I hope you are keeping warm and that the cold weather is proving an ideal opportunity to stay indoors and get quilt making! I also hope that last month’s blog post inspired all you beginner quilters out there, setting you on the right path with all the right equipment you need to get started making beautiful quilts.
First things first, I am thrilled to announce the winners of last month’s competition to win a quilting starter kit; congratulations toKaren and Hadriana, who can look forward to receiving their prizes in the next few days!
I said last month that I was going to give a more detailed review of the Bernina 475QE in February and I most certainly am. It really is a fantastic machine and I had the privilege of testing it out for myself when I spent the day at the Bernina Warehouse, so I wanted to tell you more about it.
Released just last year in October 2018, the B475QE is a brilliant machine for those who are new or relatively new to quilting. Everything you need to do, or everything you need to find out is literally at the touch of a button. The 4.3 inch LCD display is a full-colour touchscreen and is easy to navigate, allowing you to save custom settings and can provide detailed support when you need it. The manual is literally inside the onscreen computer. Not sure how to change the bobbin? Press a button and watch a quick video. Want to know which needle and thread is best for stitching with denim? Then ask the inbuilt Creative Consultant. Want to find out how best to maintain your machine? Read the instructions on screen and watch the video. It also includes lots of information and top tips about quilting, all at the touch of a button. Incredible!
Another fantastic feature that for me has revolutionised my quilting experience is the jumbo bobbin. With 70% more capacity than the standard bobbin, the thread just goes on and on, so you don’t need to constantly re-fill the bobbin when quilting big quilts. This is such a valuable feature, as there is nothing worse than running out of thread mid way through quilting a quilt, we all know how frustrating that is! Cleverly, the bobbins can also only be fitted into the machine one way, so you can be guaranteed that it is fitted correctly every time. And the new Bernina Hook makes perfect stitches much more easy to achieve, with up to a 5.5mm stitch width and 900 stitches per minute. In terms of throat space, there is a generous 7” to the right of the needle which makes quilting those large quilts much easier!
I wasn’t lying when I said there is a button for everything. At the press of a button you can get the machine to tie off the thread, and at the press of another button it can cut the thread for you; features that just make the quilting process so seamless. I particularly love the cutting sound that the machine makes when it cuts the thread, it’s very satisfying! The automatic threader is a lifesaver too; no more struggling to get the thread through the eye of the needle during late night sewing sessions.
The B475QE comes with a knee lift, which allows you to lift the presser foot by engaging the knee lift with, yes you’ve guessed it, your knee. I’ve used a knee lift a lot and it’s something I do without thinking, and it frees up my hands to better guide my fabric, particularly when I’m doing machine appliqué or turning a corner. Hands on the fabric ultimately means more control and precision, so my sewing is neater with a higher standard of finish. I really cannot recommend a knee lift highly enough, once you have one you’ll wonder what you ever did before!
It comes with six presser feet, including the ever-so-important #37 1/4” foot and all the feet are compatible with all current models. It is also compatible with the Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) which can be purchased separately.
The Eco function is a great introduction; if you’re popping out to walk the dog or have a cup of tea, instead of switching the machine off and potentially loosing all your settings, you can put the machine in ‘Eco’ mode. This essentially means it goes to sleep, and upon your return you can simply ‘wake it up’ and carry on as you were. Now I don’t have to stress about turning it off mid project, or feel guilty about leaving it on.
This really is a fantastic, sturdy and reliable machine and the vast inbuilt computer allows you to do so much at the touch of a button. Bernina have considered every aspect of the sewing and quilt making process and have invented ways to make it easier and seamless. It’s been such a joy sewing on this machine and for the beginner to experienced beginner quilter, I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you’re looking for a new machine, find your local Bernina dealer and try one out for yourself!