Adventures with Technology

I am somewhat a technophobe. Oh, I know, you can find me deftly working on a computer all day long. But that's on my mac. The good folks at Apple have made sure that creative folks, like myself, have such a plug and play user experience that your G5 becomes your best friend. But there is other technology lurking out there -technology that's not so user-friendly and requires lots of manuals. You actually have to learn "why" and "how" before you can be successful.

I am not a Luddite like Tasha Tudor, but I'm still pretty bad.

For instance, long ago when I was in art school I took one photography class. I loved the final product but hated the process. Back in dark ages we didn't have digital cameras. I had to learn about f-stops and lenses on my Cannon AE-1 as well as complicated developing/printing. I was bogged down in the technical and I didn't like it.

I regret that I didn't bother to fight the "left-brain vs right-brain" war and power through the technicalities of photography. It would be wonderful to have skill to create the photographs I imagine when I look through the viewfinder.

"So advanced it's simple..." Yeah, right.

The one positive thing that came out of this failure is that I grew from it. I know now, as a grown woman, that if I can get through the yukky learning-curve, I can come out on the other side with mad skills. And this brings me to my latest Bernina 820.

I will give Bernina credit. The Bernina 820 has a touch screen and lots of graphics that make it easy to navigate. It is a "sewing computer" - as they like to refer to it in the manual. I'm sure I won't have trouble with the software (seems user-friendly enough), once I figure out the other stuff. And, by "other stuff" I mean the stuff I probably should already know from my basic sewing machine experience. Stuff like thread tensions, feed dogs up, feed dogs down, stitch length, the mystery stitches (other than straight or zigzag). And more. Lots, lots more.

It's amazing how many things I have actually sewn successfully with the limited knowledge I have. But much like cheating in school, it always catches up with you. My new wonderful sewing machine computer asks me questions that make me scratch my head. I have been working on my first small project (car lap quilts for the kids) and everything was going along just fine...until the actual quilting started. I am just quilting squares across the entire thing. I quilted one direction without drama, but the overlapping quilting from the other direction has me stumped. I'm getting a little bunching before the seams that, according to what I've read in my (confusing) Bernina manual, can be mitigated by adjusting the upper thread tension. Huh, wha? You mean monkey around with the standard settings? Yeah, my misspent sewing youth is all coming back on me now.

I will know you in-and-out...I will!

 I'm taking a deep breath and stepping back a few paces. I am going to suck it up and learn the sewing "hard stuff". From the beginning. I really want to use this Bernina to it's full potential. I don't want to miss out like I did with photography. Be prepared, I will be sharing this info as I learn it. I suspect some of you are in my same boat, hopefully we can both learn something here.



  1. Good luck! My problem is that I never have the patience to learn - I like to be good at something straight away (which might be why I ended up loving knitting so much, I picked it up sickeningly easily!)

  2. @pinkundine: you sure did! I cannot believe how well you knit after just a short time. You rock the needles!

  3. Oh, this is why my simple little Singer has sat untouched for years. At this point I'm not sure I even remember how to thread the thing. Though I've been having the urge to try it again lately. You mean I need to read the manual?

    1. Yes Aimee! Break out that manual! Also, a great book I'd recommend is "Me and My Sewing Machine". (We have a link in the sidebar.) It is a wonderful resource that breaks everything down into easy to understand language. And, of course, keep reading here! I feel a sewing tute brewing!