As you can imagine I twist, turn, lift repeatedly, bend, and reach all day long. In the last six months I have developed a spur on my left heal, a pinched nerve in my neck and left shoulder, and have arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis in my left hip. Sleeping while laying down in bed has proven almost unbearable. Combine that with the long hours and times of the day I work,,,, well, it'll make you nuts. How does this relate to quilts or quilting???
I have for about the last six weeks slept in a recliner in the living room. It is covered with a quilt and another keeps me warm and comfortable. The comfort of the quilts themselves, the knowledge of the work my DW put into them, and her even allowing me to use them brings me more comfort than I have a right to have. I try to tell my DW several times a day how beautiful she is and how much I love her. He devotion and love for me though has carried over into her quilting. It doesn't matter if she is making another one for the house, for a local charity, or using her Nolting Longarm to finish a customer quilt. All that love and caring carries into her work. It is seldom that I have seen anyone work with as much focus and creativity as my DW.
Back in early summer she designed a quilt for a local organization that helps the physically and mentally challenged once they reach adulthood. They hold a fundraiser with a Hawaiian theme each year. Music, games, dinner, drinks, food and more food, and an auction. The quilt squares were individually designed and colored by the clients of the organization. It was quilted, finished, and then donated to them. At auction it sold for $1000.... Pretty special to be sure.
Do you have an old quilt that granny or mom made? Not your favorite?? Thought about selling, giving away, or just trashing it?? Think of the love and care that went into it.... It can still bring happiness and warmth. Comfort and love. Sometimes I can catch a whiff of the material and am immediately comforted. It triggers memories and brings to mind things that make me smile.
We had our first snow last night and got about 4 inches here at the house/studio. Guess who had a quilt on standby just in case I needed it? <keep smilin'>
03/2014 What a crazy, fast paced world we live in. I started to run a bread route full time in December, 2013, and with working 60 hours a week, life has sped by. My apologies for not posting in months.
I have noticed that some folks are doing things backwards and I want to give a little insight on it. Some people would never "longarm" a quilt. They are purists and only hand stitch. There is great respect and appreciation as to how much effort goes into hand stitching. I want to address those who are trying to purchase a longarm machine.
As a authorized Nolting Longarm sales rep, many people tell me they have a frame and want to buy a longarm machine to fit it. Very few machines are interchangeable from frame to frame without modification to rollers or carriages. Most quilters do not have the knowledge to make those changes. On the other hand, manufacturers (some of whom simply contract some foreign company to make their longarms,,, meaning they don't own the factory) have no desire or the capability to make those modifications for you. You may be stuck with a frame and an almost impossible task of finding a machine to fit it. This is putting the cart in front of the horse and expecting the horse to push the cart.
Talk to several dealers before buying anything. Do your homework. Ask questions, lot of questions. Where are the machines made? Warranty? How long is the warranty and what does it cover? Who does the delivery and installation in my area? How much is shipping and installation? What about service? Is it compatible with any computer systems? Any answer they "hee haw" about, or, you feel they are not answering fully, or, you feel they are being untruthful about.... Stay away from them.
Nolting Longarm machines are made in Iowa. Yep, right in the middle of the good old U.S.of A. In fact, do you want to visit the factory, meet the people that run the company and actually make the machine? Call, and tell them you want to drop by. You can actually watch your machine being made if you are lucky and the timing is right. Modifications?? Since the factory is stateside those modifications that need to be made?? Well, most of the time, they can be handled and completed. Imagine that!! A company that tries to go the extra mile! What a novel idea.
This weekend, we are in Johnson City, Tennessee, at a guild show. I heard the "I have a frame and need a longarm" story twice. Nolting makes some fine, dependable, machines and celebrates 30 years under the Nolting name. Fred Nolting used to make another major competitors machine for them. Let's just say quality has suffered tremendously since they have been making them overseas. (The competitors machine)
Some more questions that need answers. Before talking to dealers or reps, here's a few things to have an answer for.... What can you afford? Need financing? Credit unions are easier to work with and have lower interest rates. Banks... tax refunds.. All a possibility. Be realistic. If you find a thousand dollar longarm, run from it. Chances are it is scrap metal and will cause more pain than happiness. How long do you need your frame to be? Measure your room. Leave a couple feet on the ends so you can get to the back of the machine. Are you going to stitch an occasional quilt for yourself, do many quilts each month, or, going to try to make a business out of it?
These are just some things to consider and think about. I will try to answer your questions and so will my DW. Do not be afraid to contact us and ask.
I will ask you to do me a favor. Would you go to Facebook and "Like" our page? My DW would appreciate it and so would I. If I can help make her happy, I try my best to do it. You can find our FaceBook page by typing Quilters Pantry in the search line ion FaceBook.
10/5/13 SO much, so fast... We are almost booked up on the longarm work through Christmas. We are so blessed. I tell the DW that if she would work 16 hours a day I could quit my job and be a "kept man." As you may suspect, that doesn't go over real well. But, she still loves me for some reason.
Just like anything else, quilting can become a "job". That's when it stops being fun for many people. Keep it fun. Take breaks, stand up, stretch, walk out into the yard, and, literally smell the roses. Look at the textures and patterns that are before you in this wonderful world we live in. You just may find the inspiration for your next quilt.
Turn the radio on. We have one friend who lives in western Pennsylvania that turns the rock and roll on so loud he can't hear the shop door open. Put a small television in the sewing room so you can follow your favorite show. Have your favorite beverage near. Remember to make sure to have a secure lid on your drink. More than one project has been ruined by a spilled drink. Have a a friend or two over to share your time quilting and have a laugh or three. For some, quilting is an escape into a "my time" situation. A time to relax without all the noise and distractions. Do what works, but, make it fun. <<keep smilin'>>
09/21/13 Great news!! I have been in talks with the east coast distributor from Nolting Longarms for the last 5-6 months. For the last 3 days the big quilt show in Philly has been my home and I am now a Nolting Longarm Dealer Rep. My DW's studio, Quilters Pantry, in Jonesborough, TN has a Nolting machine that is almost 3 years old. We were so impressed with its performance that it was an item that we knew we needed to be associated with. Thinking about buying one?? We are only 100 from Knoxville and Pigeon Forge, TN, and only 75 miles from Asheville, NC.
Presently we are looking to bring a demo unit to local guild meeting and quilt show. I can make some really good show specials on new units and used machines of various manufacturers are available. Trade are accepted too!!! Considering upgrading?? All I can say is..... MORE QUILTS!!!!! lol
How many of you are are coming to the Smoky Mountains for the fall leaves?? The colors are great and are the inspiration for many quilts. If you get into East Tennessee or Western NC and want to stop by our studio, call us and make sure we are here. ( www.quilterspantry.com ) It's time you finish up the projects that you have been ignoring. It's cool at night and will soon be down right cold. <<keep smilin'>
09/11/13 First and foremost let us remember the events in NYC, Washington D.C., and Schenksville, PA 12 years ago today. May we never forget what took place that fateful day. Thanks to the first responders and service members who put their own safety on the line every day.
On a more personal note.... What an exciting last few weeks. It's been a bit hectic, but, life is that way sometimes. Working 7 days a week for the last 6 weeks with only 2-3 days off will wear you down. It's so nice to fall into bed, pull the covers up, and know that I have a quilt my wife made just for me to keep me warm.
Big news though! I will be in Philadelphia (Phoenixville) for the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. I will be there Thursday, Friday, and Saturday working in the Memory Lane Quilting booth. Look for the "Nolting" longarm machines and sign. It is going to be a pleasure to be there with Mike Holodnak and his crew. The dates for the show are September 19-22, 2013. Be there or be square, or diamond, or pin wheel, or.... oh, you know what I mean.
We are in the process of trying to be set up as a Nolting Longarm rep/dealer and we are actually located in Jonesborough, TN. We are in the mountains of beautiful east Tennessee and in Tennessee's oldest town. The goal is to eventually be able to sell and service Nolting Longarm machines and this is our first step. Stop in and say hello!!! Let me know you saw this post!!
I will try to post again from the show and give you some updates to what is going on. This looks like a really big quilt show. Wish us luck!! <<keep smilin'>>
During bad times and good we all try to move forward in life. I have struggled in the last year with a few health issues. Luckily, what the docs thought was cancer turned out to be a scare, and, the other issues are things we can deal with. I do have some trouble getting going a lot of days, but, I am blessed to be able to take a breath each day. I try to stay positive while things get straightened out in life. So with that said, make a good day of it.
A while back the east coast distributor of one of the largest long arm manufacturers was at a local guild show. My DW and I had a great time visiting with him and actually had space next to him at the show. We have known Mike for some time now and we have so much in common that's its almost scary. It's so nice to be able to share life with those folks you can relate to so well. After the show one evening Mike came over to the house before returning to his hotel. Supper, conversation, laughter, and the evening were all great and it really capped off a long hard day.
I watch the DW work with fabric, the design program on the computer, the longarm, and all the "tools of the trade". She takes unfamiliar shapes and colors, makes friends with them, and turns them into something of beauty and joy. Full of warmth and memories. Like making an old friend.... Quilts can last for many generations if cared for properly. Like old friends you have not seen for a while, when you come across them, it brings a smile to your face. Kind of gives you a good feeling and brightens your day. It's comforting... For just a few minutes it make everything in the world right.... It makes your troubles go away, if only for a short time.
The quilt on our bed is the DW's design out of fabric I picked out, with matching curtains. She knows it pleases me and makes me smile. Every night when I go to bed I look at it before the lights go out I look at it and feel pretty lucky. I get to sleep with two old friends (the quilt and the DW)... Not everybody is that lucky.
Every now and again I have to stop and smell the roses in life. You know, look at the many blessings and things I have been allowed to experience. I really do know that when I hear the longarm running in the studio that things are right... The DW is making another old friend for someone, somewhere.... and somehow, they too will feel that warm feeling... of comfort... of quiet peace. So this evening when you wrap yourself up in your quilt, think of where it came from, the love and time it took to sew it... If you are in the process of sewing a quilt think about the memories and friend you may be making for the new owner. Stop everything for just a moment, turn everything off, wrap yourself up, and, ponder on it a moment.... smell the roses... <<keep smilin'>>
03/05/2013 Sometimes the reality of life hits you and gives you a bloody nose and sometimes it smells like a bouquet of flowers. Maybe that will make sense by the end of this entry.
When I crawl my tired self into bed at night and find the sheets have been washed and everything smells fresh it is so nice. The sheets, clean and soft, with the quilt on top to keep you warm. All the bedding seemingly lined up and neat on the bed. Even after a particularly long and tiresome day this scenario can instantly turn your attitude around and put a smile on your face as you drift off into dreamland.
As we wait on one to 4 inches of snow tonight (after 14 hours of rain) I know that when I crawl under the covers tonight, everything should be right with the world. Yes, it is comforting to know that I'll be snug in my bed tonight with a quilt keeping me warm. But, I know that everything is not necessarily right in the world.
My DW has been working on the longarm stitching quilts going to Hurricane Sandy victims. I know that many of them still don't have their lives back yet and may never get them back. Children are also suffering in this economy and going to bed cold without the benefit of warm bedding. I also found out last night that my best friend from my childhood years is in the ICU in the hospital. He is likely laying on sanitized sheets and covered with a sanitized blanket in a sanitized room. No comparison to being able to sleep in your own bed. Yes, I am fortunate to have a nice warm bed... Clean sheets... A nice quilt to keep me warm....
My friend has a bloody nose right now and I am very blessed and smelling like a bouquet of flowers. One thing I have learned about quilters is they think a bit out of the box. Some say funny, strange, odd, weird, creatively, and certainly with passion. My DW looks at tile on the floor or a pattern on a shirt and speaks about what a beautiful quilt it would make. I have seen quilters each do a little work on a quilt and it comes together into a beautiful creation. I have seen quilters get together to make quilts for sick children, cancer patients, veterans, disaster victims, and newborn babes. I also think that quilters look at life a bit differently and where they are and where they are going.
I know that I am going to bed tonight and, God willing, I will get up in the morning to another day. Some won't be so lucky. Curl up in your quilt, count your blessings, hug and kiss your loved ones, and.... gives thanks you have it as good as you do. I promise my next post will be of a lighter nature. <just sayin'>
01/12/2013 Most of you don't know I work part time on the weekends serving samples of food at the largest wholesale club in the country. I watch and observe all kinds of of people and to be honest, they are pretty disappointing. I watch people drop napkins, plastic spoons or forks, cups, and all sorts of stuff on the floor, only to walk away and leave things lay. But, today was a bit different. An older man wearing a hat the indicated he was a WW2 veteran slowly pushed a buggy up to my cart and asked if he could have some Wheat Thins. I gladly gave him some while thanking him for his service. When he learned I too, was a veteran, he enthusiastically (well, for his age anyway) thanked me for mine. He stated his wife shops and he just stays with the buggy. From the looks of it, he needed the buggy for support. His old, battered, used up body looked very tired and bent as he stood there. I had to speak up to converse with him as he indicated he was hard of hearing.
As he finished the last cracker, part of it broke and fell to the floor. Without hesitating, he very slowly bent down, picked up the the piece that had fallen, and placed it on the corner of my cart. Then, he apologized.... This man, showed respect, for himself and me. For how he was raised and who raised him. This man, this soldier, this veteran, with an old worn out body, in less the one minute earned more respect than most people earn in a lifetime. I would go to battle with and for this this man. May God bless him and be with him. Say a prayer for our vets...and this nameless man, who showed what it means, even if it is a small way, to be a hero.
12/17/2012 Ponderings and thoughts in general. Some updates too. I was preoccupied with many things the last few months and allowed my self to get side tracked. The elections, a health problem that cropped up that they never did figure out what the problem was... life in general. My apologies.
I sit and ponder the whats and whys of life, you know, why people do things and what makes people tick and why things happen. I am tempted to comment on the terrible things that have happened in Colorado and Connecticut, but, will refrain since this is not the place for it. Besides, the media does a fine job of shoving stuff in your face 24/7. The families and those involved deserve better and my prayers go out to them. Things are not the way they were when I was growing up. I miss those times.
My DW has been blessed to have been kept busy with the long arm. I'm just the maintenance guy. I enjoy seeing the creations that pass through our studio. It amazes me sometimes. Although the DW has sewn all her life I still remember her saying she could never be good enough to quilt. Those of you who quilt know how difficult some patterns and styles of quilting can be. She can keep up with most anyone. Tee shirt quilts, you name it, she does an excellent job. Me?? I sit back and watch in amazement the different patterns cut and laying to be sewn together into beautiful blocks and somehow.... just somehow, it becomes a cozy comforting quilt.
It's through these comforting quilts we have tried to pass blessings and hopefully the foundations for many pleasant memories. Maybe just a little peace, solace, a moments quietness for those who are having a tough time. We have stitched a few quilts headed for hurricane Sandy victims and several tee shirts quilts for a lady who is giving them to the grandchildren of a man who died in a motorcycle accident earlier this year. The DW says you could smell the man aftershave on all those Harley shirts. Maybe the smell will bring happy and comforting thoughts and memories to those children. Many other quilts have been completed to the point on many occasions I feel like I have lost the DW to another. But, I know I can expect her back at any given moment as I hear the hum of the machines in the studio.
We pray that each stitch, each scrap of fabric that comes through and leaves this studio glorifies God, that it will bless those who receive them, and that as we go through the day we will be known as God's children. In that same light, my prayer is that during these troubling times, that you will have a merry and blessed Christmas and a happy New Years. Remember the reason for the season. <keep smilin'>
06/08/2012 Surprises. Everyone likes surprises. It's one of the things in life that is ageless unless your name is Scrooge. As a child we celebrated surprises like going for ice cream, a new bike for a birthday, parties and all kind of stuff. As we grew older the surprises changed. It became a Christmas bonus, roses from your other half, a last minute movie, or maybe an unplanned vacation.
A few days back my wife posted the meaning of her pennies. She has them laying all over the house and I often wondered why she didn't gather them all up and put them in a jar or can. Something! Anything! But, I never said anything since it really get in the way or bother me. When I saw post on this blog about the meanings of those pennies it was the best kind of surprise. You know, the kind that not only makes your face smile, but, also makes your heart smile. Read her post of pennies and take a moment to ponder on it. Selah....
I am more maintenance and support when it comes to quilting. I carry this, source that, build something else, hang shelves to store the fabric bolts. You know, handyman kind of stuff. We used to do trade shows. Big shows. National shows for some big organizations in the motorcycle and outdoor industries. Both of us set things up and both of us tore it down. Today the DW set this small show up all by herself out of her mid sized car. I did stop by and stuck my head in for 5 minutes or so. My way of checking on her and seeing if she was alright. (I have a full time job plus a part time Saturday job.) So there has come a time when she has decided she didn't need my help.
You may think that makes me sad or unwanted. Nope. A little melancholy maybe. But, when it comes down to it, she couldn't hang and wire those 8 foot fluorescent lights in the shop. Those big shelf units for the bolts of fabric? She couldn't do that either. Adjusting the needle, probably not. That's what she has me for. Then again, now that I think about it, maybe she let's me think she can't.....
An open invitation. If you ever get to the mountains of East Tennessee, we live right outside Jonesborough, Tennessee's oldest town, drop by. Visit, talk quilts, kids, or grandkids. Set a spell, drink some tea. You can go home saying you made some new friends. <keep smilin>
03/13/2012 Simple ramblings from A to Z.
As cold as it has been snuggling under a quilt with the one you love is about the best way I know of to stay warm. Heavy frost and cold winds have finally reached many of us. Time to turn up the heat, get the material, needles, and thread, and, start piecing together that new quilt.
That brings to mind the ancestors who came before us. The frontier and mountain women who sat before the glow of a cracklin' fire with a kerosene lamp to help. Hand stitching with love and care a new quilt. Most of the time made from scraps of material left over from one thing or another. The quilt made up of many different colors. Children sitting close by doing the ciphering and lessons from school that day. Dad sitting at the other end of the table cleaning his rifle so he can go hunting the next day so there would be meat on the table. Soon all head to bed as the fire is stoked, night clothes donned, snuggled warmly under a quilt with just a nose poked out so they can breathe.
My wife has a quilt made of many colors from pieces of left over projects. Her mother stitched it when my wife was young and to this day when she takes it out I can see the memories of times past in her eyes.
The quilt you make today can hold a life time of love and memories. My wife loves to piece the tops together, put them on the longarm machine, and see the finished quilt. Memories in the making. How many memories have you made lately?
If you get to the mountains of East Tennessee, drop in, set a spell. We speak quilting here. <keep smilin>
Wow! How time flies when you are having fun. I work a full time job and work a part time weekend job. I have been busy the last few weeks. Then, we get to Thanksgiving. Thursday thru Monday off. I may get used to this.
The harder we pedal the further behind we seem to get. A good night's sleep and some rest.... we should be as good as new. We rarely feel this way, but, sometimes it's good for the soul.
The weather has been great and have been able to keep windows open and the heat pump turned off. Maybe the cooler weather has folks thinking about quilts and staying warm. Talking about cool weather the fuzzy caterpillars have very little black on them. If you follow what the old timers say, we should not have a bad winter. More later. <Keep Smilin'>
Well, my eye is better but not quite healed. Another 2 weeks and it should be as good as it was. Of course, sometimes, I don't think that is very good. But, I am blessed.