Several months ago, we scheduled a thread painting/free motion workshop by Phyllis Binkley. Phyllis was using a generic free motion quilting foot we had not seen. It had a large plastic disk attached to the shank, similar to The Big Foot by Lynn Graves. A couple of weeks ago, Bernina announced it’s new Echo-Quilting foot #44C, that is very similar to The Big Foot or other large plastic disc type quilting feet.
Although many of you have newer Bernina machines with the Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR,) or that are BSR capable, many others have Bernina machines without that BSR capability. There are still a few choices of feet for those machines. Also, while learning to quilt with the assistance of the BSR has myriad benefits, often veteran quilters prefer quilting without it.
If you have been quilting for awhile, you might remember when Lynn Graves introduced “The Big Foot” for free motion quilting. The foot was awesome. The visibility was wonderful and it provided adequate negotiating room, or “foot to stitch” visual references. The problem with The Big Foot was adapting it for Bernina machines. Although possible, when The Big Foot was attached to a Bernina low shank adapter, it seemed to sit lower on the machine than an authentic Bernina quilting foot. The problem? Often this foot/adapter combination would drag across the top layer of the quilt and create puckers, and Bernina didn’t offer a larger plastic sole…until now.
I just had to experiment with the Bernina #44 Echo-Quilting foot. Having free-motion quilted for many years, I feel quite comfortable quilting without the aid of the BSR. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the BSR…it is a marvelous tool. While the BSR helps produce beautiful, even stitches, since I prefer to go r-e-a-l-l-y fast to achieve those same even stitches, I choose to use a regular free-motion quilting type foot because the BSR doesn’t keep up with my speed.
What you may not know is, Bernina actually offers many free-motion quilting/darning feet possibilities. For the older machines, the 830 through the 1630, there are five feet often used for free motion quilting. These particular feet #9, also used for darning, #26, considered “special darning but great for quilting,” #24, open toe, #29C Plastic, and #29 large metal, are all still available. The #29 large metal quilting foot is available only for the older model Bernina’s in this category, while the 29C is available for any Bernina machine.
For the newer machines, the Activa’s, Virtuosa’s, Aurora’s, Artista’s, and the 8 Series, whether or not your machine is BSR compatible, the same feet mentioned above are available, with the exception of the #29 large metal foot. This series of machines has its own #29 foot, but it is plastic. Now, however, the large plastic #44 Echo-Quilting foot is available for the new models. Bernina has given us many great choices of free-motion quilting type feet, and to determine which foot you like best, you might need to purchase the set. You might like all of them!
We often have people come in and ask what the difference is between the free-motion feet. The difference is you, and what you are comfortable using.