A Peek Inside my new Bernina Q20 Sit Down Quilter
I’m so happy to share with you my newest (big) baby! I’ve been testing out sit down long arm quilting machines at quilt shops and quilt shows for years now, and I finally sprung for one.
I love free motion quilting on my Bernina 770QE domestic sewing machine, so I was gravitating toward the Bernina brand, but I’ve tried Brother, Gammill, HandiQuilter, and AQPS quilters too. I never actually got to try a new Bernina long arm Q model quilter at my local Bernina shop because they wouldn’t let me… Every time I stopped by the shop, the owner wasn’t there and her employee wouldn’t let me even turn it on (much less have a quilt sandwich to try it). I tried three times in one month! The employees at my local Brother shop (Quilts and Lace) were sooo much sweeter and more helpful. They demonstrated the Regent for me and gave me a quilt sandwich to play with, but I didn’t fall in love.
Then finally I saw this amazing machine on Facebook Marketplace. As soon as I sat down to test it, I knew I would buy it from the quilter who was trying to make room in her house (she decided she would rather piece than quilt and I totally get that). The Q20 quilts so much like my B770QE, but faster and easier. I do wish the Koala table were white instead of natural brown color, but I console myself by remembering that I saved money by buying a pre-loved machine. ❤️
I was a little worried when I peeked in the bobbin area and saw that the 2 stitch regulators look just like the BSR stitch regulator that came with my B770QE sewing machine. To tell the truth, I never got the hang of using that BSR. I guess I sew too fast because it was beeping at me constantly! After a few tries, I gave up and put it in the box, never to get it out again.
Fortunately, the stitch regulators on the Q20 work so much better! I don’t claim to be good at free motion quilting – I try my best but make so many mistakes. Since this machine has stitch regulators that work smoothly and automatically, I don’t have to worry about stitch length. I can worry about the size, shape, and spacing of my quilting instead.
The mini quilt above is an old holiday panel from Sheri Berry that I sandwiched to practice on. I’m learning that it’s easier to quilt small – even though it takes longer!
The Q20 lets you open up and see inside the front part of the head too, although I haven’t had any real need to do that. I love how I can thread it this machine completely from the front.
I read one online reviewer who complained that the Q20 is difficult to thread, but I didn’t find that to be the case at all. The hardest part is putting the thread through that large-ish ‘eye’ on the top right. The needle threader down below works just like the needle threader on my B770QE, so I got it right the first time. 🙂
Day and night I’ve been sneaking upstairs to practice. I’m so lucky and grateful that I have this escape from my worries.
I’ve also been reading a lot of free motion quilting books to get ideas! These are my favorite…
I’ve owned Angela Walter’s Free Motion Quilting for years – it’s how I got started and I still turn to it when I get bored with the designs I already know.
More recently, I have purchased all of Amanda Murphy’s Quilting Idea Books. They contain lots of easy and more advanced ideas, plus tips for Bernina quilting machines (most of the tips apply to all sewing machines).
I know I’m late to the party, but I’ve joined Angela’s Quilting With Rulers Free Motion Challenge because I’m such a fangirl of hers! According to the USPS tracking number, my pre-printed panel is supposed to arrive today. I’ll probably be up all night getting started, lol.
This baby quilt is the first real quilt I’ve quilted on my Q20. I just finished it yesterday and the Charm Square Blossoms Baby Quilt Pattern will be posted here on my blog soon. It takes just one charm square bundle and 1 1/4 yards of background fabric.
UPDATE: The free Charm Square Blossoms Baby Quilt Pattern is here.
By the way – I need to buy all new quilting rulers because the high shank quilting rulers that I bought to use with my Bernina 770QE aren’t thick enough to use with the Q20. I bought a LOT of quilting rulers this summer and many of them I never used. I’m selling lots of new and like-new Westalee quilting rulers in a destash sale in my Etsy shop (deep discounts!).
If you have a favorite free motion quilting book, please share the title with me below!
I’d also love to hear if you sew with free motion quilting on your domestic sewing machine or a longarm.
How many other FMQ-ers are there reading?
Do you want to hear about my free motion ups and downs and loopdie loops?
Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂
I have ordered the new Moxie from Handiquilt. Hopefully will get it in a couple of weeks. I didn’t order locally (Washington) but from Oregon because they had a 10% online coupon and no tax. So an additional $1000 discount. So wish me luck. No experience doing free motion.
Congratulations! Read the manual and have fun!
I had an HQ Sweet 16 but had trouble with the sit down machine, as I had rented time o a long arm at my LQS and used a friend’s long arm. I traded up for an HQ Simply 16 and love it. I also took an online class thru String and Story, HollyAnne Knight. I have Angela Walters book and Amanda Murphy’s Organic FMQ book and love them.
Congratulations! I have been lusting after a Q20 for a while now. I have a HV Platinum 16” at the moment which is just fine for the time being. I would advise you to take a look at Lori Kennedy’s free motion books. They are excellent! Have fun!
Congratulations Caroline! What a wonderful machine to have found on Facebook marketplace. Unfortunately I cannot offer you any advice because I also prefer to leave the actual quilting of my quilts now to someone who loves this part of the making process. However I am sure that you will have a wonderful time learning to use your new machine and will soon master this skill. I look foward to seeing the results as you post them.
I’m doing the ruler class too! But I have the normal domestic machine. Loving the class, I’ve learned so much, and not caring about stitch length is a bonus! Lol. I am happy for your new purchase- Enjoy!
From the looks of your practice quilt, you are doing just fine. you are much better than me. I sprung for the HandiQuilter Fusion, 24 in. throat last year. I don’t have the computer yet, but I figured a couple years practice doing FMQ would do me good Congratulations,
I have the table in white! It doesn’t fit in my sewing room LoL! So its q20less in my living room…..I just need to find someone who lives nearby that needs it —-though I have thought of disguising it with a table cloth in the dining room…I love all of the storage it offered
Love your quilting on the Q20 – I thought I honestly needed the frame, because my free motion on my domestic machine is pitiful. Maybe this would work for me with the table – especially to do the t-shirt quilts for people – that are extremely difficult to do trying to force it through a domestic machine.
Ordered my Q20 last week, excited! Would love more videos!