So I had a chance a little while ago to try out my Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR). A Dog Named Banjo has a really nice tutorial on how to attach it to your Bernina sewing machine and how it works. She’s even got a couple of great close up samples of her stitching with and without it.

The BSR helps you to get even stitches while you are doing free-motion quilting. Can you still have wonky stitching? yes. Is it really minimized? yes.

Before you can free motion quilt, you’ve got to have a “sandwich” to quilt first. I used to tape all the layers to the floor and pin. Then I tried attaching the layers to pieces of wood (placed like a frame, but on the ground) and pin. Those methods both sucked. Seriously, free motion quilting with a bunch of pins in your quilt sandwich is no fun at all. And all the time it takes to make sure the layers are taut before you pin in either method is just painful. So I tried a spray baste… with total failure. I was too cheap to buy 505 and tried the Joanne’s equivalent. FYI–I would NEVER use that with my new machine. In any case, I finally broke down one time and used the 505, and I’ll never go back. The trick with 505 is to spray the BATTING, not the fabric.

Lay down a large old sheet on your back or front porch or driveway (yes, this must be done outside). Then lay the batting you’ve cut a few inches larger than your quilt top.

Then gently spray the half of the batting closest to you. Fold your quilt top in half and put the fold in the center of the batting. Slowly lay the half down closest to you and gently smooth the fabric over the batting, so there are no lumps or wrinkles to the edge. If you are working on a large quilt, you will probably want to divide it into quarters to lay down or you’ll have a lumpy mess.

Then spray the other half of the batting and un fold the quilt top and smooth it over the rest of the batting. After you’ve got that the way that you want it, pick the batting and quilt top sandwich up and turn it over so the quilt top is right on the old sheet you laid out and the bare side of the batting is face up. Lather, rinse, repeat for the backing.

With the 505, that puppy should stay put for a while (like a few weeks). If you notice a lump in it later, you can gently separate the layers and re-stick any portion for up to 5 times without having to respray. No pins. Are you excited yet?

So I attached my BSR and took it out for its first spin. Honestly, I was so excited that I didn’t even stop to think about thread etc. I just whipped out the first quilt sandwich that was ready and started going. Yeah, bad idea because bright white thread doesn’t look so pretty on red fabric 🙂 At first I tried to used the BSR foot on straight lines as I would my walking foot. It just seemed like if I could learn to use it straight and free motion, it would really save me time in the end by being able to flow from outlining to free quilting without having to stop and  change feet. I’ve tried it a few times now, and I’m willing to say it’s not going to work out that way. Walking foot=straight lines. BSR=quilting designs that are not straight or stippling.

Quilting with the BSR is so freaking fun. I was actually kind of sad that I just had a small, table top type of quilt ready to do because it was that much fun and went so quickly. I still have a lot to learn with it. I tend to hum along a bit on the fast side so I had some overlapping lines in my stippling, which is really not that big of a deal.

I spent a some time drawing free hand with the BSR as well on a practice piece and ended up putting the stars design into my border of that blue quilt. It looks “quaint,” which is not my style, but since that is for my mom, and she likes kitchy quaint, it should do.

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