What’s a BERNINA Ambassador?

This week, a group of BERNINA Ambassadors is doing a Bloghop.

This is a few of us — Lynn Harris, Christa Watson, Cheryl Sleboda, Joanne Sharpe, Kay England and me — at Spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City 2016.

What do we do and why do we do it?

First of all, we love BERNINA. The sewing machines, the company.

We love to create. We love to inspire. These are the people I love to inspire — I start them young.

I want to share with you a few things that you may not know about me.

I started out as a garment sewer — sew-er not sewer.

Gran gave a sewing machine to my sister and me for Christmas when we were in high school. It was the only thing that we could mutually share and get along with. We had a calendar on the wall in the laundry room, where our Dad set up a desk for us to sew. We scheduled our “week to sew”– one week on, one week off. We made all of our clothes (except Levi jeans – who could improve on perfection?), including prom dresses. I made clothes on the weekends, wore them to school and took orders from my school mates. Repeat. Soon I was making clothes for their moms and my hairdresser’s girlfriend. It was a pretty cool way to support myself through school, doing something I loved to do.

Now, I’m really getting back into garment sewing. I want to return to making unique clothes that no one else has. I’m SO tired of ready-to-wear and faux sizing.

There is one quilt that I wish I had designed:

Patriotic Rose by Janet Miller of The City Stitcher

I love this quilt. I’ve made it once to use as a class sample, and gave it to the owner of the quilt shop in exchange for fabric to make a second quilt. Now, the fabric isn’t as exciting as it was when I made it, 10+ years ago. I will make it again sometime soon, with fresh fabric.

This is my production group for my iquilt online class that you can find here.

Amy, Alyssa, Cara, Joe and Niecy.

Excellent folks – every one. Filming the Fat Quarter Magic class was a surreal experience for me. We did this one year ago — it seems a world away now.

I make mistakes. Sometimes huge mistakes. Making quilts. Here’s an example:

Isn’t this a lovely quilt? no? Not my favorite either — but it’s a great teaching tool. What not to do.

Can you find the 54/40 or Fight block in the above quilt?

No? That’s okay — I made it wrong. See — there’s a rule with this particular block — the star points must be the darkest fabric. Now, look at the quilt again. Can you see it now?

Nowadays, I make things like this:

A is for Annie.

A is for Appliqué.

But I didn’t start here.

I started here:

I remind myself of this over and over.

I remind every student in every class.

So, if you desire to be a BERNINA Ambassador, or even own your first BERNINA sewing machine, remember that everyone starts at the beginning.

We all did. We started out with a BERNINA sewing machine. We got good at what we did. We taught classes at local quilt shops. We created blogs and podcasts, patterns, classes and books. We became professional artists.

In his book, OUTLIERS, Malcolm Gladwell stated a case that there is no such thing as an Overnight Sensation. It actually takes 10,000 hours of work to become an expert in a given field. I believe that statement to be true. (Read his chapter on The Beatles.)

10,000 hours ago, my quilts looked nothing like they do today. I bet yours don’t either.

I also tell my students and people who come to my lectures something that I hope they will remember:

Whatever quilt you’re currently on, you’re practicing on for the next quilt you’re going to make.

Think about it.

If the key to being a proficient machine quilter is all in the practice, why would that not also be true for the quilts you’re making? I get better with every quilt I make, each garment I make, each sweater that I knit.

I want to get better and better — it’s a challenge to me. I don’t compare my work to anyone else’s. I compare my work to what I’ve done before. That’s the true measure of accomplishment.

To see what the other BERNINA Ambassadors have to share, please visit their blogs on the Bloghop at the links and schedule below.

Happy Quilting!


Teri Lucas teri@terificreations.com

Monday March 20

Lynn Carson Harris harrislc@gmail.com

Kelly Ashton kelly@kellyquilter.com
Diane Doran info@dianedoran.com
Melody Crust melody@melodycrust.com

Tuesday March 21
Kathy Delaney kathy@kathydelaney.com
Christa Watson christa@christaquilts.com
Mandy Leins mandalei@gmail.com

Wednesday March 22
Sandy Fitzpatrick hissyfitz@earthlink.net
Beth Ferrier beth@applewd.com
Cheryl Sleboda cherylsleboda@gmail.com

Thursday March 23
Annie Smith annie@anniesmith.net
Lori Kennedy lckennedy@hotmail.com

Kari Carr kari@newleafstitches.com
Catherine Redford catherine@catherineredford.com

Friday March 24
Joanne Sharpe jzsharpe@yahoo.com
Cherry Guidry cherry@cherryblossomsquilting.com
Jenelle Montilone jenelle@trashn2tees.com



  2 comments for “What’s a BERNINA Ambassador?

  1. March 23, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Great post Annie and wonderful advice! I try to improve with every quilt and hope that someday be as accomplished as you. 🙂


  2. Janet Licari
    March 23, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    I have not spent 10,000 hours doing free motion quilting…in fact I have just started learning and trying it after years of hand and machine piecing and hand quilting. I am learning a lot from Lori Kennedy…she makes it fun to learn. I have enjoyed meeting the Bernina Ambassadors. Wonderful writing and stories…all loving their machines. Thank you for sharing your story.


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