Debbie Paul of Murfreesboro, Tennessee almost didn’t win the Millie longarm quilting machine.
She never answers the phone if she doesn’t know the caller. So for nearly a week she ignored the unfamiliar number showing up on her caller ID. Finally she replied to an email from Dawn Cavanaugh, APQS Customer Service & Education Director, with the request to give her a call to learn some exciting news.
“It was just like a dream,” Paul said. “Even when I realized who it was, I didn’t think that they were calling me about winning Millie.”
What Paul didn’t know was that the APQS team had been trying to contact her for five days and were planning on drawing a new winner if she didn’t answer that email.
“When they called me I kept saying, ‘Are you for real?’ ” Paul said. “It took a lot for me to even fathom that I had actually won it. That’s the equivalent of a car really. But it was even more exciting to me than a car.”
Prior to winning Millie (valued at $17,900) she had only completed two quilts. A baby quilt she made from start to finish, and a bed quilt she pieced and sent off to be quilted.
“I was brand new,” Paul said.
Thankfully APQS machines are simple to learn and easy to use. When Millie was delivered, Cavanaugh spent time with Paul, making sure she knew how to use the machine. After that it was time for Paul to practice, practice, practice to get it down.
Since winning Millie in 2014, Paul has made several lap quilts, including one from an original pattern, a bed-sized quilt and a quilt for a little girl recovering from brain surgery. She plans to get involved making quilts for charity.
“I really feel like God had me win it for a reason,” Paul said. “There has got to be more than just doing something for myself.”
Paul has been working on following pantograph designs for her quilting. So far she has used the two that came with the machine, but is going to expand her collection and purchase new designs.
“I like doing the pantographs. That gives me the feel for the motion and the muscle memory,” Paul said. “I don’t think I’m imaginative enough to do freehand. But my daughter has been doing a lot of freehand on there and she is really good.”
Paul shares her Murfreesboro, Tennessee, home with her husband, father-in-law, daughter and grandson. With four generations living under one roof, it can sometimes be difficult to find time to quilt. But she tries to make time as often as possible.
“It is always worth it to take the time to practice,” Paul said. “I just really want to thank APQS for Millie and for how awesome everybody has been. They never made me feel like they were doing me a huge favor. They never made me feel like I was any less because I wasn’t paying for it. They are just super, super great people.”