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Easy Projects for Beginners

Easy Quilt Ideas

With summer in full swing, we thought we’d share some ideas for easy beginner projects for the new quilter in your life! You may find yourself spending more time with grandkids, and if you’re looking for something to do, why not teach them your favorite hobby. (Who knows, it might become theirs as well!) Check out the below ideas for simple ways to begin.

Easy project ideas

  • Pillow: What else is a pillow beside a single quilt block? Show your new quilter some quilt block styles and let them chose their favorite.
  • Baby quilt: The natural next step after making a pillow is to sew a baby blanket. Starting with precuts and patterns with simple piecing is going to be the best bet for a beginner piece.
  • Tote bags: Bags are pretty fun too. The best part is your new sewer will get exposure with different things (handles, curved edges, etc).
  • Large block quilts: Once you’re ready to to enter the big leagues, consider sewing a large block quilt to make their first full-sized piece seem a little more manageable.

How to reach new quilters

Do you have a favorite YouTube channel? Do your customers have a favorite YouTube channel? Help your new quilter learn from a different perspective by checking out what material is available on social media.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with books either. Dig through some of your old copies, or visit your nearest quilt retailer to see what they recommend.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Start a Business Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Networking during a pandemic is difficult. Now is the time to reach out to local business leaders to hear what great ideas they’ve had this year.

Local Advisory Committee

Pool your community for local retailers. The range can be everything from your local pharmacist to the local floor-covering business. The one thing you all have in common is that you pool from the same client base.

A breakfast meeting on alternating months is a great start to handle the logistics aspect of creating an advisory board. As for meeting quality, take turns hosting the meeting. If content ideas are running low, brainstorm hot topics during one of your sessions.

Leave time at the close of meetings for members to share how the ideas helped them (or didn’t help). And if ideas do start to run low, consider making a book list consisting of leadership and self help titles.

Quilt Market Buddy

Similar to a community advisory board, do you have an advisor for quilt markets? If you don’t, make a friend at the next in-person market. This could be someone you see frequently, and start with a simple introduction. The best advisor you could find is someone in a similar, but not necessarily the same, business as yourself.

Go out for coffee, and determine what vendors are on each other’s lists. Agree to meet up at agreed-upon times throughout market, and share the promotional information you gather. As this relationship develops, you could even attend meetings you, or your advisor sets up.

Inspiration for this post came from “You Dont’ Know What You Don’t Know,” by Tom Shay published in the October 2020 issue of American Quilt Retailer.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

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History of Quilting

History of quilting

The history of quilting; one subject I had never considered even though I have been quilting nearly all my life.

The question came to mind as I thought about best practices to influence younger generations into the art form (that post to come). What makes people like quilting? When and where did it start?

And that’s when I realized, I had no idea what the history was. I had always assumed it was a tradition passed generation from generation, but how did the tradition begin?


Although an exact date is not known, quilting is thought to have begun sometime between the first century B.C. to second century A.D. and the oldest quilt was found on the carved figure of a Pharaoh who ruled during Egypt’s First Dynasty, 3400 B.C.

Quilts were also found useful during the Middle Ages—knights would wear them beneath armor for comfort and throw quilts over armor to protect from the elements.

The New World

Flash forward to settlers coming to the new world, although no quilts can be found from this time, the art of quilt making likely arrived with the inhabitants.

The reason why no quilts could be found makes sense; quilts were utilitarian. They became useful, everyday tools: to provide warmth on a bed, mats for children, walls in one room houses, and more.

The earliest surviving American quilt is dated at 1704, thanks to an exposed newspaper clipping used as padding.

Modern Traditions

Quilting transformed into a social event during the settlement of the Great Plains as a way for women to socialize. Quilts also transformed into heirlooms and a form of fundraising, especially during the World Wars, and even continuing into today.

So why did quilts survive the test of time? Because the problem they solve still exists—protection from the elements—and as it turns out quilts are a great way to do just that.

*To dive deeper into these subjects, check out these websites.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.