If you’ve been in Quilt Expressions, you’ve heard the gentle, continual hum that comes from the long arm side of the store. We have four Gammill Long Arm quilting machines that are available to rent by those who have taken our long-arm class and a Statler Stitcher that is operated by staff only. Keeping this beehive of activity operating smoothly is a team of talented quilters…..Rodi and Tracey. Let’s get to know Rodi a little better. (Tracey, you’re next!)
How did you learn to sew?
I lived with my grandparents during the summer months from when I was seven until I was fifteen years old. In our cherished spare time, my grandma taught me and my sister how to make templates out of cardboard, then draw around them on the fabric. Next, we’d cut out the quilt pieces with scissors. Finally came the sewing machine and teaching us how to sew a straight line. If my grandmother were alive today, she would love the rotary cutters and the hours they save.
My life outside of Quilt Expressions:
I am married to a great guy named Brett, and we have two wonderful children. Brandon (soon to be 20) and Ali (who is 16…some of you have probably seen her in the store on the first Saturday of the month). My family is the most important thing in my life. In my limited spare time, of course, I piece and long arm quilt. I also love to travel and spend time with good friends. I love to read, even though I don’t seem to have much time for it anymore. I love to play Sudoku and put together puzzles when time allows. I also like to work on home projects. Something about me that might surprise you is that I used to compete in triathlons.
My long arm quilting history:
I have been working at Quilt Expressions for seven years. I took the second long arm class that Karen offered when she had the store over on Broadway a little over seven years ago. I was hooked! I couldn’t get enough of it.
Do you enjoy quilting others’ quilts?
Yes, absolutely! I love seeing the different colors and patterns that people use in their quilts. We are all so different with the colors we use. Every day I get to see (and touch) a new quilt. How much better can it get than that?!
What is your favorite type of fabric and your favorite pattern?
I definitely go for the bold and brights, most of the time. And so far, my favorite pattern is “Spin Cycle.” My second favorite quilt pattern is not really a pattern but a wonky way of creating blocks so every quilt is different.
What inspires you?
I was inspired on a recent trip to Seattle when we went to the Chihuly showroom. His colorful glass works of art inspired me to try to make a “Chihuly” quilt. I am still working on how to do it, but someday I will. Also, the modern quilts inspire me and makes me want to both design and sew a few.
5 things I’d like to tell you as a long arm quilter:
1. Make sure both the quilt top and back are square.
2. Your quilt back and batting need to be at least 4″ larger than your top on all sides.
3. It helps if your borders aren’t wavy and full. If you need help on how to put on borders, we will definitely help you!
4. Make sure your seams are as flat as possible and well-pressed.
5. Be sure to remove all of your selvage before using your fabric. The selvage is woven much tighter than your fabric and won’t shrink at the same rate.