – and it was also the wrong tool.

So my Bernina was all genuine parts, but those parts weren’t well accounted for by Bernina originally. What an oversight, especially from a Swiss company. I know this is a tiny thing which can be corrected (I have my DHs tool in my kit now) but as a perfectionist, this isn’t good enough and I can only wonder what the next surprise will be. Also, I don't know about you - but sending my DH back to my dealer isn't really how I like to spend my sewing afternoons, neither of us have time for this kind of nonsense and I expect better from the 'Bernina' name.
The store gave me an alternative screw which I can unfasten by hand, and not have to use the tool, but really…what does this kind of lack of attention to detail mean?
What else am I going to have to deal with, fix and get right before I can experience a SINGLE HOURS enjoyment on this machine? Because to date, I haven't even had that.

I do know that I am overly emotional about these little incidents, sometimes all these little frustrations bottle up and I explode over minor faults – I just expected a machine that worked, but I’m still so annoyed with the whole thing and coupled with all the little irritations, feel so let down by the machine. 

My Bernina 820 is my BIGGEST sewing machine regret. I don’t know who it’s made for. It's a Quilters Edition, however the BSR is too slow for an experienced quilter. So I only recommend it for sewing enthusiasts, stationed at home. Except, if you have a machine stationed at home in your sewing studio for use - surely you want to be able to use it? And yet, every time I sit down to this machine THERE'S ANOTHER PROBLEM. Yes, I’m disappointed. I expected so much better than what this machine delivers.

But it’s here to stay now and I’m going to have to 'learn to love it.' Somehow. 

I'm going to keep trying to make it work. Obviously when you buy a machine like the 820, you do so because you want to sew. Not waste sewing time complaining. Or repairing. What I don't want to do is get on the merry-go-round of mechanics and repairs that go nowhere, leaving me without a machine for weeks at a time and out of pocket financially. I should say, 'further' out of pocket because this machine is completely useless at the moment. I'm undecided about what to do and feel completely let down by Bernina manufacturing.

Bernina is still my dream, and I’m sure there’s one out there that’s right for me. But then again, I though that about the 820 and since it arrived I've been wishing it hadn't.

And now, just when I thought my machine shopping days were over, I am once again on the lookout for a machine I can use as a tool for my creativity. The 820, I am devastated to report, is not that machine.

What's your most favoured quilting machine? I'd love to hear some real recommendations.

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Update: I really appreciate your comments they've already helped make me feel better about this whole situation. Yes, I'm fed up with this machine and frankly, I relied on the Bernina name - I trusted it too much and now I have to live with it. To that degree, it's my fault. You can't rely on reputations: I really thought that 'Bernina couldn't make a bad machine'. I was wrong. This machine is unfit for purpose. I can't simply return the machine because it sat unpacked in it's box for a year whilst we travelled Europe and then moved house. I've literally just unpacked it a few months ago. And I have tried to make it work, I really have...but if I can't make a machine work, then there's something wrong with it. 

And I also feel so burdened with it, here is the machine I so desperately wanted and I really wanted it...and my DH purchased it for me for such an important anniversary and now I just wish he hadn't. I just wish this machine hadn't happened to me.

Update 2: December 2014: This Bernina post was one of my first posts about this sewing machine. Since then, I have had numerous posts where I have mentioned my Bernina 820. When I wrote this post, I was at the beginning of my troubles. I'm sorry to say it has since got worse, Much worse. I am going to be addressing these issues in a specific post in the New Year. For the many quilters who have emailed me in distress, having experienced the exact same thing - I will also be addressing this in the same post. Because we travel so much, I am always between deciding what to do about this machine and finding the time to do it. Some days, I just want to throw it over a cliff and try again. Other days, I just want to stop sewing. Thanks for all your support on this issue. No one buys a sewing machine because they'd rather be online complaining about it. I bought this machine to sew and quilt. I can't do either of these things.