Friday, August 28, 2009

On the Road -- Salt Lake City UT

WOW -- as they say, "What a difference a day makes!" I've been playing with the Bernina 830 for a few months, but have not had an in depth training on it. I did go to Chicago in February to attend a Bernina national teachers reunion, but that just scraped the surface and left me wanting more. So today was a big eye opener for me.

Today we addressed sewing operations on the machine and tomorrow we will be exploring machine embroidery. We all piled in this morning and set up machines. There were about 25 of us taking this class, so definitely a full room. It's a really good thing that Nuttall's has a really big classroom and can accommodate us all comfortably.

We started the day with a lecture by Eric Lopez about basic maintenance of the machine and troubleshooting when things go wrong. This session alone was worth flying here from California! Eric had so much detailed information and as he was talking to us, there were also illustrations of the machine parts projected onto a big screen, so we could all follow along easily. We learned the usage of the multi-function tool, which basically allows you to get into areas of the machine and correct any problems that are happening. The beauty of this is that you can fix simple problems on your own instead of taking your machine into the shop. As Eric pointed out, when a machine weighs 38 pounds, it's nice not to have to haul it in to have someone look at it!

When we got to break time (I was SO ready -- my brain was full!), I toured the table where all of the class project samples were displayed. There were home dec items, such as pillows, bolsters, and the like as well as wearables.

Two of the projects in the "Date with 8" series of technique classes.

We played with the BSR foot and a daffodil cut from printed fabric, free motion stitching the flower to a piece of muslin with batting underneath. I had only brought neutral colored thread and thought that I couldn’t do anything much in the way of decorative “stuff” with it, but Karol Hogan totally proved me wrong.

Balance: The balance icon on the machine looks like a pair of scales. When you touch this icon, it takes you into a screen that changes the balance of a stitch to create an undulating effect. Since this is directional sewing, we used a 40C foot. In the middle of my fabric, I used Stitch #414, selected Balance, and then moved the stitch width knob slowly back and forth within a range of -14 to +14 while sewing. Joni was the instructor for this class and she said that this a pretty normal range to get this kind of look. The use of this technique created a ribbony effect on the fabric. The pattern stitched out on the right was stitch #405 which makes rows of little boxes; On the left is stitch #418. It would be fun to work with some of the other decorative stitches to see what sort of embellishment effects one could come up with.

In this section of the class, we were doing tapering stitches. We were taught how to use both manual (for shapes without equal length sides) and recording (for shapes with equal sides, such as squares and equilateral triangles). Joan Perry is working on hers here.

This is Joan's sample up close; see how nicely her corners have tapered using this feature? She used what I thought was a bright yellow thread that went with pretty much every project we did today. When she showed me the thread, it turned out to be an almost day-glo orange Isacord polyester embroidery thread -- what a surprise!

Tune in tomorrow for the embroidery class!

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