JulieAnn Chavez with her longarm machine
Deaf & HH Adults

JulieAnn Chavez: Deaf Quilter and Longarmer

Hello, my name is JulieAnn Chavez and I am the owner of The Quilting Nerd. 

Wait…  what? 

Why the Quilting Nerd? 

JulieAnn Chavez

The business name of The Quilting Nerd came about a few years ago during a text conversation between my sisters and me. I have another sister, Missy, who likes to quilt too.  Missy and I were discussing a quilting project and the youngest sister called us quilting nerds.  When my sister called us “quilting nerds” the name SANG OUT LOUD to me and swear the words Quilting Nerds was doing a boogey dance in my mind and I could not seem to stop thinking about Quilting Nerd.  I am addicted to quilting whether it’s piecing or longarm quilting.  I was in the process of setting up a side gig of doing custom quilts and longarm quilting and it dawned on me that the Quilting Nerd is the perfect business name, hence, The Quilting Nerd was born!

Allow me to provide you a little background of how I fell in love with sewing.  Way back in the day, my Mom made our clothes and I loved watching my Mom sew and I would beg her to let me sew.  She would let me help her and boy, my heart would skip a few beats over the sheer excitement of helping my mom sew. 

When I went to middle school, Home Economics class was a required class which included cooking, baking, and…SEWING!!!  I couldn’t wait for the cooking and baking to be over with because I was more interested in sewing.  Once the sewing class started, Mom gave me my first sewing kit, which included all the necessities required for sewing.  I still have my tomato, my wrist pin cushion, and my pinking shears. Yes, you read me right, pinky shears were the scissors we used back in the 70’s; rotary cutters were not invented yet!  Can you imagine life without rotary cutters???!!! 

JulieAnn’s tree skirt–her dogs approve.

My first quilt was a Christmas tree skirt that I made for my Mom.  The Christmas Tree Skirt pattern was from Simplicity. #8788.  It was a patchwork pattern.  Remember, there were no rotary cutters back then!

My love for quilting began with the Christmas tree skirts.  I didn’t have a lot of time to quilt at this point of my life, with two young boys who were very active in sports.  As they became older and more independent, I had plenty of time to quilt. 

When we lived in Illinois, my Mom would come over on weekends and we’d quilt together.  I sure miss those days of quilting with Mom!  She still lives in Illinois and we live in Arkansas–but that doesn’t stop us from talking about quilting! LOL! 

I quilt everyday since my boys left the nest.  I belong in several quilt clubs and even co-founded Northern Virginia Deaf Quilters which meets the first Saturday of the month in Montclair, Virginia.  Additionally, I attend several Deaf Quilt Retreats annually throughout the country. 

Can you tell I’m addicted?

One of JulieAnn’s quilts

This quilting addiction led me to starting my business making custom quilts and providing longarm quilting back in 2017 and 2018 respectively.   

My Longarming addiction started when I was commissioned to make custom quilts.  An expert longarmer invited me to watch the longarm quilting process.  I was truly amazed and knew I had to add longarm quilting as a service that I could add to my business.  I researched and test drove several longarm machines a little over a year and chose the APQS Millie longarm machine along with Quilt Path computer. 

So, if my sewing machine does the piecing of the quilt, what does a longarm machine do?  Think of the longarm machine as a standup domestic sewing machine on steroids, LOL! Once the backing, batting, and quilt top is loaded on the longarm machine, it is ready to add finishing stitches to the quilt, which is faster than quilting by hand.  This machine is like a giant doodling device on wheels where you doodle with thread on fabric instead of a pencil on paper. Most machines today come with a stitch regulator, which regulates how fast or slow the motor drives the needle up/down to ensure that the stitching results in good, even stitches.  You can add a computer to the longarm machine to allow it to drive the machine “robotically” with a quilt pattern of your choice!  My most requested pattern is the “I Love You” sign with a heart.

Quilt design created by longarming.

Not only am I a full-time quilter and a longarmer, I am a representative and dealer for American Professional Quilting Systems (APQS).  I was so impressed with the services and professionalism by the APQS team that I just had to join! As far as I know, I am the only deaf representative and dealer of this equipment.

To see more of my quilts, follow me on Instagram at @thequiltingnerd.


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