In this hustle-and-bustle automated world, quilting has become somewhat of a lost art. But one local couple has big plans to open a local shop to provide materials and assistance with the craft of quilting.
Melba and Eddie Wix have announced they are opening a quilting shop at Bottom View Farm in Portland called “Honey Bee Quilting.” The husband and wife team decided to open the business and team up.
“I didn’t have enough room in the basement of the house to do this," Eddie said. "We started looking around for an inexpensive place. If I made enough to pay utility and the rent, I was content, but it’s really blown up.”
“What brought us to Bottom View Farms is that quilting fits in there like a hand into a glove," added the retired surveyer and Army veteran. "It’s a Western-type area, where you would picture ladies quilting. It’s a great event center.”
The Wix’s journey to quilting began less than a year ago. What started as Melba’s interest soon became Eddie’s as well.
“My involvement in quilting started through DAR (Daughters of American Revolution)," Melba said. "I thought, “well I can do service work and not leave the house.” Quilting is kind of my creative thing. When I’m feeling the need to be creative, quilting is what sparks me.”
“I got started through my wife and her patchwork quilts," Eddie added. "She was getting a little frustrated about the quilter she was using. I would sew it together and bind it. The difficult part is sewing everything together, because you’ve got to have the framework. I ended up buying a quilting machine. Soon I was doing other people’s quilting and doing my own. It started blowing up, and I wanted to retire anyways.”
As time marched on, the Wix’s involvement in the quilting world became deeper and deeper as they put their long arm quilter to use and delivered side to side and customs to the outside world.
“People would ask, 'Are you going to carry fabrics?' Now, I’m carrying fabrics and flat folds and will have charm packs,” he said.
Though Eddie never anticipated becoming a quilter, his work history prepared him for his current quest.
“Most retirees from the military go into a line of work where they do a lot of talking. You see a lot of them working in used car sales and insurance,” he shared when speaking of how the quilting industry requires communication."
As with any quality product, the seller must provide something unique, valuable and one-of-a-kind. Some of Honey Bee Quilting’s unique attributes lie in its name.
“We incorporated honey with quilting, because when I sell a quilt, I will be giving out a ½ ounce bottle of local honey,” he explained. “Originally we were talking about setting it up at the house where you could look out and see the bees working. We were going to have the hive facing the building. We would have been able to sit out there and watch them working while we’re sewing.”
Aside from a catchy name and a prized bonus for their purchasers, there are other reasons their quilts stand out and keep people coming out in droves.
“The main thing we wanted to do was to try and produce a quilt that will be affordable. Most people can’t afford the patchwork and most good quilts can cost hundreds to thousands.”
One doesn’t have to be a quilter to know that a great deal of time, labor and supply goes into one single quilt. Consequently, the Wix’s partnered system, machine and overall mission is working out quite well for them.
“My machine has 532 different patterns I can stitch. I can buy any number or more online,” said Eddie.
Some of their upcoming focuses will include stadium and wedding quilts.
“We are doing stadium quilts with school colors — people can wrap up at the game in their colors,” Melba, who is a retired school teacher, added.
“When we learn how to do it, we are also going to be doing wedding quilts, which will be a solid colored quilt with something like double hearts stitched into it. We have several floral patterns and the thread will pop out at you. Some will be red and white – those stand out pretty well,” Eddie added.
The Wix’s have been setting up for their new endeavor for about a month. They are looking forward to their grand opening which will take place at 1 p.m on Oct. 24.
“We’ll have a ribbon cutting ceremony. We’re going to have non-alcoholic beverages, snacks and popcorn. We have the old theatre type popcorn machine. The type that tastes really really good and that’s really, really bad for you. We don’t really know what goes into a grand opening party. We’re just kind of ad-libbing as we go,” he said with a laugh.