For the Record

By Mary Covey

Most quilters are drawn to the warmth and beauty of antique quilts. We like to collect and display them whenever possible. Many of these quilts have intricate hand stitching, unusual fabrics, and are made from patterns with long forgotten names. Fabric historians and journals written by the quilters have helped in documenting information about many antique quilts that are parts of museum collections. But what about quilts that you find at garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores? Do you ever wonder who the maker was, what was the name of the pattern, or how old is the quilt? I do.

3 Ways to Take Care of Antique Quilts #quilting #marycoveydesigns

Antique quilt from the 1930’s.

The block above is from a quilt made in the 1930’s. I know this because several of the blocks in the quilt have the year embroidered on them. So while we know approximately when it was made, the name of the maker, the name of the owner, the pattern name, and the occasion for which it was made are all a mystery. I have written a previous post on labeling your quilts, which should be a part of any quilt making process, but have you ever thought of making a record keeping system for your quilts?

The easiest way to keep a record of information about your quilts is to develop a basic form and fill it out each time you make a quilt. It can be something as simple as an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper or as elaborate as a binder system made specifically for a quilt maker’s record keeping.  Many of my friends use a spiral bound notebook that costs about a dollar that you can purchase just about any where. My favorite way is to create this document as part of an electronic file and save it on my computer.

The following is a list of information to include in your record:

  • Project or quilt number. Assign each project or quilt a number when you start. Then fill in the information as your work progresses.
  • Name. This is not necessary but most quilters do name their projects.
  • Pattern name and manufacturer. An example would be – “Happy Birthday Baby” pattern designed by Mary Covey from the book “Celebrations” published by Martingale & Company 2002.
  • Piecing. Was the quilt pieced by hand or machine? Was it made by one person or several? Be sure to include everyone’s name.
  • Quilting.  Record whether the quilt was hand or machine quilted and by whom.
  • Special information. Record if the quilt has appeared in any shows or publications. In each instance, record the name of the show/publication, date, awards won or page number.
  • Quilt owner. Even if you are making the quilt for yourself, make sure you record who is the owner. You may think everyone knows who you made the quilt for but unless you write it down, nobody will. If you are giving the quilt as a gift, make sure this information is on the label.
  • Maker’s notes. This is where I like to record the story behind the quilt. What was the inspiration for making the quilt – a wedding, a birthday, a new baby, a gift for a special friend?
  • Pictures. Take a photograph of your quilt or project. If you keep a paper record write the number of the project on the back of the photo in case it gets separated for the recorded sheet. Photos can be easily added to electronic files and saved.

Remember it is never too late to start keeping a record of your quilts. Chances are you know who you gave a quilt to or you might even still own them.  Start taking pictures and recording the history of as many of them as you can. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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Hiring a Professional Long Arm Machine Quilter

7 Tips for Hiring a Long Arm Machine Quilter

By Mary Covey

Over the past several years, long arm machine quilting has become both a popular and beautiful way to finish projects. It is also a great business opportunity for many quilters. So, hiring a professional who uses a long arm machine is always an option for getting your projects completed. If you do decide to use a professional quilting service, keep these tips in mind:

  • Ask for references from other customers or from local quilt shops.
  • Ask to see samples of the quilter’s most recent work. Most professionals will have a web page or Facebook page with pictures of their most current work.
  • Check out the quilter’s policies and pricing. A quilter may charge by the square yard or by the square inch. Always ask what is included in the price. My price includes the thread and the labor. Another quilter may include thread, labor, and batting in their price.
  • Agree up front on the quilting design, batting, thread color, completion date, and finished quilting price. Binding your quilt is usually a completely separate price.
  • Be clear about what you expect to receive in exchange for the quoted price. Long arm quilters are just like other professionals (mechanics, electricians, plumbers, etc.), they will be happy to put a quote in writing.
  • Be willing to leave a deposit if it is requested. Just like the plumber, full payment is due when the quilting is competed.
  • Look over your quilt when you pick it up. If you have any questions or concerns about your quilt ask the quilter right then. Any business owner will want to hear your comments and address them immediately.

Because we know how much time and energy you put into making your quilt top, professional long arm quilters take pride in doing a good job for their customers. It is especially gratifying when the customer is pleased with your work. Don’t hide your quilt tops away in the closet. Get them finished by a long arm quilting professtional.

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Classroom Etiquette – Are You a Good Student?

5 Tips to be a better student

By Mary Covey

We all enjoy taking a class to learn something new. At the end of most classes we are asked to evaluate the teacher. But have we ever thought about evaluating ourselves as students? It takes more than just being on time to be a good student.  Here are a few tips that have helped me get the most from my classroom experience.

  • Sign up for class as soon as you know you are interested. The class may be full if you wait until the last minute or a class could be cancelled because not enough students signed up.
  • Read the class description and know the skill level. Do not sign up for an advanced class if you are just a beginner. The teacher will have to spend lots of time helping you with skills that you should already know. This will be frustrating to you, the other students, but most of all the teacher.
  • Arrive a few minutes early and be prepared. Have the necessary supplies and make sure you know how to use them.
  • Turn off cell phones, keep conversation to a minimum, and pay attention to the teacher. Do not monopolize the teacher’s time. A good teacher will try to spend some individual time with each student.
  • Fill out the teacher evaluation form honestly. Be constructive about both the teacher and her handout material. Don’t ask for extra handouts for friends who did not attend the class. The teacher’s handouts are copyright protected, never, never copy them. They are intended for your use only. Do not take the class back to your guild or stitch group to teach it, this is also a violation of the copyright law unless you have written permission from the teacher.

Next time you take a class remember these simple tips, relax, and have fun being a good student.

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Defining Success

By Mary Covey

Defining Success

I believe I have been sewing all my life. As a child my grand mother taught me to thread a needle and sew on a button before I was six years old. With lots of trail and error, I taught myself how to use a sewing machine when I was seven. Over the years I worked at improving my skills so that I could make my own clothes.  A master seamstress named Minnie White let me come to her house every Saturday afternoon for a whole summer when I was twelve. She taught me how to measure, fit, and cut a pattern. Her motto was “always try to improve your skills and do your best” (the seam ripper and I became close friends). The suit I made over the course of that summer won a blue ribbon at the state fair.

When I wanted to learn to make a quilt, I took a class at Cotton Patch Fabrics in Tulsa, Oklahoma from Janette Metz, a master quilter. In Janette I saw that same patient spirit and willingness to share her knowledge that I had seen in Minnie. Again I heard the words “do your best” and “always try to improve”. The lessons Minnie and Janette gave became the foundation for all the work I have done since. There are others who have shared their knowledge with me – Betty Terrell, Nancy Mullman, Jane Green, Linda Jenkins, Becki Goldsmith, Ruth Faye, Ellen Medlock, Jane Lewis, Julie Scribner, Larry Black, Nancy Martin, Mary Green, Shirley Pittinger and the list could go on and on. All of these people took the time to share some of their knowledge with me. They are all successful women in my eyes.

Are you a teacher? Do you strive to improve your skills everyday for the benefit of your students?  Do you reach out to each of your students to help them improve? Do you take classes from experts to stay current in your field? Do your students feel like a success when they finish your class?

We have the ability to support and promote others to “do their best”. Kind words of encouragement can make a difference for all of us. We can all be successful if we reach out as often as possible to support and promote our students, friends, and family.

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

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