Andi Barney

Atlanta, GA, USA

©2017 BY ANDI BARNEY

My Story

WHERE IT ALL STARTED

I am no stranger to quilting or sewing machines (or anything vintage for that matter).  

I started quilting on a whim in 2008 and never looked back.  It turned out to be a real turning point in my life... a void had been filled that I didn't even know existed.  Along with my passion for quilting came my love for vintage sewing machines.  Like many others, I was turned on to vintage machines when I purchased a 1957 Singer Featherweight to make  classes, retreats, and sew-ins a lot easier.  I fell in love with my little machine, not only because of its portability, but also because it makes a perfect stitch and so easy to maintain.

I took a class on how to service and maintain my Featherweight, and instantly I wanted more!  For the last few years, I've been collecting various vintage sewing machines (some given to me, some purchased, some rescued) and shadowing a gentleman in Texas to learn the ropes in sewing machine service and repair.  It started as a hobby, but has grown into recognizing a need in my very own community.  Two of the biggest complaints I hear today is one, having to give up a sewing machine for a week, two weeks, three weeks before getting it back.  And two, many people own heavy machines (especially treadle machines with cast iron bases) that are difficult to bring in for service.  So I have vowed to offer sewing machine service and repair with a very quick turn around time, AND eventually offer house calls for all or most services.  Especially for those machines too awkward to transport.

Furthermore, I found myself a little sad that there aren't many women in the sewing machine service industry.  If people hear my name but have not met me in person, they expect to meet a grumpy, old man.  Wrong!  Most people fall into the business because previous generations owned the business, but not many people that service and repair machines actually use them, or have some connection to them.  As an experienced quilter, I can feel and know if your machine is offering the best, most consistent stitch possible.  If it isn't, it's my job to find out why and make it happen.

80% or more of my business is vintage or antique machines.  We live in a time of "disposable" machines, but those old girls just keep going.  I can't count the number of customers that are baffled that their great grandmother's old Singer 66 will not only sew, but out-sew their modern machine!  My customers have a machine they love - they want to keep it running in optimal condition, not have someone trying to sell them a new machine.  That's not what I do.  My service tagline is, "We fix what others won't."  And it's true.

In June 2015, I became a co-owner of Red Hen Fabrics in Marietta, where I handle creative merchandising, buying fabric and notions, teaching classes, and most other things that happen in the store.  I am so lucky to be surrounded with a great community of quilters on a daily basis!

I am still extremely passionate about quilting (specifically freemotion quilting on domestic machines) and the community part of my business remains strong and thriving.  Prior the the start up of Our Epoch, my Making Modern Memories business offered custom quilts, both traditionally pieced bed/hanging quilts and tshirt and memory quilts.  

Before quilting took over my life, I was a graphic designer for 13 years, which has come in very handy for quilt design.  I also worked in politics and was a volunteer firefighter.

I have a 7-year-old son who keeps me on my toes most of the time. We are a homeschooling family, so he often helps me with odd jobs and is learning the art of small business as he develops.  Right now he is into video games and is learning to do coding so he can someday develop his own games.

In 2010, I was a founding member of the Atlanta Modern Quilters Guild and President of the guild for 2 years.  I was also elected 1st Vice President of the East Cobb Quilters' Guild for 2015, and thus President for 2017, which is Georgia's largest quilt guild.  This guild organizes Georgia's largest quilt show, and I am honored to serve as Quilt Entry Chair for the 2017 show.  I often speak at other guilds, both near and far, about modern quilting and sewing machine maintenance.

As a quilter, I enjoy actual freemotion quilting most of all.  I piece most of my projects on a vintage machine ( a Featherweight and Singer 301 are my favorites), but I do most of my quilting on my modern Janome MC Horizion 7700.  Because I like to quilt more than I like to piece quilts, my interests are geared toward intricate and complicated quilting for shows, exhibitions, and competition.  I have had quilts displayed in the Georgia Celebrates Quilts show,  a quilt in MQX - Pacific Northwest in 2014, and a quilt in the AQS Chattanooga show in 2014.

I might've had other hobbies and interests before becoming a mother and discovering quilting and sewing machines, but I hardly remember what they are.  If I'm not spending time with my family, I am most likely behind a sewing machine, either servicing it or using it.

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