Friday, June 29, 2018

Summertime has arrived

It's been a very long time since I added to my blog. I'm happy that summer is finally here, brining with it longer days filled with sunshine and hot weather. I spend some time recently doing a little yard work, planting some flowers and deep cleaning my house. I added a little solar powered accent lighting to the walkway and gutters and the flowers have really taken off.

I am enjoying a couple of months off from school crossing duties which enables me to sleep in a little later, stay up sewing a little longer and quilt to my heart's content. I have also added a very new and exciting line of work to my quilting repertoire, teaching "Learn to Long Arm" classes.

You know how they say, when one door closes, another one opens? This is exactly how this came to be recently. My beloved local quilt store, The Quilt Spot, in Midland Park, decided to close. Turns out that three LQS stores in a few weeks in New Jersey that have gone out of business. I won't speculate why here, but only say that it was heartbreaking to see this sweet little shop close.

However, there is a newer store in East Hanover, NJ that has been doing very well selling a wide variety of sewing machines, and I was invited to visit them to discuss teaching long arm classes to help them grow their long arm rental program. We scheduled 3 long arm sessions and within a week they were all filled. We added more sessions over the summer, on different days of the week and weekends. These are also filling up so quickly.

While some may think that teaching long arm quilting might be counter intuitive to being a successful arm quilter, I would say, it's thrilling to see so many quiltermakers wanting to try their hand at long arming and quilt their own quilts. I understand the desire to complete something on your own from start to finish. I also believe that my quilting business will not suffer because some customers may wish to quilt their own quilts. There is plenty of work out there for the talented long arm quilters in our area and I actually think this will continue even with an LQS offering rental time on their three long arm machines.

While I own two Gammill professional long arm machines, I am only able to quilt so many quilts each week and never seem to have enough time to get my backlog down. So I believe this new endeavor will help take the pressure off to quilt more hours each week, while also sharing my love of long arm and free motion uilting with other quilters. I don't think renting quilting time will be for everyone and that there will still be plenty of custom and quilting work out there.

In addition to teaching long arm classes, Sew Jersey is allowing me to offer coiled clothesline basket making, orange peel, hashtag and finishing quilt classes over the summer. There will also be a tuffet class offered in the fall.

So while I may be on summer vacation, I am staying plenty busy with teaching and quilting and visiting with friends and family. I hope to be able to sneak a beach day or two in this summer as well.

Hope to see you soon.