Threads of Success
I spent the last week traveling. The first weekend was spent in Houston, Texas for the Threads of Success event sponsored by Quilts, Inc. It was two and half days of learning about the quilting industry and networking with quilters in already in the industry as well as those, like me, aspiring to break into the industry.
The event was coordinated by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com. From the opening welcome event to the closing mentorship opportunity, the event was inspiring. The sessions covered topics such as developing a social media strategy, independent publishing. Teaching contacts, copyright and trademark issues, pattern writing and more.
I can’t say enough good things about the faculty. A diverse group so willing to share their knowledge with those of us learning the industry. The faculty included Meg Cox, Morna McEver Golletz, Linda J. Hahn, Ebony Love, Sue O’Very, Tula Pink, Christa Watson, Dr. Elizabeth Gard, Nancy Sauer, Andy Knowlton, Heather McFarlane, Jennifer Keltner, Rhonda Pierce, Gene Reynolds, CPA, Natalie Barnes, Kimberly Einmo, and Heidi Pridemore. The luncheon keynote speakers were Ricky Brooks, Margaret Moorehead, Alex Anderson and Kimberly Einmo. Additionally, the final keynote session was an industry panel discussion featuring Mark Hyland of Handi Quilter, Heidi Kaisand – owner of Hen and Chicks Studio, and Mickey Krueger – President of Windham and Anthology Fabrics.
Every session, breakfast and lunch provided time to network with other participants. Their energy and enthusiasm for the quilting industry was contagious. I’m so inspired by all the women and men at the event.
As I started to unpack the goodies and information I received, I began recalling many of the tips and suggestions I learned along the way. It was an information filled weekend and I’m looking forward to implementing many of the new ideas I learned.
The rest of my ten-day journey took me to Salt Lake City and the Family History Center. This was the annual research trip for the St. Louis Genealogical Society. Genealogy is another of my passions and I had the chance to dig a little deeper into my family history.
A Quilting Connection
Back in 1996, I reconnected to my quilting passion. One day my mother mentioned, “that quilt your great-grandmother gave me.” I replied, “What quilt?” Mom proceed to explain as if I knew all about it. Apparently, when she and my dad were first engaged, they visited my dad’s grandma at a nursing home in Northern Wisconsin. While there, she gave my mom and dad a quilt top she never got around to finishing. (Sounds like this might be genetic.) Since mom mentioned she sewed, great grandma thought mom might finish it.
A Quilt Rediscovered
Well, fast forward about 45+ years and mom hadn’t finished it either. She pulled it out and from the fabrics, mom’s story, and knowing the timing of mom and dad’s engagement, I guessed it was probably started in the 1940s. The other tip was the original newspaper clipping showing where great grandma had ordered the pattern from the Milwaukee Sentinel. I found the same advertizement published in the Wisconsin State Journal on February 24, 1949 on page 7. While that is a different newspaper than the clipping I have, it does give an approximate date for when my great grandma sent for the pattern.
A few things stand out for me regarding this quilt. First, my great grandma was 79 in 1949. My parents were married in 1950, so she made this quilt top rather quickly. Also, it is made with two fabrics that were clearly purchased specifically for this quilt. I don’t know why but it surprised me that in 1949 she would have purchased yardage for a quilt rather than making it from scraps and smaller pieces of cloth.
The Finished Quilt
Some friends and I took a trip to the Quilt Emporium in East Troy, Wisconsin. They don’t have a website but do appear to be still in business. They were known for reproduction fabrics and among the bolts I found a near perfect match for the purple used by my great grandma. I also found a purple and green print that was perfect for the backing. It was not lost on me that I found the needed fabric in a shop in East Troy, Wisconsin, the location of my family’s original homestead farm back in 1846!
I finished the quilt by adding a four-inch border to the original pieced top to stabilize the edges. I used a thin flannel as the batting. Then I layered the backing, batting and top, and sewed around the edges, envelope style. After I turned it inside out, I tied the layers together in a technique frequently used in the era the quilt top was originally created.
My dad was very excited when I finished the quilt. It was his favorite to sleep under during the summer due to the light-weight flannel batting. I think it reminded him of his grandma, too.