Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Quilter's Tale

There has to be more...
There came a point in my life when I wanted more.  My boys were all in school during the day.  My husband was at work.  I wanted to do more than laundry.  (I'm still doing laundry...does it ever end?)

I considered going back to work.  I have a wonderful education - a bachelor of arts degree from St. John's College.  I have 11 years of work experience in compensation and benefits billing and research.  I'm even fairly intelligent, most days.  The last time I was gainfully employed was August of 1996.  It was now 2006.  The world was very different.

When I left the corporate world Microsoft was just making it's way into the work place.  PCs were common enough, there was one available to each employee, but they were nothing like they are now.  Windows was the sparkle in someones eye, not the norm.  By 2006 that had all changed....nothing like feeling like a dinosaur at 43.

I wanted something to do, something that would allow the flexibility to be home with my boys when needed, something that had the potential to generate income.  I didn't want to buy a new wardrobe or go back to school.  I am not a salesmen.  I do not schmooze.  I was not going to try and sell products that no body wants to my family and friends.

An idea....
The Dallas Quilt Show happens every March.  It is a great place to go and spend some time, and money, when you've nothing better to do, like quilts, and want to spend time with your Mom...especially if she likes quilts too.

As I wandered around the show that year it dawned on me that there were more people making quilt tops than quilting them.  I'd known that for a while.  It typically took 3 to 6 months to get a top quilted, if you didn't do it yourself.  Mom and I both had drawers with tops in them - ready to quilt and waiting on a quilter.  Maybe I could quilt for people.  How hard could it be?  Really, it looked pretty easy.  I started researching quilting systems at the show. 

For my birthday Gilbert reserved a space for me in a long arm quilting class at Linda's Electric Quilting.  (Owned and operated by Linda Taylor, a leader in the realm of long arm quilting.)  After two days spent learning about thread, machine mechanics, and the physics of loading and quilting a quilt I decided that it was something that I could do.  I took Gilbert back to the shop to have a look and try it out.  He was tutored by Linda herself and was soon sold on the idea....with a twist.  We could do more in less time if we opted for the Statler version.

He was right.  The addition of a computerized drive greatly enhances the process of quilting.  The physical work is minimal.  The learning curve is shortened.  The turn around time significantly improved.  Imagine getting your quilt back before you forget what it looks like.  It could happen...if you have $35,000.  Right.  This was not where my thoughts had started.  Who has that kind of money lying around?  Not me.

Looking back, I'm not sure how it happened.  I know it did.  In May of 2006 I ordered a Statler 30 Preferred Package from Linda's Electric Quilters.  In June of 2006 it was assembled in what had been the boy's play room.  In August of 2006 I quilted my first quilt for a stranger.

Fast forward...
Five years and nearly 600 quilts later I am within spitting distance of paying off my loan.  I am so excited that I can hardly stand it.  I day dream about it on a regular basis.  I want to stand on the roof (no small task when your house is shaped like a castle) and let everyone know that I did this thing.  I think of all of the quilts and all of the people they were intended for and I pray they are happy and healthy and loved.  I think of the new babies, newly weds, high school and college graduates, retirees,...quilters who I've gotten to work with and for and I am amazed that I ever doubted.  Quilters are the best people ever to work for.   I've decided that it is not the work, but the colleagues that make a job pleasant or not.

I want to do something wonderful when the bill is finally paid.  Help me out.  Leave me an idea in the comments.  You never know what I might do.

1 comment:

Martha said...

Cindy we both need to celebrate! I burn the note on Bessie in March! I find it fascinating that just when I pay her off is when I am comfortable and able to take quilting for other people.

we should have dinner!