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.