Why I Bought the BERNINA Q20!
Good Morning, Quilters!
A few months ago, I splurged on a BERNINA Q20 sewing machine!!!
For years I have debated whether or not I wanted a long arm sewing machine. On one hand, I do a lot of quilting and it is really challenging to wrestle a quilt in the harp space of a domestic sewing machine. On the other hand, long arm machines take up a lot of space and are an investment. Furthermore, I like to quilt at the end of the day when my feet are tired. I want to sit, relax and quilt-and I think most long arm quilters stand while they quilt. (Okay…don’t even say it…I know I have a lazy streak!)
Then I had an opportunity to try BERNINA’s Q20 sit down long arm quilt machine–and it was LOVE at first stitch!
FOUR MAIN REASONS I CHOSE THE BERNINA Q20
Sit-Down. Large Throat Space. Reasonable Price. Compact Size.
The BERNINA Q20 is a sit-down long arm sewing machine with a 20 inch throat space.
The Q20 is a fraction of the price of a long arm machine on rails. (Especially when you consider the beautiful Koala table is included.)
The table is a generous 36 x 45 inches and it easily expands to 36 x 77 for larger quilts–Yet way smaller than the frame of a long arm machine.
MORE TO LOVE
As you know, I am a BERNINA girl. I have been sewing on BERNINAs for more than 30 years. I have confidence in the brand and in their workmanship. BERNINAs create gorgeous stitches and this machine is no exception. Adjusting the tension is a breeze.
Because the Q20 only does one thing…(no embroidery, etc.) is does it very well. The screen and button layout is intuitive and easy. It has a built in stitch regulator…(I have never used a BSR–so I don’t know if I will use the built-in version) and the bobbin is HUGE!!!
I love that I can use the BERNINA feet from my B770!
And, if I ever change my mind: The Q20 can be set up for use on a frame!
THE DOWNSIDE to the BERNINA Q20 Sit Down
This machine is not on a frame. I still have to baste my quilts like before and move the quilt under the needle. (Though I can still change my mind and put this machine on a frame.)
I miss the automatic bobbin thread cutter feature available on my B770QE. I’m sure there was a mechanical reason the engineers left this out–but I do miss it!
I’m definitely in the honeymoon phase…getting to know the ins and outs of the BERNINA Q20. I have to learn how to use the programmable foot pedal and the various BSR modes, but I am delighted so far!
What about YOU?
Do YOU have a new love in YOUR sewing room?
Have YOU ever considered a long arm sewing machine?
Did YOU decide to BUY or WAIT?
We’d LOVE to hear!
I’m off on my honeymoon,
PS…If you like these motifs and tips, be sure to check out my book, Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 or any of my Craftsy Videos!
PPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only. Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt. For all other purposes, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
82 responses to “Why I Bought the BERNINA Q20!”
You will love your Q20. My husband surprised me with one for my birthday 2 years ago. Last summer we bought the rails because I have a torn rotator cuff and couldn’t deal with wrestling quilts anymore. Look into a quilt suspension system. My husband made mine from pvc pipes. It was so helpful. You are going to have such fun. It’s a fantastic machine.
What is a quilt suspension system? I do like that the opportunity to use a frame is an option!
My quilt suspension system is basically, two poles(or you can use 4 for a very large quilt) each with bungee cords having clips on the end.i attached thes to the table and clip the quilt fabric so it is above the table a little or, resting lightly on the table. I found two adjustable “dog grooming poles” with c-clamps on sale at Wayfair. They work great and the cost is much less than buying a system specially designed for quilt suspension. It makes moving your quilt around for FMQ so much easier. Hope this helps, I am not very good at a written description but, if you would like, I can send you a picture of my set-up.
Please send a photo! My email is email@example.com
Don’t spend a lot of $$ on a suspension system…make one your self. We have a rolling clothes hanger pole in our basement that I think will be very easy to turn into a suspension system with bungies and clips. Along the same lines as Ann Madison’s post.
Lori, go to PatsyThompsonDesigns.com, scroll down and watch the videos on her two quilt suspension systems. THEY ARE FABULOUS…you can get whichever one is right for your particular needs. I paid somewhere around $100 for mine…our local quilt shop is charging more like $500 for theirs, exactly the same idea. But if you/your husband are handy you can make these easily…not me, however! I got a sitdown quilting machine too, the Pfaff Powerquilter 16.0; this suspension system is the bomb. Quilt your little heart out, NO DRAGGING QUILT, no extra tables you have to set up. Easy peasy to reposition the quilt. Good luck!
Congratulations on your Q20! It’s a fantastic machine! It literally dances across the fabric!
If I ever do get a sit down quilting machine, it’ll be the Bernina :-). I tried one at a show and it was love at first stitch for me too! Enjoy your machine!!!
Before you settle on a Bernina, give the other brands a try! Pfaff makes state-of-the-art machines…
My husband purchased a Artistic Quilter SD18 last Christmas. I am so pleased with this sit down quilter. It doesn’t take up huge space in my small home. Easy to use.
It is my dream to have my own longarm someday, so I’m saving up for one.
I saved for a long time too! So excited to finally bring it home!
check out a quilt suspension system here; https://www.patsythompsondesigns.com/shop/
Congratulations ????. I’ve had my Q20 for 18 months and it is a game-changer! All that space makes FMQ so much easier, and I think you’ll love the BSR. I swore I’d never use it, but after a little practice, I can’t imagine being within it!
Congrats! I may have to get one of these one day. You had asked about the quilt suspension system, go to: http://www.patsythompsondesigns.com Click on her store and than you will see a picture of her suspension system and you can find it from there. Her husband builds these and I am sure you could do the same or buy one from her. Check it out, I think it will help you a lot. Looking forward to hear more about your new adventure….Hugs. Claudia
I looked at the quilt suspension system. How awesome is that?! And the price is very reasonable.
Agreed! When I compared the cost of Patsy’s systems with the ones at our local shops, no comparison! Plus, you can get Patsy’s in purple!
I bought one last April. No interest and low payments for 60 months. I absolutely LOVE it. The pile of tops is turning into a pile of quilts.
I purchased a q20 about a year and a half ago for the same reasons you stated in your blog, I am a Bernina girl too and you will love the machine.
Ps I use the needle up needle down to bring up the thread so in can cut it (I made the same comment to Bernina rep that I missed that function too)
I ordered my Innova longarm 9 months after I pieced my first quilt. Love my Innova and the 12 foot frame it is on. I can’t imagine wrestling with a quilt under a stationary needle…makes my shoulders hurt just thinking about it!! I love that, even including shipping and taxes, I paid around $8,000 for the whole set-up that includes free 24/7/365 tech service. Considering I was looking at paying $25,000+ for a different brand to get everything I considered essential, I was so happy to find that the Innova had everything I wanted, is a quality machine, at a good price, that makes my quilting look good! Congratulations on your new machine.
I purchased a q20 last spring and have been delighted with it. It has upped my productivity and given me freedom to do things I was hesitant to do on my domestic (a Bernina 710). You won’t be disappointed!
Have had mine set up since July. It arrived in April but I was having work done on my house and couldn’t set it up for three months! It’s definitely a “died and gone to heaven” kind of thing. I’ve now quilted over a dozen quilts and have calculated I have saved almost 1/6 of my investment by not paying oomph armfees. If you haven’t already learn about rulerwork. It is a breeze on the Q20. Oh, and definitely use that BSR!
I’ve used a longarm on a frame for several years. I only quilt for myself, but I do tend to make larger quilts, so I appreciate the ease, and of not pre-basting. If my life changes significantly in the next few years, with less space available and/or a different style of project, it’s good to know there are smaller sit-down options that could work.
I have a Tiara sit down mid-arm and love the extra harp space that my Bernina 1260 didn’t have. My husband installed a suspension system based on Leah Day’s. He screwed utility style drawer handles into the studs in the ceiling about 12″ and 30″ from the back wall on either side of the machine. Those hold 4 flat bungee straps into which plastic ratchet clamps are held (He did drill a hole in one side of the clamp handle to hang). I can adjust the height of the clamp by wrapping the cord around and inside the clamp if I need to elevate it. Even though I have the extended table, it made a world of difference in how much quilt I had to move, as I only have to move as much of the quilt that is actually touching the table! I absolutely love my system.
Congratulations on your new baby. Exploring the ins and outs is a lot of fun. Enjoy!
Congratulations on your new Q20. I bought one in May and am enjoying her. I also bought the Patsy T. suspension system. I look forward to reading about your experience with the Q20.
I have the Bernina Q24 and I love it. Have fun with your Q20 Bernina makes the best longarm but I’m a Bernina girl too and I wouldn’t own anything else.
I too have the Q20 as the sit down and love it. I’m a Bernina kind of gal and have the 820…pondered downsizing that when I got the Q20 but opted not to. The one Bernina I would never sell, trade, give away is my 930 I bought second hand in 1985…no bell or whistles but a beautiful machine.
I love my Q20 on the frame. One reason I bought it was as I get older I can put it in a table instead of the frame. It’s so easy to use, thread, and change the needle. The BSR is fantastic. The frame is so sturdy but smooth.
Five months ago I bought a floor model, clearance priced, of the Husqvarna-Viking Platinum. It has the same looks as your Q20. Sadly, I am so frightened of it, that my honeymoon phase may last a while. I haven’t been brave enough to do anything larger than a placemat! In truth, I have been attempting to get all of my PHDs to the finished “TOP” stage. From there, I hope to become more acquainted with my HV Platinum. I can’t be certain, but I’m thinking my favorite brand Bernina is priced out of my range.
I own the HV Platinum 16. Please don’t be afraid if it! There’s nothing at all to be afraid of. It is a perfect sit down quilter and with practice gives great results. Go back to the store where you purchased it. They should give you owners lessons that will help you. The lessons are free with your purchase and never expire.
Check out the suspension systems at patsythompsondesigns.com…scroll down that page to Suspension Systems. Quilt suspension takes so much of the anxiety out of free motion quilting!
I am a Bernina girl too but couldn’t wait for the Bernina sit down so I bought another brand. I do love quilting sitting down but know your Bernina is great. I just could not rationalize the cost of a long arm!
Thanks for your comments on the Bernina. I have rented the long arm Bernina at my LQS and found it superior to the other brand of long arm that they rent, but I thought neither would be affordable for me. I also don’t want to give up a whole room for a long arm. You have inspired me to do some fact finding!
I am a HUGE fan of yours, and do a lot of your doodle lessons. I am a long time quilter, but have not been Free Motion Quilting for very long and consider myself a confident beginner at FMQ.
Although it is not a long arm machine, I just got a Janome 6500P for Christmas and am certainly still in my “honeymoon phase” as well. I absolutely plan to improve my FMQ skills with my new girlfriend being she has so much more space to the right of the needle than my retired Brother Innov’ 40 had, which served me very well for quite a few years. It was a great beginner machine.
Thank You for all that you do for us little people just trying to learn and get better with our adventures into FMQ and Doodling!
Hi Lori. Congratulations on joining us Q20 quilters. I have had my Q20 for about a year and a half and I am still in the honeymoon phase. I LOVE the BSR1 and 2…so smooth and reliable. I LOVE the kickstart function, that allows me to set up my machine like I want to quilt and then the kickstart runs it without my foot on the pedal and allowing me to only think about where I want the next stitch. I have written about using the Q20 a couple of times on my blog.. I use BSR1 for basic free motion, BSR2 for ruler work, and sometimes when I need to do really tiny stitching, I use manual mode, though less and less of that. Recently, I put the laser pointer on my machine (gave it to myself for Christmas). Some people say they have a hard time with that staying in place, but mine stays put and I love my laser pointer…it makes tracking back, stitching along the edge of an applique and SID so perfect. I store some of my quilting books in the storage space which dampens the sound a bit, although mine is not particularly noisy. Cheers!
I saved for years and bought a free motion longarm last May. I looked and compared for years, too, and finally came up with a must have list, negotiable, and Don’t want. Ultimately, I went with the Gammill Vision 2.0, 22″ machine, and I absolutely love it. I originally was looking at sit down machines, but changed over a room to be a dedicated long arm space, so I made the decision to go with the one with rails. I am so glad I did, especially since I did not enjoy quilting with my domestic large throat machine, and basting the quilts before quilting them. I felt like I would have the same issues with the sit down, and went for the other model. I looked at Bernina. It is beautiful and runs so smoothly, but ultimately, didn’t have some of the features I wanted in the one with rails.
Once you get used to it, you will live your new freedoms found with your long arm!!
I’m just in the investigation phase of purchasing a sit-down long arm machine. Would you be willing to share what your must have/negotiable/don’t want items were?
Thanks in advance.
I LOVE my Q20! There is no way I could have completed the number of quilts I have on my conventional machine!
Awesome. Enjoy ????
As a surprise I received a Juki sitdown longarm for Christmas. I still have to pinch myself to believe it is mine. So far so good, but there is a learning curve. I too have been sewing on Berninas for years (801, 710) but was intrigued by the Juki. It definitely does not have the perks of the Bernina, but I think it will be a work horse…and my husband found a gently used one for 1/2 the price of a new one! Here’s to completely lots of quilts in 2018!!
What a nice surprise for you! I got a Juki TL 2000Qi (not a longarm) for Christmas a few years ago as a surprise, and I LOVE it!!
Yeah! I have a Q20 as well and I LOVE it! I also did not think I would use the BSR and now use it all the time, so be sure to give it a try ????
Congratulations. Beautiful machine.
I bought my Q-20 in July and it is definitely a game changer!
I started longarming by renting time on a machine. Found out how much I could really love quilting! I’ll do small pieces on my domestic, but I have really small throat space so even medium sized quilts are a struggle. And quilting should be FUN! I bought my 24″ Innova and 10′ frame, it’ll be 3 years ago in March, and I LOVE IT! (I hope to rearrange my basement and upgrade to a 12′ frame some day.) It was intimidating spending the money, but I’m so glad I did!
Its about time!!! Ive always thought good for you for doing all that quilting on a domestic machine and wondered why you didn’t have a big machine. I bought a sweet 16 6 years ago. It was money well spent. Can’t wait t see what ou do n a big girl machine
Mine is a Juki TL2010Q and I’m still in love with it after 3 years. Congrats on your new Q-20.
Woo hoo! Congratulations on your new baby! I have been following you for quite a few years, and was an avid Bernina domestic machine quilter following many of your tutorials. Two years ago my husband bought me a Q24. I found the change from sit down quilting moving the material under the needle to stand up quilting and moving the machine a challenge at first (and there are still many things I can do much better on my domestic machine); but I’m finding that the convenience of the long arm for quilting larger quilts is so worth the investment. It’s definitely easier on the body when quilting those really large quilts. My first love was quilting on my domestic Bernina, and I will continue to do so for those fun smaller projects; and there are times when I baste and stabilize a quilt on the Q24 and then quilt it on the sit down. Yay! The best of both worlds. Enjoy your new toy…the possibilities are endless.
Good choice ‼️‼️ I love my Q20. I thought I would not use the BSR, however I do use it. Depends on what I am doing. I too love the large bobbin, interchangeable feet with my B780, uses regular sewing machine needles, and it is just a really smooth machine. Happy Quilting ‼️‼️
You have my dream machine! I love my Bernina 830 with Quilt Motion. The learning curve on both has been intimidating but worth the frustration. I wasn’t aware a sit down could be put on a rack, but it makes sense. I’m saving up for a Q20 or Q24, but that’s still a few years away, unless Bernina makes one available to your readers…
Enjoy your “honeymoon” stage and keep up the tutorials. They are FANTASTIC!
I watched a class of a long arm demo, and realized it was the opposite of “ free motion”. Ie the fabric is stationary and the arm moves. So to hear of a sit down version, that doesn’t take up too much space… and uses all the skills that I learn from Lori… I might investigate!
I’m so happy for you and the new purchase, and I was learning so much from you for quilting on my domestic machine and will miss your advice. Good luck on your new adventure and all the new friends you will meet because of it. I’ve heard that machine is awesome. Thanks for all your domestic machine advice in the past. You are a gem.
I have a Nolting NV on a frame. I have shoulder issues and tried a sit down long arm and could not wrestle the quilt. I have to admit that quilting on a frame is harder than FMQ on a domestic especially having to use rulers to do diagonals. I do no pantographs, but all freehand. Other wise, I sew on vintage Singers for their perfect straight stitch.
I’ve owned my “Q” for less than a year and like you, I wasn’t sure I would use the BSRs because I’ve been FMQ for years without stitch regulation. However I have grown to love them both!! It is interesting to see so many of your followers are Q20 owners!! I’m sure you will enjoy your Q!
Huge Congratulations on your Q20!! I evolved from free motion on my domestic Bernina 440QE, than bought a Plantium 16, sit down, midarm and loved that and got totally addicted to quilting. Than bought my longarm which is a Plantium 3000 which makes me smile when I’m on that. Just stitches so darn smoothly and find that doodling on paper is a great start at learning a new design but when you quilt it on a longarm, well just amazing how much better it looks. My machine has robotics, but to be honest I still love doing free motion quilting better… It’s addicting… Such fun and yes I do it as a small business which helps pay for my addiction…
Love my Q20, 2.5 years out. It makes me look good. Can’t wait to see what you do with it.
Hi Lori, I’ve enjoyed your blog for a while now and have been learning how to stitch out some of your motifs with your careful directions. I stitched many of your motifs on a fun house block quilt I made for myself.
I’m writing today to say that I researched all the sit-down long arms and tried quilting on several but was most impressed with the Bernina Q20 and made my purchase in 2016. I’m practicing ruler work and think there will always be a place for ruler work in my quilts. The kick start option is quite useful but not for everything I stitch out. I like the BSR 1 & 2 as it works beautifully. I’ve not basted with it yet but want to try that on my next quilt. I have a Bernina domestic and was happy being able to use some of the feet on the Q20. The stitch this machine makes is near perfect – when compared to the Feather weight.
Snowing here in Cohasset, MA., so a perfect day to quilt or stitch. In another email I’ll send a picture of the House Block. It was on my bucket list as I’m a Realtor.
Take good care,
I got a Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen three years ago and loving it. It is a sitdown like your Bernina.. I agree with all of your pros and cons. When I watch U-Tubes of the stand up long arms I get a little jealous because it seems a bit faster and easier for them to create designs and no stitch in the ditch, etc. However, I love the compact space and affordability.
You are still using a different machine for piecing, correct?
Yes!! The Q20 does not even have feed dogs! It only works as a quilting machine!
Congratulations on your new member in your sewing room. I have a HQ Sweet 16 and I do love it I must look into the hanging systems, because I do mostly queen size quilts and it is a challenge moving the whole quilt around. Enjoy.
Hi Lori. Glad you’re enjoying your new toy. My friend and I tried out a few different machines. We bought a Pfaff Powerquilter about 18 months ago. It’s great. She had more room at her house so it lives there, but I have visiting rights whenever I want, including when they’re away on vacation. We make full-sized and baby quilts, mostly for charity, and have a lot of fun with it. Neither of us were too experienced with FMQ, but it’s coming along. We had the option to buy the stitch regulator at the time, but opted not to. Last year at Quilt Canada (national association’s conference) I spent two days in workshops with Kathleen Riggins and that was a great confidence-building exercise. I guess next we’ll be looking into a suspension system. Happy trails!
I hope you are not disappointed. I had always loved my old Bernina which I bought in 1975 – I quilted many a quilt on it. So when Bernina came out with the machine that could go on a long arm frame, I bought it. I had nothing but trouble with it. Bernina Company was totally unhelpful and refused to return my money even though they admitted the machine had many problems. It was really not meant to be used on a frame, although the dealer I bought from assured me it was and that the problem was me not the machine. Oh how I hated that machine. I finally found a new dealer who took the worthless Bernina back and gave me instead a Babylock Crescendo. what a wonderful machine but still not a long arm. I recently bought a handi quilter fusion and it is everything you would ever want in a long arm quilting machine. It sews rings around Bernina. After the shoddy way I was treated by the Bernina company, I swore never to buy anything from that company again. I know the machine you bought is a much newer and hopefully better model that the “long arm” Bernina I bought but I don’t think the company has changed its attitude. So good luck, I hope nothing goes wrong with your machine.
I learned to fmq on my domestic, then got the Q20 two months later. I love the stitch regulation because my leg would get tired using the foot pedal all the time, and this allows me to focus on the quilting without worry about stitch length—I can quilt faster. The BSR is noisy and clunky till you get used to it. The bSR1 idle speed was intimidating at first so I slowed the idle speed down all the way till I adapted, now the default idle is great and less noisy, too. Another tip, needles larger than 80/12 are quieter due to the way the Q was designed. Dream machine!
Great tips! Thank you!
I loved playing on this machine when we had one in the Aurifil booth at Quilt Market. Can’t wait to see what you create with it!