Let me tell you how I got started quilting.
Around 1990, Mom made a quilt top for my son, Cory. I was very excited when I went to Wal Mart and picked out a black, purple, green and yellow print fabric. Then I went and selected all these plain colored polyester fabrics for poor Mom to make the quilt. She didn't complain; thank goodness I selected the Rail Fence pattern, and she made Cory's quilt top.
Now it was time for me to hand quilt it. Mom was going to come to my home in Bloomington, Wisconsin, to get me started and teach me how to hand quilt. Before we got to do this, Mom suffered a massive heart attack and we lost our wonderful Mother just ten days later.
The quilt top sat in the closet for a few years until I saw a quilt that had been machine quilted. I thought, now that is what I can do with Cory's quilt and it will get finished. I sent the quilt top out and had it quilted with a polyester batting with the cloud pattern. I brought it home and put about a 4 inch wide binding on the edge, all done by machine. I think Cory still has the quilt.
My daughter, Katrina, then thought she needed a quilt. I was already a lot wiser. Katrina and I went to a local quilt shop and selected four blue fabrics of 100% cotton. I made my first quilt top, a Sunshine and Shadows quilt, all in blues. I sent it off to the machine quilter and it was quilted with a pantograph pattern. I was hooked on quilting!!
I continued making quilt tops and sending them out to a local machine quilter. She specialized in pantographs only and I was ready for more. It was time for me to purchase my own long arm quilting machine. My husband was very skeptical as I threatened to put the machine in our living room unless we built on to our house. I talked about it for about a year and eventually we built a wonderful two story addition to our home for my new quilting studio.
Fast forward a few years to 2001 and I decided this quilting stuff was alright. I quit my full time job working for the US government and Quilts by Barb became my full time passion. It has been nothing but uphill every since!
Quilts by Barb evolved to include Quilt Retreat Getaway Weekends and Hand Dyeing Workshops. We celebrated our fifteen year anniversary of fall retreats in 2017. I have taught over 300 students in Beginning Quilting 101 and a large number of other quilt classes at local quilt shops in the area and in my studio. In 2007, I had my first opportunity to teach at the Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, and taught at the venue for about ten years.
Around Christmas time in 2006, I decided it was time to trade up from my Gammill Classic with an IntelliStitch attachment to a Gammill Optimum with a Statler Stitcher. The Statler Stitcher is the top of the line quilting system and it helps me to continue to provide the best in custom machine quilting for my quilting customers.
There are many days when I am working on a quilt for myself or a custom quilt for a customer and I think just how much my Mother would have enjoyed helping me in my quilting business. Unfortunately, I didn't get started quilting until after I lost her but I am guessing she is watching me from above and is really glad I know better than to head to Wal Mart for polyester fabric as I continue to add to my quilting stash!
Pictured below my family: We went on a Disney cruise for Christmas 2017. This picture was taken on Pirates Night. Yes, I designed our T Shirts!