Fabrics, thread and sewing machines have always been a part of my life! As a child, I learned sewing & crafting skills from my mother, and started making my own clothes in junior high. While attending a fashion design and dressmaking school in Pittsburg for 2 years, I was trained to be a professional seamstress. I then worked in a small, independent fabric shop that started to carry Bernina sewing machines. I can still remember my first trip to Bernina of America in Chicago for my new dealer training. It was at this training that a whole new world of creative sewing opened up before me. Exciting new ways to use threads, presser feet and features of the sewing machines! It was through all this amazing Bernina training that my sewing skills reached new levels.
Beth’s Creative Stitchery in Worthington, Ohio opened in April 1982. It was exciting and rewarding to watch my business grow and become an award-winning Bernina dealership. Although it was hard to leave the many long term customers, after almost 30 years in the sewing machine industry, I decided it was time for a change. In June 2005, the business was sold to a long time employee who still owns and runs the shop. I wanted to learn something new and find a completely different career path. But, perhaps that was just not meant to be – sewing is in my blood and too big a part of me!
Immediately after retiring, I spent a year taking care of my Mother who was an advanced stage Alzheimer’s patient. During this time she would come to my house and together we would just “play with the fabrics”. She enjoyed it immensely. To keep myself occupied during this time, I started piecing some quilts. I consider this the starting point of my quilting career and my passion for contemporary quilting grew rapidly.
Over the next few years, I attended every quilt show that I could. That included driving to New Hampshire one year and flying to California the next, always taking classes and lectures from the national instructors whenever possible. My cousin Mary Bernower, an avid quilter for many years, was my sidekick for a lot of these quilting adventures. She originally nudged me into entering the Amish Country Quilt Show in Berlin, Ohio in 2007. It was the first quilt show I had ever entered and winning a blue ribbon there lit a competitive spark inside of me that I did not know existed!
Now my primary focus is creating original, contemporary quilted artwork. I love taking old, traditional patterns and ideas and reworking them with new fabrics and insights. Entering my artwork in quilt shows at the local and national level is exciting and rewarding. And it serves as the creative challenge that keeps me going.
I love every part of the quilting process, but feel my specialty is Freehand Quilting on the home sewing machine. I love the artistic freedom that this work gives me. And interestingly enough, my freehand sewing can actually be traced back to that original Bernina training in the late 70’s. Although I have always sewn on a Bernina, my classes are open to anyone with any machine that has a straight stitch. (Ok, that’s everyone!) I am now travelling around Ohio teaching freehand quilting classes. I truly enjoy my classes and love to pass the enthusiasm of freehand work onto others and watch them grow. I hope one day you can join me!