Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Another One Bites the Dust…

…remember that catchy song? Sorry if you can’t get it out of your head for the rest of the day.

Why is it that good things, and not so good things, usually come in threes? At the moment I am experiencing a rather negative period… Please allow me to rant… and feel free to comment below.

After I found out at the retreat a couple of weeks ago that the machine I lend out to workshop participants without charge was returned to me broken I chalked it off to my negligence of not carefully checking when I received it back into my care. I am currently looking for someone to fix the little Janome Jem 760. It is less than five years old and the warranty has expired, not that it helped me before – Saskatchewan dealers I have tried to work with and who are within reasonable driving distance are reluctant to service machines that have not been bought from them. I am currently confirming an appointment for when I am in Edmonton in mid-June. Johnson’s Sewing Center responded to my inquiry within an hour of sending the email… I am so impressed!

One problem solved… the second obstacle will be much harder to tackle. I briefly commented in an earlier post that my Bernina 1130 stopped sewing after only 5 minutes of straight stitching. It would not move forward or backward no matter how hard I tried to turn the hand wheel. Two weeks ago I dropped it off with the local Bernina Dealer, and yesterday the dreaded phone call confirmed the machine’s demise – insert funeral music here – it cannot be revived. A seized motor appears to be common problem with the “1000 model” series I was told.

My question to you readers and fellow Bernina supporters is: Have you heard of this fact yourself, or have you experienced something similar? I am keen to hear your experience and how you overcame this obstacle. Please be candid and share!

On to my issue at hand. I cannot work with one machine alone, as everyone knows: When a deadline is looming the machine can sense this, and that is the exact moment when they demand some unnecessary attention and stop working efficiently or stop operating altogether… right? I know – I have been there more than once. In Calgary I had a fabulous neighbor and friend, Nancy, who bailed me out several times while I was burning the midnight oil. She would bring her machine over and I was able to finish and deliver on time. As a thank you I had her machine serviced before I returned it to her.

I live remotely and despite the beautiful views and lovely neighbors turned friends I have nobody who might be able to lend me a sewing machine in a time of need. When I moved to rural Saskatchewan I made sure I had at least two working machines and for the last seven years it has not been an issue.

I am reaching out to you, the readers of my blog to assist me with some valuable input. My Bernina 170 QPE is 16 years old later this year. She has served me well, and despite initial issues such as a chirping motor and several replacement motors I love this machine. Introduce reality check here: We all know that machines break down and don’t live forever, especially when one regularly sews through aluminum cans, copper shim, plastics and other up-cycled products.

I am researching the Bernina 710 and 750 models at the moment. They are in the process of being phased, out and I wonder if those of you who own either of these machines could share your experiences. It really helps me to find out more. I trust sewing machine dealers but also know that the end goal is to make a sale. Before I scrape together the big bucks I want to hear from my peers, you! Leave your comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you!!!

…Here is to hoping that there will not be a number three event… 😉

Have a great weekend!

This entry was published on April 24, 2015 at 12:48 pm. It’s filed under In the News, Journaling and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

16 thoughts on “Another One Bites the Dust…

  1. on said:

    Anna! I have a Bernina Artista 180E that I would sell at a fair price – with many extras including software, hoops, extra bobbins. I currently have the Bernina Artista 780E. It was my treat to myself when I retired and that is why the Artista 180E is up for sale. I have had always used Bernina machines. Maybe try Cindy at Cindy-rella’s Sewing and Quilting in Regina?


    • Thank you, Kathleen! I am away from my stdio for the next ten days. I will give your offer some serious thought and will get back to you when return from this teaching trip from the Sunshine Coast!


  2. Rena Holma on said:

    Hi Anna; Liz at Tiger Lily Quilts is a sewing machine pro. Rena H.


    • Thanks, Rena – I know LIz. It is a more than 4 hour return trip to take a machine to LIz (times 2, as I have to drop it off and pick it up), and I am not looking at purchasing another Janome at this time.


  3. Sandra Hamilton on said:

    I learned to sew on a Pfaff 50 plus years ago. My first and second machines were Singers and served me well and my Mum too when her Pfaff died and she used my first
    Singer as she had custody of it in Australia. I bought a Pfaff and used it for 31 years. Sewed clothing for myself and 2 DD’s on it. Finally bought myself a new machine for quilting as the Pfaff was not good at FMQ. I bought a Janome 6500 and loved it and used the elderly Pfaff for travel ubtil it died. I bought a new Janome Horizon as a retirement present. It is a wonderful machine. I love it and use just about all the features. It is heavy though and I recently I bought a small basic light Janome for classes, retreats etc as it is so much easier to transport. I love it too. And Johnson’s here in Edmonton have been great.


    • Thanks for the input, Sandra. I have had a Janome Horizon but it just did not compare to the Bernina and I sold it last year, mostly because I felt I had too many machines… I call me short sighted, I am certainly questioning my judgement.
      You have given me some great food for thought and I appreciate your insights.


  4. Hi Anna: Well, as you know, I have an older Bernina – a Virtuoso 155 and have nightmares about it “retiring” on me in the middle of getting ready for a show. I have never heard of a Bernina of any model seizing-I know a few people with series 1000 models and have never heard of this from any of them. I have my name in at the Sewing Machine Store here in S’toon for a second hand older Bernina so I can stop having anxiety attacks, but have to say that if I could purchase a second model 155, I’d pay full price! It is so dependable and I think the worst thing it has ever done is get filled up with lint when I’m using a lot of cotton threads. I vacuum “her” out regularly but notice the sound of the motor changes when it’s getting dusty. Other than that, sorry, I have no solution for you other than getting a new machine. I’ve looked at the new models and choke at the price, but after all, I don’t think you can find a more reliable machine than a Bernina. I’ve been told that if you can find one that was made in Switzerland, that’s the one you should buy. Mine is one of these and it has no plastic parts – weighs a ton, but no plastic. I LOVE my Bernina and heaven and earth couldn’t convince me to ever use another brand. If I’m unsuccessful in finding a used older model, I will likely also be looking at one of the newer ones, without all the attachments tho – don’t want all the “stuff” – just the basic machine. Well, now I’ve written a book here (as I usually do!). Hope you come up with a solution to this. Can’t they just put a new motor into the machine with the seized motor? This seems like an obvious solution to me (but what do I know). …… cheers…..donna


    • Thanks for your input, Donna – the seized machine is quite old and I am told that it can’t be fixed, the Regina dealer shared that mine was one of about a dozen she has had in lately all with the same “disease”… her term, not mine! I have an appointment with a dealer in Calgary who insists that I should get a second opinion. I will take it there at the end of May for one more evaluation and examination. Meanwhile preparations for the memorial are under way… which includes budgeting and turning over every stone in the yard for the extra cash. (tongue in cheek) 😉
      My 170 is of the same era as your 155 and I know what you mean. If I could find a 150 or 155 I would pick it up – but second hand machines disappear, I once heard they go to 3rd world countries as they would undermine the local sewing machine economy.


  5. Johanna on said:

    I stand by a good old manual machine. What I mean is one that is not computerized. They last longer (mine is now 40 years old) and are really tough work horses. If you don’t need fancy stitches that is the way to go.


    • Thanks for that, Johanna. The machine that seized is such a machine and I cannot find mechanical machines anymore. Everything is computerized these days… I have even asked about second hand machines that are older. But dealers don’t have any… I don’t need a lot of fancy stitches either – I can create my own. I am just preparing a post for Monday that covers the topic!


  6. Alice Brody on said:

    Don’t know anything about those machines, but a thought about someone else you could contact to ask. Tom, the owner of Patchwork Plus near QBL is a really honest guy. You might want to call the store and talk with him. He repairs all Berninas himself and has had lots of Bernina training. You probably met him when you were at QBL, as they rent the machines, and he also services participants machines while we’re there.


    • Thanks so much, Alice. My previous repair person whom I trusted explicitly has fallen off the face of the earth. He told everyone he was moving and after that his number was no longer in service and nobody has been able to track him down. I used to drive 8 hours one way to get him to service my machines… now I am searching again and I have made contact with someone in Calgary who will give me a second opinion on my “dead” machine.
      See you this summer!


  7. Katina on said:

    Wow, sounds like the continuing crisis that has been invading my life. I have two Husqvarna machines and I love them. Hope you find a good repair person. We still have a few feet of snow in the yard. Spring is peaking through in places and the wildlife are eating any greenery available, aka tulips.


    • Thanks for your input, Katina. Still snow in the yard? Wow – the ice came off here a while ago, the earliest ever since we moved here! Only 5 months of winter instead of the usual 7!


  8. Hi Anna,

    I purchased a Bernina 750 just before Christmas because my Babylock was in its death throes and the Pfaff Ambition I bought to replace it was already letting me down (only 5 months old). I love having the Bernina in my sewing room. Beautiful stitches everytime and very easy to use and adjust to the job at hand. It is taking me a while to get used to the free motion Stitch Regulator.

    Because I needed more portable machine to tote around, I traded my Pfaff in for a Janome Skyline and I love it, too! I get some very nice FMQ with it. It’s not as sophisticated as the Bernina but many of the feature are alike, so it’s not a difficult transition from one machine to the other.

    One note on my Bernina…. it’s having issues when it powers on. It can sometimes take up to a half hour to turn on. A definite problem. I am working with the vendor to try and trouble shoot it, but may have to send it away, which would be disappointing since it’s so new. When it does finally power on it works beautifully, as usual.

    I know what you mean with machine problems when you need them most! What is that about? I can almost count on something weird happening when I have a deadline looming.

    Good luck with your purchase!



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