The Signature Quilt

One of my many interests besides quilting is geneology. I love it when I find ways to combine the two interests together. In an earlier post I had commented about a signature quilt that I was working on for a family reunion. It was finished and raffled off.

The finished quilt was appr. 48″ x 48″

The reunion is held in Evanston, Wyoming and people come from all over the area to attend. Everyone really enjoyed helping create this quilt, knowing they were a part of something that would be passed down for generations to come.

At the end of the day the quilt was raffled off and the lucky winner was able to take it home with them

 

Making this special signature quilt was a two-year process. The first year I pieced the quilt blocks and sent them to the reunion to be signed. After the reunion my Mom sent the blocks back to me to be sewn together into the quilt.

I enjoyed making the quilt this way. It was a great teaser to let them see the quilt blocks and have no reference as to what the quilt would look like when finished. As part of the quilt we included a photo block of the common ancestor we all hail from. It was then quilted on my domestic sewing machine. It took 20 sewing hours to complete the quilt. I can’t wait to get started on my next signature quilt, maybe it’ll be yours!

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How do you measure success?

The Ripson Bridge festival was on Sunday. I was one among 70 vendors there. Crafts galore, so many it was hard to decide where to look and browse first. Thanks to a connection with my friend who sells Pure Scentations candles, I had a prime spot. There were a lot of “looky-lous” and a few people even took business cards. A few festival goers even stopped long enough for us to have a conversation before they moved on to the next booth.

My first attempt at a booth setup.

I had been warned, “don’t be disappointed if you don’t sell a thing.” That was sage advice, especially coming from seasoned craft fair vendors. Of course, AFTER the fact it’s easy to tell just how wise those words were. I had heeded them, in the  recesses of my mind, but was still overly optimistic that I’d make it rich on my first craft fair. It’s easy to take the compliments that friends and family give you and build a pedestal for the products that you’re trying to sell. After all, they wouldn’t lie to you about something so important, would they?

Even though I only sold fourteen dollars worth of product (the space rent was 40), I’m still considering this a success. I did after all sell something! People took my business cards, and I’ve got my foot in the door! I didn’t have the items that others were looking for, but have also learned how not to market my items at this particular craft fair. Plans are in the making for improving my offerings and their marketing for next year’s festival. I’ll be giving my new ideas test runs at a show or two before then. Next spring should give me sufficient time to perfect my ideas and build up product! I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted as to where and when my next show will be. Until then you can always browse what I’ve got for sale at www.facebook.com/HSHquilts.

Where to go?

For anyone starting out this can be a hard question to answer. Where is the best place to go for materials? Who is the best person to get your information from? Is there a good place to go for classes and instruction? There is enough of a debate about the best places to go for materials so I’ll leave that for another day. Today I want to let you all in on a little secret that I’ve discovered.

This spring I dragged Betty, my other mother-in-law, to a quilt show. It was at a local church hosted by the historical society and the local quilt guild.  The Creative Stitcher’s

This quilt was my "ticket" into the guild

guild was auctioning a queen size quilt. Since the show was free to attend, I decided to buy $5 worth of tickets. We looked around at all the lovely quilts and left. I was shocked when I found out I had won the quilt a few days later! One of the members of the guild brought the quilt to me at my son’s soccer game. While talking to her she invited me to attend the guild meeting later that same night. Wow! My first guild invitation! It would have been spectacular except for the fact that I wouldn’t be able to make it for a few more months.

I have since attended two guild meetings. My husband makes fun of me since the guild is run through the senior citizens’ center in nearby Greenville, IL. I am one of the youngest by at least 20 years, and there’s another reason he gives me such a ribbing. You see, I’m older than my husband by 2.5 years, so the old jokes fly regularly around my house!

I joined the guild as a card-carrying member on Sept. 1, 2011. I decided after attending the first meeting I couldn’t pass up this great opportunity for networking and camaraderie. These ladies have all been quilting for years longer than I have, some even longer than I’ve been alive. They have massive amounts of information and the time to teach it to someone who wants to know what they do. I’ve already been privy to the guild’s lessons. They have contributors come in to each guild meeting and present a lesson in quilting techniques, information or just plain fun. They also have a show and tell session where guild members and guests can bring in their projects and show them off. During the first meeting I attended, I was privileged to be shown a quilt that was made back in the 1850’s or 1890’s! This last meeting, I met a lady who routinely does t-shirt quilts. You can bet I’ll be getting in contact with her to pick her brain for information!

These are just a few reasons that your local guild’s and senior centers are a great source of information. I encourage anyone who is starting out in a new hobby to check out both of these places to see what you can learn! I know I’ll be keeping you posted!

Looking Back to Move Forward!

I'm always up for trying something new!

What a thing to say, huh?! Well that’s exactly what I feel like I’ve been doing for the past few years while trying to decide which direction my life would take when I “grow up”! This may come as a shock to many since I am already 31 years old. I am a firm believer in the theory that you are never done growing, learning and changing which is evidenced through my many career endeavors. I’ve been in the Air Force as a lab tech, worked in a lumber yard and finally decided to go back to school to be an accountant.

So what’s a future accountant doing writing a blog about quilting– and heirloom quilting at that? Well I can tell you it definitely is NOT about the money. How I wish I was making tons and tons of money selling my quilts! But I’m not, at least not yet anyway. Just recently and with a not so gentle push from my mother-in-law (who politely suggested I should start trying to make my love of quilting a paying hobby) I’ve been looking for way to do that.

After reading any magazine, website, or flyer about quilting I could get my hands on I realized my passion in quilting lies in creating heirloom pieces to be passed down through as many generations as possible. This also got me to thinking about another passion I have which is genealogy. How could I combine the two? I decided the best way to do this is by making memory quilts, also called photo or signature quilts, for people and also providing quality quilts for those events in life that we celebrate, graduation, a birth, or a wedding.

This blog is about my journey to make my quilting dreams a reality, my experiments, techniques, and tips that I can pass on to you, my readers, about quilting heirlooms, and finding ways to connect them to family history and celebrating life’s special events. So sit back, buckle up and lets take this journey together!