I am a professional longarm quilter and I currently live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I have been sewing since I was in elementary school. My first quilt was a patchwork quilt when I was nine. It was supposed to be a doll quilt and I kept adding blocks and adding blocks until it covered a double bed. I should have known then that I was hooked! I still have it and use it as a camping quilt.
I became interested in quilting in 2001 and took my first quilting class. We were supposed to make a 6 block sampler. I duplicated the blocks and found more patterns on line until I had a 24 block quilt. I pieced on a Singer 301A straight stitch machine, and machine quilted on a Kenmore with a 5 inch throat. I can’t tell you how many queen size quilts that I did with those machines. I have now upgraded to an embroidery/sewing combo machine and a longarm quilting machine.
In the interim, I had a short arm machine on a quilting frame for about three years. This was a great set up to learn on although I did outgrow the limited throat space and the 10 foot frame. When I sold the Inspira frame, I used the money as a down payment on an longarm machine.
After a lot of research and test drives, I decided on a 26 inch Innova by ABM International. I loved the way it stitched, the ease of handling, the upgradable features and the 24 hour tech support. The frame is heavy duty and solid and the machine head is industrial quality. I have name her “Abbey” and I find it a joy to quilt on her.
In 2006, I started teaching quilting classes at Ryan’s Sewing & Vacuum. My classes include beginning piecing, block of the month classes, free motion quilting, binding, paper piecing, and longarm quilting.
In 2009, we converted our basement office to a quilt studio to make room for “Abbey” a 26 inch long arm machine. The frame at 12 feet 5 inches was bigger than the rooms in the basement. We took out a wall and added lighting and wood floors. This major remodel expanded the office to a gorgeous space for Abby and an adjoining sewing area with a den.
I have expanded my studio to include a Babylock 12 needle embellisher, Brother Serger, and a Janome Coverpro CPX. While I don’t get to use these machine as often as the others they are great additions and support to my sewing and quilting.
In December 2009, I launched my home quilting business, IDEAL STITCHES. I take in quilt tops to be machine quilted, as well as a variety of other services; bindings, embroidered quilt labels, quilt designs, and commissions including memory quilts.
Its one year later and I love my business!! I am adding pictures of the custom cutting table that my husband made for Christmas 2010.
For Valentine’s Day 2011, my hubby made me a big board overlay for the ironing board. It is fabulous to iron large pieces of fabric. I store my regular ironing board under the overlay on the counter. If pressed (pun intended) for more counter space, I can set up the regular ironing board on the floor and set the overlay on top.
Its 2012, and my studio is coming along. The upper cabinets are mounted, and the lower cabinets are under construction. I have upgraded my embroidery sewing machine to a Brother Quattro 6700D. It has so many new features it is like getting a new machine everytime I use it. It is a great addition to Ideal Stitches and a wonderful 2011 Christmas present.
Christmas Time 2012, had to get a baby brother for travelling. I chose the NS40, a great little basic machine for piecing. Its light and does everything I need at Sew Nights or Quilting Retreats.
New Years Project 2013~~~Under cabinet lighting in the studio. The LED lighting under the cabinets really brightens up the work area around the walls. The switch is right at the back of the ironing board.
Ladder Quilt Rack February 2013. Previously I had all the quilts piled high on a rocking chair. The quilt rack was made with wood sides that are painted black and copper tubing that has been lacquered to prevent oxidation. The rungs are four feet wide and spaced 10 inches apart. The ladder only sits about 18 inches from the wall at the base and goes up to the ceiling. What a fabulous way to display quilts.
Fall 2012 I had the amazing opportunity to go to the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. Houston was fabulous. I spent four days of shopping the vendor hall and the only way I can describe the shopping was that it was like being a child at the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory. The equally amazing is the huge display of award winning quilts. I was both awed and inspired. Then in April 2013, I got to go to Paducah, Kentucky for the AQS Quilt Show. In addition to the quilt displalys and the vendors, I took two longarm classes, visited the National Quilt Museum and Hancocks of Paducah. Paducah was amazing.
August of 2013, I debated going to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival near Denver, Colorado but I am so glad I did. I was very fortunate to sign up for classes with Irena Bluhm and Linda Taylor. I took away so much information from the Bold & Modern Longarm Quilting Class, Fabulous Feather Class and Essential Technical Skills Class and the skills and techniques I learned were applied to quilts as soon as I returned to Ideal Stitches.
In October 2013, “Mickey”, by longarm robotic system by ABM was installed. Two technicians from the ABM factory spent a long nine and a half hour day upgrading “Abbey” (my 26 longarm machine) and the frame. I upgraded the Pro Stitch to the Lightning Stitch Regulator, upgraded to E-Z locks on the frame, replaced an encoder and power switches in addition to adding the Auto Pilot computerized quilting system with a remote mount tablet and fixed mount computer system. I spent two days and 3 yards of play fabric practicing with the new system, then spent an extra day digitizing five of my favorite paper pantographs and by day four, Ideal Stitches had put “Mickey” to work on a customer quilt.
This year 2013, I added classes to my experience at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. I started out with a Professional Quilters Business Course and then followed it in the afternoon with a fabulous longarm class with Linda Taylor: Life after Stippling. I had won a longarm stitched sampler from my feather class with her in August in Colorado which was half finished. I brought it home, completed it with the same color thread, serged the edges to finish it and took it to share with Linda in class. She was thrilled and loved that we had a creation that we quilted together. Another fabulous all day class was Twirly Whirly Feathers with Kimmy Brunner. What a delightful quilt teacher. I came home from her class so confident that I put feathers on my very next quilt on the frame. I was thrilled to take an all day class with Pam Clarke. She had come to Albuquerque in the spring to teach but unfortunately for me, it was during the time I was in Paducah. Designs with Lines was an amazing class! I brought home class books, personal notes and my longarm stitched samples from every class.
November 2013 finds Ideal Stitches under construction. The longarm area is complete but the sewing area is getting it’s final makeover. New lower cabinets, shelves, and countertops are in the process of being installed. Pictures soon to follow!
Currently I am a member of NMQA (New Mexico Quilter’s Association), LQNM (Longarm Quilters of New Mexico, ICAP (International Association of Creative Arts Professionals) and AQS (American Quilter’s Society).