In the Spring 2017, Shanie V. of Quincy, Wash., got the surprise of a lifetime when she won a new Millie quilting system from APQS. We gave her a call recently to see how she’s been getting along with her new machine…
Shanie V. was sitting in a park on her lunch break when she received the call from Dawn Cavanaugh, APQS Customer Service & Education Director.
“I recognized her voice immediately because I had seen some of her tutorials and videos,” Shanie said. “I had been studying some of the things she had done. I recognized that voice, and I think my heart stopped immediately. It was just very, very exciting.”
Shanie won a new Millie in the Spring of 2017 after entering the contest every morning and joking with her husband that she would win. For Shanie, who had been considering pursuing quilting full-time, it was a sign to follow her heart and take that path.
“It was everything that I had been wanting to do,” Shanie said. “I felt like this was sealing the deal when I won the machine. I was going to do longarm full-time, and by winning the machine, it just really solidified that I was going in the right direction in my life.”
The mother of three grown kids soon retired from her career as a special educator, teaching blind children to read and write, and started her fulltime, home-based quilting business, Long Arm Quilting by Shanie Veenendaal, in Quincy, Washington. What had seemed like a distant dream had turned into reality.
While Shanie admits she sometimes misses the kids she worked with, she said, “It has been wonderful… I love having my own schedule. I love working with quilters. They’re just the best group of people. I have a lot of local women who bring me quilts and they also get mailed in from all over the country too, so I just get to meet people from all walks of life and it has been so much fun. I get to see so many quilts, which is just very exciting for me.”
Shanie specializes in free motion quilting, and many of her customers come to her just for that.
Last summer, she completed a lone star quilt for a customer. After finishing it, she finally felt like a longarmer.
“It finished so beautifully, and I felt like I had really accomplished my goals of doing this well,” Shanie said. “It just was a moment I had that I thought, ‘wow, this quilt is stunning.’ I felt like I had arrived.”
Shanie had nothing but good things to say about the Millie she won.
“I’ve never even had a problem – never even broke a needle. But I know that if I had trouble I would have a great team of people that would help me. I know that I have that back-up [support] if I ever need it and that feels pretty good. I like that.”
Now that her dream of quilting for others is realized, Shanie is moving on to new goals. She hopes to win an award for her quilting, and recently placed third in her category at a local quilt show. She also hopes to have one of her quilts featured in a magazine someday.
In the meantime, she continues to help her family continue the tradition of quilting. Shanie learned to quilt from a “wonderful” lady at the church she attended, who helped her make her first quilt when she was younger. Now both her daughters quilt as well.
Shanie’s quilting business continues to keep her busy, and she enjoys the work. One might even say it’s a dream come true.