Ashley's Online Lessons

Lesson # 1: Intro

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These pages last updated:  05/02/2007


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Subject: Online lessons: INTRO (#1)

Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 15:40:25 -0800
From: Ashley Engelund <>
To: 1630 List <>

Hi all --

Well, here we go. This is my first posting for the online lessons.  Mostly I'm going to go over logistics, an intro, how I think this will go, and a basic supply list. This post will be mostly informative -- not much to 'do' with it. (Next post will start in to the 'doing'.) 


1. About me

I spent my working career as a software engineer; I've literally be working with computers since 1978. And I'm in my mid thirties now, so that means that I was in grade school when I was introduced to computers. (Some of the first Apple computers -- a real benefit to growing up near Silicon Valley!) Obviously, the computer industry has exploded and there is a LOT of stuff to know out there. I use PCs mostly now, and use a lot of Microsoft software. (Mostly because it's easily available to me.) 

I had to stop working couple of years ago due to health problems -- I was hit hard by Rheumatoid Arthritis. Relatively speaking, I'm doing pretty well now, but my health still swings way up & down. (Hence sometimes I post a lot, and sometimes not at all.) I started sewing again a couple of months after I stopped working. As a recovering workaholic, I was going *crazy* without something to focus on. I soon purchased my 1630, and immediately jumped on the net to see what was out there about it! 

I found my way to the Quiltropolis 1630 list & have since learned LOTS from it! I started putting together the 1630 FAQ pages to help us all record and have available the great info that was being shared on the 1630 list.

Since I no longer work (and have a wonderful DH to thank for that!), when my health is 'good' I have the freedom of spending quite a bit of time at the computer and sewing machine. And sometimes -- both at the same time. You must know *exactly* what I mean & enjoy it too, if you're reading this! ;-) 

I'm a firm believer in 'information is power' and also that 'you get what you give.' I think it's great that I have had the opportunity to learn so much about my 1630 -- thru the net, books, other generous people, playing around, etc. And I'm glad that I have the opportunity to help spread this info.

I have a dry & sarcastic sense of humor that I generally try to keep toned down on the net. Some of it may creep in here. Please don't take offense; none is intended. 

I tend to be pretty verbose. I'm sure these posts will get long -- especially since I'm trying to explain things via email *and* I'm trying to be sure that I cover the basics and am thorough.

Yes, my middle name is "Caroline."

I'm not affiliated with Bernina in any way -- except that I've spent a healthy chunk of money on their products! ;-) 

All of the information that I post are purely my personal opinions. No warranties (expressed or implied) are given. Your mileage may vary. If it varies a lot, I'd like to know -- so I can learn more. Please share!

2. Copyright

I think it's great if the information in these lessons is shared, but I'd also like acknowledgment. So I'll include this statement (or something like it) with each post:

" Copyright 2000-2012 by Ashley Engelund. Permission is granted to copy and distribute this information provided that this copyright statement is included. All companies mentioned retain their respective copyrights and trademarks."

Which means -- go ahead and share these! print them out, email them, whatever. Just as long as you include the above statement. 

3. Supplies:

Here's a list of things you'll probably want to have on hand as you go thru these. Don't feel like you have to rush out and buy anything you don't have (unless you're just looking for an excuse to spend more $! ;-)

  • - your manual - I will be referring to the manual pages as we go along.
  • - something to write with, something to write ON -- make notes to yourself!! put notes in your manual! (It's yours - make it work for you! If you don't want to write in it, then put post-it notes in there.
  • - graph paper - handy for drawing your stitches out. doesn't really matter what the dimensions are, as long as they're square (e.g. not logarithmic or polar.) You can print some out with the URL that Correy Nel has so kindly shared with us: 
  • - well cleaned and oiled 1630
  • - new needles for your machine (be nice to it!)
  • - decent thread (whatever you think will look best *and* be easy to work with -- remember you'll be stitching out a lot of sample stitches 
  • - full bobbin (I recommend you wind 2 or 3 at a time so they're ready for you.)
  • - material to sew out samples on - 
    • - use either something stuff (e.g. heavy denim) OR
    • - something starched and/or stabilized.
  • - permanent fabric marker - so you can label and make notes on the samples you'll be sewing out
  • - temporary fabric marker (optional) - so you can draw alignment marks, etc. on the fabric. If you don't care if they show, just use a pencil.  (In fact, it might be helpful to leave the marks on the fabric, so when you look at these later you'll see them. Will discuss this more when we get to it.) Pencil, chalk, etc... 
  • - something to drink to keep you hydrated
  • - little rewards for yourself
  • - reward yourself early and often!

needed for future lessons:

  • - blank key(s)
  • - computer
  • - Bernina Designer software

-- these are all optional - if you don't have them and don't want to get them right now, then just read thru the lessons and know the info is there for future reference.  

Additional resources: 

  • Bernina brochures -- there used to be a list on the Bernina site, but it's no longer there. :-( Ask your Bernina Dealer.
  • 1630 library
  • Bernina Designer newsletters
  • 1630 FAQ (  <== you are here!
  • Bernina USA site (


4. About these lessons

There seems to be a great " shortage of information " (ahem) on using the Bernina Designer software. There is some info to be found.  Mainly:

but there's a real lack of info on " how do I put it all together to make something fun?" And there's not much basic step-by-step info (which you need so that you *can* put it all together!). So many people on the 1630 list have expressed interest in learning more (and frustration at the lack of info) that I decided I'd finally jump in and see what I could contribute. Hence I'm posting these lessons.

I plan to post one or two lessons a week, depending on my schedule and (*most importantly*) the FEEDBACK that is posted to the list. If lots of people have questions, then I'll spend time answering those questions and going into detail before posting the next one. Sometimes I'll just have to move on, but I hope that I can really spend the time to cover everything as thoroughly as possible for as many folks as possible.

I want to give folks a chance to actually go thru the lessons; hence I want to be sure there are at least a few days between each one. Let me know if I'm moving along too fast/slow.

After I post a lesson, I will also put it up on the FAQ pages (using the 'new' FAQ address). At the end of every lesson I'll post the URL.

YOUR FEEDBACK IS CRITICAL!! I'm *counting on you* to post your questions/comments/concerns/criticisms/feedback/etc TO THE 1630 LIST.  

This is vital for a number of reasons:

  • if you have a question about something, you can bet that someone else out there has that same question. Ask it so everyone can benefit from the answer.
  • I'm writing this all up as we go along, so I want to know what is clear and (more importantly!!!) *what is unclear.* I want to know what explanations are helpful and which aren't. I need your feedback! I'm pretty difficult to offend, so please don't be shy. This is all just version 1.0 -- I need to know how to improve it for the next 'version' that I do! And besides -- it keeps it interesting for me to hear your feedback.
  • I do not (and will not, frankly) want to post these off into the ether -- and never really know if anyone even read them or found them helpful. 

If you have something to contribute -- something that you think will be helpful, then by all means, JUMP RIGHT IN!! I know that there are a number of you out there that know a *lot* about the 1630 -- more than I do for sure! I'd love it for you to contribute too! (Refa? Gina?  Martie? Carol? Correy? -- are you out there? ;-) 

PLEASE POST TO THE 1630 LIST. If you have a specific issue that your are uncomfortable sharing with the whole list, then you can certainly email me privately. It's just going to be a lot easier for me to keep up if all of the feedback goes to the list.

- This is supposed to be FUN and HELPFUL! There will be *no* test.  I'll leave it up to you to give yourself rewards and pats on the back.  Heck -- give yourself one now for just reading this far! ;-) I will suggest "homework" sometimes. Do it if you want to. Don't do it if you don't want to.

5. Outline of topics we'll cover

Here's a rough outline of what I'm currently intending to cover. I'll modify this as needed, based on your feedback.

Note that there are two major parts:

PART ONE: no computer or software required.

PART TWO: specific to the software - so a computer & the software is required.

I have to cover the topics in PART ONE so that things will make good sense in PART TWO. I know that will bore some of you, but I also know that it will really help out others of you.

So if you don't have a computer or the software (and it sure would be odd if you had the software and *not* a computer! ;-), the topics in PART ONE will still apply for you!

  • --> INTRO [you are here]
  • MR and SP memory areas
    • - Basic definitions
      • - Intro to MR
      • - MR patterns
      • - creating a MR pattern ( " stitch sentence " )
      • - saving a MR pattern
      • - retrieving and sewing out a MR pattern 
    • SP stitches
      • - designing a stitch using the 'machine head' stitch designers
      • - saving a designed stitch to SP
      • - retrieving and sewing out an SP stitch
      • - moving between MR and SP


  • Using Blank Keys
    • supplies: blank key
    • - seeing what's on a key
    • - saving to a key
    • - getting something from a key, changing it, and saving it back onto the key
    • Computer Fundamentals
      • - what you should know about your computer...
      • - get comfortable with directories (see Correy's posts)
    • Using the Designer Software
      • - installing and setting up
      • - overview of the main functions
      • - connecting to your sewing machine
      • - reading an ISD file and sewing it out
      • - designing a simple stitch & sewing it out
      • - getting a stitch off of the internet


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


6. Your homework -- Let me (and the list) know 

Please post any questions that you have about any of these topics so that I can be sure to answer them as we go along. Do you have any questions that you've been pondering? How to do something? What a term means? What that little weird thing on your machine is? Have some  specific topics that you want to be sure are covered? 

PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS/WHAT YOU WANT TO LEARN TO THE 1630 LIST.  Other's may be inspired/have their memory jogged by what you post. 


I'll keep track of all the stuff that's posted and will do my best to incorporate it.


- - - - - - - - - 


Whew! That's all for now. Thanks for reading this far! More to come soon (later this evening...)

    - ashley




NEXT LESSON: Definitions and Intro to the MR memory area


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