That I needed a new sewing machine was clear. Instead of bringing me joy, I fought with and cried over that stupid Kenmore, the one that I'd paid good money for (more than $200 in 1990, a lot for the time) and expected so much from. Sewing was my haven from the insanity of raising four hyper boys, my quilts were the only thing I did that stayed done.
I asked around and everyone said I should get a Bernina. I didn't have a clue and about fainted when I saw the price tags for the first time. We were a single income family back then, more than a thousand dollars for a sewing machine was just unrealistic. But, I'm stubborn (actually, I prefer tenacious) and I had a very supportive spouse, so I started a little business of stenciling and faux painting, something very much of the times. After overhearing a quote of five hundred dollars, plus fabric (!), to make very simple valences, I hiked up my big girl pants and offered to do them for half that. Done and dusted!
My first Bernina was a used 1530, purchased in March of 1994. I was so thrilled with the precision that I took my first piecing project back to the store to show off what that magic machine let me do. They offered me a job! I credit that machine with giving me the right tool to get my career in quilting off to a great start. That machine would do anything I asked of it, leaving me free to explore new techniques and even create some of my own.
I have been trying to think of how many different Berninas I've had over the years and it made my head hurt. I've been blessed to be included, from time to time, in the loaner program, which has given me the opportunity to exploit the features of the newest machines.
I've been a part of the Ambassador program since almost the beginning. It's a cool gig. We don't work for Bernina, but we do get perks, like loaner machines. But what I like most about being an Ambassador is having direct input on the development of new machines, their features and feet. (There are a couple of feet out there that I've had a hand in creating, cool beans, eh?) They really do listen to us (and you) as they work towards bringing new products to the market.
The old 1530 that launched my career, now more than twenty years old, is still chugging away, being loved my one of my sisters. Another sister sews on a 930 that I took in trade for teaching at a friend's shop (I really got the best end of that deal!) I helped one more of my sisters buy a Bernina of her own. (The other two sisters still have no interest in sewing, but hope springs eternal.) My two daughters-in-law, and my mom, sew on 707s that I found on ebay. (That's Amanda putting in a zipper like a pro.) Boy, those machines are little sweeties and they've been warned that I get first dibs if they ever decide to get rid of them.
If anyone had told me, back then, on the day I bought that machine, that I'd have an international career as a quilt teacher, that I'd publish several books, that I'd be on a national television show (more than once!), I would have laughed and laughed. I was just a mom who liked to make quilts, a little bit of a perfectionist (okay a lot, but I'm better now), pathologically curious, short on time but willing to find ways to make the most of those minutes. It all began with having the right tool for the job. Thanks, Bernina!
It's been an honor to be included in this blog hop. Be sure to check out the other BERNINA Ambassadors taking part. They are a stunningly talented group of crafters. (Don't quite know how I got in, but I'm going to enjoy it while I can!)