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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 grandmother. 

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 Patchwork E-mail:








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