A Place to Share Sewing & Quilting Experiences

I guess I’m a little behind in sharing.  I have now finished 4 quilts on my new Bernina Quilt Frame using Quilt Motion.  I also did what many of you will gasp when you hear.  I didn’t do any “testing” with it.  I jumped right in with a “real” quilt which was a baby quilt for a good friend who had a little boy back in May.  I was very nervous to mess it up because it wasn’t just a panel baby quilt.  I had bought a nice kit and pieced it.  Thankfully everything went well and the quilt turned out as I hoped.  I had a bit more trouble on quilt #2 which was a quilt for myself so it wasn’t that big a deal.  Sorry I’m getting ahead of myself.  That is a story for the next post.  This quilt has fun colors and had fish so I picked a continuous line fish design and on the alternating rows I did a wave design.  I decided rather than quilt block, by block, I’d do a pantograph.  Here’s a photo of the finished quilt.

First Baby Quilt with Quilt Motion

Quilt Motion & Bernina Quilt Frame - First Quilt

Here’s a close up of the cute little fish block.

Fish Continuous Line Quilt Design

Fish Continuous Line Quilt Design

Now here’s a close up of the wave blocks.

Waves Block Close Up

Waves Block Close Up

What fun this is.  I was getting in a rut with my free-motion stippling.  I have yet to try “driving” the frame myself.  I figured I paid for the software/hardware of Quilt Motion, I’m going to use it.  I learn something new with every quilt.  The only problem I had with this one was the thread kept breaking even though I slowed the stitch-out speed way down.  I was using a poly rayon variegated thread.  When I switched to my old stand by of King Tut Superior Thread it started working like a charm.  I have found that cotton threads are the only ones that work for me without breakage.

While it was scary starting out with a real quilt, the results were good and I’m glad I did it.  Hope to get the other three quilts posted soon and share the experiences with the new toy.

Until then, happy sewing & quilting!


Comments on: "The First Quilt with Quilt Motion and Bernina Quilt Frame" (55)

  1. In May 2013 I commented that I was having trouble with my Bernina 820 and Quilt Motion. My dealer put a new circuit board on the machine, but I soon discovered that was not the problem. It was the connecting cables. I talked with the Grace Co. who sent me all new cables (because they it was impossible to diagnose which cable was the culprit). They are wonderful to work with. With the new connecting cable setup, Quilt Motion and my 820 work beautifully together. So if anyone is having trouble with an error message, check with Grace Co. first. You may just need new cables.

    I have now quilted 27 quilts since July 2011 (I only use the frame from May to October each year). With each quilt I get a little better with placement and design. I have not upgraded to Creative Touch yet (I’m still upset about the cost to upgrade), but I will probably break down once Bernina quits tweaking the software (they haven’t even released the last “tweak” yet).

    • Thank you so much for sharing with us. There are so many pieces to the puzzle, you do have to try everything and sometimes the most obvious gets overlooked. Sounds like you are becoming quite accomplished at using the software and frame. Please feel free to share your triumphs (and trials if there are any) with us. I just have not had the time to spend on it that I’d like. Maybe when my daughter goes to college next year, things will settle down.

      I’m so glad they found your problem and you’ve had a good experience with the company.

      Keep us posted!


  2. Hi Melinda, I am so grateful to have found your sight, I have just purchased a demo model Bernina quilting frame and Quilt motion, I am an expat living in Saudi Arabia, we had it shipped out to us, my husband and I started setting up the frame and quilt motion yesterday, have not completed the set up as yet, having looked at all of this I have to say stage fright is an understatement, I am desperately looking for help and tips from the very beginning, that is from plug in to start and any other help available, I was wondering if you have any help for me, I have not done any quilting before so all of this is very scary for me. Thanking you kindly, Brenda.

    • Hi Brenda, My advice is take things really slowly. What sewing machine will you be using with your quilt frame? Really the machine is the only tricky part for me. I got one of the first Bernina 830s when they came out. As it has aged, it has picked up a few quirks. I just have to be patient with it and take things slow. I found that the order of hooking us things is critical to getting everything to work with the Quilt Motion software and hardware. There are quite a few good Bernina quilt frame videos on YouTube. If found the one on setting up the frame and loading the quilt to be of great value. It is in two parts. Here’s the first http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0XtSp1lMI4 then part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UicrLaXVF3A. I just did a search there on Bernina quilt frame and a lot of interesting tutorials came up.

      Just take it slow and have fun. My first few quilts went well, but as I don’t use it on a regular basis, I have to start over with learning it when I use it each time. Good luck & let me know if you have any specific questions!


      • Hi Melinda, thank you for your reply, the machine that came with the quilting frame and quiltmotion deal is called Nina 1600 p, I also have the BERNINA 830, but thought God Willing to use the Nina machine on the frame. Wanted to ask if it is possible to set quiltmotion up to quilt around appliqué designs on the quilt in the frame. If so, any suggestions on achieving the best out come. Thanking you again. Kind regards Brenda.

      • From some of the webinars I’ve watched through Bernina, you can do quilting around the applique, but you’d have to scan in the design and draw around it in the software “Quilt Cad” that comes with Quilt Motion. Then you’d have to line it up perfectly before starting to quilt. I haven’t taken the time to do something that elaborate. I’ve just used the built-in quilting designs with the program so far. I have not done the “ditch” quilting that you can do with the software either. Bernina’s website has a lot of tutorials and past webinars you can watch for tips. I’d love to hear from you on your progress with the new equipment. I’ve never heard of that machine. I hope it works well for you on the frame.


  3. I have an 820 and Bernina Quilt Motion and Frame. Purchased it in July 2011 and have quilted 16 quilts. Only use it during the summer months from May to Oct. Last Sept. 2012 the software would not recognize my machine. Now have a new board on the machine and have tried several new cables, but to no avail –I get the error message “Sewing machine not responding, check to be sure cables are installed properly and BSR is unplugged” The carriage responds and the Quilt Motion LED illuminates, but the 820 screen does not read “Quilt Motion” Does anyone have any ideas? The machine is going back to the dealer on Monday.

    • That sounds awful. I hate when the equipment doesn’t work. Just a couple thoughts…did you re-install the drivers from the USB stick that came with Quilt Motion once you got the new board in your 820? Sometimes we have also found the connectors where the cables connect to the board on the quilt frame needed to be tightened so the cable makes a better connection. Also, I found my whole set up required a very particular start sequence. I have to boot my laptop first, then turn on the frame, then launch Quilt Cad on my laptop, then turn on the sewing machine. If I do it in any other order, it doesn’t work. If I think of anything else to try, I’ll let you know. Good luck at the dealer’s on Monday. I hope they can get you worked out. My 830 just came back from the shop, and I’m excited to start quilting again. Hope I remember how. I have a huge box of tops to get started on.


      • Thanks for the hints. I have the right version of software on the 820, so it is not that. I’ve pulled all the cables out from the frame and reinserted them. I’m not sure what you mean by tightening the cables. The setup doesn’t seem to make a difference; however, I do have to turn on the frame/sewing machine before I launch Quilt Motion. We’ll see what happens after the dealer tests the machine tomorrow. I’ll let you know.

      • Please keep us posted and I hope it all gets settled for you soon so you can get back to quilting!


    • Hi Melinda,
      I always read with a lot of pleasure your e-mails.
      I have just taken a new contact with Grace Compagny in the USA, I do not have unfortunately no more of news.
      I shall not be the first man has to quilter with his bernina 830 this year in francel.
      I keep hope however
      best regards

      • Glad you are still with us. It is good to have a contact at the company. Thankfully I haven’t needed one yet. Keep us posted & good luck in all your projects.


  4. Melinda, I too live in Virginia. I am getting a Bernina frame and after agreeing to purchase it used, I am having after thoughts on just how sturdy it will be. I intend to use my 730 on the frame, and sometimes a Brother PQ1500. Can yu address any problems with the frame?

    • Hi Trudy, I’ve been really impressed with the frame and its durability. My only issues have been with the machine and the software. I have a Bernina 830 which is a bit “sensitive” so everything has to be just so. My main problems are with thread breakage and getting the designs spaced and set up properly. The hardware equipment of the frame and such have been no problem. I think you will be happy with your purchase. The 830 is a very heavy machine…my main problem is lifting it up onto the platform…it is best done with two people. I also have mine fairly close to the wall so there isn’t a lot of room for hauling it up there. Good luck!


  5. I just purchased the Bernina Quilt Frame and Quilt Motion. The frame looks pretty simple to install (using the video on Bernina’s website) but how easy is the Quilt Motion hardware to put together?

    • My husband helped me put it together. If you take it slow and follow the directions, it really isn’t that bad. Good luck. Would love to hear how it goes! We did have trouble with one of the belts coming off after a couple quilts, so just double check their tightness when you begin a project.


  6. How much is the Quilt Motion for a Bernina 820? I’ve searched but with no help. Thank you!

    • I honestly don’t recall exactly how much and my receipts are buried in my room somewhere. I did purchase the Quilt Frame and Quilt Motion at the same time and recall both being about $4,300. I think the Quilt Motion and all the hardware to make it work with the frame was in the $2,500 range. Sorry I don’t have more specifics. Each dealer is going to be different and I believe I got a 20% sale price. Good luck!


      • Thank you very much. It looks awesome!

      • Ladies,

        thank you for your nice e-mails.

        The TV shows degats caused by the ouragant.

        I hope the persons affected by this disaster will quickly get up.

        I see  you use again  your quilt frame.

        And me, I have just finish to built it.

        My first realization will be a border on a patch. To make it, I have to trace the stencil in the scale on the silk paper which I am going to apply to the patch. Have you some advice to tell me for making   this application successfully?

        Best regards


        > Message du 17/10/12 16:32 > De : “Melinda’s Quilt Blog” > A : philapat2006@orange.fr > Copie à : > Objet : [New comment] The First Quilt with Quilt Motion and Bernina Quilt Frame > >WordPress.com Carla commented: “Thank you very much. It looks awesome!”

  7. Hi
    thinks for your blog. i have a question.
    i leave in france and i have a sewing machine Bernina 830 and a quilt frame Bernina.
    i find a quilt motion for this equipment. but in France it does ‘nt exist.
    could you help me, if a possibility to buy it in canada .
    have you quilt Cad also on your sewing machine?
    my email is: philapat2006@orange.fr
    best regards.

    • Thanks for you comment on my blog. Here in the United States, the Bernina policy is that you have to go directly to a Bernina dealer to purchase the Quilt Motion add on for the Bernina quilt frame. That
      software package did come with Quilt Cad. My suggestion is to find a Canadian dealer online and see if they would do a mail order for you.
      I’m really not sure about the international compatibility of the software, but I would assume it would work. If anybody else might know the answer about European versions vs. US/Canadian versions, please let us know or if anybody has a preferred Canadian dealer. Thanks!

      • Melinda,

        thanks for your email and message on your blog.Ilook for alf year how to buy it. In europe the robotic doesnot exist. perhaps in UK but i have not a response.

        The frenchs’dealer Bernina say to me: not very people are interested by this automat………

        A commercial aspect blocks the situation in France.

        With my wife we make of the patchwork for 15 years now.We wanted to automate our quilt frame and to take advantage completely of our machine.

        Quand je vois ce que l’on peut faire avec …….


        Machines are the same, the only difference which I see is the different voltage and the frequency enters US and France.

        When to the program, he does not have to have of great difficulty.

        Does it exist the documentation has this subject which I can have by e-mail? Thank you again for your help.



        > Message du 02/10/12 04:51 > De : “Melinda’s Quilt Blog” > A : philapat2006@orange.fr > Copie à : > Objet : [New comment] The First Quilt with Quilt Motion and Bernina Quilt Frame > >WordPress.com melindaquilts commented: “Thanks for you comment on my blog. Here in the United States, the Bernina policy is that you have to go directly to a Bernina dealer to purchase the Quilt Motion add on for the Bernina quilt frame. That software package did come with Quilt Cad. My suggest”

      • Ladies,

        thank you for your nice e-mails.

        The TV shows degats caused by the ouragant.

        I hope the persons affected by this disaster will quickly get up.

        I see you use again your quilt frame.

        And me, I have just finish to built it.

        My first realization will be a border on a patch. To make it, I have to trace the stencil in the scale on the silk paper which I am going to apply to the patch.
        Have you some advice to tell me for making this application successfully?

        Best regards


      • I haven’t tried to do anything with borders yet. I just have tried the pantographs across a row. I hope it goes well for you. I use the 2-point method of aligning my rows. It might be work experimenting on a test quilt. I took a chance and started on a real quilt I was doing for somebody else. Thankfully it turned out OK. Would like to hear if anybody else has had experiences with this.

        Good luck!


  8. July 31 2012 there is a Bernina Webinair showing quiltmotion

  9. P Kelly said:

    Hi, I don’t have a Bernina setup, but use Quilt Motion with a Viking 18 x 8 long arm. I feel like I know the techs at Grace personally. They are very helpful. I have been on the phone with them for hours trying to get up and going. I have never felt rushed.

    I too jumped right in on a lap quilt. I am working on my first block to block design and it is really neat to do. My husband I often find ourselves just watching the computer drive this machine. I have my treadmill in the same room and generally walk on it while it is sew. I am killing two birds with one stone. Thanks for all of the helpful tips

    • It will be great to have experiences from all types of machines. Thanks so much for contributing. Would love to hear how the block to block design goes. I have not made it to my “quilting” marathon week yet. Life just gets in the way sometimes. What a great idea to have your treadmill in the same room. I’m thinking of getting a bar stool so I don’t have to stand and monitor the quilt. The few times I’ve left the room, I’ve regretted it. It is so good to hear that Grace has good tech support. Please keep us posted!

  10. I finally completed my first quilt with Quilt Motion. I had problems with sewing half way through quilting the quilt. After talking to Grace and then the repair tech at my dealer it was decided that the machine needed an update and a new replacement sensor. It was a challenge to take the machine off the sewing platform and still leave the quilt on the frame. We removed the side arm and carefully lifted the machine over then off the frame. Once the sensor was replaced we again lifted the machine and carefully placed it on the sewing platform. I was able to continue to sew and completed the quilt in no time. The people at Grace Company are so helpful. I only wish that Bernina USA had more videos and lessons on how to use their product. Thanks for your blog Melinda. I’m glad to see you are making progress with your quilting!

    • I’m glad you were able to get your problem fixed. What kind of machine do you use with your frame and Quilt Motion? It is satisfying to get that first one done. I can’t wait to get one back on my frame. I so appreciate everyone sharing their trials and triumphs here. We can learn so much from each other. Thanks for sharing how you got your machine off the frame and leaving the quilt on. I had that issue too, but thankfully the machine didn’t have to come off…we moved it to the opposite end of the frame and fixed the belt that had come loose. Hope things continue to go well for you and keep us posted!


      • I have a Bernina 830 that I use with the Quilt Motion and frame. I have to admit I quilted one of my less favorite quilt tops that way if there were any major mistakes it was no big deal. I decided to do a pantograph and it turned out very nice. I would like to quilt a block on point like Karyn indicated she was doing. I hope that she posts her results. I’m afraid to put that quilt top on the frame and try the on point blocks.

      • Great to know other 830 Owner’s out there. I’d love to hear how the block at a time quilting goes. I’ve only done the pantographs myself too. I guess I haven’t been thinking of a block at a time. I went to a quilt show yesterday that had a stunning quilt that was quilted by the block and not by the row. I find myself looking more at the quilting at shows now than the pieced tops. Yes, I definitely hope Karyn posts her results! I was absolutely crazy to do my first quilt on the frame as a baby quilt I was giving as a gift. I was very blessed it didn’t go wrong. Funny thing is the quilts I’ve had problems with are my own…the gift ones have gone without a hitch.

  11. Karyn Sanford said:

    I am quilting my first quilt using the frame and software – a king- size with blocks on point and many triangle blocks. Two questions- what is the correct placement for a block on point? I can make it work with one point, center if the pattern starts sewing ing the center, but what if it doesn’t? Then how do you set the placement? Second question- when I open a saved pattern, it has lost some of the settings and doesn’t fit correctly – I have to set it up all over again. I am enjoying using this software very much but would like more thorough help or tutorial details – hopefully those will come with time. Thanks

    • I would think the four point placement would work best for that kind of block if you are doing it one block at a time. I hate to admit, but I don’t think I’ve ever done an on-point block placement on a quilt…definitely something to put on my “to do” list. As for the not saving and designs not fitting, do save after every time you take the design from the software to the machine? I found that worked pretty good for me. Sometimes the software does quirky things that I can’t figure out. I have trouble with my designs not being in the “safe zone” when I know they are. I agree more tutorials would be wonderful. Keep us posted about your progress. I wish I had more time to use the equipment I have and be able to share more. Thanks for sharing with us!


  12. So glad that I found your post. I just had the quiltmotion installed on my 830 today. Not much guidance so I’ll be doing a lot of practicing and researching.

    • Welcome. It was pretty scary for me in the beginning. Now it is a lot of trial and error and having fun. Please share your experiences with us. We’re all here to learn from each other. I just finished a t-shirt quilt class on-line and that top is the perfect candidate for the frame and QuiltMotion.

  13. I’ve just bought Quilt Motion for my Bernina 830 and frame. I got it installed correctly, but the display just had a blue screen. Grace sent me a replacement display and now that works fine, but when I touch the “single stitch” button, the machine does a rapid fire eight or ten stitches in place! I can’t find any troubleshooters that address this. Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions what might be causing it?

    • That sounds very troublesome. This most likely has nothing to do with it, but in your machine set up did you check the settings to see if something is strange there? I will definitely post if I hear anybody else having that issue. Thanks for sharing and hope you get it worked out.

      • Mary Steimle said:

        After the 8-10 stitches does QuiltMotion start stitching the quilt design?

        I was having a problem with QuiltMotion stitching in place and not continuing with the pattern. I would have to power everything off My bobbin on my 820 was jammed with thread. The technician at my quilt shop said that the 820 seized up because it needed oil. I oil the race after every 4 bobbins and haven’t had a problem since. just a thought.

    • Please post if you find a solution. I have the 830 and Quilt Motion and have the same problem. Mine was working fine and I completed several projects before the problem, but have not been able to find the source of the problem. I will post back if I find the problem.

      • Sorry to hear you are having the same problem. I haven’t heard if there is an update or will be an update for the machine or the Quilt Motion software soon. I have to take my 830 in for annual service soon, so will ask if my dealer has heard of anybody else with this issue. Thanks for letting us all know and I hope you find a solution soon. I know how frustrating it is to spend all this money and have problems. Good luck! Melinda

    • I called Grace Co. who sells the Quilt Motion and talked to one of their techs. He is sending a new cable set-up and said it that didn’t fix it that it might be a board in the sewing machine (I believe the same one that the BSR plugs into. I think I may try the BSR and see if it works since I have used it before. If it doesn’t work, it may mean a trip to the dealer. Will update once I get the new cord set.

      • I sure hope the new cable works for you. Please keep us posted!

      • Jane Pritchard said:

        I also just got Quilt Motion last week. I do not use my BSR foot. The quilt Motion should regulate your stitches with the QM program.

      • Hi Jane, I definitely don’t use the BSR foot when I use a built-in design in Quilt Motion. I tried using QM’s stitch regulator for free-motion quilting, but I wasn’t happy with it, so I turned off QM and used my BSR foot when I did free-motion. Please keep sharing your experiences as you move forward with Quilt Motion. We’d love to hear about them! Melinda

  14. Mary Steimle said:

    Here is another problem that I had, which is resolved. Whenever I ran QuiltMotion, I could sew one row and then I couldn’t get QuiltMotion to work. I could trace a row, but it would not stitch a row on the Quilt. After many trips to the quilt shop, the technician came to my house. The problem was a bad USB cable between my laptop and QuiltMotion. Replaced the cable and haven’t had a bit of a problem since.

    Every once in a while the cables get loose and I have this problem. I check the USB connections often while quilting.

    • Glad it was something simple. I hate to say I don’t always look for a simple solution. I’m more of a throw my hands up and wail kind of personality. Thankfully my husband is a good and patient trouble-shooter. I’m glad you have a good dealer that will stick with you until the problem is solved. Sounds like you have a great tech too.

  15. Mary Steimle said:

    Hi, Libby. Thank you for starting this blog. I own a Bernina QuiltMotion and wish there was a “QuiltMotion for Dummies” book!

    I’m having bobbin problems with my new 820. 820 sews off the QuiltMotion frame, but not so much when QuiltMotion is in charge. Can trace a pattern but can’t sew it. Sews in same place and quits. Maybe my sewing surface is not right. Adjusted it today but have not tested it yet.

    • I am hoping to share experiences and that others will share so we can all learn to use these tools we’ve spent so much one. I’m learning with each and every quilt. Thanks for reading!


    • Mary Steimle said:

      Update on my problem with my bobbin. Had to take my 820 in for repair. Machine needed oil and froze up. Technician recommended that I oil the sewing machine bobbin race after every 4 bobbins.

      • I hope this takes care of your problem. I know it can be frustrating with mechanical problems. Good tip on the bobbin. I have a notebook by my 830 and try and keep an “hourly log” of time sewn and what project and settings I use. It seems to help. Let us know how the bobbin behaves on going.

  16. Libby Duncan said:

    Hi Melinda,
    I too have just bought the bernina quilt frame and the quilt motion software. I am having quite a time getting the size of the pattern right.
    It realy is a learning curve. I don’t find the instructions very user friendly.
    Hubby and I got everything set up all right and now I am just struggling with the software.
    If you ahve any tips I would really appreciate it. I a;most wish I had someone here to walk me through it step by step.
    Thanks for any advice.
    Libby Duncan
    PS I live in Canada—where are you ??

    • Hi Libby,

      I’m in the US in Virginia. I understand the frustration. It would be wonderful to have a hands-on class. My local quilt shop has scheduled a few, but there have not been enough to make the class go. I agree the instructions are a bit lacking. I troubleshoot computers & problems at work all the time, so I guess that helped a little. Each quilt has its own challenges. I’m getting ready to do another panel quilt. I learned the last time that I need to measure it before putting it on the frame, so I can divide the “rows” evenly and pick a good block size. It is scary jumping into a real quilt, but I really don’t have pieces of fabric large enough to do testing on. I figure if you go to all the trouble of putting one on the frame, it should be one you are going to use. I’m sure many would disagree with my “jump in with both feet” attitude. It does get easier as you go along. I found I need to make notes of what I do because it is usually a couple months between quilt sessions. I use my 830 for so many other projects, I can’t just leave it sitting on the frame. I am hoping to post a few more of my quilts/experiences in the near future. Hopefully my “errors” will help others out not to do the same. I’m helping with our local high school band booster’s craft fair next weekend, so it probably won’t be this week. Just hang in there and I’m happy to share any knowledge I have (although it isn’t much) with you.

      Best of luck!


    • Just found a link on the Bernina website with Quilt Motion lessons. They look promising. Hope they help. I’m getting ready to watch a few of them now.



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