Hello, everyone! I am happy to introduce you to one of my heroes in the quilting world:
Quilt and Pattern Designer
Denise: When and how did you start making quilts?
learned to sew when I was about 5 years old. I have five sisters, and
we all love to sew. By high school, I was sewing my own clothes,
including jeans and tailored jackets. I even won the home
economics award at my high school! While in college, I came across a
quilting show on TV and decided to give it a try . . . and was
immediately hooked! I made a dozen quilted pillows, then my first
always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but I hated the super tight
budget, so I knew I wanted a home business. At first, I sewed quilts
and sold them in country tourist shops, but it was very labor intensive.
Then I met a couple of people who published their own quilt patterns,
and I knew that was the way to go. I loved designing new things, not
following existing patterns. I convinced my husband to invest
about $1,200 to publish my first 4 patterns — which was a small
fortune for us. I rented a booth at the wholesale trade show to sell
them. Fortunately, the patterns sold well and my business grew.
D: Where does inspiration for your patterns come from?
in it. An idea usually just pops into my head, and I start drafting and
sewing. I tend to have months of intense creativity, where I can’t sew
fast enough, and months where nothing seems to turn out right.
D: What is (are) the best thing (s) about your decision to start your business?
question, the best thing is the ability to earn money at home while
raising four children. My oldest child was born severely handicapped, so
it’s been nice to have that flexibility. The other thing I love is the
creative outlet. It’s great to have a productive use for all those wacky
ideas! I’m a rather high energy person and love keeping busy.
D: What are the drawbacks, if any?
that the work is always there, just a few steps away, so it’s hard to
get away from it all, especially when things are busy. I’ve worked some
crazy long hours over the years — meeting print deadlines, preparing
for trade shows, etc. It’s also hard when I have a great design in my
head, but it just doesn’t turn out — when I rework a quilt a dozen
times and it’s still ugly. Those are the days when it isn’t so much fun!
D: Please introduce us to your family.
greatest blessing is a happy marriage. My husband, Mark, is a very
practical engineer and doesn’t really get the whole
cutting-up-fabric-just-to-sew-it-all-back-together-again thing, but
he’s wonderfully supportive of my business. And loves the income! I
have four children — Kelsi, 22, Connor, 18, Maia, 15, and Max, 12.
Kelsi was born severely mentally handicapped, so she’s actually still my
sweet baby, requiring a lot of care.
D: How do you juggle your family commitments and your business?
was harder when my children were young — lots of sewing at 2 o’clock
in the morning and dragging toddlers through the fabric store and post
office. Looking back, it was pretty crazy, but I tend to thrive on a
little chaos. Now, I work while they’re in school and focus on them when
they’re home. Much easier!
D: What do you do for relaxation?
T: I go
running almost every day — at an embarrassingly slow pace, but I still
love it. I also love to read and belong to a book club. I love baking
cookies. And I love to shop for just about anything — shoes, clothes,
dish scrubber, computer — I don’t care, I get into it!
D: Do you have any advice for someone contemplating starting their own quilt-related, or craft, business?
been a great blessing in my life, so I highly recommend it. But it
isn’t the sort of thing that just happens on its own. It takes a lot of
focused attention, great ideas, hard work, and probably some financial
risk. It can even be technical at times, when you have to learn new
computer programs, how to run a website, etc. But if someone has the
creative drive and energy to keep at it, ask a lot of questions, and
ignore some rejection, it is well worth it!
Thank you, Teri!