This week was full of excitement! On Monday, my BERNINA Q20 arrived. It was brought by a transport and delivered on a massive 320 lb skid of boxes!
BERNINA Q-Series quilting machines are designed, engineered, and assembled at their factory in Steckborn, Switzerland. Needless to say, the manufacturing process is amazing…take a look!
Since my home studio space is limited, I chose a sit-down model with Koala cabinet, designed specifically for BERNINA Q20 by Koala Studios (fine sewing furniture custom built in America). My white cabinet is beautiful and sturdy at the same time, it handles the speed and weight of the machine easily. I love the elegant finish with rounded corners and lots of storage space under the desk extensions. It also has 2 built in magnetic cushions located on each side of the bobbin area. The extended size of the table is 36″ X 77″, a perfect fit for my Quilting / Photo Studio.
Along with a large 20″ throat space, BERNINA Q20 sit-down machine has 2 integrated stitch regulators, which are a deal-maker to me. There are 3 stitch regulating modes that make stitches even and consistent. BSR mode 1 is great for free motion quilting, BSR mode 2 is for quilting with rulers, and BSR mode 3 provides a perfectly tensioned basting stitch. There is also a manual mode, which I am going to skip out on for now.
Oh my, there are 50 bright LED lights along the top of the throat space. They illuminate my stitching area perfectly, I can’t express how much I love and appreciate bright lights!
I also received a few lovely treats with my machine – 3 large cones of 50 weight thread, a pack of 5 large bobbins (Class 5), BERNINA tension gauge, a set of replacement needles, and a pretty tool box filled with other useful goodies.
UPDATE: Nov 15, 2020
This year my longarm BERNINA turned 2 yo, and I am still loving it as much as the day I received it. We had a long Trans Canada move a few months ago, which she made perfectly without any issues. Since I saved the original box from the machine, it was very easy to detach it from the table and pack the way it was originally packed. I loaded this big box in our SUV and the desk went with the movers (fully disassembled and wrapped).
The only thing I would’ve changed for moving is that I would disassemble and wrap the table by myself instead of letting the moving company do it. Well, to be honest, I didn’t even realize that they did it until I received all the desk parts separately…and I was just unprepared for that. Luckily, Koala Furniture took care of providing a great booklet with step-by-step photos and instructions, as well as all needed tools and even extra parts. One of the special screws arrived bent, but I was very pleased to find a whole bunch of extras in the tool bag. I built the desk all by myself this time, and it was super easy.
I lost count of how many quilting projects I have finished by now, but I love that I can always check the total stitch count on my machine – 3.2 million stitches in 2.5 years.
Here are some positive aspects of the BERNINA Q20 that I'd like to highlight.The top threading path is very simple and easy to reach, so I can change thread colors frequently without stressing out. A semi-automatic needle threader helps to re-thread the needle quickly, and I love the fact that I can use regular needles from my domestic sewing machine, that are easy to insert and position correctly. It is even compatible with twin needles…which I haven’t tried yet. The digital control for upper thread tension is easy to adjust on screen, but I rarely need to use it as my stitches are always beautiful! I should mention though, I tend to use certain threads most of the time.
Aurifil cotton thread 50wt is my top choice for upper thread and in the bobbin, and my favorite needles are Superior Topstitch 80/12 (which I use for my domestic sewing machine and for the longarm quilting).
I frequently use quilting rulers with the adjustable BERNINA 72 ruler foot, which I rarely switch out, even for free motion quilting. Here is one of my latest projects, made using rulers and free motion technique. It’s also one of my own designs – Tops The Triceratops.