Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Introducing Diane Carson

Here is a lady that accomplishes so much in a little amount of time, and has wonderful insight into the world of long arm quilting.   I am pleased to introduce you to Diane Carson.

Can you tell us a little about your quilting career?
My cousin called one day and asked if I would go with her to a local guild meeting. I was blown away by the show and tell. I signed up for a workshop right away. That was in 1985. In 1999 after my husband took a job transfer and I had to leave mine, I got to enjoy staying at home, so I began looking for something to do that would keep me home. I had never heard of longarming but read about it in a magazine and called the Gammill company for a video. Not long after that I ordered a machine over the phone without even a test drive. There were no dealers in Ontario so it had to come from MO.  Also lessons were only available in Springfield, Illinois at a  Machine Quilters Showcase which I attended every year for the next few years.   

Diane Carson with 'Pillars of Islam' 2010

When did you start long arm quilting?  
After I got my machine I quilted a few of my own quilts and some close friends quilts before I really got into the business in 2000.  

 "It's the Berrie's" Quilt Show June 2012

Tell us about the Canadian Machine Quilters Association.
In 2000 I was a founding member of the CMQA and our goal was to promote machine quilting and educate quilters. Now ten years later a lot has changed and we came to the conclusion that we had realized that goal. At Quilt Ontario 2011 we merged with CQA/ACC. There is no longer a CMQA, but in the end that is how you got me as a Longarm Representative for CQA/ACC. I hope longarmers can contact me ( if they have questions that need to be brought to the CQA/ACC Board and I would also like longarmers in Canada to feel they too can shine at Quilt Canada. A longarm category has been added to the NJS which is a great advancement for Longarmers and shows acceptance. This is a good thing that I believe came about because of the CMQA being there.       

                Viewer's Choice  "Fussy Cut Fixation"  CQA Ribbon

                Pieced by Anne Beaudoin, Quilted by Diane Carson

Why long arm quilting?  What is the perk or benefit of it that encourages people to try it and then pursue this avenue for quilting their quilts?  
For me it was being able to work at home and that is probably why some machines are bought. If you have to finish the laundry or housework before you get to the longarm, this business is probably not for you. It takes a lot of discipline and  is a lonely job most days.  The other perk is  meeting quilters and seeing the fantastic quilts being made today. I like to fit in at least 2 of my own quilts on the longarm every year, which sometimes is hard to do .  There are a lot of 'toppers' working faster then we are.

What do you see is the future for long arm quilting? 
Well I think we're here to stay and I see some very impressive quilting happening. I don't think you can stop the momentum.   

Do you think there is much more they can do to advance the long arm machine? 
This I'm not sure of, not having an advanced machine.  But I do try the new ones out  when I get to the big quilt shows.  They are really amazing. 

 In my spare time I take my friends to Quilt Shows

Can you give the readers some tips for long arm quilting? 
To the longarmers I want to tell them they are performing a very worthwhile and sometimes tedious task, but never under sell yourself. If we think we are not worth it, what will our clients think.  I have this saying in my studio. "There are 3 types of work, Fast, Cheap & Good. You can pick two. If you want it fast and good - it won't be cheap. If you want it cheap and good - it won't be fast. If you want it fast and cheap - it won't be good." 
If I had to pick one tip for the Toppers (our clients) I would ask them to please PRESS.  We can do a much better job for you when this one step is done. For me, a quilt is not quilted properly unless it has been stabilized with 'Stitch in the Ditch' ( a technique longarmers find difficult, time consuming and try to avoid), and if a top is pressed it makes this job so much easier.  
What is your favourite food while quilting?   
Well I am a lucky lady and every fall my husband and I travel to PA.  I get to the Amish fabric shops and he gets to the antique car shows which happen to be in Hershey . We usually bring home a years supply of chocolate. Do you know any quilters that would not like that?  Did I mention that the chocolate is all usually gone in 3 months so I switch to Chai Tea Latte. 

Thank you so much Diane for the insight into the world of longarm quilting.   If you hear a knock on your door, it is just me asking for some chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. that was a great interview - thanks Jackie and Diane.I am so glad that the machine quilters association is feeling comfortable within the CQA.
    Nina in BC