All Night Parties and the Eternal Quest for Visibility

I was out half the night partying on Saturday and let me tell you, the body paid for it the next day. Talk about suffering! I had a headache, and my back was killing me, along with my forearms. This is what happens when you overdo as we all know, and no, I’m not looking for sympathy! We had a great time, so no regrets at all.

This is really all about machine quilting until the wee hours (when I haven’t been machine quilting at all for a while!), and having my body complain vociferously the next day. I have these wimpy forearms that don’t like too much repetitive motion or stress, and then I abused them badly. Not only that, I was sitting at a table that was too high so that didn’t help either. So the forearms are botched for a bit until they recover.

The other problem is the neck and back, which probably caused the headache too. See, the biggest issue is the machine itself. These machines are just not made for people like me, with a long upper body. I’ve looked for solutions before, but the tilt table idea didn’t work well for machine quilting with the Bernina. The Bernina has the same problem as the Pfaff: the machine head is so big that it obstructs the view of the needle and surrounding area when my chair and table are at the right height for machine quilting. I end up hunching down in the chair so that I can see the needle area better, which is no good for the back. This is what I see if I’m sitting up straight(er) in the chair when I machine quilt:

View of Bernina needle area when machine quilting

Heh, you see that? (See what?) Exactly. I can barely see the free motion foot, much less the needle, and anything behind it is a total loss. This is why I usually sit too low so I can see better, and hunch down as well, which places even more stress on my arms and back than machine quilting does to begin with. I finally got frustrated with the whole thing between the back pain and the arm pain and all, and removed the cover from the machine head to get all that white plastic out of my way:

Bernina needle with machine head cover removed

Oh look! There’s the needle! And I can even see some of the space behind it! Okay, it’s still difficult because of all the parts in the way, but it really did help some to remove the plastic cover from the head of the machine. Maybe I won’t have to hunch down quite so far in the chair to see where I’m going with the quilt. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this and it’s not the perfect solution by any means, but it was better than the alternatives that ran through my head, which would have required more than a screwdriver and probably would have been more permanent. I will put the cover back on when I’m not quilting to keep the dust out (and also keep the cat from sticking his nose in there), and perhaps I’ll be in a little less pain. At the end of the day though, what I really want to know is when the heck are machine manufacturers going to get it together and build a better mousetrap machine?

3 thoughts on “All Night Parties and the Eternal Quest for Visibility

  1. Oh, my, Nadine, you sorta touched a nerve here (no pun intended). I adore my new Swiss Miss, but I swear I think the head part is larger or juts farther forward than the old one. I’m noticing difficulty in seeing the needle. I think if the machine sat back a bit farther from its current place, it would help, but that would mean some kind of custom insert for my cabinet. I have to duck my head to thread it. And I went and bought the quilter’s hands-free knee lift, because the standard one seems a bit short. That must be because I’m sitting farther away from the machine in order to see the needle. Hmmm. It hadn’t really gelled into a well-defined problem until I read your post. Keep me informed if you find a better solution than removing its clothes.

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  2. Oh yes, I’m sure the head part juts farther forward, Jane Ann. And it’s probably bigger as well. That’s exactly what happened when I upgraded my Pfaff 1475 to a 2056 (before my Bernina era). Maybe it’s because the machines just keep getting more complicated, with more and more special features, that the heads have to be that much bigger to hold all of the machinery? I just wish I could combine the best features of two or three machines and then I’d have the perfect one!

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