Following The Quilting Trail
By Mary Emma Allen
Designing and making quilts can be exciting and satisfying in
itself. However, an added reward is attending quilt
workshops and shows around your home area and in various parts
of the country. In the course of my quilting, both making
quilts and writing about them, I've been involved in events
nearby and those as I traveled.
You also may want to keep a journal or log of these events
you've attended and participated in. Some may be one day
affairs while others can involve a number of days.
Sometimes you may be traveling and see the announcement for
something quilt related and stop, on the "spur of the moment."
Or you can plan ahead. Check out the area where you may be
traveling and see what is going on that is quilting related.
As you become experienced in quilting and fabric art, you may be
asked to teach at these workshops You also could be
invited to judge. For some of us, this also involved
writing about the events for newspapers, blogs, and magazines.
Highlights of a Quilting Career
To give you ideas, I'll relate some highlights I've experienced
over the years.
Taking a workshop with Michael James.
This was sponsored by a quilting society and held in a town near
my home in NH. It was a day long affair and involved
looking at color and design in a whole new way.
Writing for a quilting magazine.
After I'd been making quilts for sale and teaching quilting to
4-H youngsters, I approached a magazine about writing a column
and free lance articles. My proposal was accepted and I provided
regular items for my column, "The Business of Patchwork" and
interviewed quilters for other articles.
Interviewing John Flynn.
My husband and I were traveling to Jackson Hole, WY and I
discovered there was a quilting convention while we were there.
Of course, I had to check this out and set up interviews with
people I met. John Flynn was just starting his career as a
quiltmaker and designer, as well as inventor of quilting tools.
Judging a Quilt Show in Dallas, TX.
Even though I live in NH, I was invited to judge a quilt show
and teach a workshop in Dallas. This was an exciting
experience and enabled me to spend time with other quilters,
especially a friend who was a member of the guild and suggested
my name as a participant.
Researching Quilters in my family.
My mother always had an interest in quilting even though she
never made any of these fabric creations herself. She
encouraged me to follow this craft and told about her mother and
grandmother. This led me to research the quilting in my
family and I've discovered The Trails End Quilters, as I call
them after the farm where the earliest ones lived. I've
written a blog, Tales of the Trails End Quilters and am
now compiling this information into a book for my family.
It's especially pertinent since my daughter and granddaughter
are carrying on the tradition that started with my great
Planning a Quilting Tour
If you're traveling, look for quilting events in towns you're
passing through. Or you might plan your travels so that
you catch up with quilting and quilters. My husband was
agreeable to our stopping to meet quilters and check out events
I could write about for magazines, as well as a newspaper column
in our local paper.
You also may want to take classes at these events. Some
may be sessions you can simply drop into, while for others you
have to register and pay a fee in advance to make sure there is
space for you.
My daughter and her quilting group plan one-day trips to quilt
shows and shops. This involves the visit and a enjoyable
time at an interesting luncheon place.
Visits to quilt and craft shops provide you with ideas for
projects of your own.
I've also enjoyed stopping by historical museums that feature
quilts, as well as visiting those that display only quilts.
Make plans to follow The Quilting Trail as you take journeys to
various parts of the country and the world!
(c)2016 Mary Emma Allen
(Mary Emma Allen writes about quilts and quilters from her NH
woodland home. She has also written the book The Magic of
American Roads and
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