Meet Your Neighbor Wendy Goff - Sew Unique Custom Quilting and retreat

Nestled in the foothills is the charming town Philipsburg, Montana, famous for its gemstones and the worlds greatest candy store. New to the downtown shops is a lovely boutique fabric shop, Sew Unique Custom Quilting. Owned and operated by Wendy Goff.

Wendy started sewing at a very young age. She learned to quilt through the mentorship of her mother and grandmother. As a child she got involved in 4-H, which offered a wonderful sewing program. she was involved in through her childhood until her High School years, which instilled basics of sewing into advanced techniques.

Having 25 years experience in piecing, hand quilting and machine quilting; it has become a passion of hers to share with others.

SFP - At what age did you start quilting? How long have you been quilting?

WG - At age 19, I have been quilting 26 Years.

SFP - What interested you in quilting?

WG - What interested me was the organization of color with a pattern and creating what I envisioned it would turn out like.

SFP - When did you start the Retreat? Why? Describe the Retreat?

WG - I started the retreat two and a half years ago. I wanted to provide an experience for individuals that were relaxing and joyful to enhance their creativity while quilting. The retreat provides enough room for ten people at a time to sew, eat and sleep comfortably. Fully stocked kitchen to prepare and serve meals, all bedding provided, classroom has a workspace for each individual, two large ironing areas, two cutting areas, and a design wall, good lighting for sewing into the night if you prefer. Wi-Fi and Dish TV in work space provided and in retreat as well.

SFP - How many retreats per year? How many can attend or be accommodated at a retreat?

WG - Being fairly new I have about 15 retreats a year. Every year it is steadily increasing from groups re-booking after they stay the first time. Ten people can attend at once.

SFP - Tell us a little about your custom services? What do you offer? How do you come up with a design idea? What are some of your design inspirations? Would you consider yourself more of a traditional quilter or are you more modern? Or both? What are the average sizes? Length of time it usually takes to complete a project for a client?

WG - The custom services entail the Long Arm quilting I provide to customers. I do my quilting free-hand basis. No patterns unless I hand draw a motif that is put in a specific area in the quilt. I accommodate the customer to the best I can with what they choose to have on their quilt, includes design choice, thread color, etc. Coming up with a design idea can be tricky. I work with the customer first and foremost to understand what they want to see. Then I try to look at the subject, era, color and pattern they choose and let the creative thoughts go from there. Trying to come up with what accentuates the quilt is the main goal. I like to quilt both traditional and modern. I am really starting to get more creative with modern and I am enjoying the freedom of modern quilting. I seem to do a lot of traditional because that is what my customers go toward. I do more modern designs on my own for practice. The sizes range from Table Toppers to King size. The time it takes me to complete a project depends on complexity and size.

SFP - When did you open your shop in downtown Philipsburg? Why did you open a shop? How has business been so far? Describe your shop?

WG - I opened the shop on Mother's Day this year 2017. I have always wanted to open a shop. I would say it was a dream I never thought would become a reality. I get to go to work everyday and do what I absolutely LOVE. Business has been wonderful and I hope it continues through the slow season, which are the winter months in Montana. My shop has a rustic-antique-small-town feel just like the setting of the historic town of Philipsburg. With the displays and furniture choices I have put in the shop it reminds me of how I grew up with refinished oak furniture, sewing machines and quilts to snuggle in.

SFP - What kind of classes do you offer? How often? Do you have specific classes that you do regularly? Do you do them at the Retreat? Do you offer one-on-one classes?

WG - We offer a wide variety of classes. We offer special techniques, beginning sewing, purses, wallets, Mystery classes, etc. If a customer asks for a special class I do my best to provide that class for them. We try to offer two classes a month starting in September and continue through June. If I have invited a special instructor we then offer it at the retreat house as a weekend or two to three day class. Otherwise the classes are at the shop location. I do offer one-on-one classes if I don't have the calendar full. We also have Open Sew Days once a week, which allows people to come in for the day and get individual help from peers and myself. Mainly we do this as an option to offer time for quilters to get together and share what they have been working on and enjoy the day sewing on projects of their own.

SFP - When did you learn to Long Arm Quilt? What classes did you take or are you self-taught? Do you provide Long Arm services for other quilters? Describe what Long Arm Quilting is?

WG - I learned to Long Arm eighteen years ago. I didn't take any classes. I am self-taught along with some guidance at the beginning from a dear friend whom passed all to soon to brain cancer. I do provide Long Arm services to other quilters. I don't offer classes to learn the technique, as I just don't have enough hours in the day. Long Arm quilting is basically creatively putting a pieced quilt top together with batting and backing and stitching. :)

SFP -Do you belong to any guilds? Do you do classes at any guilds or organizations?

WG - I used to belong to two quilt guilds. Currently I do not because I am having difficulty finding the time for them with opening the business. I hope to in the future. Before I opened my store I did do classes for guilds once in a while. It was fun and a great experience.

by Karla Locke - Author of The Blood Stone Queen and other ebooks, Freelance Writer and Photographer for Stories from the Front Porch and other publications. Karla shares her passion of the arts and artists, photography, writing, small businesses, and people who live, work, and play with passion.

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Karla Locke
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