Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Frozen Sewing Machine

It is not frozen here in Wisconsin, not yet anyway though winter is finally approaching us tomorrow.  Today it is still spring-like and lovely.  But, my poor old wonderful friend, my Bernina 1030, was frozen in place, no parts moving.

It was living in the spare room, and I only set it up to do serious quilt piecing, as I love it for that, the best I've ever used.  I bought this machine in 1989 and it was my everything machine for at least 10 years, then designated for piecing/sewing only as I loved quilting on my new electronic Bernina with a better free motion foot.

It worked perfectly.  I oiled where I could oil and used it a lot. It was serviced twice a year at my dealer.

Then after my last big quilt several years ago it sat in quiet isolation with a dust cover. I wasn't piecing much, and the little sewing I did I used my newer 730.   

A few months ago I set it up and found I couldn't even lift the presser foot!  It was frozen in place, everything was.  I was shocked, worried, would it ever work again??

Yesterday I drove to my dealer, Bigsby's Sewing Center here in SE Wisconsin, and picked it up after it had a stay there in intensive care in the service department.  I found out that even if you do not use a machine, it needs to be run occasionally, and serviced at least once a year to keep the inner parts working right, oiled, lubed, etc.  Oil dries up inside the machine where you cannot reach it. 

I set it up on the dining room table and Oliver was fascinated by it.  The smells!  The old style cords, no USB cable that he loves to chew through.  He had never even SEEN this machine before! 

Then I pulled the cord out of its little spot inside the machine (it's retractable, amazing) which was too much fun, and then plugged it in and turned it on.  It sews!  It sews beautifully.  He thinks it is a big new toy, especially for him.

I left him still sniffing it, the wonderful aroma of foreign places (well, 20 miles away) and oil, and maybe even a whiff of their adorable new puppy, Bailey. 

Now I am set to piece a new quilt, after I finish quilting this one.  Soon I hope.  And there's another one almost finished I should do first.  THEN I will play with my dear old 1030.  I still love the periwinkle blue they used on this machine, and it still sounds and works like a dream.

Meanwhile, I shall oil the fleet and run the other machines a little bit to keep things moving.

Hope 2012 keeps you moving and doing all the things you want to do. 

Keep quilting, your work gets better every day!


Anonymous said...

My main machine is the Bernina 1030. I bought it in 1992. I have been doing free motion quilting on it and have a new free motion foot from Bernina that works well. It has the spring so it floats pretty well. However it does not have an off set shank. Do you have a Bernina foot with an off-set shank that fits the 1030? Also is there a way to adjust the pressure on the presser foot of a 1030? I've tried to find the answers at the Bernina site with no luck.
And by the way I keep quilting and my work does get better everyday! Thanks for the inspiration and words of wisdom.

Diane Gaudynski said...

Hi Beth, glad to hear your 1030 is still working well for you!

All of the free motion feet for it, the #9, #24 (open toe) and the larger metal #29 have springs built into them inside the metal shank. The #29 foot was designed to sit a bit higher and has much more clearance and worked great for me. It's like a big metal hoop.

There is also a plastic #29 foot designed for the electronic machines of that era that will fit your machine and because the shank is plastic it helps a bit with seeing behind the foot. The toe is closed, so I cut out the front of it, using I seem to recall cat nail clippers.

No, there is no offset foot for this machine. All of the feet for it have the shank at center position, right in the line of visibility when you quilt away from yourself, which of course one does all the time.

You find yourself peering around this obstruction, so getting one of the new machines when they re-tooled the entire line was for me sheer bliss. The shank of the foot on the new machines is at the 2 o'clock position, and visibility is superb. The power, the speed, the sports car appeal of the new one, so wonderful.

The only way to adjust the float of the foot to give it more clearance is to add a small "O" ring, or spacer under the spring inside the shank. I wrote all about it in my blog post called "Spaced Out Under the Foot" - I'll look it up for you later and post it here.

HTH, and glad your work is getting better, it really will if you keep quilting.

Anonymous said...

I set out to buy a Viking (per the recommendation of Consumer's Report) and ended up with a Bernina 1030. I don't know what I would do if it stopped working. I look at the electronic models with longing, but I can't really afford one now. Also, when I am honest with myself I have to admit that most of what I do requires only forward with the occasional backward.

Diane Gaudynski said...

You are so fortunate to have the 1030, one of the BEST machines ever made. It works great for every job I ever did on it, even satin stitch applique of teddy bears on bibs the first month I got mine.

You will be able to sew and quilt on it beautifully for a long, long time. I've never had "issues" with it, it is very straightforward to service and keep tuned up. I do recommend cleaning and oiling the hook area in the bobbin (take it all out) every 4 hours of steady use. It makes a big difference and oh, it sounds so smooth and sweet when freshly oiled.

It has a retractable cord! It has a bobbin winder separate motor! You can do infinite adjustments on tension, top and bobbin, and because it is mechanical, infinite adjustments in stitch length and all those tweaks for the decorative stitches. You completely control this machine, it's wonderful.

And it is so easy to use, you could figure it out without an owner's manual.

I lost my manual during a move, and the store found an extra for me. I brought it home and noted it was in German! I still use it for the diagrams, and really have never had a problem.

Diane Gaudynski said...

The blog post that addressed adjusting the pressure or clearance on a free motion foot is from Jan. 2011, "Spaced Out Under the Foot."

Steph F. said...

Wow! Oliver is so sweet!

Diane Gaudynski said...

Thanks - Oliver is incredibly sweet! We are so blessed he is with us.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quick response and for the link about adjusting the pressure. I read it the first time but I'll go back and read it again. I've been looking high and low for an offset foot with no luck. I thought when I saw your post about our beloved 1030, "If anyone knows, it would be Diane!" LOL. I have all the feet you mentioned, my favorite being the plastic 29. I have two of the metal 29s and am thinking of turning into an open toe. I just went to a private sale from a quilter who passed away last year. I got an old Rowenta iron. It was my favorite model that I had for over 10 years before it died. It died 2 years ago and I tried 3 different irons (2 Rowentas) that never lived up to the old Rowenta. Now I have another one I'll be happy for 10 more years.

NMSue said...

I LOVE the pic of Oliver and the machine. It looks like he is trying to fix it for you. He is adorable.

annieQ said...

It's good to have an old friend back again! said...

Thanks for the information on the machine did not know that one .I will use machines periodically from now your quilting Diane you do such beautiful work you're an inspiration to us all for sure.Debbie Kelly

Nancy J said...

My Bernina is the Aurora QE 440, and is my 3rd one,I had a much older one that was my Mum's, bought here about 1951 or so in NZ, we both sewed anything and everything from wedding dresses to canvas cow covers.That was traded in at 30 years of age for a newer one, and it still goes well. I love this new one, and with a choice of feet can practise "Feathers" until my hands ache. Or my eyes, or even heartache when they go wrong!!!Years ago I had my machine in the basement area, and we lived in another colder part of NZ. It did not sew well until I moved it to the lounge nearer the fire and sunshine.I think the oil was thicker when cold.Love your blog and all the photos, and the tutorial is great. Cheers from Jean in New Zealand.

the_spinning_jenny said...

Hi Diane! I just stumbled upon your blog and I'm loving it.

I'm in the market for a new (used) machine and I'm on the fence between a Bernina 930 and Bernina 1030 but I'm having some trouble finding information on the difference between those two machines. They seem really similar to me. I've worked in opera costume shops in the past and the only non industrial machines I worked with regularly were Bernina 930's and Bernina 1011s.

So, have you used the Bernina 930? And if so, how do the 930 and 1030 compare? Thanks in advance for any insights you may have!

Diane Gaudynski said...

Spinning Jenny, I haven't seen a 930 in years, so I am going to wing it and say that the 1030 had more decorative stitches, a wonderful way to choose them with levers, a separate motor for the bobbin winder, infinite adjustments for all the controls. The motor speed could be changed to half speed, there was the ability to elongate various stitches.

You could perhaps search online for a description of these machines and see how they compare, or a Bernina dealer might have that info and might be pleased to help you. My 1030 is still perfect, a wonderful powerful smooth machine that makes a perfect stitch! And darn, it is so pretty too.
HTH, Diane

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