Meet the Team
- Valerie Schlake, Founder/Director of Marketing
- Valerie purchased her first longarm machine over 18 years ago, when she began her quilting-for-hire business—Virginia Longarm Network—in Richmond, Virginia. At the time, it enabled her to stay at home while raising her small children. The business grew steadily, moving to a storefront in 2006 and expanding its services to include machine rental by the hour, unique quilt packaging, and the servicing of longarm machines. In 2012, Virginia Longarm Network became the Mid-Atlantic dealer and distributor for Innova Quilting Systems, the longarm quilting systems of the future. Today Valerie’s love of the art is stronger than it’s ever been. From VLN’s sturdy foundation to its present day growth into The Longarm Network, the east coast hub for Innova longarms, Valerie has derived some of her greatest pleasures in helping other quilters grow their talents in this wonderful world of quilting. Understanding the need for continuing education, in 2012, Valerie created Birds of a Feather, an annual 3-day event offering a shared learning experience and wonderful classes to all longarm quilters throughout the country. When you see her in the shop or at a show, be sure to stop by and say hello.
- Michelle Eno, Director of Sales
- Michelle is an experienced and accomplished quilter whose longarm quilting journey began in 2006 with the purchase of her first longarm quilting machine and continued through the establishment and operation for more than 10 years of a highly successful longarm quilting business. Michelle is a certified longarm educator and became a valued member of the Virginia Longarm Education team, training new Innova® Quilting Systems owners and sharing her love for the art. With her keen understanding of what it takes to get a perfect stitch on almost any quilting machine, she is able to guide new Innova® owners and customers of The Longarm Network in the art of machine quilting so that they, too, can turn quilt tops into treasures. In early 2015, Michelle sold her business and joined The Longarm Network team full-time as the Director of Sales. In June 2015, Michelle took on The Longarm Network’s Southeast Division with the opening of The Longarm Network location in Greenville, South Carolina. Michelle's years of operating a profitable longarm business as well as her on-going support and connection with our company made her a perfect fit for our future growth plans.
- Greg Palmer, Service/Delivery Manager
- With his extensive background in electronics and engine mechanics, Greg loves a challenge. Problem solving is his specialty. He is a born teacher, working patiently and thoroughly with every customer, enabling every single one to be set up for success. Although a man of few words, his gentle approach in both first time set-up and fixing machines at once puts you at ease.
- Melissa Stanton, Manager of A Needle Runs Through It
Melissa joined VLN in 2000, lending a hand part-time while her son attended kindergarten; however, it wasn’t long until Melissa was working full time and contributing to VLN’s growth and success. Today, she manages The Longarm Network’s quilting service business, A Needle Runs Through It, and enjoys helping customers choose the perfect pattern to complete their quilt tops. Keeping 3-4 computerized machines stitching, helping customers, and managing the shop keeps her hopping, but Melissa loves every minute.
Innova Sales Team
- Susan Bentley
Sue has been quilting forever and started longarming when she started making modern quilts a few years ago. It was at that time that she decided that she wanted to do them start-to-finish, and Sue chose the Innova AutoPilot because of its stitch quality and programming options. Owner of SuZquilts, Sue quilts traditional, modern, and t-shirt quilts and likes mixing lots of designs. Sue is also adept at the Innova Simulator, allowing her to design while her AutoPilot is stitching. Sue also sews and loves to read and to travel.
Suzquilts (by appointment only)
Alexandria, VA 22308
- Jill Churchill
Jill Churchill saw her first longarm in 1998 and fell in love with the idea of longarm quilting, but at that time, with a young family and no extra room, Jill had to wait. In 2011, she discovered Innova longarm quilting machines and knew it was time. Jill purchased a 22" Prostitch and added Pantovision when it became available. Working part-time out of her house was fine to begin with, but her love of quilting and quilting for others kept growing.
In 2013, when Jill met Valerie Schlake of Virginia Longarm Network, her dream started to become a reality. Over the next year, Jill attended Birds of a Feather, went to several quilting shows as a part of the Innova team, and coined the phrase “Innovian,” which you will now hear from the entire Longarm Network staff. Jill’s own shop, Ta Da Quilting Studio, opened in November 2014 with three Innova longarm quilting machines, a classroom, and a retail area. The studio is focused on quilting for others and creating memory quilts. Its longarm rental program is unique to the Erie, Pennsylvania, area.
Ta Da Quilting Studio, Associate Innova Dealership
3628 West 12th St
Erie, PA 16505
- Jean Crabtree
Jean Crabtree started sewing at the age of nine and has been quilting for over 20 years. Moving quickly from hand to machine work, she has received numerous ribbons at local shows, including a Best of Show at the Montgomery County Fair in 2011 and a Judges' Choice in 1997 at Rose Hill in Frederick, MD. Jean also has a quilt, a king-size sampler called “Crabtree Corner,” published in Lois Smith's Machine Quilting (American Quilter’s Society, 1997). She purchased her Innova in 2011 and regularly quilts both customer and charity quilts. The longarm has greatly expanded her skills, and these days, Jean is having a lot of fun. She loves to share her knowledge and expertise with other quilters.
- Robin Kaluahine
- Sharon Sisson
- Terri Trotter
Fabric has always been in Terri’s life from watching her grandmother on her giant quilt frame on the farm to watching her mother sew. Quilting became a part of Terri’s life anew when she sought to find something to fill her time as a military wife. Initially, she enjoyed piecing but sent her tops out to come to life. Since becoming a single mother, Terri found her true passion: longarming. She loves the process of finding the right pattern to enhance a top and bring it to life or using a whole cloth and creating something beautiful from a solid piece. She does it all on her 26" Innova with Auto-Pilot. In addition, Terri also offers private tutoring and lessons geared to each individual student.
Fireline Designs (by appointment only)
Palmerton, PA 18071
- Penni Domikis
Penni Domikis is the owner of The Quilting Cottage @ Cabin in the Woods Quilters. Penni has been longarm quilting professional for about 5 years and opened her longarm cottage and machine rental facility in 2015. In addition to owning the Quilting Cottage, Penni is a quilt and pattern designer, quilting author, lecturer and instructor and has been designing and creating her own templates for the past 12 years. Penni often designs quilts and projects around fabric lines from Andover, AdornIt and Dear Stella fabrics and is a Guest Blogger and Ambassador for several creative business enterprises including Terial Arts and various fabric companies. Penni lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia with her all male crew, including one husband, three sons and two pups who serve as the company HR manager and Observations Manager of both CWQ and her partner company Cabin Digital LLC.
The Quilting Cottage @ Cabin in the Woods Quilters
Fredericksburg, VA 22407