Friends are the gems of our lives! I count myself the richest person because over the course of my life, I have collected so many gems that my cup overfloweth! My friends live all over the world and we came to know one another through quilting!
Yes, isn't it amazing how quilting connects so many people far and wide!
Take my friend Nichole Webb Rivera
for instance. She lived in the far left hand corner of the United States... way over there in Washington State and I lived way over here on the East Coast in North Carolina! What was the chance of us ever knowing the other existed or even becoming good friends as we have? The odds were against us until that one thing allowed us to meet... "quilting!"
I bought my first longarm quilting machine in 2006 on a whim! Take this from a 27 year hand quilter!! I had never quilted anything on my domestic machine let alone one of these giant monsters!! I tried the machine out when I got it home but no matter how hard I tried, I could not get my quilting to resemble anything close to my hand quilting!!! This machine daunted me to no end!!!
I had my hand quilting frames set up in the same room with the longarm and I would sit and hand quilt and just look over at the machine and say to myself, "WHAT was I thinking!" I could not get my work to look worth anything AT ALL so I started refusing to quilt on it! (truth is, I had not really given it a chance... a couple of tries and my work looking shotty and I had no use for the dang thing!) My husband would come and stand at the door and ask me when was I going to practice and learn to use the machine and I would say "Soon" even though I knew soon was a long way off! I was happiest hand quilting anyway!
I started googling photos of longarm quilting and found a group that met at LongarmChat.com. I joined the group to get some inspiration (hopefully) and this is where I met Nichole! She was offering classes right under my nose! (or so I thought)
The Story Of How Nichole and I Met!
was offering longarm classes so I went to her website to check them out. The information said she would be in Clarksville, VA not 30 minutes from me!!! (yep..uh-huh) How could I not go to those classes!!! My husband came in for lunch that day and I was eager to tell him about the classes! I was afraid he might say no because one day costs 250.00 but he just had to say yes because they were so close under my nose! right?? He agreed faster than a rat on cheese!! He was so ready for me to learn to use that machine that he had paid good money for that it would not have mattered if the class had cost 500.00!
So, I skip happily back to the computer after lunch to go sign up! I clicked on that Paypal button so fast it would have made your head swim! TA-DA!! I was signed up for my first ever longarm class!
I was looking over my printed receipt....But wait!!!! Where did that W come from???? I could have sworn that Clarksville had a VA to the right of it!! Now there was a WV there!!! I think I was just so happy to find a class over on the East Coast that I had not looked past the word Clarksville!!! haha! I googled Clarksville, WV and found it to be about 500 miles from us!!!! Geesh louise!! I knew hubby would stroke out! He would have to take me and he might not like that idea!
He came in for supper and I told him I had something to tell him. He asked "what" and I told him he had to promise not to get mad! He asked again "what is it" and I said "you have to promise first"! So he promised and I explained the situation to him. He wasn't the happiest camper in the woods but once he found out I would not get a refund he agreed to take me!
Class day came and we left in the wee early hours of the morning to get there! I had the hostesses home address because that is where I thought the classes were! NOPE!! I finally found a neighbor that helped me get down in to town where her quilt shop was and that is where I found the class! It had just gotten underway by the time I arrived. I walked in and Nichole was perched on a stool with a writing tablet in her hand. She looked at me and asked "Can I help you". I smiled and said "I am here to take your class" to which she replied "UH no, you're not" and I said "Yes, I am" and she said "No, you're not" and I said "I paid my money" and she said "I am expecting a William and certainly not a woman" and I said "OH! William is my husband and our Paypal is in his name" and she looked at me and we both burst out laughing!! We have been the best of friends ever since!
I hosted her at my home that winter for almost a full week and we had the best time. There were 5 students here every day learning to quilt like a Rock Star!!! She helped me so much that soon I took down the hand quilting frames and I have never looked back! Yes, some days I do miss it but I have learned to make peace with my longarm "who is now called Sassy!" and I love machine quilting and I do owe it ALL to Nichole! IF I had not taken that first class from her and had her in my home where I got some one on one instruction and sat through another 4 days of classes, well... I may have just sold that darm machine! The photos throughout this post are of some of my past quilting.
I would love for you to meet Nichole
I received an email from Nichole in late June asking for my address because she wanted to send me something. I asked her what was she sending and she told me it was a surprise. So I waited for the mailman to come and one day here comes a box from Nichole! When I opened the box tears immediately came to my eyes!! Inside was a beautiful quilt all finished with her awesome quilting!
Nichole is the best edge to edge quilter I have ever seen! Her designs seem to flow so effortlessly as she moves the machine across the quilt! I think there is something "extra" in the atmosphere on the West Coast!
(photo borrowed from Nichole)
I called her on the phone to thank her for this wonderful gift and she told me that she was leaving her legacy and I was #1 on her list to receive a quilt!
(photo borrowed from Nichole)
The quilt stays in the living room where it is getting much good use! it sure keeps the chill off at night when I am in the recliner watching NCIS! And whenever I need a hug all I have to do is wrap up in the quilt and Nichole is hugging me tight! :)
Please go over to Nichole's website
to check out her work!
Nicole loves my fruitcakes and I love her quilting and we go skipping merrily along down the path of friendship together! :)
I love you Nichole!