About two weeks ago I had the opportunity to test the new BERNINA Q 20 Longarm Quilting Machine for an extended trial at BERNINA Headquarters in Switzerland. In the course of two days, I started to work on the first piece for my new exhibition called “reFUGEes.”
In advance I arranged a grey sheet of prewashed KraftTex with various painting techniques. For this new exhibition, I am working with an art student from the Netherlands who created four different portraits for me. The first one of these portraits now found its way in this artwork.
The BERNINA Q 20 is equipped with three different BSR modes, as well as a manual mode that works without stitch length regulation. This mode even has the benefit of going full speed so that you can quilt with 2200 stitches per minute. It forms a fantastic stitch density!
On a test piece, I quilted out the first head to get a feel for the machine and the shapes of the contours: how much thread should go in, where less was more, how the thread structure brought out the shapes.
Then I turned to the big sheet of sturdy paper fabric and began to gradually construct the faces and heads. The result was that I was able to do rough hatching, fine painting and beautiful sketching.
I wanted to paint pupils with precision and subtlety that I would probably not even have reached with my BERNINA 880. The new BERNINA Longarm Q 20 accounts for that—the stitch pattern is one hundred percent precise.
The first run was complete. I was done with thread painting the contours. Some parts stayed untouched.
The basting feature that normally is used for stitching together the three layers in a classic quilt can be accessed with the BERNINA Longarm Q24 and Q 20 through the BSR 3 feature. This feature offers three different stitch lengths for 1 inch; either 1 stitch per inch, 2 stitches per inch or 4 stitches per inch. With this tacking stitch I was able to create hatching that would look like fences, wires or borders. Again I placed the sample under the needle and once again ventured my first attempt with the basting stitch feature.
Puncturing the needle through the thick, sturdy paper material and the regular stitch rhythm sounded like machine gun fire.
I was really delighted with the work done by the BERNINA Q 20. This machine is simply so much fun! Even when quilting with the basting feature, there were no problems with thread breakage even though I had to move the sample back and forth constantly in order to reach this stitch density.
I was able to reach the point where it was enough of lines and hatching. We will see how this artwork might evolve over the next few weeks.
It would have been an entirely different job with different results had I quilted this big, bulky sheet on my BERNINA 880. The space and the quality that the Q 20 offers will give my artistic work totally new opportunities.
“Dream Big, Think Big, Quilt Big.”
Visit us at our booth #1542 at Houston Quilt Festival 2015 to see Jutta Hellbach’s impressive mixed media artwork in person and for a chance to test drive the BERNINA Longarm machines using KraftTex like Jutta did.