Girl’s Day Camp 2017

This year for our Annual Winn Girl’s Day Camp, we joined the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge.  I was able to pull fabric from my stash for each girl to make two pillowcases.  One to keep and one to give donate.  The charity we chose to donate to is Every Child of God.  These girl’s did a great job!  Most of them had not used a sewing machine before.  I love the old Elna SU!  It is so easy to teach on and easy to use.  It’s a perfect first (and last) sewing machine. In addition to the pillowcases, they learned how to make pasta salad, chicken salad, and bean burritos.  They also made tissue paper flowers and did their finger nails.

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My Old Kentucky Home

I grew up in Kentucky, and it has been about 16 years since I’ve been back.  When I saw that Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts would be teaching a two day Longarm Quilting Camp at Quilted Joy in Louisville I jumped at the chance to go.  It was so much fun.  Judi is an excellent teacher with a fun sense of humor and amazing talent.  I learned so much and am really looking forward to applying what I learned to my work.

I also met some really nice women at the class.  That’s one thing I just love about quilting. I get to meet so many great ladies, and some gentlemen, too.  I love that I get to quilt as a business, but more than that, I am building relationships with some really great ladies.  It is a privilege to get to quilt for them, and I am humbled that they keep coming back for more!

After the quilt camp was over I stayed in Kentucky for an extra day to visit some friends.  I stayed with the woman who was like my second mother when I lived there.  I wanted to bring her a quilt, but didn’t have a lot of extra time so I made her The Laurel Wreath quilt from Angela Walter’s Midnight Quilt Show by Craftsy on You Tube.  From start to finish the quilt only took about five hours to make. The applique’s are fabric from Handmade by Bonnie and Camille for Moda, and the background fabric is American Made Cotton by Clothworks.  I’m not sure what the shade is called.  The American Made Cotton quilts beautifully.  I was so impressed with it.

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It’s been a whirlwind

It has been four months since my business has been in full swing.  I have been getting multiple quilts weekly and the experiences I’m having are invaluable.  I am meeting so many nice women.  I’m making new quilty friends. I am getting to quilt some beautiful quilt tops.  I am so grateful that so many women have given me a chance and have trusted me to quilt for them.  I learn so much with every quilt.  I have made some mistakes and am grateful for the grace that my customers have extended to me when that has happens. Thank you everyone who has let me quilt for them, it is so much fun!

At this time of year, most people make resolutions.  Those rarely last past the first quarter of the year.  Today in my local women’s business group, I presented the topic of goal setting and why it’s so important.  I used to hate setting goals because they made me feel like a failure when I didn’t achieve them.  The truth was I actually didn’t know how to set achievable goals.  A few years ago I was taking a college class and one of the units was on setting SMART goals.  Smart stands for: Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timebound.  When I decided to start my business, I knew that I had to set goals for myself to get things started, and to get to a place where I felt comfortable finding customers.  It took over a year to overcome my fear and force myself to get out and sell my services, but because of goals I had set for myself, I set my path to get me there.

This Tuesday I have the opportunity to go to Christy Wright’s Business Boutique 1-Day event.  I am really looking forward to learn more about how to help my business grow and feel inspired by the energy that Christy has for women business owners.

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Finding the Square Inches to Find the Cost

There are so many questions when it comes to longarm quilting.  One of them is very important because it determines how much you will be charged when you hire a quilter.  Square inches.  Many people are reluctant to use a longarm quilting service because they have heard it’s very expensive.  Now you can closely estimate the cost by knowing how to find your square inches and use the pricing information link to decide what type of quilting you can afford.

You find the square inches of your quilt by multiplying the length by the width.  For example, this quilt measures 45”x45”.  45×45= 2,025 sq in.  Now you can look at the pricing sheet to see what you want to pay for that quilt.  Say you would like a medium density quilting.  You would take the sq in of your quilt and multiply that by .025 (two and a half cents per square inch).   2,025 x .025= $50.62.  Now you can look at the pricing sheet at the other services and products I provide and decide what is in your budget.  Do you want to save some time and have me piece your binding together?  Do you want me to provide batting? With the detailed price sheet, you can really decide what you want to pay.

sq-in-example-1

Here’s another example.  This quilt measures 48”x36”.  It is a baby quilt, so medium to high density may not be what I want for this quilt.  To find the low density price multiply 48×36= 1,728.  Then take 1,728x.017=29.37.  That is less than the minimum quilting charge of $40, so this quilt will cost $40.  However, if you have a second small quilt that you would like done with the same backing, they can both be loaded at the same time and count as one quilt.  Say your second quilt is identical to the first.  Now you are looking at 3,456 sq in.  3,456x.017= $58.75. You are over the minimum quilt charge and are saving $21.25 by having them done together.  This only works when the quilts are small and you use one backing for both quilts.  If you wanted this quilt as a wall hanging and want simple custom quilting, you will take 1,728x.035= $60.48.

sq-in-example-2

I hope this helps.  There should be no surprises when it comes to the expense of having your hard work professionally quilted.

How Things Used to Be…

Many of us love to make quilt tops.  It is fun, it can be therapeutic, and it fulfills our desires to create.  Not as many of us feel confident in making the quilt sandwich and quilting through all three layers.  I remember finishing quilt tops that were beautiful, but doing very minimal quilting on them because I was afraid to mess them up.  After the hours and money spent on them I didn’t want to hate what I made by ruining the final product with poor quilting skills.  I wish I had hired a longarm quilter.  I love the piecing but haven’t always loved the quilting.

Here is an example. red-flower-quilt

I saw this quilt in an issue of American Patchwork and Quilting a looong time ago.  I’d have to dig through my magazine stash to find the exact issue.  I loved the pattern and I loved all of the applique work.  I spent hours and hours on it.  When it was time to quilt it, I only did a stitch in the ditch around the triangle border, each of the four large blocks, and each small star block.  I made it as a gift for someone to use as a wall hanging, so I knew that it wouldn’t be put in a washing machine.  I really wish I had hired a quilter to compensate for my fear.  Now when I look at this I see so much potential and think of what I would quilt on it if I made this again.

Another example is from a First Saturday Sampler quilt that was done at the Great American Quilt Factory in Denver, Colorado.

grandmas-quilt

I love this quilt.  I knew when I started this quilt that I wanted to give it to my husband’s grandma for a gift. It took me three years to finish it for various reasons, but again, I only used a stitch in the ditch around each block and the border.  I didn’t want to ruin what I had worked so hard on.

I made this quilt for my fifth baby.  This is actually the second try.  I tried quilting it when I finished piecing it.  I hated it.  I put it in a drawer and let it sit for months.  When I finally looked at it again, I decided to UNSTITCH all of the quilting and start over.  It took hours to pick out the thousands of tiny stitches.  I’m so glad I did, though.  This quilt was my first successful attempt at all over stippling.  I was so happy with how it turned out.  I actually entered it in the Arizona state fair and one first place.  I love this quilt.

 

I have had a few successes quilting on my home machine.  I love my machine for piecing, but it is not meant to be used to free motion quilting.  Quilting machines and professional quilters have a place in the quilting community.

elna-image

Elna SU (We can call her vintage)

my-millie

APQS Millenium

Introduction- Why Quilt Mama?

I have always wanted to sew.  When I was 16 I was given an Elna SU made in the late 1970’s that my mom found for $50 at a pawn shop.  I was so excited.  I could see in my head all the wonderful creations I was going to make with that machine.  The desire to create consumed me…until I realized that I couldn’t sew.  I tried with that machine so many times, but it never wanted to cooperate.  The stitches were poor and the bobbin thread was a mess.  At 16 I wasn’t patient enough to figure out how to fix it, so I put my machine away.

Fast forward six years.  I was a newly wed with a new baby girl. We moved so that my husband could finish school.  I was in a new town where I didn’t know anyone.  To fill the loneliness, I had that desire to create again.  I wanted to create dresses and bibs and clothes and quilts for my new baby.  I brought out my old machine.  Again I was frustrated with the poor performance.  I looked in the phone book, (yes, phone book) and found a sewing machine repair man who made house calls.  I made an appointment and he came over to diagnose my machine.  Within two minutes he knew the problem.  The needle in the machine was old and needed to be changed, and it needed to be oiled.  I didn’t know that I needed to change the needle.  It was the needle that came with the machine.  Don’t they last forever?  And what kind of oil do you use?  This kind man must have felt sorry for me, and maybe a little guilty for taking my $97 to change a needle and add a few drops of oil, so he stayed with me for about an hour and gave me a lesson on how to use my amazing Elna SU.  He told me that it was a great machine and that I would be able to use it for years.  I was so happy!  I began making little dresses, and bibs.  I made little blankets.  Then someone brought a quilt they made to our playgroup and I knew that I wanted to learn how to quilt.

I bought some yellow floral fabric for the top and purple flannel for the back.  I tied the layers together with yellow thread, and proceeded to “bind” the blanket.  Ugh.  It was horrible.  My baby girl, however, did not know how bad it turned out.  She slept with it every night until she was about eight years old and was too big for a toddler bed.  Over the next two years I played at sewing little things for her and my new baby boy.  I had fun but wanted to do more.

After my husband graduated school, we moved home to Denver.  I think “quilting store” was one of the first things I’ve ever Googled.  I found a shop about 45 minutes away and spent too much money on some beautiful fabric.  The woman who assisted me at the checkout asked me if I wanted to participate in the Shop Hop that was coming up.  I said yes and bought my passport.  I went home and tried to cut out squares of fabric using scissors and was very frustrated.  I hid the fabric and cost from my husband and let him know that I wanted to do this Shop Hop thing.  When The time for the Hop arrived I loaded up my two kiddos and drove all over the Denver/ Boulder area getting my passport stamped and picking up the kits to make the Shop Hop quilt.  The last shop I stopped at happened to be less than a mile from my apartment.  I couldn’t believe that I had driven so many miles around town to find that the best shop (in my opinion) was right by me.  The Great American Quilt Factory soon became my favorite place to go.  I signed up for a beginner quilting class called “Quilts, Quilts, Quilts” and fell in love with every step pf making a quilt.  My confidence grew and my skills improved.  I started making quilts for everyone.  I knew that I had found my calling.  I was born to quilt.

After about a year of enjoying my new found calling, I learned about something called a longarm machine.  The whole idea of this appealed to me.  I did some research and realized that there was no way in the near future that I would ever be able to afford one, but I made sure my husband knew that it was going to be in the plans for the future.

Over the next seven years I had four more babies totaling  six.  I found time to quilt in between.  Lots of things changed in our family.  We moved to Phoenix, bought our first and second homes.  The idea of owning a longarm quilting business never left my mind. I knew if I was patient I could make my dream a reality, even if it took ten more years.Last year the opportunity arose to take in a baby to watch.  I thought it sounded like a good deal.  I would use that money to save up for my longarm.  When I talked to my husband about my plan he asked me why I wouldn’t just buy my machine now, instead of baby sitting.  I was shocked.  I thought he was teasing me.  Nope.  He said we had plenty in savings to cover the cost of a used machine and helped me find one that was perfect for me.  I had been to a few quilt shows and exhibits and researched and tested just about every brand of longarm that I could.  I decided that I wanted an APQS Millenium.  We found a great used one and within two weeks it was in my home.  Yes it over took my sewing room but that’s ok.  I am living my dream.

I am Quilt Mama because the desire to quilt started after I had my first baby.  My babies are my first dream, and my quilting is my second dream.  I love that I get to have both.