I just got back into quilting after a long hiatus. Unfortunately, my Bernina sewing machine (which did not sit unused during that time) is giving me issues. It is skipping stitches and I have literally tried everything. I've cleaned and oiled it, threaded and rethreaded, changed the bobbin, rewound the bobbin, changed the needle multiple times, and still it skips stitches. Sometimes just one or two and other times a whole line.
I took it to the dealer where I bought it. After they "cleaned and serviced" it they said it worked fine. Naturally I brought it home and there was no change. I was really disappointed since it's a bit of a drive to the shop and all they wanted to do was get me to upgrade. It is currently at another shop and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it can be repaired, but it's already taking a lot longer than they thought it would.
I'm really disappointed because I am eager to get going on a project to keep the quilt fire burning :)
So now my thoughts are turning to purchasing a new machine. I was really happy with Bernina and would get another but it would mean going to the same dealer. They are the only one in my area. My other choice would be to visit the Viking dealer that's closer to my home. I have no experience with Vikings. But if I went that route I could take advantage of the classes.
My needs are for piecing and a little machine quilting. I am intrigued by the new machines that have the larger machine quilting areas. But I don't need all the fancy computerized stitches that come with them.
Sigh. I just want to sew!
Solution: Back-up machine. I'm fairly new at this,. but I've already acquired two sewing machines. Life is short -- too short to put up with feelings like this when the solution is to get a nice, simple machine that will do your quilting. To be sure, get the Bernina repaired. But, in the meantime, as soon as the sugar jar has enough cash in it to pay for a second machine -- go do it!
I leave it to the other members to make recommendations as to what machine to buy.
I too have a couple back up machines, I have a featherweight and a brother pq 1500 and a janome 7500 for back ups...The brother pq 1500 is a good straight stitch machine that works great for machine quilting. You can find used ones on the internet.
Good luck with your search
Alane, I love my Bernina and my Viking. I'd go with the Viking for a second machine. They have several different machines at different levels but having the shop close and the opportunity for classes is priceless. Good luck on your decision. Definitely get the Bernina fixed though. If it still skips stitches when it comes back this time, let me know and I'll ask my Bernina dealer about what could cause it user wise.
It sounds like you've already received some good advice. I would only add that the next time the Bernina goes to the shop, tell them you want to "test drive" her in their presence after she's "fixed." Ask them to watch you thread her, too, to make sure you haven't forgotten any little step in that. Good luck, and welcome to QCA!
On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)
the timing of the needle going into the bobbin case can cause the problem, too. ask them to check the timing.
gini in north idaho
The Viking Sapphire is an awesome machine with an 11" throat for quilting for about $2400. The extra throat length is great for quilting.
Everybody needs at least one or two back up machines. You just never know when one will get sick and have to go to the sewing machine hospital. I would definitley check out the Vikings since you have a service dept close to you.
All of your replies have been SO helpful. Thank you!
I got my machine back yesterday and the person who was trying to fix it this time was able to duplicate the problem. She felt that it was some sort of electrical issue. Since it was still under warranty I took it back to the shop where I bought it. I instructed them that the quick fix they had done earlier hadn't worked at all and that I thought it might need to be sent to Bernina for work.
While I was there I looked around at the new machines and asked them to give me the trade in value just in case. If it can be fixed, I think I am going to do just as you suggested and buy a second machine. The hard part will be deciding what machine #2 should be.
Not being able to sew when I'm itching to get going and full of inspiration has been plain awful. As is usually my way, I have ideas for a number of projects. I also happen to have a number of partially finished vintage quilt tops that I would love to complete. (I've picked them up at yard sales...I just can't let someone's hard work go to waste!)
Thanks again for all the great suggestions!