Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Part 3 - Read January 8, then January 26 before this

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

My husband moved back home. I proved to him that I can make money with my hobby while his hobby just throws money in a hole filled with water.

I stopped at the LQS (local quilt shop) after he’d been gone four weeks – the second time he moved out. Wait a minute! I didn’t stop to buy anything! I stopped to touch the fabric and feel the fabric and smell the fabric. I’d been going through withdrawals because I hadn’t had enough money to buy fabric for several weeks.

One of the women who works there asked me what I’d been working on lately. I pulled out my photographs. Yes! I carry photographs of my WIPs (works in progress). You never know when someone might want to look at them. The owner of the shop asked to see them. She fell in love with the Grandmother’s Flower Garden that I intended to use for a roof quilt. I had enough hexagons pieced to make two queen-size quilts. To make a long story short, she asked me if I’d be interested in selling them. She had a non-quilting customer who was building a farmhouse. One of the guestrooms was going to have two queen-size beds in it and she wanted two matching quilts.

I hadn’t thought about selling my quilts, but I told her sure, to go ahead and call her customer and we’d set up a date for me to bring the quilts to the shop so that she could see them. Long story short – she fell in love with the quilts and paid…are you ready? She paid me $3,000 for each quilt! She paid that much because both were hand-pieced and hand-quilted. Then she wanted to know what else I had.

I cut the kids’ car covers down, and she bought the quilts with matching pillow shams and valances for her grandchildren. Remember the boat cover I made out of old blue jeans? I took it apart and made four quilts out of it. She didn’t buy them, but she called some of her friends. I sold all four of them and have orders for two more.

I’ve been selling tablerunner and placemat sets some of which have matching potholders, as well as purses, totes, and quilted jackets. Most of that stuff I made a while back and never had used any of them.

My husband eventually called me, and we met for lunch. He was a real big spender…we met at a hamburger joint. He did offer me some money to buy groceries though. I told him, "No thank you." He looked surprised and asked if I’d gone to work. I just smiled. He asked if I’d robbed a bank. I let him sweat for a little while but I finally told him that I was selling quilts.

The kids were down to just a couple of quilts each and I had sold all but one of the quilts I’d made for our bed. There weren’t but two quilts left hanging on the walls in the house. All the quilted window shades were purchased by a woman who hung them on her basement walls to make it look as if she had windows.

He said I probably didn’t even cover the purchase price of my materials much less a fraction of my labor. I pulled out my checkbook and showed it to him. His bottom jaw dropped. When he recovered, he finally asked about my fabric stash. I smiled when I told him that I had been working on it. With him gone, I took over the garage. The kids helped me clean it out. With a fresh coat of paint, a big walk-in closet filled with shelves for my stash, books, and patterns, and a table for my machines, a cutting table, and an ironing table…my studio was set up. One wall had been set up for a design wall. He asked to see it.

When we got to the house and he walked into the old garage, his jaw dropped again. "Where? What? How?" He asked as he looked around the room.

I just smiled.

He walked over to the longarm quilter and asked where it had come from.

I just put my hands on my hips and smiled.

He wanted to know how it worked. Since I had a quilt in the frame, I showed him. He wanted to give it a try so I moved him down to the end where there was some cotton batting showing. It had some of the backing behind it, so I just sprayed a piece of fabric with some quilt basting spray and stuck it to the cotton.

He had a blast. I have to admit that he was pretty good. I let him work on the quilt. He finished it that night, but it had gotten pretty late so he asked if he could stay. I let him.

We have a booming business now.

Our daughter, who earned an art degree, is our pattern designer. She comes up with some new funky stuff as well as puts together some wonderful fabric combinations for traditional designs. She also designs most of our quilting patterns.

The oldest son is our business manager. He handles the advertising, business contacts, and incoming orders for not only our completed quilts but also for patterns his sister designs. We have such a huge volume of business and he keeps us on our toes.

Our youngest son is our computer guru. He built and maintains our website. He also takes the new designs to draft the patterns on the computer and prints them so that they can be sold.

My husband quit his job, and sold his boat. He invested money in the family business. He is a genius at the longarm quilter and has even won awards at some of the most prestigious quilt shows in the country and around the world.

We all take turns making the quilt tops. The kids have all learned to piece on the machine and have surpassed my expectations. Their points are actually pointed and all the seams intersect at exactly the right spot.

And me? My official title is "Purchasing Agent." In other words, I feed my habit. I get to visit fabric suppliers and buy FABRIC! You should see my stash now!

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.
This story is copyrighted ©
No part of this shall be printed or reproduced without the written permission of Sherry Ray.

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