Last year, I had the pleasure of being introduced to a kindred soul with a love for fabric, sewing and quilting. We had one unique commonality when it came to sewing; fabric. I design fabric and she sells fabric. Because of this we always have so much to discuss – colour theory, coordinating prints, quilting, designing and of course sewing. So it is my pleasure to share this first feature of Meet the Maker – Linda Timms of Blue Barn Quilt Co..
Recently, I had the fortunate opportunity to interview this lovely, sweet and immensely talented business woman.
So without further adieu, meet the maker, Linda Timms of Blue Barn Quilt Co.
When did your love for fabric and sewing begin? How long have you been quilting/sewing?
I come from a line of creative and crafty women. My Oma was a seamstress, knitted/crocheted and owned a wool shop with my equally talented aunt. My mom is an artist as well. I have always loved fabric.
I remember the first time I got to use my mom’s Singer sewing machine when I was about 7 years old. My first sewing project that I can remember my cousin and I cut up my Aunt’s curtains and made doll clothes.
I loved Home Economics in Junior High school and later after school was all done, I enjoyed making a some of my work clothes. Skirts and simple blouses were some of my favorites.
I didn’t start quilting until I was pregnant with my 4th child. I wanted to make her a quilt so that she couldn’t complain that she never got anything (think pictures for a 4th child, they don’t really exist!) My plan was to make one quilt. I had it all planned out with classes at my local quilt shop so that I could have it finished 2 weeks before she was due. She decided to arrive 3 weeks early and ended up getting her quilt for her 2nd birthday.
Needless to say, that wasn’t the only quilt I would be making in my life!! Many evenings after I put my kids to bed I would go and quilt. It was a way for me to create and not think about everything else in life. It was very therapeutic during hard times for me.
When my kids all moved out in a short period of time I went through a bout of depression and quilting was one of the things that got me through it. I started Blue Barn Quilt Co. in that chapter of loneliness to keep me busy and focused on something that I loved to do.
What kind of projects do you love to sew?
Quilts!! Making clothes is still a favorite for me, although I don’t have very much time for that right now. I am making lots of baby quilts right now with our first grand-baby due this summer!
Part of my work includes testing patterns for a few designers. I really enjoy working with them to help fine tune their instructions and to test their pattern with different fabrics. I love learning and taking classes from other teachers.
What made you want to go into the fabric/quilting/longarm business?
Longarm quilting kind of happened by accident. I had a longarm quilter that did all of my quilts for me, but she moved. Then I took a class to learn how to longarm so that I could get some of my quilts done and started renting time at a local shop. I ended up really enjoying the longarm process and bought my own machine. This is when I began teaching friends & family how to quilt and use the longarm. I started bringing in backings and battings for the quilting.
The next natural progression was to bring in fabrics. I decided that if I was going to bring in fabrics, they would be fabrics that I love, just in case no one bought any. My first line was Liberty of London fabrics. I had been collecting them for years and they are hard to find in Canada. I also love Art Gallery Fabrics. Their quilting cottons have the highest thread count (next to Liberty) and work very well together with the Liberty Fabrics. A lot of the patterns that I test I use a combination of Liberty and AGF solid fabrics.
What kinds of services do your offer?
For my customers, I do long arm quilting on my computerized Longarm machine. I also teach some of my customers how to use the long arm machine, and then they can rent my machine.
Many of the quilts that I make are memory quilts from old clothing from family members who have passed away. Wedding blessing quilts where guests sign a piece of fabric instead of a guest book that gets turned into a quilt for the couple. Another type of quilt incorporates old family table cloths & hand embroidered linens. As well, I create prayer quilts for friends and family battling cancer or other diseases.
One of my favorite projects was a quilt out of a horse blanket for a 10 year old girl who lost her horse suddenly. I love sharing in those special moments when a quilt is given to the owner and they really love it. A little piece of my heart goes home with each quilt that I make. It truly is something really special that I feel so privileged to be a part of!
What kind of fabrics do you sell?
Through Blue Barn Quilt Co., I sell predominantly Liberty of London and Art Gallery Fabrics. I am starting to bring in some other lines as well. Figo Fabrics is one of my new lines. I sell the whole line of Fireside for backing quilts. It feels like a really thick flannel that has been washed a hundred times. I also have a great variety of Quilters Dream batting. There is a small collection of wide back cottons and canvas for making bags.
I carry a collection of patterns from Kitchen Table Quilting, Then Came June, Cluck Cluck Sew, Aurifil Thread and others as well a few other notions. I only sell fabrics and things that I love and use.
What’s the number one question you get asked in regards to your business?
How long have you been in business is probably what I get asked the most! To be honest, it just kind of evolved and I don’t really know when it actually started!! If I had to say, it would be about 2 years ago. I did my first quilt show October 2019 and that was a really positive experience. I was approached to bring my booth to lots of other shows. The Quilt Canada Show will be this September. The hardest part has definitely been getting people to find me. It is a slow process.
Do you sell in person or online?
Normally, both! I have a shop that I run out of my home studio. We cleared land at our farm last fall to build a shop this year. Hopefully that will still get started. I also have an online shop where most of my fabrics are listed. You can also fill in the long arm form online to mail your quilt top in to be finished. Normally you can book long arm rental time online as well.
Do you offer courses or classes in person?
Normally yes, however that is on hold right now. I love to teach one on one or small group classes so that everyone walks away feeling successful. I eventually would like to do workshops and retreats for quilting out at the farm.
Do you host in person markets?
Last November we hosted our first Makers Market in our barn at the farm. I wanted to encourage other makers and have a positive experience for many of the first time vendors. We had 15 vendors and did a one day Christmas Market. We had a super turn out and raised money for the Food Bank. Overall I was thrilled with the response. We are going to have our second annual Maker’s Market this November 28!!
What is next for you? Where do you see yourself in 2 years? Five years?
I would love to write patterns! My bucket list dream would be to design fabric someday!! I just really take it day by day. I have goals and projections that I would like to meet but I am also open to other opportunities that I haven’t maybe thought about!
What is your dream for Blue Barn Quilt Co.?
I would love for Blue Barn Quilt Co. to be an encouraging, welcoming and safe place for my customers to share their hopes and dreams. A place where my customers (who often become friends) can express their creativity and not feel judged or that they are making mistakes. Where we can laugh and cry together. And a place where relationships matter and where friendships can blossom.
How can we get in touch with you?
My website is www.bluebarnquiltco.com
My cell phone 780 700-4456 (any time of the day or night!! Seriously, anytime) text or call. I turn it off when I sleep, which may sometimes be during the day depending on how late I stayed up quilting the night before!
Find me on Instagram at @bluebarnquiltco and at Blue Barn Quilt Co. on Facebook.
For email inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you like what you have read in the first installment of Meet the Maker Linda Timms of Blue Barn Quilt Co., please get in touch with her. And if you are a fellow pinner, please pin an image or two. Thank you!
What does this look like for you?
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