We love taking peeks into other people’s quilting studios during our Looky Loo Studio Tour! Each month during our Quilted Joy Clubhouse live meetings we tour the quilting studio of one of our QJ Clubhouse members. Today, let’s take a look back at our tour of Adrean Thomas’s amazing quilting space! Watch the video below to see Adrean’s Looky Loo Studio Tour!
We had so much fun chatting with Adrean and peaking around her quilting studio! Don’t you just want to be her best friend? There are a lot of aspects of Adrean’s space that we’re super envious of – like the large room, the beautiful view, the quilt wall behind her machine, and the home theater right next door! But best of all is all the furniture and pieces Adrean and her husband have repurposed and adjusted to make them perfect for her needs. When can we move in? 😉
We wanted to get to know Adrean Thomas a little more after our Looky Loo Studio Tour, so we asked her a few other questions before we recorded our tour.
Quilted Joy: How long have you been quilting?
Adrean: I’ve been quilting since I was about 8yrs old. My grandmom is the one who taught me to quilt and sew…she was a seamstress and lead the church quilting guild. I was a hand quilter until 2011 when I retired from active duty in the Air Force (28yrs).
QJ: How long have you been longarm quilting?
Adrean: I began longarming after attending my first quilt show (The International Quilt show in Houston 2011) that’s the first time I saw a longarm…and once I had put my hands on it…I was hooked!
QJ: What longarm machine do you have and why did you choose it?
Adrean: My first longarm was an APQS Freddie, then after 7 yrs, I traded it in for a Millie. When I attended the quilt show, of course I test drove all the longarms, Gammill, Handi Quilter, Innova, A1, and APQS. For 2 days I went round and round on each machine, talking with the sales person, and others who own the various machines, and the APQS machines just seem to be simple and seamless to use and the stitch quality was excellent…it had just enough bells and whistles without being over complicated. But most of all it was the warranty and customer service availability that pushed me over.
QJ: Do you have a computerized system? If yes, what do you enjoy about it? What led you to choose it?
Adrean: I just recently purchased a computerized system about 7 months ago. I’d always wanted one but couldn’t justify the cost seeing how I still work a full-time job as an Instructor/curriculum developer for the Army, and I was able to keep my turnaround time for my quilt customers around 1-3wks depending on if the quilt was a panto, or custom work. Well after COVID hit, I began teleworking for my job…this allowed me to be home all day, and with the upcoming xmas holiday season, I was getting swamped with new customers, so I thought now is a good time to invest in a computerized system and let the increase in my revenue pay for it.
What I enjoy about it, is that my time is more efficient which allows me to work my day job and quilt…this opens the door for me to keep accepting new customers and stay on target with my turnaround time. However, I’m a hand-guided quilter at “heart”! I still very much love and enjoy doing pantos hand-guided at the back of the machine and for most of my smaller quilts that’s how I still do them because I do my panto work in manual mode around 80% speed so I can get it done quite faster than the computer…having a computerized system is like having the best of both worlds!
QJ: When you think about your quilting life prior to getting your longarm machine and now… What can you do easier? What do you love about longarm quilting?
Adrean: I LOVE everything about longarm quilting… I mean what’s not to love! Maybe the cost. I knew when I bought mine I wanted to turn my love and passion for quilting into a business even though I still work full-time. I will be retiring from civil service July 2022 and can’t wait to quilt full-time. What can I do easier by having a longarm? Everything, if you ever tried quilting a queen size quilt on a domestic machine… you know what I mean. I applaud those who are talented and skillful enough to accomplish it. I just didn’t enjoy it as much, but I love piecing quilts.
QJ: How have you grown your skills?
Adrean: When I first got my longarm I was all into custom work, especially ruler work. And I would say that’s my niche, detail custom ruler work. But we all know pantos are the bread and butter of most small business longarmers so as I developed my muscle memory in hand guided pantos I wanted to take a stab at working in manual mode (I love a challenge) and all my quilting friends who had longarms were scared to death of the manual button. Once I made the leap, I never went back so now that’s how I quilt my pantos. And rulers are a girls best friend when doing ruler work. As you will see on my wall, I have a plethora of them!
QJ: What is the most challenging part of quilting for you?
Adrean: Right now it’s juggling between my quilting business and my full-time job. There are so many other things I want to do in support of my quilting like create a quilt pattern, host a quilt-a-long or quilt tutorial, get published in a quilt magazine; so many dreams!
QJ: What do you love about your quilting space?
Adrean: It’s Big. Lol of course it could be bigger but transitioning from a 12x13ft bedroom to a 20x25ft bonus room is a big plus! Because of the space, I’ve been able to configure the room in a couple of ways. For example before I had my cutting table in the middle of the room like an island, now it’s part of my work “U” pattern. I also have the most gorgeous view from my 3 big windows so during the day, the sunshine is awesome!
QJ: What would you change about your space if you could?
Adrean: I guess it would be what most quilter’s say they don’t have enough of… storage! Almost every wall is covered with something to make storage and I’m still working on a better storage strategy. I’ve been looking at some IKEA storage solutions.
QJ: What advice would you give a new longarm quilter?
Adrean: Don’t be so critical of yourself. Make time to practice. Challenge yourself, that’s a great way to find your strength and weaknesses, enjoy the journey!
QJ: What quilt project are you currently working on?
Adrean: Whew! I have several projects I got my toes into. But it’s this one project that was very challenging and I almost gave up, but then I found the solution and it’s turning out beautiful. I really would like a few minutes to talk about how I got it to work. Although I’m midway through it I decided to video it as a journey and will post to IG and Youtube when the quilt is all done.
QJ: What quilt project is on your bucket list?
Adrean: So I’ve lived in San Antonio, Texas since 2005 (Hurricane Katrina brought me here) so being in TX you would think by now I’ve made a Lone Star Quilt…nope! So this is the first on my bucket list.
QJ: How would you describe your quilting style?
Adrean: I have a love for both modern and traditional quilting styles, and when I’m quilting something of my own or a customer lets me quilt whatever I want, I mostly try to incorporate some of both, unless the fabric or quilt pattern speaks heavily to one or the other. But if you asked me to quilt something freehand on the spot, it would be feathers so I guess I’m traditional at heart but I say I’m more a transitional quilter blending both modern and traditional styles.
QJ: What is your favorite batting and thread?
Adrean: I’ve been a Quilter’s Dream girl since the day I owned a longarm. And I go back and forth between Superior Threads Magnifico, and Glide threads. I started my thread collection with superior threads so that’s what most of my thread collection consist of.
QJ: What is your current favorite quilting gadget?
Adrean: You are going to laugh, but it’s a pair of angle long tweezers (I’m a surgical nurse so they are actually a surgical tool call Debakey’s) and a tiny crochet needle. Whenever I’m on the longarm, these are a must! When sewing it’s my knee up bar, WOW what a great invention!
QJ: Do you quilt for others? If yes, what is your business name and where can people find you online?
Adrean: Yes I have an official longarm quilting business Especially for You Quilts, and you can visit my Facebook page or Instagram to see pics of my work and customer reviews.
QJ: What are three things you’re loving that you’d recommend to your bestie?
Adrean: The 3 things I’m loving right now are
- My Instapot with the Air fryer lid
- My GoPro (I can attach to my Millie and video my quilting)
- My favorite app right now is Milanote
Thanks again to Adrean Thomas for letting us look around!