Wow! Isn’t she a beauty??? I still cannot believe I have her! I know you’ve heard me say it in previous blog posts …. it’s a dream come true! But, it really is. Let me tell you a little bit about this dream/passion of mine.
I come from a long line of unbelievable seamstresses. My maternal and paternal grandmothers were both extremely talented. One created beautiful articles of clothing for her family and her clients. The other grandmother was extremely talented and created functional and useful pieces using hand me downs from friends and neighbors to clothe her family. It was a much needed way to clothe her family and to make money to feed her family.
I grew up admiring both of my grandmothers for their talents, tenacity, and skills. I also had an aunt whom I adored! She showed me the fun in needleworking! I loved how she pieced together beautiful pieces of fabric to make gorgeous quilts for her children and grandchildren. She took great pride in making a quilt to pass down to each of her grandchildren. I thought that was about the best gift ever! And, what a wonderful legacy she left!
My paternal grandmother and aunt both loved to piece quilt tops, but they never actually quilted these gorgeous creations of theirs. I’m sure they could have done it had they wanted. I think they simply did not have the interest. My grandmother and aunt both used the quilting services of a wonderful lady in West Virginia to quilt their quilt tops.
In my twenties I began quilting. I made a sweet little yellow and white Sunbonnet Sue quilt for my little girl! I embroidered it by hand and sewed all the little Sunbonnet Sues on by hand. When it came time to quilt it, I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted to do it myself, but did not know how. So, I went to a local quilt shop to learn how to quilt that quilt. I did it all by hand! I liked quilting by hand, but it was quite time consuming.
I really wanted to make a quilt for my little boy since I had made one for my little girl. I pieced a super cute sailboat quilt for him that I just loved. But, I did not have the time to hand quilt it. So, I thought I would quilt it on my sewing machine. This little quilt spent many years in and out of my closet! I would try quilting it on my sewing machine, get frustrated, and then would put it back in the closet again until I had the time/energy/patience to work on it again. Needless to say, it never was quilted and this always made me sad.
So, about 4 years ago, I heard about these longarm quilting machines at a quilt show I was working at/attending which was being held in Cincinnati where I lived at the time. Whoa! Those machines were unbelievable! My heart skipped a few beats and my mind was racing as I thought about the unfinished quilts I had closeted away (yes, I never stopped piecing quilts and they were starting to mount up in my closet). I just could not see a way I could afford to buy one of those machines.
Well, I’m not getting any younger. I’m 63 and, if I wanted to buy one of these machines, I figured it was either now or never. I heard a new one had come out by a sewing machine brand I liked, and I was eager to find out more about it. I called a local shop to find out more, but the machines were so new they had not even come into the shop yet. He said if I called back in a week he would have them unpacked, and I could stop by to have a look. My husband and I were leaving to go to Arkansas for his family’s family reunion. I told him I would not be back for a couple of weeks, but I would try to stop by to look at them when we came back home.
Ironically, when we arrived in Little Rock for the first stop of the family reunion, there was a big quilt show in town!!! I could not believe it! How lucky was that? However, we were only going to be there 1 night, and the show did not start until the next day. They did have a pre-show event that evening, and my husband suggested we go to that. My goal was to look at this new machine. When I arrived at their booth, no one was there. I was so disappointed. But, it was a great show, and I decided to just walk around and have a look at everything.
The first booth I saw was the Gammill booth. I had heard about Gammill Longarm Quilting Machines before, and I considered them to be the “top of the line”! However, I did not have a business, and I could not ever imagine I would be able to get one of those machines. But, the lady at the Gammill booth was so nice. We had a good chat, and she let me play around with the machine. Oh my goodness! Was I ever hooked! I fell in love with that machine. She began talking to me about starting my own business. What???? How could I do that? I’m a nurse not a business person! She told me about the great support Gammill had for their clients and about how they could actually HELP me start a business. Wow! I had always thought that would be a cool thing…having my own business…especially something that I could do in my retirement. But, was I crazy? Could I really do this?
My husband and I talked it over, crunched some numbers, and visited a Gammill dealer in Michigan on the way back from that vacation. It took several months for me to get everything in place, but I was finally able to purchase this beauty in September!!!
I took the classes offered with my machine and then signed up for a seminar offered by the shop where I purchased my machine. This retreat opened up a whole new world for me! It gave me confidence, it introduced me to other longarm quilters in my area, and it gave me the knowledge to try quilting a quilt top! By Christmas I had quilted 2 quilt tops for my grandkids. By January I finished 2 quilts which had been lurking in my closet…1 for my husband and 1 for my husband’s son which I had started 2 years prior. Wow! I could really do this! I have now quilted almost everything I had stored away in that closet plus 6-7 new quilt tops I purchased on eBay! I’ve also attended another longarm quilting seminar in Arkansas which has increased my knowledge and skill on the longarm. I can’t even begin to tell you the wonderful people I have met along the way!
So, back to the sailboat quilt… I pulled it out of the closet last week. I looked at it and decided I needed to make a few changes on it. I started this quilt close to 40 years ago!!! I can’t tell you the memories it has brought back! I still feel the anticipation and happiness I felt almost 40 years ago. But, I decided to rip out all the machine quilting I had done on it previously. It deserves to be quilted really nice. As soon as I rip out everything, I cannot wait to put it on my Gammill Statler Longarm Quilter! I’ll keep you posted as to how it turns out!
And, by the way, I would love to help you clear out your closets of beautiful quilt tops needing to be quilted! Let me help you get those quilt tops quilted so they can be used, enjoyed, gifted…whatever you decide you want to do with them. But, let’s get them quilted!!!