A girl and her BERNINAs are not easily parted…

It’s my turn on the BERNINA Ambassador blog hop today so a special welcome to anyone who has found their way over here for the first time. If you have a few minutes to spare to read through my posts and and pages you’ll soon know far more than you ever needed to know about me.

It wouldn’t take very long at all to realize that having the right tool and materials for the job is very important to me. I like first quality fabric, thread, needles… you name it and I probably have it… or really want it! So no surprise at all that I sew on a BERNINA machine (or two).

I remember hearing the name BERNINA when I was in the sewing room at school. Unfortunately, I only took needlework in the English equivalent of sixth grade, so I didn’t get to use the magic machines. When I was first married, one of my friends had a BERNINA and loved it but I was too busy making our pennies last to buy bread on the last day of the month to ever even considering finding out more. I had my grandma’s old machine and I made it work…

Then we moved to the States and it took a little while to work out how the school drop off line worked but eventually I found my way to quilting, or did quilting find me? I took my first classes in a BERNINA store and the wise store owners had us sew on their machines… I needed one of my own!

Well, super Steve earned himself a bonus and yes, it was enough for me to have one. It was 1998. I was so happy to bring home a B160. It had a knee lift and everything.

Wouldn’t you know this is the best picture I can find of it in action?Joanne in a Quilter and Child class at Pieceful Hearts Fabric in August 2009!

I really used that machine! I learned to free motion quilt. I loved being able to adjust the tension and use whatever thread came my way. Whenever I took it to be cleaned comments were made about how many stitches I had put on it in the previous twelve months.

It finally wore out in December 2009 🙁

The main shaft broke and it came to a complete halt. Not a good day. I was told very few people use their sewing machine as much as I had. Time for a newer model?

I brought home a brand new B820, officially titled a sewing computer. It was big with a 12″ harp. It sewed fast at up to 1500 stitches a minute.  It had a built in even feed system and it had super sized bobbins to keep on sewing and sewing…
I have to admit, it took a bit of getting used to but after a rocky start we became friends and I made and finished lots more quilts. When I moved my sewing room upstairs it came too and sat well in its new cabinet.It was a bit too big to take to classes and I bought a second machine for travel. Of course I bought a BERNINA!

Here’s my B530, looking good in a SewEzi portable table. I have no excuses when I’m away from home when I have my own machine with me.

It came with me to Cincinnati for the photo shoot for my book!Three year old Ruby liked it too! She added some decorations one day when no one was looking.When BERNINA released the 700 series I decided to switch out my B820 for the B740, a little less computer but lots of machine! I had more than eight million stitches on my trade in so it had served me well for the six years I had it.

The big box just fit in to my little car!What a beautiful sight!The B740 still has plenty of sewing space and uses a good sized bobbin. The built in dual feed is great for straight line quilting without having to put on the bulky walking foot. The motor runs evenly and smoothly for super free motion stitching…I’m traveling a lot these days but the last few months I’ve been home and making…

Monday was an exciting day. I finished the last of my ten quilts for an exhibition entitled Trip Around the World in Folk Art Stitches set to debut at Quilt Festival in Chicago on April 6th.

This is Symbols of the Pacific NorthWest, my interpretation of some traditional totem designs.The individual hand embellished wool appliqué designs are set on an improv style raw edge batik background. The machine made easy work of quilting through multiple layers of fabric.

It’s too much fun sewing when the machine does the work for you?

Now I know not everyone sews on a BERNINA. There are alternatives but I think I’ve found the best machine for me. I drive a Toyota Yaris… stick shift. It gets me places. It’s economical and suits me fine. When I get to ride in a Lexus SUV there is a difference. It gets me places in style. It accelerates more smoothly, it handles corners at higher speeds… You get the idea?

I was delighted to be accepted in to the BERNINA Ambassador program. I wear my badge with pride! The networking and educational opportunities mean a lot to me and it’s easy to speak well of my machines!

And the only thing better than one BERNINA? A room full of them like in the picture at the top of my blog post! I took it in my classroom at Road to California last year.

So, if you would like to follow my adventures in Quiltie-land some more I hope you’ll like my Facebook page and get notifications when I write some more. You can subscribe to bloglovin’ using the button at the top if you’d rather.

And catch up with the other BERNINA ambassadors on their blogs this week using the links from their names below. They are all waiting to meet you!

Monday March 20
Lynn Carson Harris
Kelly Ashton
Diane Doran
Melody Crust

Tuesday March 21
Kathy Delaney
Christa Watson
Mandy Leins

Wednesday March 22
Sandy Fitzpatrick
Beth Ferrier
Cheryl Sleboda

Thursday March 23
Annie Smith
Lori Kennedy
Kari Carr
Catherine Redford

Friday March 24
Joanne Sharpe
Cherry Guidry
Jenelle Montilone


  1. Janet Licari said:

    How fun to meet the Bernina Ambassadors and read the stories. You have done so much and put many stitches on your machines. Congratulations on being an ambassador and inspiring new quilters. Thank you for sharing your story!

    March 23, 2017
  2. jennyklyon said:

    Love Ruby’s artwork-so sweet! I look forward to seeing all those quilts in Houston-so cool!!!

    March 24, 2017
  3. Joann Murphy said:

    I need a contact for ordering an adjustable Ruler foot for my Bernina.

    May 28, 2021
    • catherineredford said:

      Hi Joann, Your local BERNINA dealer should be able to help you. There is a list on the BERNINA website so you can find one near you.

      May 28, 2021

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