machine quilting. settings for a bernina activa 210

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c rabuck posted on Sun, Apr 15 2012 7:39 PM

Anyone use a Bernina Activa 210? I am getting ready to do some machine quilting with it and just wondered about HOW to do it. I have a quilting foot, and good quality machine quilt thread for the top and I am using a recommended needle that has a larger notch for the thread to go through.

I have read some advice about using invisible thread in the bobbin case and loosening the tension for it so the stitches are not too tight. I try to quilt small so I can control the stitch length but I am having the issue stitches looking too close, even when I decrease stitch length. Any ideas? 

I am quilting through hand painted fabric, so the top is thicker than a "normal" quilt top. That is the reason I got the thicker needle. 

Any recommendations on machine quilt settings, techniques, etc are greatly appreciated. Thank you all!



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Thanks Sherri! 


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Donna B replied on Mon, Apr 16 2012 11:00 PM

Hi c rabuck, welcome to QCA!

I've done quite a bit of free-motion quilting on my Bernina Artista 200 - that is  similar to your Activa 210.  The one thing that really jumped out at me in your query is about using invisible thread in the bobbin case. 

From everything I have seen, read, and heard it is not a good idea to put the invisible thread on the bobbin.  If I am using invisible thread, I use it in the top instead ...and place the spool in a cup or some such holder to the right and behind the machine ...then threading through all the guides on the way to the needle.  (If you have a free-standing spool holder that works great.)  You need to give the invisible thread lots of room to "un-kink" itself before it gets to the needle and the fabric.  The larger needle should be fine.

But after saying all that, I rarely use invisible thread.  I did use it this week, but again it is a rare event.  I almost always quilt with 40W poly thread - usually Isacord. But the project I was doing this week had such a variety of colors that no one thread would blend with them all - and I did want the stitches to blend.  So, I went with the invisible thread using the method I described above.

For the bobbin, I usually use a 60 weight poly thread (like bottomline or metrosene).  (Same as I use for machine embroidery.)

With this set-up, you shouldn't need to make any changes to your bobbin tension at all.  And, if you do have some tension issues, they should be resolvable with only adjusting the top tension.  By all means do some FMQ play on a test "sandwich" before you do anything on your quilt. 

Hope this helps and I am sure others will jump in with suggestions too!

Good luck,



 Winthrop, WA


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