Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to. That’s when I feature them on the blog. This is one of those days. Today’s question is about longarming.
Sarah asked: “Loved your post!! How did you get started long arm quilting“
Hmm. I guess I’ll start at the beginning. Years ago…likely in 1990 my husband and I were living in Chester, Iowa. He was working for Tom Nagel…Tom’s wife was Marcia. Some of you might know Marcia as the owner of Pine Needles Quilt and Sew in Rochester, MN.
While our husbands were working, Marcia and I would often slip away and go to quilt and crafting shops. At that time I was making clothes for my girls, Kelli and Kayla, and was cross-stitching.
Then one day I went home to visit my parents. My mom could tell the kids were a little overwhelming for me. I was only 24. I had three kids. Kelli was 3, Kayla was 2, and Buck was a newborn. I was overwhelmed.
Mom sent me to town and gave me her list of errands. She told me to stay in town longer if I wanted. I did the errands and when I was in the grocery store I saw this magazine…
I bought it because I had planned on making these…
Remember geese decor was so popular then…while others were making geese, I wanted cows. My husband worked on a dairy farm so it was an obvious choice for the times. I was decorating with cows and planned on making these.
Well fast forward a month or so… VERY unexpectedly at 61 years old, my mom died.
I was devastated. I never imagined losing my mom. I always expected my husband’s parents or my Dad would be the first to die. My mom seemed to be in great health.
In my grief, I kept going back to the day my Mom took my kids and gave me a break. I couldn’t get over how intuitive she was. She knew me so well. I can’t tell you how much I needed that day…and how thankful I was that she gave it to me. Back then, I had no idea as a young mom about what I needed.
I paged through that magazine many times. I finally decided I was going to make the quilt that was in the book…this one…
I really didn’t have much money. We were a young family. My husband was working for a farmer and I was staying home to take care of the kids.
I had a couple of pieces of bandana-type prints. I scrounged up some money and bought a couple of other prints that were similar. I bought them at Shopko in Rochester, MN (it’s long since closed).
All I needed was some white fabric. I happened to be at my Dad’s and was helping clean out a couple of mom’s things. I found an old white sheet and asked Dad if I could have it. He gave it to me and that became my quilt background.
I started making my first quilt…it was therapy for me. People jokingly say, “Quilting is my therapy”. Completely NOT joking…making this quilt was my therapy. I put so many memories of my mom into this. I caught myself crying time and time again as I made it. My mom was truly my best friend. I had a relationship with her like my girls have with me. She was the only one that “got me”. To this day I still cry over losing her. It’s a little easier nowadays because now she would have been 94 and likely would have been dead from something else. For years, I felt robbed. For years I heard people say things like, “Ya, I gotta go to my mom’s have help her” like it was some big burden. Man, I’d have done anything to have had to go to my mom’s and help her.
But…back to my quilt. I eventually got it done…well, I got the quilt top done. Here it is…
Lots of people can’t believe that this was my first quilt top. Please note. I was young and naive. I didn’t know curves were supposed to be intimidating. I came to it from a clothesmaker’s mind. I had sewn lots of my own clothes by that time in my life and the curves of the quilt block were really nothing different that sewing the sleeves of clothes.
I love the top…I love that a “hard” quilt was my first ever quilt top. Originally I thought I would hand-quilt it. HA!! Nope. I was young and thought that would be so easy. I thought I’d love doing it. I’ve tried to love hand-quilting a couple of times. I just don’t.
Sadly, I’ve never finished it. I asked Carla, my friend from Longarm Quilting Inspirations that is a professional longarmer, once if she would quilt it for me. After hearing the story, she told me she thought I better finish it myself. If I really want her to, she will but she thought I should do it…I totally understand why she said that, and…I just might do it one day.
The top is horribly stained. That sheet I used as a background just wasn’t the best choice. It was what I had and what I could afford at the time.
Well, it didn’t take me long to know that quilting is something I would really like. I loved the “therapy” part of quilting. I loved being taken away and having something else to think about. The process grabbed me and the finished product made me stay.
About then I saw this magazine hit the newsstand…and I bought it.
Marcia and I started doing more crafting and now started doing a bit of quilting. We hit up a few fabric stores…oh my word. The quilting bug was really catching. But I’m going to leave you right here and finish the story of how I got started longarming in tonight’s post… Stay tuned!!