I received these adorable cupcake totes in the mail early last week. I bought them off a talented seller in the UK named Clare. Her etsy store is called 'Acorn Attic' and you can click here to see more...
I discovered the joy of having a quilt longarmed just recently and what a fantastic discovery this has been! I met Monika http://www.quiltlover.etsy.com/ when I first switched my online store from Ebay to Etsy. She was my first sale on Etsy and helped mentor me when I needed help. She is a wonderful lady, a talented quilter, and a fabulous Etsian. I am proud to say I even own a couple of her beautiful quilts. I had thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions as Monika leads a very interesting life.
Q. What made you decide to purchase a longarm machine and start a quilting business?
A. In 2006 I retired from long haul truck driving, but I have the constant need to be busy and do something. Sewing has been a part of my life for over 40 years and I have always had this need to "make" something. I started quilting in the 80's and used to get very frustrated trying to baste my Quilts for machine quilting. The kitchen floor was just too slippery. After buying a home quilting frame for a sewing machine, I knew it was not what I wanted or needed. Having a bit of money to spend I started researching long arm machines and happened to come upon APQS. The Rep I contacted was very friendly and helpful and I bought a machine. I could not justify the expense for just a "play" machine, so I took a machine quilting workshop and I knew I had what it takes to long arm quilt for you.
Q. What is your favourite part of the quilting process?
A.I love loading the quilt unto my frame and then select the pattern and the thread. I am very fortunate to this point as all my clients leave it up to me to do their Quilts. As soon as I have that Quilt top on the frame, I seem to know what will bring it to life, what thread to paint it with, what batting will give it the best look. It is amazing how machine quilting can bring a simple pattern alive, or just add texture to a Quilt that is complex.
Q. Many longarm quilters have long turnaround times yet you are able to get a quilt back in a very short period of time?
A. I am by myself 21 days of the month. Just my puppies and me, and they are not very demanding on my time. I am in my studio 10-14 hrs every day, making Quilts, quilting Quilts, or just fondling my Fabric Stash, looking through books, practicing feathers or quilting. I don't like to have a stack of unfinished Quilts, so as soon as I get them, I quilt them and put my own on hold. It helps to love what you are doing and I cannot wait to see the faces or hear the reaction of my clients when they get their Quilts back.
Q. What are some of your favorite colour combinations?
A. If you look at my Etsy store you will see that the brighter the better. I love working with colors and like the dramatic effect of mixing in some black.
Q. How about your favorite fabrics?
A. I am a Batik Junkie and probably have about 20 meters of various colors in my closet. I love Moda, the feel and designs of the fabrics. Fall back in Time, Mix and Mingle, Chocolate, where some of my favorites. I am in love with Bernatex Fossil Ferns, the colors are outstanding and I have about 10 Bolts of various combinations on hand as I use it for backings.
Q.What is the most important thing you would tell quilters to do to>> prepare their quilts for longarming?
A. Oh gosh, there is no "most important" thing. I ask my clients to press their Quilt tops well, square it, snip all threads and make sure there are no open seams. Have the backing 4-6 inches larger than the Quilt top all around, and to remember...If it is not perfect when you give it to me, it will not be perfect when you get it back. (But I will do my best to get it as close to "perfect" as I can)
Q. Do you pre wash your fabrics (or not) and why?
A. I stopped prewashing fabric several years ago. The dyes used in fabrics now, especially designer and top grade fabrics, are so much better than they used to be. I have many Quilts in my house that are used and washed on a regular basis and I have no color bleeding problems, so I stopped prewashing. I like to think that my customers like opening their Quilt package and see a nice crisp product. If they want the rumpled heirloom look, I leave it up to them to wash their Quilt when they are ready.
Q. Do you have a great idea for using charm packs?
A. Yes, take about ten packages, mix them all up, put them in 2 piles, and start sewing them together. I love the randomness of the designs and the color falls wherever with whatever. Put a nice co-ordinating border around it, send it to me for quilting and voila....you have a stunning Charm Square Quilt.
Q. Coffee or tea?
A. Coffee in the morning please. When my hubby is home he grinds Hazlenut Vanilla coffee beans every morning and makes the most delicious cup of java. When I am by myself, Melita Fine Grind will do. In the evening I have a large cup of Peppermint Tea, so refreshing.
The weather has been so beautiful in Vancouver lately and my alpine hiking group has been taking full advantage of it. I had to post these pictures of the view and of our fearless leader Jenn. At the top of Cypress Mountain on a clear day you can see over to Vancouver Island. It really is breathtaking! I am finishing up my star blocks for the Australian Bushfire blocks tonight and will post them later.
The bushfires in Australia have been in the forefront of the news here and around the globe. The loss of lives, homes, and in some cases entire towns is devastating. Campfollower Bags has spearheaded an effort to collect lovely star blocks from around the world in order to make comfort quilts for those in need downunder. You can read about it here: http://campfollowerbags.blogspot.com/2009/02/bushfire-quilt-project.html It's really a small but worthwhile endeavour and one that I will be participating in as well. You can contact Tia on her blog. Do have a look at her bags as well. She is very talented, generous and giving. http://www.flickr.com/groups/bushfirequiltproject/
It has been far too busy to get any sewing done but I did get out for a night snowshoe with my hiking group. I had to attach a photo one of the other ladies took of the moon. It was so bright across the meadow we didn't need our headlamps on.
I know I should be working on my UFO, and I will. I did find I got a little depressed when I pulled out the heart quilt and realized it needs and wants to be finished and it will but I really feel like some new inspiration as well. Here it is. I haven't purchased a new quilty themed magazine or book in a long while, and I did use an Indigo/Chapters gift card I received last year for my birthday. So I really wasn't that bad. I especially love the 'Stack a New Deck' book as it has some really easy quilts that look like they would go together quickly, yet they have a more complicated feel to them.
I haven't abandoned my heart quilt, just extended the time I will give myself to work on it.
When we first moved to this house with five small children in tow it had seemed that we had more space than we could ever hope to use. In this home I was finally able to secure a small room under the stairs in the basement that would be all mine. Twelve years later and five much larger children with bigger piles of necessary stuff, we are all still here; including the one I thought would have moved out by now. Instead she has decided that the University experience is far better commuting from home and has decided to do her next four or five years from here. The comings and goings of a young adult are rather noisy, they keep hours that are either very early or very late and prove to be quite disruptive to the rest of the family. We decided to move her to the basement and this meant disassemblingmy room. That space was my sewing room/ studio/ getaway space. Now don't get me wrong. I am grateful to still have all my children around and we are all sleeping better at night, but I don't believe I fully realized the implications the loss of that space would mean to me.
As I packed away my things and moved them into storage, I had thought I would be able to find a small corner somewhere in the house to use. Instead I am shifting from room to room and groping through bins and boxes to find a zipper, button or thread as needed. I am working on getting a couple of those handy plastic drawer units organized with some items, but it simply not the same. I liked having everything laid out in my room. I had cupboards and shelves, a huge design wall and space to work. I could replace a broken zipper in 10 minutes inbetween driving children to tutoring or sports and cooking a big family dinner. Now I have supplies in one closet, fabric in another, (and under our bed) my good sewing machine and serger in the workshop (which I can't use right now... long story) an ironing board set up in the kitchen, the etsystore sale items in a storage locker and last but not least, my lovely old singer in the family room. I moved it there as it seemed the least intrusive and folds up quite nicely into a very small piece of furniture when not in use. However, it's always in use so it's never put away. This is the same room the we have our family TV in and while I was sewing last night one of my dear sons mentioned that the sewing machine was rather loud and could I sew later? hmmmm.... As I contemplate where I will shift my machine to next or how I will convince my hubby that we need to do a renovation :) I'll leave you with a picture of what I did accomplish last night on my son's quilt. (Before I was shut down by the mob!)
PS I am open to ideas and suggestions.... I need a good sewing desk ... a cupboard... send me ideas!
Where are you quilting? Do you have an awesome small space?