BERNINA Love – and what it means to be a brand ambassador

I’ve long been a fan of BERNINA sewing machines and purchased my first one, a used model 1630 back in in 1997. I pieced and machine quilted all of my quilts on it and really learned how to be a proficient machine quilter on it. I upgraded to my “dream” machine 16 years later in 2013 – a BERNINA 710. Now I’m excited to be using one of the latest models, the B770 QE (Quilter’s Edition). Thank goodness I didn’t have to wait nearly as long to get it!

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Test driving the B770 QE at Quilt Market

I was recently invited to be a BERNINA ambassador and couldn’t be more thrilled. I first heard about the idea of “brand ambassadors” about 10 years ago when I took a class from a national teacher who was one. So I put that idea on the back burner bucket list, hoping to one day be able to represent this fabulous company.

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So here’s what it means to be a brand ambassador: BERNINA sends me a machine to use on loan, for the duration of my ambassadorship. In exchange, I help promote their brand, create exclusive content for their We All Sew blog, and share my experiences with my machine. (Truth be told, I would have done all of this anyway, even without the new machine, but shhh! don’t tell them that!!)

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BERNINA ambassadors at the 2015 reunion.

I also get to travel to the BERNINA ambassador reunion where I get to meet with other ambassadors and BERNINA representatives. It’s held at BERNINA USA headquarters in Illinois each December. I love to learn all sorts nifty tips and tricks which I can then pass along to you guys! Oh, and about the all caps BERNINA – that’s how they officially spell their name. 🙂

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I’m sure you are all dying to know how this came about, so I’ll tell you. I first met a couple of BERNINA reps at Sewing Summit in 2013. They presented a lecture about blogging and branding which led me to realize the idea of being an ambassador could eventually be in reach. However, I knew at the time I wasn’t well known enough yet; I needed to grow my following and get published so that I could become an effective influencer.

Over the next two years I kept in touch with BERNINA, and I got to know my local dealer really well. I chatted with the national BERNINA reps each time I went to quilt market. I let them know when I purchased the 710 machine (and how much I loved it), and kept in touch while writing both my first and second books.

Branding and Berninas

Listening to BERNINA representatives at Sewing Summit in 2013

Finally, it was my time toward the end of 2015. The funny thing is that BERNINA wasn’t the only company that has offered to work with me. I got a really great request from another sewing machine company earlier this year. Although it’s a company full of fantastic people whom I admire, I truthfully told them that I was flattered, but my heart belongs to BERNINA.

I’m super excited for the future of BERNINA. Not only do they offer the highest quality machines (in my opinion), they are really forward thinking. They recently launched their line of long-arm machines, which are simply amazing. I always told myself I would never be interested in a long arm (either stand up OR sit down). But then I had a chance to try the Q20 sit-down machine and I instantly fell in love.

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Chatting with Philliip about my first book at Sewtopia – near the Q20 Sit-Down machine

I recently had the pleasure to meet Phillip Ueltschi who is the son of BERNINA’s owner and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hanspeter Ueltschi. Phillip just happened to be at Sewtopia and it was fun to have a conversation with him. I could tell he was passionate about the company and he was really intent on listening to what I had to say about machine quilting.

When I get to know the good people behind the scenes who are running companies I support, it makes me happy knowing I made the right decision to align with them. Be on the lookout for more fun projects from me, all made on my BERNINA. 🙂

23 thoughts on “BERNINA Love – and what it means to be a brand ambassador

  1. Donna Thornal says:

    Hi Christa,
    I’m sure you don’t remember me, but we met at QuiltCon 2015 in the Leadership cocktail party. I’m from South Carolina, but currently belong to the London Modern Quilt Guild (in the UK). I have a question about your Bernina 770QE, because I’m now very seriously considering investing in one.

    Last year I bought the Juki TL-98P, which is the UK version of the Juki 2010, and I have regretted it ever since. I prefer to do straight line quilting with the walking foot, but apparently, the stitch quality for this in the Juki is quite bad — lots of uneven stitches and severe drag, leading to tucks and puckers in the fabric.

    I realise now that I didn’t research enough, because all of the great Juki reviews were for the FMQ. I’m now on the verge of buying a Bernina 770 QE to replace my Juki, and I was wondering if you ever use it for straight line quilting, and whether you find you have good tension and stitch quality? I’d be really grateful for your honest opinion, because I don’t want to make the same expensive mistake and buy a machine that is really meant for FMQ, when what I really want to do is straight line quilting! Can you please help?

    Many, many thanks,
    Donna

    • Christa says:

      HI Donna!

      I am so sorry to hear about problems with your Juki since I know many quilters love that brand!

      Yes, I use my BERNINA for straight line quilting almost as much as free-motion quilting and have been super happy with it.
      My favorite thing about the newer BERNINAs is that they come with IDF (integrated dual feed) so you don’t even need to buy a walking foot! It’s a little lever that comes down from the back of the machine and attaches to special “D” feet to provide the dual feed action. So I use it for piecing as well as straight line quilting. All of the straight line/walking foot quilting I show how to do in my books uses the IDF feature. So I highly recommend the 770 QE.

      Good luck in making your final decision 🙂

  2. Ardis Kunze says:

    I have loved MY Bernina’s for years getting my first 1982 I love this 830 also had a 930 an 801 and a Bernett. now I have 170 Quilters edition. Like it but not like the others. Now I have looked at the 770 EQ it looks like the one that has everything I would use. I am a Quilter. Worked at the Bernina store in Great Falls Montana, before moving to Wyoming 30 years ago. Do my Bernina shopping in Billings now.

  3. Barbara says:

    I am still using & enjoying my 1630, that I bought new, 21 years ago.
    Congratulations Christa, you will be an excellent representative of Bernina.

  4. Joanne Ganaden says:

    Christa, I machine quilt on my Bernina 710 and love it. When using the securing stitch at the beginning of a row (the knot icon), the machine takes 2-3 stitches before stitching in place. Is there a way to make the machine immediately stitch in place? Thanks Christa!

    • Chris @made by ChrissieD says:

      Hi Joanne, I teach using Berninas and have a Bernina myself. I had the same issue you do with the securing stitch particularly when fmqing so this is the work around I came up with and that I now teach my students. Set your zig-zag stitch to 0 length and 0 width and sew 3 or 4 stitches – these will be immediate and right on top of each other. Now toggle back to your straight stitch setting and start to sew. The zig-zag and straight stitch settings are now in the machine’s memory until you turn off the machine and you can toggle between both stitches without resetting anything. Hope this makes sense and also hope you don’t mind me replying Christa 😀 – Chris @made by ChrissieD

  5. Diane says:

    Congratulations, Christa! I look forward to your new content and hearing about your experience with the new machine. I’ve had the 750QE for a few years and am still learning each time I turn it on.

  6. Sharon - IN says:

    Congratulations! I have a Bernina too, and another brand that I guess I won’t mention here right now. tee hee At the shop I used to work at, I taught on a 740. Loved that machine and all the attachments and feet I got to use!

  7. audrey says:

    Yay for you! My mom had a Bernina all the time I was growing up and now I have two of my own. The best machines EVER! Some day I’m hoping to have one with a stitch regulator. I’ll be checking back in to see what you come up with over here for tips and tricks.:)

  8. Anne says:

    My mom sewed on a BERNINA and when it became my time to get a high end machine, I got sidetracked and bought a different make. It has been a good machine, but my heart and head knows that the next time it will be a BERNINA quilting machine. I keep putting it off because of course I have many accessories and it still works perfectly. Maybe soon. Congratulations on your new role.

  9. Jane Zwanzig-Owens says:

    I sew wanted a B770QE, and my husband took me to the store to buy one (it would have been my first BERNINA!); but he got sidetracked by an 830LE so I could embroidery! I could embroidery!!! Ha. I have NEVER wanted to embroidery!!! And yes I know I could have used it as a regular machine, but I had my heart set on the B770QE, and told him if he bought the 830 it would be His machine and I wanted nothing to do with it. You can guess what happened; he bought the 830! I finally got a 440 that I am very happy with, and my hipusband is thrilled with his 830.. He goes to all the classes and is thrilled when he “makes” something. He also purchased an 820. While we have many thousandS of dollars invested into his machines, he’s happy. So if he’s happy; I’m happy. I told him I would get the machine I really wanted when I turn 70…in two years. In the meantime, he’s sewing!

  10. QuiltShopGal says:

    Congratulations. I think you are a great Bernina Ambassador.

    BTW – Have you heard anything about a new Bernina Ruler foot for domestic machines? Mentally, I was thinking I saw something about it this past summer and the foot might be called #96. Unfortunately I don’t see anything on the Bernina website, nor do my local dealers know anything about it.

    QuiltShopGal
    http://www.quiltshopgal.com

    • Christa says:

      It’s available for the long-arms but not the domestic. They tested it, and it doesn’t fit quite right on the domestics. Rest assured I’ll be encouraging them to make one for sure!!

  11. Joyce says:

    Exciting! I love Berninas. I grew up sewing on my Mom’s. I bought a little Berninas Nova in 1977 and sewed for years on it for my five children and then was given a beautiful machine that actually wasn’t a Bernina. But I feel like I’m coming home now because my husband just bought me a Bernina 350 special edition and a Bernima 1300 MDC . I am going to take the classes in Jan. , but for now I am sewing pajamas like crazy! I’ll look forward to your content!

  12. farmquilter says:

    How wonderful for you!!! I have a BERNINA Artista that I purchased from a friend just before she passed away. I love it, but having to teach myself to use it from the lovely book that comes with it…it is not intuitive at all!! If you could influence them to change the way they put their instruction manual together to make it more user-friendly, it would be fabulous!!! I use my Artista only for embroidering labels because I can’t figure out how to change it back to a sewing machine. It is nice to work with a company who appreciates you!

    • Christa says:

      I’m “sew” glad you love it!! Just do a google search about your machine and I’m sure you’ll find tons of helpful information, tutorials etc. :-)Thank goodness for the internet!

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