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.