Friday, September 12, 2014

Repair Woes for my Bernina 830LE

I was having trouble with multiple false alarms for my top thread sensor. I turned it off, but then, my touchscreen would lock up. The problem got bad enough that I dropped the machine off for service. That was on Sunday, the 31st of August. The owner of the shop wrote up the service ticket and she understands that I only get to sew on the weekends. Wonderful Hubby picked up my machine on Friday, September 5th.

FAIL!!! Not only was I still getting false alarms, There was a serious top thread tension issue. I got the worst thread 'nests' I've ever seen. Not only did the knotted clump of thread manage to pull the project out of the hoop, the thread nest also pulled the throat plate off the free arm. The bobbin stopped moving entirely, as well. In short, the thread clump pulled my machine apart.

So, on Saturday, September 6, before 10:00 in the morning, my machine was back in the shop for the second time in a single week. I'm not usually prone to italics, but I am that upset about it.

When I dropped off the machine the second time, the owner of the shop was again present. She passed me off to her employees. I didn't get to speak to her about paying for four hours of labor, only to discover that the problem had not been fixed and new issues had been created that were worse.  There is a chance that not only is the top tension off, the timing of the machine is wrong. Bad timing is often a death knell for a machine.

The mechanic has been on vacation this week and has not touched my machine. I was expecting it to be finished by today. Heck, I really had expected it to be finished last week!

OTOH, if the mechanic has screwed up the timing, the worst case scenario means the machine will have to be shipped to Chicago to be repaired. If Chicago can't repair it, I'm going to demand that the shop owner buy me a replacement. My 830 is a Limited Edition of a numbered series. I'd accept a used machine as a replacement because I got mine used. But I'm not paying for the shipping or the additional repairs, no matter what. I didn't break it, the mechanic did.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Embroidery Class Two

The second class on how to do machine embroidery got more into the interface. I had a question on a function button that wasn't mentioned in the manual. But, it still boiled down to the instructor had many different types of machines to cover and could not go into detail for my machine. The students also had a very wide range of skill levels.

I made a mistake with endless embroidery and tried something too fancy. I duplicated the pattern, so the machine thought two repeats were what I really wanted. I only wanted one repeat at a time, but what did I know?
The two "arrows" are the marks, similar to a tailor's tack, that the machine will baste in. They show you where to align the hoop in the machine. I hooped the fabric using the center crease as my center line. The machine started at the left, stitched two repeats and then put in the tailor's tacks. I took the fabric out of the hoop, moved the hoop and then lined up my stitching for the next repeat  using the tailor's tacks. My problem was that all the motifs started at the right side and stitched over to the left. I couldn't tell where I was really going to be using the handwheel and testing the needle position. I just had to trust. It isn't perfect, but it isn't bad either.

But! I did get more actual embroidery completed during this class. I learned how to use a basting box for alignment checks. I learned where to adjust to use Puffy Foam (details to follow in a different post), I learned that Floriani thread and my 830 might not get along. I got a sample of embroidery stabilizer that I'd never seen before. I also got my sample book of fabrics and stabilizers used for embroidery up to date. It wasn't a wasted class.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Machine Embroidery Class

The class for embroidery has been divided into two parts. If one class covered everything, the students would be completely overloaded. At the first class, I practiced and got better at doing things I already knew how to do.

I learned about the screens:
I got more comfortable flipping back and forth between screens. I learned that it is worth while to use the zoom function on the screen. I learned the technical names for the buttons and that helps me remember what each button does.

I learned about hooping my fabric:
505 spray adhesive will hold my stabilizer and fabric together before I put them into the hoop. Too much spray will gum up my needle. 505 is fast and I can reposition my fabric, if I need to. The funky gray doo-dads are handles for the template that fits inside the hoop. I don't need to pick at the edge to pick up the template any more, I've got handles! Me like handles!

I still have two things that I'd like to have the instructor help me get firmly under control.
First, I'm not successful when I need to navigate to a specific location in the design. My move slowly function does not work. The enter the location by stitch number does not work. I can only make large jumps. That's not right.
Second, I want to learn how to do endless embroidery. That's where I put marker stitches in when I complete a design, re hoop the fabric, and use the marker stitches to line up the next repetition. The result is a design that looks like I didn't stop and start a zillion times, but embroidered it all in one go.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Backlash Spring

Aha! I adore YouTube in small doses. I was looking for information on Endless Embroidery and I found an incredible video from Bernina Tampa on how to manage that spring in the bobbin case that gave me so much trouble.

The trick isn't just to pop it into place. I'd been lucky with that. When I removed it to photograph the darned thing, I found that I also had to press the spring into place all around the edge of the spring. I used the tip of my Purple Thang and it worked perfectly. It still didn't take lots of pressure. About what I'd use when writing with a pencil was good. The test is to pull on the thread and feel that the tension is steady and doesn't get tight and then loose again or that it isn't horribly tight and doesn't get loose at all. If the spring is really out of place, you can't load the bobbin into the case in the first place.

If you look through the videos that are listed off to the right, you can find quite a few videos on Bernina mechanical and digital functions. I am NOT suggesting that you follow the directions and attempt to become your own Bernina tech. But knowing what's going on inside your machine never hurts.

I continue to learn, a little bit at a time, about this machine. Later today, I'm off to another class on Embroidery with Big Mama B. Details to follow!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sewing Room Candid

A challenge was posted on a Yahoo Group for 800 sewing machines. Spend no more than one hour cleaning up, then take a picture of your sewing room and post it. I took a picture, with zero time spent cleaning up. The fabric on the ironing board was pressed last night, before I quit for the day.

This is what my sewing room looked like.

This would be my 'before' picture, but I don't need to clean up and take an 'after.' I can't work in a mess. The longer I work in a space, the more I clean it up. It just happens.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mama Bernina's Table

For many years, I've used a table with a lift that allowed me to raise and lower my sewing machine.  The lift is too small for Big Mama Bernina. Not only that, but it was a bother to switch from sewing to embroidery and back again. My 165e could do embroidery, but I rarely did. I am going to keep Big Mama B on top of the table and not use the lift. I can easily switch from sewing to embroidery and back. I want to embroider more.

There will be no new table for Mama B. I'm not going to pay extra for in-home delivery of a piece of furniture, nor am I going to fight with eight pages of directions and a bent piece of metal described as a wrench to assemble sawdust wrapped in vinyl claiming to be oak or cherry wood finish. 

Certain decisions are freeing.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


When I took Mama B in for my second class on using it, I compared the sound of my machine to the sound of other machines in the class. I wasn't happy. Mama B sounded like she was clattering along, and the other machines just purred. The instructor also stated that she felt my machine needed oil. I oiled Mama B, but she still clattered along.

Home after class, I found a You Tube video on how to clean and oil my machine. Sara sounds like she's had a bit too much coffee, but the directions are good. I cleaned Mama B carefully and applied a drop of oil. Then I did a lot of boring straight sewing, and I oiled her frequently. Gradually, the clatter went away and Mama B began purring.

The 830's need regular oiling- only one drop at a time- but frequently. As instructed, I only use the official Bernina oil. The applicator doesn't leak, and for that alone, I would prefer it. As far as cost, I could care less. The oil came with the machine. By the time I use it up, I might have a new machine. A little goes a long way.