Jumping to professional quilting can be exciting, but be careful what you wish for!

Michele ScottMichele Scott

By: Michele Scott - QCN

Date: 02/25/2010

In my climb up the quilting ladder from complete obscurity to full-blown mediocrity in the professional quilting world, I’ve learned a lot of things. It takes more than just hard work and talent to achieve any sort of success. I have to say, trying to break out in professional arena is not for the faint of heart. So when I was asked to write this article, I sat down, poured a glass of wine and began this introspective on the past ten years. What infinite wisdom could I pass on to those quilters who are seeking fame and fortune?
First off, forget the “fortune” part of it altogether; there is no fortune in quilting! This really doesn’t make sense because we all spend so much money on it. But I digress… I decided one of the most paramount things I learned was to be careful what you wish for.
Having goals is the first step on any journey. I remember going home after my first professional retreat and charting out exactly how I wanted my career as a quilt professional to go. I had a series of goals. There were lists for accomplishments to be met at one month, six months, one year, two years, etc. and I’m proud to say I’m not too far from achieving the majority of them.
But there was one goal that I wanted to achieve more than anything. I wanted one of my original patterns to be offered in this national quilting catalogue that I love. You know which one it is; it’s a biggie whose first name rhymes with “meatsteak.” Anyway, I got the name and address of the broad in charge of the pattern publishing and began my assault. I sent her patterns weekly and without fail, one after the other after the other. I did this for a year straight. Of course I didn’t have 52 patterns, so once I hit the bottom of the design pile, I’d start at the beginning of the rotation. (I have the tenacity of a pitbull.)  Once I have my eye on the prize, I don’t give up until I get there. I’m telling you, I could just see everyone in the office saying, “Please, please put one of her patterns in the catalogue so she’ll leave us alone!”
I finally received that long awaited call. “Yes, we would like to publish your pattern in our catalogue. And we would like to order 1,000 of them. And we needed them yesterday.” Hmmmm. Now what? This was many years ago when publishing in color was much more expensive than it is now. And the printing resources were simply not as readily available. (You young kids have no idea how easy you have it!) So, I had to go with my original plan of printing them out on my color printer. Do you have any idea how long it takes to print, staple, fold and stuff 1,000 patterns?


Actually, I have no idea, because I recruited anyone and everyone who ever owed me a favor to help me with the deed. (Mostly because the day before, I contracted a nasty flu, so in order to get this all done, a whole armada was necessary.) My life is riddled with great things happening at just the wrong time.
There is a happy ending though. The pattern was assembled in time and sent off with milliseconds to spare. So, the moral of this great yarn is to be careful what you wish for. Not all roads are lined in gold as you may imagine. I’m not saying to give up on your goals and dreams. Hell, I just landed one of my long-term goals of getting a book contract. It was great news, except that now I have to write it. But that’s another story for another time…and a whole bottle of wine.
For the record, I’ve never submitted another design again, a fact for which my friends and that publication are eternally grateful.


Michele Scott and her quilts can be tracked down at www.piecefulquilter.com.

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