Wednesday, December 10, 2014

BERNINA Ambassador Reunion 2014

Bernina 2014

Here is our Session One group at the BERNINA Creative Center in Aurora, IL, in cold December again!  The only person missing from the photo is Sarah Vedeler.  As you can see, I was in the company of some very impressive quilters, designers and fabric-ologists! (My new word for the study of fabric as a career!)  I’m in the black sweater with the gold cranes on the shoulders.

We always start with dinner and introductions with a Show-and-Share. Food and wine flowing and everyone giving their ‘two minute’ talk. Well, apparently this group is not only good with fabric but are stand-up comedians too! It was a fun evening of hearing stories and getting to know new people. Some I recognized by their work at big quilt shows so it was nice to put a face to the names.


BERNINA has an outstanding group of educators who led the programs for the two day meetings. We were split into three groups and rotated to the different classrooms to learn about the newest features and the top of the line machines.

I was thrilled to get to try the new Q24 longarm!  Even some of the dealers don’t have one yet!


The features are so amazing! The Q24 uses regular sewing needles so there is no problem trying to put the needle in the right direction as with other longarms. Also this uses BERNINA presser feet so you have lots of options. With front threading, a bobbin winder on the side and programmable, ergonomic hand controls, stitch regulator and many other features, it is state of the art!


But the real test is how does it work for me? And I’ll tell you, it was a dream! So easy to navigate, that I could do this micro-stippling without the stitch regulator and it looked pretty darn good! Of all the longarms that I have tried, this was the best and smoothest for me. It was so much fun to play with!


I am not an expert at free motion stitching but I would like to improve that skill. Our class on the BERNINA 780 was with the BERNINA STITCH REGULATOR foot that you see in the photo above. The lesson was to write letters from left to right and that part wasn’t so difficult but then you had to go from right to left and retrace your letters!

Well, these g’s are not so bad! The stitch regulator makes my stitches look great and it is fun and easy to use. I always attach mine when I want to do free-motion work on a quilted piece. I remember when it came out ten years ago…I thought it was a miracle tool!


We had a session on the B 880 to learn some different embroidery techniques and all that can be done with the built-in software. I had to pay great attention here since I am getting this model soon! The stitch designer is incredible and easy to design a new stitch and save it…but there are already thousands of stitches to use.

My favorite function in this machine was how you can take a stitch and then automatically form it into a shape such as a circle or a star. It just opens up limitless possibilities for embroidery design!


My B 880 is a huge machine but not this big! I can’t wait to get it this week and finish some Christmas gifts!  I made many pillowcases and just need to embroider the names on the ends.


Our special guest lecturer was award-winning quilter Sue Nickels who gave us some great professional advice for teaching on the road. She is very organized and has much experience so it was full of great information!  Her sister, Pat Holly , below picture, was also there with her beautiful silk quilt, Saffron Splendor! Just amazing miniature work that I couldn’t stop staring at it. Sorry no pic of that!



Here is my friend, author and roomie, Jane Sassaman learning the B 880 which will soon be her machine also! It is always fun to spend time with your friends that you normally see once in a while on the road.


Classmates Kaye England and Cathie Hoover at the end of our session.

We were fed, re-fed, given lots of goodies (Havel scissors, Groz-Beckert needles, OESD embroidery cards, Benartex fabric…) and had a shopping spree to last us for another year! I look forward to this Reunion every year!

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