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longarm-quilting-extraordinaire
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Heidi Kaisand
0:02
Good morning and welcome to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of Hen and chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa, and lover of all things creative. Each week here on create with Heidi. We'd like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative. Excuse me, whether it's cool teen scrapbooking food wool or just hanging out with others who seem to have their creative Mojo groove and and all the right directions. We are excited to share these things with you. My quote for today, as I always like to start with a quote is today isn't just an ordinary day. Today, I'll create something beautiful, unknown. And I picked that quote, because my guest today is Dawn Kavanaugh. And she is what I like to refer to as a long arm quilt extraordinaire. And welcome Dawn, How are you this morning?
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Dawn Kavanaugh
1:01
Hi, Heidi, I am excited to be here. I am great. It's a beautiful day in Iowa.
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Heidi Kaisand
1:06
It is it is it didn't snow like they predicted. So we're good. Right? That makes every day a little bit better? Well, Don, and I had the pleasure of working together for several years. And I got to know dawn through a pq s, which is a long arm quilting manufacturer right here in Iowa in Carroll, Iowa. And I now have an A pq s machine in our store at Hen and chicks studio, which we love to rent out. And I'm sure we'll talk a little bit more about that. But, you know, we're always looking for inspiration. And for you know, more knowledge about the long arm quilting. And when I think of that, I think of you don, because how long have you been long arm quilting?
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Dawn Kavanaugh
1:58
Oh my gosh, you're gonna make me feel very old. Heidi, because
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Heidi Kaisand
2:01
I'm sure you started when you were five?
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Dawn Kavanaugh
2:03
Yeah, thank you very much. Yes, actually, I bought my machine so that I could stay home with my young children. And so I bought it in 1994, which means that I'm going on nearly 30 years, over a quarter of a century I've been a longarmer back when machine quilting was still considered cheating by most quilters who were hand quilting at the time.
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Heidi Kaisand
2:27
And I remember those days because because my grandmother was quilting. And she'd been having everything hand quilted. But she was producing enough quilts that it was it was taking a lot of time for her Amish friend to to hand quilt them that, you know, she's wanting to have the machine quilted. And I have to say myself, I was one of those like, what, what are we doing here? And you know what, what's happening? It was it was really new to the to the to the whole quilting world at that point.
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Dawn Kavanaugh
3:02
Most definitely, I think we go through transitions like that in lots of different crafting activities. But one of the things that I think machine quilting has given us whether it's sitting down at your home personal machine, or having the beauty of renting time on a long arm or even only one yourself is the ability to get more projects done in your lifetime. I know that when I first started, I did push a little quilt through a home machine three or four times and I hand quilted one or two. But I thought oh my gosh, my imagination is so filled with more ideas that I'm never going to get them all done in my lifetime if I'm going to have to use that process. So Oh, definitely an eye opener.
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Heidi Kaisand
3:45
Absolutely. And, and I think you touched on you know, we've got so many ideas and so many, you know, things that we want to make. And even as, as I have two young 13 year old daughters that are learning to quilt and and I just keep telling them just keep making stuff. And even if you don't know where the quilt is gonna go, we'll find a home for it. Somebody needs that quilt, but they can produce quilts rather quickly or faster than I can because they don't have a full time job. And so, you know, it's it's amazing. And I'm teaching them Well, actually, they may they're probably teaching themselves how to quilt and finish those projects themselves. Not only do they enjoy the process, they're getting to do all of the parts of it. But then you're right it's you know, they can do it faster and they don't have to wait on somebody else to to come and quilt and stuff. So yeah, that's it's it's a very interesting process.
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Dawn Kavanaugh
4:45
I think you touched on something that's very important, especially after a year of all of us feeling isolated and stuck at home is taking back that ownership of the process from start to finish. I'm excited that the girls are able to learn how to Do that, because finishing that quilt is the ability to check something off and definitely say it's done. But it also means when you give that to someone, you can say, wholeheartedly, I made this all myself. Yeah, and that's definitely a rewarding experience. It is.
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Heidi Kaisand
5:15
And we don't want to put any guilt on people that do send their quilts out, because it's not long, I mean, is not a process for everybody. And so, so, but I always think, especially as a shop owner and talking with a lot of customers, that the more you understand the process, the better you are going to be able to talk to your long arm quilter and to be able to be able to get a better end result with that product.
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Dawn Kavanaugh
5:49
So exactly right. Yeah. Where you find your joy is personal. Many, many people are toppers, as we call them, they piece the tops, and that's where they find their creative spark and the finishing part isn't for them. Others like me also find joy in that creative part of finishing that quilt. So the collaboration that we have together produces a wonderful product in the end.
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Heidi Kaisand
6:13
Oh, wait does well, Dawn is I knew we would be having just a wonderful conversation. We're gonna take a quick break. We'll be back right after this. This is Heidi Kaisand from Hen and chicks studio in Conrad. Here's Judy with her story of making a life event quilt.
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Dawn Kavanaugh
6:27
I'm a fairly new quilter and my granddaughter wanted a T shirt quilt for her graduation. And so I went over to Heidi's and she was very helpful. She helped me decide how to lay it out and help me with material and measurements that that got our fabric at the store. Heidi has great ideas with her materials, just ideas that I'd never come up with Olivia, my granddaughter, she picked out the T shirts she wanted then she helped me lay them out my other granddaughter Emily helped I put it all together. It's nice when you can surprise them with something like that because it means a lot to them their own shirts or whatever you use. So it's awesome to see see how people react to the quilts
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Heidi Kaisand
7:11
Hen and Chicks Studio 101 North Main Street in Conrad, schedule your quilting retreat at Hen and chick studio.com. Welcome back to create with Heidi and my guest today is Dawn Kavanaugh and Dawn believe your title is APQS educator would that be the correct title?
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Dawn Kavanaugh
7:31
That is correct. I took advantage of the pandemic and semi retired this past year still love to teach people how to finish their quilt. So I offer classes, videos, blogs, and so forth with the APQS team and really enjoying that part of the process.
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Heidi Kaisand
7:51
Oh, I bet you are. Well, let's let's take a step back for somebody that might be listening. That does, they're saying long arm quilting machine? What's the hat? Can let's talk about a little bit about the difference between a domestic machine that some maybe somebody would piece on and a long arm quilting machine would you like to help me define those two things?
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Dawn Kavanaugh
8:12
Absolutely. Think about a domestic machine as the one that you're sitting at home. Putting your quilt together with or having your jeans or something like that you're doing the construction phase of the quilt. The ability to take the space that's inside that machine and push it quilt through is restrictive. To say the least typically you're talking anywhere from six to 10 inches of space is sometimes squeeze a king size quilt through a long arm has come to fruition through the courtesy of actually the bedding industry. Many years ago when I started my quilting business these were unheard of as machines used within the homeowners quilt studio. They were used in places like the Basset Furniture Company, for example, making pillow top mattresses and so forth. So the throat of the machine or the area between the needle and the mechanical part actually could grew for anywhere from 22 to 36 inches depending on what that machine was being used for. So today The advantage of using a machine with that deep long throat is that I can also use it on an extended table. Instead of sitting at my kitchen table or in my sewing studio with a little two foot by four foot space. I can use a table that is as wide as 810 12 or even 14 feet long depending on your space so I no longer have to squeeze that quilt into a narrow spot. I also have the depth of the throat because that is the vertical space for example to quilt. So when I've got a block that's 12 inches long, I can see the whole block and in larger machines. I can see it anywhere up to over 20 plus inches of quilt at the same time. Clip the entire length run row at a time. And I help Oh, it
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Heidi Kaisand
10:05
certainly does help. And I, you know, it's when you're working with that domestic machine and you're trying to push the fabric around, it is it is difficult, especially the bigger the quote, when you said it's a no king sized quilt. When I, when I hear somebody tried to do a king sized quilt on a domestic machine, I just think it's like an elephant. It's like, You're, you're trying to deal with this elephant. You know, if you're just dealing with a little mouse, it might be one thing, but you know, you're it's like a big elephant, compared to Yes, when you get it on that long arm, and you're able to load the fabric and the batting, and it stayed stationary. And then you just move that needle around like a like a pen. On paper, it is it is pure bliss. At that point, really, it is pure bliss. Now, now some people walk into our store, and they see the long arm called the machine. And they they immediately think, oh, you just push a button, and it goes, and we don't have a computerized machine. And so we try to explain that we are the ones truly almost a painting the picture, you know, drawing the designs. And that is where the creativity lies, don't you think?
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Dawn Kavanaugh
11:24
Oh, I agree. 100% is it creativity lies in the basically in your hands, you said that hit the nail on the head, it's like having a pencil in your hand, it's important to know that you don't need to be an artist to be able to use a long arm quilting machine. Because there are many ways to make it super simple. One of those would be to simply trace a design just like you would if you were quilting it any other way. If you can trace you can quilt on a long arm. And it's definitely easy by just guiding that machine with one hand.
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Heidi Kaisand
11:55
It is it is and we love it because again, a long arm quilting machine, it's big. It sounds loud, when it's like if the motor is running in the air. You know if it's like the engine revving, and people can it can I can kind of get excited about it and like think, oh, they've got it, they've got to go as fast as it sounds like it's going. And in reality, that machine is waiting for you. And, and you already said you can quote it by just pushing it with a finger. It's very, very controllable. So that you can actually get really intricate designs and and do really specific things.
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Dawn Kavanaugh
12:41
Oh, you're right. I think that sometimes we equate size and mass to something being scary and difficult. And really, it's just a larger sewing machine, a long arm is just a sewing machine that's got his neck stretched out. And none of us are really afraid to sit down and piece now I've got an embroidery machine, I'll confess or a surgery that sometimes I have to think a little bit to us. But the simplicity of the long arm makes it easy for even someone who's never done it before to feel comfortable grabbing a hold and doing that. And that ribbing that you're talking about Heidi is one of the coolest innovations in the machine quilting industry. When I sit at my home machine, and I still try and quilt a piece, I have to try and move my fabric at a consistent pace. So I don't have huge long stitches and then teeny tiny ones when the code gets caught. That revving of that motor is the the coolest invention that's called a stitch regulator. It makes sure that no matter how fast I move, or how slow I go, my stitches are going to be the same every time. So it makes me feel like I'm a pro even though I really didn't have to do anything. And the machine did all the work for me.
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Heidi Kaisand
13:48
Yes, and that is one of the things that we absolutely love about being able to use a long arm is that it takes the fear of that uneven stitch length out of the question for somebody that can just really focus on moving the machine and creating the motif. And the thing that that I think it's been it's been an interesting week for us. We actually had you know, Connie Keller, we actually had her come up from Texas to do some teaching with our staff and, and all sorts of things. And it was it's so fun. And I loved how she said, You know that we should be teaching what we know. And what we know are really simple patterns. I mean, you can go to some of these quilt shows and see beautiful, beautiful works of art by people like Marilyn badger and Karen mctavish and Myrna ficken. I mean people that are award winning, but for so many people it's just simple things like loops and meanders and stars and hearts and a little leaf here and a little leaf there. And that that it doesn't have to get super Fancy to be able to be really cool.
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Dawn Kavanaugh
15:03
Oh 100% right on the nail on the head. I'm glad that Connie said that because I know that many of us think that when we go to those quilt shows, we are astounded by the talent there. We also have to remember that that's that one person's perhaps a year in the making, where it's not the quilt that I'm going to love and give away to my granddaughter or that loving t shirt quilt that was put together. We want it to be usable and loving. And the cool thing is you just have to be able to do a little doodling and that just means as you said a looky loo here, and it doesn't really matter if it's all the same or different. We want the quote to be enjoyed.
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Heidi Kaisand
15:41
Absolutely. Well, we are just having so much fun talking about the creativity behind long arm quilting. We're gonna take a quick commercial break and we'll be back right after this. This is Heidi Kaisand from Hen and chicks studio in Conrad. Here's Jane with her story of making a life event
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Dawn Kavanaugh
15:57
quilt I'm going to make a curtain to go with the quilt. Sometimes I make a matching pillow to sit in the rocking chair or something like that. One of the really fun things that I like to put on the back of a baby quilt is something called minky or cuddle and it's really soft. My daughters usually make certain that when the baby has their pictures taken, they take their quote from grandma Jean along and we get a picture of the baby and a baby quilt. That's really a special thing too. So I have pictures of my grandchildren with the quilts that I made. Another thing I do for babies. Sometimes I'll make just a simple little quilt with a couple pieces of flannel This is called a self finding baby quilt. And it's a great gift. And Heidi has a great selection of flannels that you can use to make these kinds of gifts at Hen and Chicks studio in Conrad
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Heidi Kaisand
16:46
Realigning text with audio
schedule your quilting retreat at Hen and chicks studio.com Welcome back to create with Heidi, and we are having a fun conversation with Dawn Kavanaugh we're having just a little technical difficulty. So we're gonna get her back on here in a minute if we can. But Dawn is just such an inspiration to all of us long arm quilters because she has been doing it as she said nearly 30 years. And quilting is something that is a fun part of the process. To be able to, to finish your quilts with pride and to be able to put your own touch on those quilts. And did were we able to find on again. Awesome. Dawn, are you back? Awesome,
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Heidi Kaisand
17:38
awesome.
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Heidi Kaisand
17:39
We love technology. Don't we. But we're, we're glad to be back. And, you know, cool Dawn been able to add the personal touch. And I think you know, being able to personalize those quilts. I I've seen we've seen quilts that have had names quoted into them. And I think I even saw a quote one time that they were sending it off to a college student. And they wrote things that the mother wanted to make sure her son knew, like, eat your vegetables, you know, go to bed early. And I thought what a fun, fun keepsake for quilty, you know those things in there. And so I'm sure that you've seen lots of creative, creative things like that over
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Dawn Kavanaugh
18:27
the years. Oh my goodness. Yes, lots of creative ways to use things, even things that help us remember loved ones, clothing that's from grandma or grandpa or even mom and dad or a baby special buttons patches from the Girl Scout uniform. I've even quilted some odd things such as World War Two parachutes that a gentleman had brought back after world war two and wanted to at least remember some of the times that he had overseas. So it's amazing that you can quote so many different things, but it gave me so many different memories, no matter what your goal is to use that quilting machine or to make a quilt.
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Heidi Kaisand
19:08
Absolutely. So one of the things that we love to encourage at Hen and chicks studio is the fact that we do rent out our long arm for somebody that is thinking that hey, is you're listening to us like oh, you know, I would love to be able to finish my quilts. Obviously you can go out and buy one you know when I worked with apqs, that's what we help. That's what I help do. I helped customers and all of our sales reps, get those those machines into people's homes and that's so exciting. It's like, it's like buying a car, there are various models and which offer various ranges of money of cost. And then they offer you know, various features. And so what is the what is the going range these days for Everything from a maybe a Lenny which would be what what we would maybe call an introduction machine or the you know that initial step to the millennium, which is a top of the line, what kind of a range of costs, if you were going to purchase a machine would that cost today, Dawn?
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Dawn Kavanaugh
20:21
Sure. Many machine, which is a smaller model in terms of depth of throws, the table length can still change starts at around $11,300. If you go all the way up to 30 inch Millie, which is an option for you, you're talking $21,700. So it's definitely an investment in your cooking experience for some people, especially spaces that concern you the 10 1112 inch 12 to 12 inch, 12 feet.
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Heidi Kaisand
20:55