Long Arm Quilting Professional with 37 Years' Experience
Greetings! It is nice to meet you!
Let me introduce myself. My name is Elisa Corcoran.
I have been living in the Pacific Northwest for half of my life. The first half, I lived in Northern California with a 2-year stint in Ireland.
I started sewing in 4-H when I was a 3rd grader. Won a few fair ribbons and really caught the sewing bug. In high school, I made patchwork clothing. These were super popular in the 70’s. Actually, had a bit of a sewing business at that time. My friends wanted me to sew up some of these creations for them and they would pay me.
In the early 1980’s I started piecing and sewing smaller quilts. These were so much more fun than sewing clothes that had to fit. Quilting rulers and cutting mats were just introduced to the quilting/fabric market. For the next 10 years I was busy with children and making kids quilts. As my kids grew, I found that I needed to make time for myself and this was the perfect hobby to fill my “me time”. Some neighborhood moms had a quilting group and we found ourselves gathering at each other’s houses once a week.
I eventually moved away from my sewing circle to my brief but exciting extended stay in Ireland. Believe it or not I found the Irish Patchwork Society that met monthly in Dublin. There was a gal in the next town over that held “Patchwork” classes. She would bring in guest teachers from Northern Ireland, Europe and the US. I made some great lifetime friends there and made wonderful memories.
Moving back to the states we landed in the Pacific Northwest. Again, I found myself a new group in my new town. In 1994, a gal in my group complained about her new quilting machine. It was “too fast” for her and I purchased it from her. It was a “midarm” sit down quilting machine. Since starting this craft in the 1980’s, I had done hand quilting. My Bernina had a too small of throat space to really quilt larger quilt. This was the first time I could work with sizes up to a king quilt. I was in heaven.
I really had to learn how the best way to handle large quilts. It worked best to work in rows. This was different than quilting by hand. There we would start in the middle and work out. I found my best tool was a pair of gardening gloves. I had to move the bulk of these quilts with my arms.
For 18 years, I quilted my quilts this way. Only once did I send out my quilt top to be quilted. It was a memory quilt for my cousin’s family. He was a young man and had passed a few months earlier and I found working with his clothing traumatic for me. After finishing the piecing, I was so appreciated that my friend (the long armer) would take on the task of quilting such a special quilt.
In 2012, I purchased my first longarm quilting machine. It is a 26” Innova Classic with Autopilot. It is a computerized quilting system. I could start my new quilting business. I thought this would be the best for me as I loved to quilt and I had just moved to Oregon. It would be a great way to meet quilters in my new area. It also gave me a chance to be with my twin grandsons while their mother worked. My business started off slowly. My main goal was to learn my machine and play with my 5-year-old grandsons. After a year, I decided it would be a good time to sell my sit down midarm quilting machine. I was starting to collect batting to sell to my clients and I needed more room in my shop.
Well, fast forward 10 years… My grandsons now live 4 hours away. I don’t get to see them as much as I used to. I have quilted over a thousand quilts and believe that I have a great business with lots of satisfied clients. This summer (2022), I decided to purchase a smaller manual Innova Classic machine. Since I need to be in the shop at all times, this new machine allows me to freemotion quilt while the Autopilot machine keeps working away.
Thank you for listening to my story. I really love what I do. I think that is really what makes a business run well.
If, I can help you finish your quilt please contact me via my website. We can start the process as soon as possible.