About this time last year, I started the Business of Quilting blog post series on my personal blog…..I can’t believe how fast time flies. In one post, I interviewed Tia Curtis, who was just starting her machine quilting business. Since a lot can happen in a year, I thought that it would be fun to check back in with her and see what she has been up to since the last time we chatted.
AW: Last time we talked, you had just bought a longarm quilting machine and getting ready to start quilting for customers. Tell us how it’s going almost a year later?
TC: I now am the proud owner of 2 Gammill long arms. One is still the old hand guided supreme, but the new one is a fancy Statler Stitcher that has the option of either computer guided quilting perfection or I can hand guide it for custom work. I love how easy it is to glide around the quilts. I am so busy (and loving every second of it) that I am looking in to taking my studio out of my basement and renting a store front in town. I am looking to expand my business just that little bit more into renting out one of my machines for those who want to quilt their own quilts…and classes of course. But that is down the road.
AW: Two machines! That’s so exciting. Looking back to when you decided to start quilting professionally, what is one thing that you wish someone would have told you?
TC: I feel that I was quilting so long on a domestic machine that the move to a long arm was just so natural. I guess I wish someone would have told me to look into a long arm sooner. Now that my husband is retired form the Army we are finally settled in one place. A long arm was not really logical with all the moving we did before. It has taken a bit longer for clients to find me and I do wish I would have known to market myself better.
TC: Go for it! Take classes before you choose what machine you want to settle down with. There are so very many on the market. I love my Gammill Statler Stitcher, but frankly most of the quilts I quilt with it I don’t use the computer at all. I disconnect the belts and just do free motion. It frustrates me to have to look for patterns that I can whip out in a second. That is organization on my part but it is the only thing I don’t like about my machine.
AW: As a machine quilter, I tend to go through quilting design phases. Are you loving a particular quilting design right now?
TC: Well, I love swirls and pebbles, but at the moment I am on a straight and diagonal line kick. I want to quilt it on everything…but all my clients want swirls! LOL. I have to make a couple for myself so I can get the straight lines and swirls together out of my system.
AW: What is one machine quilting tool that you couldn’t live without?
TC: I like a chalk pen and a good pair of sharp little scissors. But that is probably obvious right? I am learning to love self threading needles to bury thread ends (I stick them to my long arm handles with a strong magnet) and I am trying like mad to find the perfect for me ruler for ruler work. They are either too long or too short, too curved or not curved enough!
AW: Anything else new and exciting in your quilting life?
TC: I have started writing patterns for quilts and bags this year. It kinda crept up on me and all the sudden I have had about 9 different patterns published in various books and magazines this year. That has been really fun.
AW: Tia, thanks so much for taking the time to chat, I am so excited for you and your business!! Here’s hoping that you continue to prosper.