I Quilt – how much do you want it?


i quilt blog button

Hello my lovely quilting friends and welcome to I Quilt linky party at Pretty Bobbins!  We had lots of new linkers last week and I apologise that I am still getting around to visiting everyone.  I will get there! :)  Please remember to add the linky button (found at top left) and/or a link to my blog and to visit 3 other linkers.  We all love comments!

I haven’t organised myself to feature a quilter this week, I will be back on board next week, I’m sorry!  This week what I have been doing is visiting local Canberra quilt stores and introducing myself.  Wow, that has been an adventure!  We are super lucky in Canberra to have a big quilting culture and I think the Canberra Quilters (the local quilt guild) is possibly the longest running quilt guild in Australia.  Don’t quote me on that ;) but they have a great reputation and have been around the traps since way back :)  They haven’t had a meeting since I arrived in Canberra but I am looking forward to going along next Thursday.

Of course taking a queen size quilt to handquilt at a guild meeting is the best idea in summer!

Of course taking a queen size quilt to handquilt at a guild meeting is the best idea in summer!

As part of being a professional longarm quilter I feel it is important to introduce myself to the local groups.  Last Thursday evening I attended the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild meeting and had a hoot!  They are such a lovely, enthusiastic, talented group of quilters.  I shared two quilts and I must say I really appreciated the positive feedback I received.  Thank you lovely ladies xxx  It was also rather hilarious to have to ask everyone what their blog or IG name is because I don’t necessarily know their real names!

pile of quilts

But back to this week.  What I can take away from this week is the belief that I want this dream bad!  I’m passionate, enthusiastic, committed, talented, kind, generous and possibly somewhat naive and sensitive.  Driving from one end of Canberra to the other, quilts in hand and business cards on offer I was somewhat taken aback at the reception that I received.  I was told that I would “never teach in this town without being accredited”, “we already have a longarmer, the owner isn’t in, but don’t come back because she won’t take your cards”, “you need to offer a discount to get any of our customers”, “wow! that’s a bit out there.”, “leave your cards over there” without even getting up to shake my hand.  It was soul destroying.  But after coming home and licking my wounds for an afternoon I realised that I want this, I want this dream, I am going to get there and I am going to do it with a smile on my face, in the knowledge that my quilting is awesome, my style is up there, my passion and enthusiasm is evident and contagious.  Building a business takes time, belief in yourself and a thick skin.  How much do I want it?  I want it with every fiber of my being!


The other big positive that I want to share with you is that I will be teaching later this year at a local quilt store!  I’m super excited to have the opportunity to teach others to machine quilt, to gain confidence and to get on board this fun, addictive hobby ;)  If you’re local keep an eye out for more information closer to May :)  The world needs more quilters! ;)

So, with all this waffle (which is completely quilting focused!), I ask you, what is it that drives you to quilt?  Are you committed to charity quilting?  Do you quilt for your kids or grandkids?  Is quilting your escape?  Why do you quilt and how do you overcome those mental hurdles when someone discourages you?

i quilt blog button

Happy quilting, happy linking and thank you, thank you, thank you for being lovely and encouraging to each other!  We need more of that in our community both online and in real life :)


24 Comments on I Quilt – how much do you want it?

  1. Ms Midge
    January 30, 2014 at 8:12 pm (3 months ago)

    Quilting has become ‘my thing’. I can’t explain it. What I can explain is this: When I started on my quilting “journey”, I asked some advice from a friend of mine – let’s call her Gemma – and she was always very willing to answer my questions, always willing to have a conversation with me, even if it was about the most ridiculous topics. She encouraged me, she cheered me on, she steered me in the right direction. And she was the first person to call me a quilter. I don’t think I will ever be able to thank her enough for her enthusiasm and her encouragement, for without it, I don’t think I would have discovered my passion.

    You deserve every single ounce of success that you receive – and for those who don’t take the time to get to know you and what you have to offer – they are missing out on amazing friendship and the chance to learn something.

    Love you! xxxx

  2. leanne
    January 30, 2014 at 9:34 pm (3 months ago)

    I’m so sorry that you got such a bad reception – hopefully you believe in yourself enough not to let it discourage you – its your dream so you need to go for it all the way :)

  3. Jess @ Scrappy n Happy
    January 30, 2014 at 9:43 pm (3 months ago)

    Chin up! You are sure to get quite a following, the online community is the most supportive group around!

  4. Marelize
    January 30, 2014 at 10:21 pm (3 months ago)

    I am absolutely certain that you will be a success, or rather your longarm quilting business, because YOU already ARE… Its strange that people will respond that way, I am a bit shocked to say the least. Just be strong, and remember that dreams CAN come true (hugs)

  5. Gretchen
    January 31, 2014 at 12:29 am (3 months ago)

    I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and may I say, you are incredibly talented. You have a beautiful eye for colour, and incredible quilting, and I’m so sorry you received such a poor reception. It floors me how civility has gone out the window in our society today. I hope you don’t let a few unkind individuals discourage you. I enjoy reading your blog so much, and looking at some of your quilts helps me step “out of my box” a bit and try some new things. Good luck with everything.

  6. Diana @ Red Delicious Life
    January 31, 2014 at 12:51 am (3 months ago)

    The reception you received is just awful! Even if someone isn’t interested, they could at least take the time to shake your hand and look you in the eye. I think you’ve got the right attitude – don’t let them get you down. Word will get out and you’ll get your foot in the door somewhere and before you know it, it will be wide open!

  7. Lea
    January 31, 2014 at 2:12 am (3 months ago)

    You go girl get your name out there one way or another. Sounds like the first shop is set in their ways. Don’t let them discourage you. This is your dream, not theirs. They have probably known each other for a long time. Maybe they are afraid it would create waives in their relationship with each other? It’s best for customers to have choices and they should have given you a warm welcome. I’m sorry they didn’t. You will get past this. There is a saying for every 10 (or whatever # it is) “no’s” you get a yes. It takes time but your beautiful work and passion you have will speak for itself.

    Congratulations on teaching at your LQS. Hoorah for you! :) Maybe they will put your cards out for you? Other quilt shops too?

  8. Leanne Parsons
    January 31, 2014 at 3:41 am (3 months ago)

    I quilt because it feels so good to actually have something to show for my work at the end of the day (or a lot of days as I take forever to finish anything!). As a stay-at-home mom I find that without quilting I can feel as if I don’t accomplish anything all day, even though I know caring for my kids is certainly important. Good on you for realizing you really, really want this and not letting the negative reception turn you off. Good luck!

  9. Claire
    January 31, 2014 at 5:22 am (3 months ago)

    I have a friend who moved into my town and got a reception just like you describe. One day she was at a quilt shop when the owner was there and happened to have samples with her. She got a much more positive reception without the gatekeeper. She also started quilting charity quilts at guild, and members could see her work. Things changed. Hope they do for you as well.

  10. Shannon
    January 31, 2014 at 5:46 am (3 months ago)

    Oh no! I’m sorry you got a bad reception too. I’ve been a long-arm quilter for 4 years (& a stay at home mom) and most of my customers are referrals from word of mouth now. I haven’t gone to many guilds or shops to get customers and when I did, it was the manufacturer of the Tin Lizzie 18. They took our “guild” ideas and turned it into a $300.00 “certification” course–non of us were “certified” but we basically wrote the course. I empathize with you and understand how hard it can be. Just think of “Dori” in Disney’s “Finding Nemo”–”Just keep swimming.” In my longarm business, I let the work “speak” for itself and the customers just keep coming. In my area of the US there are a lot of computerized quilters and I am a free-hand/customized quilter. This makes me stand out. Decide what style of quilting you like, find a niche for it, and things will work out. Best wishes!

  11. Elita @ Busy Needle Quilting
    January 31, 2014 at 6:16 am (3 months ago)

    There will always be naysayers in the world. It’s up to us to leave them on the iceberg alone. :-) I have had a similar experience here in Switzerland. I was very upset, like you, but also like you, I have a tremendously generous network of friends who keep me afloat in compliments. With their support, & the support of my loving partner, I’m hosting my 5th (fifth!!) quilting weekend retreat in April. I am slowly building my longarm business, selling batting & Aurifil thread & continuing to give classes & host retreats. It’s not an easy task but I can’t call it work when I love it so much! You are doing a FANTASTIC job so get off the iceberg & leave the naysayers to their misery!

  12. Renee
    January 31, 2014 at 9:40 am (3 months ago)

    You are a very talented quilter, I know you will make it–it just takes a lot of work and time to build a business, client base, following, and reputation. What you did took a LOT of courage, and I am so sorry that you were treated that way. Your works speaks for itself, and as people hear of it, they will start coming to you!

  13. Serena @ Sewgiving
    January 31, 2014 at 10:54 am (3 months ago)

    Goodness me … how very Un-Australian they were to you. People are threatened by greatness – but your sunny disposition and positiveness WILL win them over :)

  14. DeborahGun
    January 31, 2014 at 2:03 pm (3 months ago)

    so sorry Gemma. That is shocking. I absolutely love your quilting and you would be my first choice to send a quilt to for quilting xxx

  15. Lorna McMahon
    January 31, 2014 at 11:48 pm (2 months ago)

    What is it that drives me to quilt? I must concur with you because I want it with every fiber of my being! Am I committed to charity quilting? Do I quilt for my kids or grandkids? Is quilting my escape? Yes, yes and yes! How do I overcome those mental hurdles when someone discourages me? I remember all the above…. And I…. Keep On Quilting On! Glad to be sharing this journey with you, Gemma!

  16. Sally
    February 1, 2014 at 5:15 am (2 months ago)

    I’m so sorry you didn’t get the best reception but so glad you’re not going to be deterred. Your quilting looks amazing, keep going. I quilt because I love to create, being creative keeps me sane and quilts are my favourite because they are such a special thing to make, something that you put so much thought and love into and something that (hopefully) will last and be treasured even after I’m no longer here. Generally my quilts are for friends and family but I’m just starting to try and turn it into something more. Very hard when it’s such a time consuming activity though! Good luck with building your business, and hopefully I might get round to linking up soon!

  17. Lisa in Port Hope
    February 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm (2 months ago)

    You seem to have a positive attitude — and one day you will look back and be amazed at those people who weren’t supportive, because you will have more work than you can handle! It is true it is difficult for people to value craftsmanship and the love you will put into your quilting, but I’m sure Canberra is a big city and you will find your niche.

  18. Crystal
    February 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm (2 months ago)

    God, those Canberra quilt shops are so snobby. Seriously, they really need to think about how they treat people, because you are a customer too – and if they were smart, helping you could help them too. Plus, surely they want to find ways to branch out and find new avenues to get and retain customers, especially in this ‘harsh’ environment! I rarely shop in the Canberra stores because I find the customer service (at all of them basically) woeful. Sorry for the rant… You don’t deserve that kind of thing. Was great to meet you last week and I look forward to seeing you at many more CMQGs :)

  19. Carole
    February 2, 2014 at 8:22 am (2 months ago)

    “Driven to quilt” about nails it. I must, therefore I do!
    I read a good quote earlier that might apply to your situation with the local shops: “Work hard in silence. Let success make the noise.”
    Keep on doing what you do, and follow your dream!

  20. natalie hungryhippie
    February 3, 2014 at 8:12 am (2 months ago)

    I love your business cards-so eye catching! And of course the quilts themselves are lush! I quilt because I have to in order to survive. Really. I neeeed to quilt. :D I’m sure you understand. Following you via Bloglovin’ for future inspiration and loveliness. SEW happy to have found you!

  21. babette
    February 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm (2 months ago)

    Be positive!Bad persons aren’t for your new job. Unfortunately I am far from Australia(I have many tops unfinished!But I am sure that you can receive a best welcome in quilters areas ,I send you sweet thoughts for that.

  22. Michelle
    February 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm (2 months ago)

    Good question! I always feel I quilt because I HAVE to! I wouldn’t know what to do without it. It makes me happy, calms me, allows me to be creative and to feel clever occasionally.

    I’m sorry you had that reception in the shops. Goodness me. When will they wake up? I have a heap of quilts to get quilted this year – we will have to talk.

    So lovely to meet you last night. Was a complete surprise as I didn’t know you were coming. I hope you had a good night. And yes, we are the oldest quilting group in Australia – formed in 1976 in a loungeroom!

  23. Nurdan
    February 10, 2014 at 9:51 pm (2 months ago)

    I have just found your blog and I loved it! I will definitely follow you from now on! Are you based in Canberra because your profile says something different? I am sorry you had such a bad experience in Canberra. I live in Canberra and I know what you mean. Unfortunately Canberra quilt shops are always so full of themselves. Seriously, they have to shake and realise how they are treating their customers. I never buy fabric from any shops here-unless I really have to and cant wait for an online order to be delivered. They are hopeless…
    What makes me quilt?? I started quilting two years ago when I was expecting my baby. I have always been very crafty and did some sewing but never quilted before. I loved the whole experience; choosing fabric, thread, watching hundreds of tutorials on youtube, etc. I fell in love with the outcome. After I had my baby, I took a break for a while but never stopped thinking about quilting. Once I got used to living with a baby :) I went back to quilting again. Last November, I started my own quilt blog and I try to quilt with every chance I get here and there since I also have a part-time job. I find quilting very relaxing and the outcome is always fulfilling. Also being appreciated by others for your work is always very encouraging. Currently, I am trying to build some audience for my blog and I am slowly getting there. My blog is http://www.hugabitquilts.blogspot.com.au. Greeting from Canberra. Love, Nurdan

  24. Becky M
    February 12, 2014 at 8:23 am (2 months ago)

    Glad to hear you didn’t let your bad experiences get you down. I’m on the cusp of following the same dream you are (in the USA) and it’s fascinating to hear about your reception. Keep at it, You are so talented!


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