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Big Old Bernie and the Quilted Wine tote project

So while Sally rests on her laurels at the machine shop - I needed to get a move on and try something! Not just anything really - but something quick and easy that entailed cutting, sewing, and quilting. I was itching to try out the old mechanical Bernina (730 Record) I had rescued earlier last year.

Bernina 730 Record (aka Big Old Bernie)

 This has turned out to be a super machine. It came with lots of attachments, loads of metal bobbins, a suitcase (which could be sturdier) and the all important MANUAL...

I think I've mentioned this before, but I do indeed like to fiddle "under the hood" so to speak, and one of the big bonuses about mechanical machines is that they actually encourage you to do that!

Red dots indicate where to add oil

lots of gears and moving parts to admire
Okay - enough Big Old Bernina Love and back to making wine totes. I googled "quilt pattern wine bag" and voila! this pattern by Needle and Spatula appeared. It has a very good tutorial, which includes links to other tutorials (as in how to making your own binding)..

Below is my pictorial progress through the pattern.
Gathering supplies
Cutting templates

I have to admit - I'm a bit rusty on reading (and following instructions). This is the type of pattern that is best to read through before you start. I found that I really didn't get the drift about a few things until I read further into the pattern. I only used a single layer of batting because I was using some very heavy stuff I had "on hand" from my Christmas stocking project (which I hope to complete in the near future).

Darning foot

 I switched to the Darning foot as I had read this was suitable for "free motion quilting" which as the whole reason for trying this project. I've never done "free form" before and if I screwed up I didn't want it to be a "devastating" blow - after all I'd rather screw up a tote than a whole quilt.

Excess fabric sandwich rolled into throat of machine
It appears there are advocates  for and against lowering the feed dogs to quilt. Since I haven't a clue and the wee bit that I've read talked about lowering them - I did just that. I'll do more experimentation with the whole up/down thing later.

Freeform quilting on the bottom of sandwich
Free form quilting on the top
So overall I'm very pleased with my results. However the stitches are pretty irregular in length - so I need to figure that out. I know there are machines that have some type of stitch length regulators - but that takes me back into "modern machine land" and I'm a bit scared off of that at present.  I used regular thread - and I see at the store there is such a thing a "machine quilting thread".

Inside view
Outside view with custom binding by moi

"Ladies who Lunch" wine tote by sheepless

So overall I'm in love with "Big Old Bernie" (Sally be very afraid) and I really liked the "freeform quilting" technique. Happy with my tote too!


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