Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Bernina 830 playtime

I took along a little sandwich to Malvern specifically to play with the new big beast of the Bernina 830. And it is big and it is very heavy but this isn't the machine you would take along to workshops is it? DH and I had spent Saturday looking at little Smart cars so we can be a bit greener for most of our journeys. I only mention this because this little car with heated seats and air-conditioning is a similar price. However come the summer a version is to be released without all the embroidery stuff which I am not interested in the least and it seems this will be considerably less expensive, not cheap but a lot less than this machine.
I'm going to have a little moan now. I have never managed to test drive a machine with a chair with adjustable height. It isn't rocket science to provide a cheap office chair with gas lift so people can actually work at the machine in the correct position for them. I find it very hard to do a good stitch if I am too low down. (which I was)
OK, on to what I think of this machine. I did this sample in a hurry because they were calling for the winners to go and get our prizes. Having said that, I was pleased given the surface of the very large work table it comes with was not at all slippery (it had just come out of the box and a little silicon would gone a long way). Ignore the red stitching as that was done on another machine which shall remain nameless. The green thread is what was done on the 830 (another little niggle, as numbers are unlimited, why name it the 830 when there is another workhorse out there with the same name, OK it's much older but it is still a dream machine). This little sample was done with me at the wrong height, without adjusting the tension at all and not ever even seen the machine before. Am I impressed? Oh yes! Not only with the huge throat but also with the stitch quality, the bobbin size (oh how I want those bobbins), and the speed of stitch. I know there are loads of people out there who machine quilt slowly and I do as well but only when I'm coming up to a point where extra accuracy is essential. Like driving a car, it's good to have the extra power under the pedal when you need it.

For some reason the camera wouldn't show the back as black fabric. But take my word for it, it's lovely. Can you see my uneven stitching? That's purely down to getting used to the pedal and the unpolished surface. At home on my 440s I use a silicon sheet under the fabric. and if I get another chance to play with one, I'll take it along with me.
Susan Briscoe managed to get a resonable photo of Fiona from the American Quilt Store presently my award. BTW the fabrics I showed yesterday were not from them but from Fabrics Galore. Correction Susan's friend Debbie Gordon of Wrexham Quilting Circle took the photo, thank you Debbie.


  1. Sally, I *so* don't want to like that new 820 when it comes out (like you, I have no interest in the embroidery, so it's been quite easy to resist the 830)! I have a lovely 630 and no room for two machines -- that has to be my rationale, right? After all, I'd have to get rid of my 630, leaving me without a Bernina to take to classes. ;)

  2. You really need to thank Debbie Gordon of Wrexham Quilting Circle for the award photo - she was behind the lens and I was back on the sales stand VBG. I had to zoom off as soon as I'd picked up my stuff and left Debbie with the camera and instructions to get photos of quilters I know! You're going to have a lot of fun choosing fabrics...

  3. Hi Sally,

    You quilt your feathers on a home machine as well?
    The 830 is indeed the dream machine. But I am waiting for the 820 to come out since I already have a 640 that does embroidery...