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What’s Your Why?

photo[1]Saturday was Worldwide Quilting Day. Of course, quilters knew all along it was bigger than a national celebration, so it was nice to share with the rest of the world. The celebration got me thinking about my own quilt beginnings and why I ended up creating a business from what I love. I could actually write a lot about this, but I’ll try to be brief. After all, you’re running a business and need to focus on that!

I did not come from a tradition of quilting, and only after I began quilting did a couple of quilts find their way into my home. I did come from a tradition of sewing and art. My great-great grandmothers were professional seamstresses, and family lore has me threading their needles at the age of three. My mother was a professional watercolorist and taught the subject. So I can see my background was filled with thread and color.

After starting with sewing (and selling) Barbie clothes as a youngster, progressing through my own personal sewing and multitude of arts and crafts (knitting, crochet, embroidery, painting), I happened on a quilt show in the fall of 1976 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. That was all it took for me to ask about classes. As I often share, I had the sewing machine and all those scraps so it couldn’t be a costly hobby.

Fast forward just a couple of years and I wanted to share my new found love of quilting and I began teaching at the local adult ed program. At that point, my accountant suggested I form a business and I did. As I look back over the past 30 plus – yikes – years, I went from teaching to creating patterns to selling my work at arts and craft shows to working in a cooperative to taking commissions. They were all ways for me to express my own creativity and share it with others.

Back in 1994, my business took a turn and I began to work with more creative entrepreneurs who wanted to know how they, too, could create a business from their passion at quilting. That was the beginning of my tenure as editor and publisher of The Professional Quilter. That led eventually to the International Association of Professional Quilters. As I look back, it’s always been about providing information for growth as creative entrepreneurs.

So why do you quilt? I quilt because I love thread and color and creating. It’s fills a deep need in me. Why do you have a quilt business? I have one because I want to empower women (OK, and cool men) who have a passion for creating and sharing that with others to craft a profitable business for themselves from that passion. It’s also about creating a legacy so that Worldwide Quilting Day continues well past the time we all celebrated it.

Please share your thoughts on your “why” below.

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4 Responses to “What’s Your Why?”

  1. Dawn Schumacher said:

    As a child I had a heart condition. I wasn’t able to run and play like the other kids. I spent my time with my grandmother. I watched her sew almost daily. By the time I was 6 or 7 she had me embroidering my first pillowcase. Looking back it gave me alot of comfort to be able to spend that time with her and I learned alot about sewing and life.
    As a young mom I sewed all of my kid’s clothes and made my first quilt when my daughter was born. My life got crazy raising three chidren and sewing got put on hold for awhile. When my youngest child becaming involved with drugs I was depressed and filled with grief. I longed for those days of comfort with my grandmother. I started quilting again and found peace and joy in it. On the rough days I threw myself into my quilting and prayed until the calm came back into my day.
    I was blessed with a wonderful and supportive husband and in 1998 I opened a quilt shop “Pieceful Inspirations”. I wanted to be able to minister to hurting moms through quilting. God sent a wonderful older woman to help me. She saw me working on the building getting it ready for opening day. She told me if I needed an instructor she would love to teach. I had a small shop and I could only handle 6 students at a time. We filled our first beginning quilting class immediately. God blessed that ministery and in the first year we taught over 150 women to quilt. I was only able to keep the store open three years and my health forced me to close it, but I have wonderful memories and met some amazing women.
    Today I design dimensinal wool applique patterns. My designs are scripture inspired. I also hand-dye the wool that is used in my designs. I have 2 friends who own and operate Ewe-nique Creations with me. I love designing and my hope is that hurting women will find comfort and inspiration in my designs.

  2. Morna said:

    Dawn, That is a beautiful story about the comfort quilting provided you and now others. It’s easy to see that you are clear about your why, and I’m sure that’s reflected in how your business does. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lois Hallock said:

    I was drawn to quilting after my dad died of a massive heart attack at only 67 years old. I was young mom of a 3 year old boy and pregnant with the second of three miscarried babies at that time. When my fourth attempt at having second child yielded my precious baby girl, the post partum depression along with delayed sadness over my dad’s passing hit me hard. I found myself dwelling on thoughts of my daughter growing up without ever knowing me, as if I, too, would die next. My therapy was to make her a baby quilt, so at least she would have something to remember me by. The quilting bug bit hard and 17 years of quilting have gone by. The girlfriends found through the quilt guild are my bedrock. They have supported me in writing my book, “Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space,” and launching my business of Lecturer, Teacher, and Professional Organizer. Why do I do it? Because I want to help others tap into their creative passion by making their quilt studio more Ergonomic, Efficient, and Organized. My dad, the psychologist and family therapist, would have approved. Helping others to be their best self, that is what brings me the most satisfaction.

  4. Morna said:

    Lois, love your story. You touch on how much our connections in the quilt world support us. Thanks for sharing!

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