Lisa – Where I’ve been….

Both my sister, Lynn, and I began sewing on our mother’s Singer Featherweight at about the age of ten. I started out making Barbie doll clothes and soon moved on to making clothes for myself. We grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and we both remember going somewhere to shop for fabric. Looking back, it was probably Mary Jos because I do remember it being in Gastonia. The fabric was folded and piled up on tables made from wood laid on sawhorses. In some places it was piled higher than our heads! We were allowed to choose fabric with no specific project in mind. It went home and was put into a closet for later. When the mood struck, we could go shop in our home stash. Yes, we had a wonderful childhood. Back then and still now, I choose fabric as much for the texture and hand as much as the color.

Many times I made a dress in the evening for school the next day. My proudest accomplishment was seventh grade. I never wore the same outfit twice the whole school year. I don’t believe anyone noticed but me, but it is a fond memory none the less. By ninth grade, I was making special dresses for prom and parties for my friends. One of my most favorite was a bodice of sage green velvet over a skirt of antique satin drapery fabric for my best friend Pam who lived next door. I didn’t want the back zipper to mar the line in the back so I decided to sew it in by hand. It came out beautifully and I never did that again! I continued to sew garments for myself and two daughters through the years, but it became harder to fit myself as age added new dimensions.

I gave up trying to fit clothing and became interested in quilting when I went to work as a Manager for Jo Ann Fabrics in Pompano Beach. Barbie Swanson (now of Fabric Art Shop in Lake City) lived nearby and had decided she wanted to leave her corporate job and get into quilting. She came to teach quilting in my store and we have been inseparable ever since. I began to go to small local shows with her and vend as Fabric Art Shop. I think it was about 1998 when Barbie, her Mom, Edie and I went to the huge quilt show in Paducah, Kentucky together. Barbie went into a booth and came back out stating that she was going to be a machine dealer for a sit-down machine and I was going to be the demonstrator. Wow, I had completed exactly two quilts on my home machine and was ready to move up, but in front of hundreds of people? Well, we continued to vend at many shows over the years including Paducah, Houston, and Kansas City. I demonstrated several brands of machine to so many quilters it makes me dizzy to think about it. That adds up to a LOT of practice! I am now a longarm quilter, pattern designer, teacher and quilt shop owner. This is my dream job and retirement income. Welcome to my world, lets have some fun!