A Year of Finishes - 2023, Studio, tierneycreates

7 Million Stitches+

Funny how you get sentimental over a sewing machine…

Last year I got my Bernina Aurora 440 QE (Quilter’s Edition) sewing machine serviced at a local Bernina dealer called Thread Play with Bernina. It just needed routine maintenance work and a “tune up”.

The awesome Bernina Service Technician told me when I picked it up after the service was complete, that I had sewn over SEVEN (7) MILLION STITCHES the machine!

Wow that is a lot of stitches!

I got really sentimental when I found that out as this Bernina sewing machine and I have been together since 2006, when I did a “24 months same as cash” financing to buy it. It was the most expensive sewing machine I ever imagined buying. But I’ve made so many things on the machine from utility quilts to art quilts; and lots of craft projects like bags, I definitely got my money’s worth!

I started quilting around 1999, while living in Seattle, WA, on a basic Singer sewing machine. A year or so later into quilting, I upgraded to a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. I thought I had made it to the “big time” on that $300 machine!

As a beginner quilter I bought my fabric at discount stores like Joann Fabrics in Seattle. After a couple years of quilting and being influenced by other quilters, I began buying more expensive (and higher quality) quilting cotton fabrics from Quilt Shops.

By the time I moved to Bend, Oregon in 2005, I only bought fabric for quilt projects at Quilt Shops and one of those shops was Sew Many Quilts in Bend, Oregon.

Sew Many Quilts is a Bernina Sewing Machine Dealer; and every time I shopped there I began to drool over the beautiful engineered (that Swiss engineering and all metal internal parts) Berninas they had on display. Too many conversations with the friendly staff led to the purchase of my first Bernina!

Fast forward to 2022: My original Bernina is over 16 year old and although I’ve faithfully maintained it (nearly annual maintenance/tune-up visits; and staying on top of routinely cleaning and oiling it myself after each major use), the technology and features of Berninas has significantly advanced.

And now I am drooling over the latest Bernina models…

In early 2022, John decides to buy me one of the latest Berninas – the Bernina 770 QE Plus:

It is an AMAZING sewing machine, light years in features and functions than my old Bernina 440 QE.

But it just sat around looking pretty on the table in my studio, yet not being used. Despite my amazing new sewing machine, I keep sewing on my old and beloved sewing machine with 7 million+ stitches on it!

Recently I made myself put away the Bernina 440 QE and start using my dream machine the Bernina 770 QE. I made myself “break up” with my “longtime sewing buddy” and give the new machine a chance.

As part of the A Year of Finishes – 2023 project, I worked on quilting and adding the binding to a table runner I made from Batik fabric scraps (see post Update on Batik Scrappy Table Runner) for a friend which I promised a table runner many years ago.

I just did straight line quilting with a Walking Foot but the quilting was a breeze and so quick! It took half the time (or less) than it would have taken to quilt the table runner on my old Bernina.

I am now at the point where I am sewing down the binding so the table runner is nearly done and ready to ship off to my friend.

After she receives it I will share the full photo of the finished piece.

I hope my old Bernina is okay sitting around in its case not doing anything. Sigh, I love that machine so much but I need to be with more awesome technology now! My first Bernina sewing machine will always hold a place in my “sewing heart” and I am so grateful it got my through 7 million+ stitches!

(What I’ve left out from this story is how in 2021 I impulsively bought a used Juki sewing machine, but I’ll save that for another post once I figure out what I am going to do with the Juki. We ended up not getting along very well…)


While I worked on the table runner, Mike the Miniature Schnauzer lounged under my studio cutting/work table.

He looked especially cute because he was snuggling with his favorite toy – Beary. Mike used to rip out the crotches of his toys (we do not know why) but he stopped a couple years ago. John and I thought the photo looks like Beary is looking gratefully at Mike because he still has his crotch – ha!

And an update on this post Cat Approved Quilt:

Now both of my stepson Z’s cats (both rescued kitties) are enjoying the quilt I sent him!

25 thoughts on “7 Million Stitches+”

  1. Beautiful post Tierney. Machine sewing is always on my to do list.
    I can’t believe I still have the Fritzer Rossman machine which my late mother bought me for my 21st birthday forty six years ago. It was still working last year when I altered a dress but has not received the tender loving care which you have afforded yours.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome Tierney and I well remember a friend of mine bringing brown & white cotton material for me to do, what I thought was a complicated pattern but hey ho I managed it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It took me months to wean myself off my old machine when I got my new one . It’s an interesting phenomenon given how excited I was about getting it but I guess it is a comfort thing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Over 7 million stitches….whoa!
    How are you liking the new one? I should not have read this post because I have been trying to talk myself out of buying another machine. I gave my Viking to one of my sons, and I just have my Juki. One of my friends keeps telling me I need a Bernina. After reading your post, maybe I do need one. Have fun breaking in your new one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How do they even figure out how many stitches were stitched on any individual machine?!? 🙂
    About older machines: My Bernina virtuoso 150 QE came to me on my birthday during Y2K (remember that phrase?) even though it was manufactured in 1999. I love my Bernina, as you love yours! HA!
    About your new machine: I am in the market for a Bernina with a longer throat opening…your 770 QE reminded me of this! HA! However, I’m hovering around the 570 QE model as it adds an extra 1.5 inches to the throat opening (totaling 8.5) without going too crazy on pricing! Plus it has all the features I’ve been wanting for awhile that have become standard & more affordable since my 150 was built and has the option to add an embroidery module at a later date if desired.

    On my to-do list for 2023 is to try out one of each to see which I like best…This is indeed a WIP, but a fun one.

    Meanwhile – enjoy your ‘new’ Bernina!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would have gotten a machine in the 500 series because they are more affordable and after seeing a demo seemed just as good for what I needed. I only went to the 700 series as John was gifting me the machine.
      I am curious also how they knew the number of stitches. I was so amazed by the number I did not ask but I will next time I have service/maintenance.
      Oh I remember Y2K – when it was going to be the end of life as we knew it! We had renters downstairs in the mother in law apartment in our home and to calm them down (they were also our good friends) we bought a generator and had two barrels of water set up. Oh my.
      Thanks and I am enjoying it – now that I am finally using it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a Babylock for 24 years. I made that machine do so much and work so hard (lots of free motion stitching at high speeds). Finally it could take no more. We disassembled it and I think it will eventually be part of some found objects sculpture). I did keep the presser foot and throat plate. Now I have a new Babylock of a similar style. I bet this machine will see me out. So I understand sewing machine love. May you and your new machine sew millions more stitches.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You had me laughing at this post Tierney! I can’t believe you had that many stitches or that you left the new one in its box for so long. But then when you said Mike ate the crotch out of all his toys, I was rolling on the floor! BTW, I still have my very first Singer sewing machine and it is still in the cabinet! I can’t even tell you how many years it’s been since I even saw it. But it does make a great table to store my quilting tools. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Enjoy your wonderful new machine, but don’t get rid of the old one! I made the mistake of selling my old one, thinking I didn’t need it. Wrong. I now have a Bernette as back-up “just in case” something goes wrong with my Bernina, though honestly I’ve never had that happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This was such a happy post, tierney!
    The postscript and laughing about the dog toy because our brown lab (almot seven) continues to rip apart most toys – never outgrew it)

    and curious about the juki machine – but get it – I bought a used sewing machine (just for general sewing and it was a wonderful Singer) but it never felt right and so when cleaning the attic – I found my other sewing machine (just a cheap brother but I like it okay) I donated the used Singer to charity – and this never happens when dropping off stuff – but the guy taking the bags and misc – saw the sewing machine and said “this will get snatched up quick” and it made me smile because sometimes staff is rude – but also to have the item valued like that – anyhow, there was something about the bobbin – it did not fit right and I think it might have been the wrong bobbin fit – and wow. I did not realize a bobbin was not just a bobbin – hahaha


  9. PS
    best wishes as you transit to the new machine – you did the right thing by leaving the comfort and familiarity to find a new groove
    but it is not easy
    how does a technician know the stitch count?? is it a digital machine


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