Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day Two of Bernina 830 Training -- Attempting to Master the Hoop

Machine embroidery was a technique that I knew I would never want to do. When it first started catching on with sewers, I saw cutesy motifs done on towels, T-shirts, baby bibs and kid's clothes. Since I knew I would: 1) most likely never wear a T-shirt with a teddy bear on my chest and 2) beautiful embroidered towels were readily available at the department stores, it sort of slipped under my radar when machine embroidery "spilled over" into quilting. Like so many things do! Just like water soluble thread made a big change in trapunto techniques, machine embroidery has forever changed quilting.

Above is a beautiful table runner that was on display in the "upcoming embroidery classes" section of the store in Salt Lake City where I took my two day machine mastery class. To the right is a close-up -- WOW!

I have seen some incredible machine embroidered quilts and I have seen some not so great ones. My personal belief is that once the embroidery is done, a lot of people making these quilts pay less attention to how the actual quilting is done, so these quilts do not always hang as nicely as I would like to see them when they are displayed. But I will save that rant and rave for another post. Today I'll describe my "embroidery instruction day" at Nuttall's in Salt Lake City.

Eric at the front of the room giving us embroidery instruction. He has done some incredible things with embroidery and explains the concepts very thoroughly, yet simply enough for a total novice like me to understand. Next post, I've got some pictures of some of the things that he has digitized and stitched out to share with you.

Just finishing up with the square-in-a-square piecing project done "in the hoop". "In the hoop" seems to be the universal shorthand term for "Hey - I did this with the embroidery capabilities on my sewing machine!"

Mary Evans, who told me she will be teaching machine mastery classes for Nuttall's, shows off the square-in-a-square block that she pieced in the hoop.

I've met people who say that they just can't sew a straight 1/4" seam -- here's one solution to that dilemma! Could I have sewed this faster just using basic piecing methods? Probably. But could I have sewn it as accurately? Probably not! Loved how no points were cut off in my sample....without any ripping!!

This is one of my finished embroideries before I took it out of the hoop.

Chad is looking very serious here, but he had just finished showing us how to transport a 38 pound machine from place to place -- and it's not by the handle! As you can see, he slipped his arm through from the back to the front to get a secure hold on the machine and then his second hand is supporting it from the back. When I carry mine around, I put my second hand and forearm underneath the machine, palm up, to distribute the machine's weight more equally; you want to protect the machine and your body at the same time!


  1. wow, it all looks so interesting. I have the 640 and it does alot of the in the hoop stuff but I have to take the classes. I wouldn't mind a teacher like Chad in my classroom.

  2. Did you get the 830 Paula? I bought one in February, it is absolutely fabulous!

  3. We LOVE you Paula! I can't wait until you come back in October and you will be teaching us! It's so wonderful that you're so personal and willing to just share advice and tips!

  4. I do have the 830, CJ, and I can't say enough about it! The training was fabulous and I can't wait to get to the machine and put it all into practice.

  5. Thank you, Gia! Every time I leave Salt Lake City, I feel homesick!!! Hugs to all of you, Paula

  6. I really happy to be visiting your blog. Thanks for the share....

  7. Thanks so much! Welcome here :) It's such a blessing to have these keepsakes! I'm thinking I'll have to make a copy of the vintage patterns some day so they can keep being passed on!


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