This is where I tell you that I grew up learning how to quilt from my mother and grandmother. Well, I didn't. I learned how to sew from both of them but they didn't make quilts, at least not when I was growing up. In fact, my grandmother made her first quilt as a wedding gift to me. She was 80. I finally got my mother quilting about five years before she passed away. Me? I made my first quilt in the Winter and Spring of 1994 while I was pregnant with my daughter. I had wanted to learn how to quilt for many years but never found the time. I was 33 by this time and figured what better time than now. I didn't take a class; I just drew a design out on graph paper, bought a quilting magazine, and found a list of what I needed to get started. I bought a starter kit that had a ruler, rotary cutter, and a skinny cutting mat. I still can't believe I used that mat for so long. I went to a local fabric store and bought four different pastel solids and white fabric. That quilt is nothing exciting to look at but considering I had no clue what I was doing it didn't turn out half bad.
I had the quilting bug and have been making quilts ever since. I didn’t have a lot of free time when my daughter was young, but I was always working on something in my head.
Fast forward to 2015; I was sitting in a restaurant in Victor, New York with a fellow quilter. Three people came in and sat down next to us. One of the gentlemen says to us, “excuse me, I didn't mean to be listening but couldn't help overhearing that you two are quilters. We are looking for someone to do beta testing for our longarm quilting machine.” The other quilter with me happened to be a longarm quilter but was getting ready to leave the country to beta test a machine for Bernina so I jokingly said that I was available. "Are you a longarm quilter as well" the man asked. I said no but could learn and laughed. The woman at their table gave me a business card anyway and we left.
I had never even thought about being a longarm quilter until that day. What were the odds that there was a longarm quilting company near me. Later that day I emailed the woman that had given me her card. One or two calls later, a dinner interview, and a visit to their facility and I became a part time beta tester for INNOVA. They liked the fact that I had never used one. That way they could teach me on their machine.
I worked for them for about three years and when I left I bought a machine of my own and have continued to do quilting for others ever since.