The Longarm – here it is!


As many of you know, I had the priviledge of traveling to Switzerland to do testing on the new BERNINA Q24 and Q20 Longarms.  I recently traveled to Chicago, to the USA Headquarters of BERNINA for dealer training on the new longarm machine.


A wonderful time was enjoyed by all the dealers present as they learned the ins and outs of the machine.


Look for coming to a local BERNINA dealer in the near future.


So where did the name Big Rig come from????

People ask me over and over again – about the name of my business – Big Rig Quilting.

Why did I pick that name? Do I drive a truck?

Well, here I am not with a big Big Rig -but a little Big Rig in our back yard.  I had to pitch-in and help out the contractor – the Rig got stuck in the muck.

So, yes I can drive a Rig – but to hear the real story about where Big Rig Quilting came from you need to listen to my interview on Pat Sloan’s radio show. Click on the picture below and go to the podcast!

The Adventures of Bernie Longarm – Part 1

Well, Bernie and I made it here but barely. The flight from Chicago to Buffalo was delayed (because of problems in Chicago), so my flight to Chicago was delayed. Well I landed with a total of 40 minutes at O’hare airport. I got off the plane, ran through Terminal # 1, to the monorail train, into terminal #5, went through security (why did I have the slowest person in front of me) and then onto the plane.  I made it with about 5 minutes to spare.

Shortly after takeoff we were greeted with these tasty little pretzels on Swiss Air – aren’t they fun.

And the choice was wine or a coke – so I took the wine (same price – FREE!).  This helped settle my nerves

Then a tasty dinner came (with some more wine) and then a little rest through the flight.

Also – love the packaging on the Salt and Pepper and Sugar packets – I can see another  Red and White quilt in the future

When I exited the aircraft and entered the terminal I thought I might see an add for some wonderful Swiss Chocolate – but look what greeted me.

Off we went on a drive from Zurich to Steckborn – and Steckborn is a sweet little town. I promise to take some pictures and post them tomorrow.  We checked into our Bed and Breakfast Hotel and freshened up and then headed off to the Bernina Factory.  And boy do I have things to ……. OPPS —- Can’t do that!!!!!!!!

On the way there we stopped in the local grocery store to pick up some lunch and what did I spy but some tasty looking Christmas Cookies – I didn’t buy them yet – but I think those stars will become a purchase in a day or so.

After a delightful dinner with the testing team I am back at my room ready to crash for the night – as you can see – Bernie beat me to the punch and if I don’t hurry he is going to nibble on that chocolate!

I hope to give Bernie a little more definition tomorrow – and start decorating him up with some threads!  So stay tuned for a little bit of Switzerland.

The Great Swiss Adventure Begins

Well, in just a few hours I board a plane in Buffalo, NY that will take me to Chicago, then switch planes and fly to Zurich.  I will arrive there tomorrow morning (Dec 4) and then head to Steckborn, Switzerland and the Bernina Headquarters.  Why – well as some of you know – I am going to be one of the testers on their new Longarm Machine.

While I won’t be able to tell you details about the testing I will be able to share about my adventures in Switzerland. To help me out I thought I would take along my own version of Flat Stanley. I had a little naming contest on my blog to come up with a quilting name for Flat Stanley.  And the Jude Mathena-Fishell submitted the winning name  –  Bernie Longarm.   Jude will receive a little something from Switzerland!

I was going to make my version out of fabric and have fun fusing and stitching and this and that. Well – yep ran out of time, so I am going a different route. I am going to embroider Bernie Longarm as the trip progresses.

I am using one of Pepper Cory’s new Peppered Cottons for the background (Oyster) and I am taking along Victoria Findlay Wolf’s Aurifil Thread Collection to do the embellishing – well I just had to add a few other spools of Aurifil that I had hanging around.  Hopefully by the end of my trip this month Bernine Longarm will be all stitched out.  I hope to have some fun with his shirt and pants and tie!!!!!

And I am going to take along a few other projects – a Sashiko project I started recently —

—- and I pulled out an old Hexie project that has been sitting around.  I had some left over Hexie Flower Centers from my Hexi-Flower Foursome Quilt I did for McCall’s Quilting Magazine. So I thought I would make a bunch more and make something (what that something is – I don’t yet know.)

Stay tuned to this blog for My Great Swiss Adventure and the travels of Bernie Longarm!

Going on a Great Adventure

Early in October I responded to a query from Bernina Sewing Machines.  They are developing a Longarm Quilting machine and were looking for testers. I thought – “Well, what do I have to loose” so I sent an email.  Long story made short – I was chosen to be one of the testers.

I am excited about participating in this project.  I saw a sample of the machine this year at Quilt Market.  There are a lot of neat features on this machine and I can’t wait to see how they work.

And the exciting part about all if this is that I have to travel to Switzerland to participate in the testing program. Who knew that I would have to leave NYC to have an opportunity to do some work in Switzerland!  Yes that’s right in a little over a week I will be boarding a plane and heading across the great big ocean to the Bernina headquarters in Steckborn, Switzerland.

Steckborn is a small town northeast of Zurich – right on the border with Germany. (in 1998 the population was listed as 3,442 – I think there were more people living in my apartment building in NYC!)

Steckborn is where the “A” is in the top-middle of the map
It appears to be a quaint town along the Rhine River and Lake Constance.   The pictures that I have been able to find are from summertime – it be a snowy scene when I am there (stay tuned for those pictures).

I am also excited to be able to be in Switzerland around the holiday time.  I can’t wait to explore the holiday markets and do some Christmas Shopping.

This is a picture of the Christmas Market in Bern

I have learned many times over that having the attitude “What do I have to loose” has opened many doors.  What could happen – the other party could say no, or I failed at what I tried, the flip side is that they could say yes, or I learn that I could do something that I didn’t think was possible. I am happy that I said “Why not – what do I have to loose”  in this circumstance.  

Stay tuned for posts about my adventures from Switzerland.  While I won’t be able to share with you what we are doing in the testing program I will be able to give you a glimpse at a quilters life on the road and my experiences in Switzerland.

So a little contest – I am going to take my own version of Flat Stanley along with me and take shots of him in various locations.  But – he needs a Quilty name or even better a Longarm Quilty name.  So, leave a comment with a proposed name by November 29th. A panel of secret judges will help me pick a name on November 30th – and watch for the announcement early the next week as my yet to be named flat quilter heads off to Switzerland – and the prize  – well, not sure yet but it will be something special I pick up along the way in Switzerland.  So, let the naming begin.