Wednesday, 4 February 2015
Today is a significant date for a number of reasons, a couple of which are not reason’s to celebrate.
But another is special because it was 13 years ago today, on the 4th February 2002, that my first quilting machine, (which I called Gertie) was delivered to my studio. It was a very exciting day, and the start of a big learning curve. There was no stitch regulation or computer on my first machine, a Gammill Premier, and I could only quilt about 12” before I had to roll the quilt on. I thank Kaye and Bruce, my dealers, who encouraged me and were always at the other end of the phone if I had any problems. The machine quilting world was a lot smaller back then. When I doubted and worried about whether I could do this, Kaye would say, of course you can, you’re a woman!! I kept my daytime job for a couple more years, and gradually reduced my hours until I finally went full time quilting.
I called the Premier Gertie, in memory of my grandmother and in the first photo you can see Gertie, in my studio. This room was originally my carport, which was renovated ready for the arrival of my Gammill, which took 6 weeks on the boat from America. I am looking at just how small Gertie was, compared to what I have now. But I still managed to do some great quilting and win a few prizes along the way.
Now a few years later, the Statler computer was added to the Gammill machines, and I thought this would be rather good. I could let the Statler do the edge to edge quilting, and use the Premier for my custom freehand quilting. So I borrowed some more money and took the next step. The only problem was that my room was too small, so I also had to extend my studio to make room for another machine. That took more money!
And on the 16th February, 2007 my next machine arrived and I called this one Max, and don’t ask me why! And Max was also delivered by Kaye and Bruce. You can see in this photo both machines next to each other.
I worked with the 2 machines for a year or so, until I realised that I was doing more and more on the Statler, and that Gertie was often not being used. I could do things quicker with Max, and I was only one person. While the machine was operating, I could be getting another quilt ready to load, or doing some invoicing or ordering supplies, or having a cuppa, or checking out the computer! I don’t know how those girls who have more than one machine keep up with them. Finally a decision was made to sell the Premier, and I must admit to being sad when I saw Gertie loaded on a trailer and driven away. But I was quite relieved not long after that, because when I had to take time out for surgery and radiotherapy I did not have 2 machines sitting here idle. Selling Gertie also cleared my debt. And in the last photo you can see the difference in the throat space of Max to the first machine. This was taken in 2013, when Bruce was here to service Max.
If you have read this far, I thank you. I have decided to try a giveaway to celebrate 13 years. I am not sure what it will be, but probably something a quilter can use. You need to leave me a message on the blog to participate. I know some of you are not followers and don’t have a google account, so then you can send me an email with your contact details. I know there are a lot that read and never comment, so maybe this will encourage you to try to sign up as a follower. I shall put all replies into a “hat” and get someone to choose one. I will post overseas also. I will do the draw in one weeks time.
Now it is 2015, and I have been machine quilting for 13 years. It has been an amazing journey, and gone so quickly.
I have met some great people, and attended quilt shows and conferences to learn from some great teachers. And I have entered mine and customer quilts into shows and brought home some ribbons, (which you can see some of on the curtain behind Bruce’s head). I guess you could say that I have replaced the second machine with the house across the road, (The Sanctuary) where we have some great retreats and fun times. And the journey continues…….
Blessings, From Jude