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Hi Everyone! A big welcome to all the new readers!
So, now your quilt got accepted into the big show….congratulations! Now what do you do? Here are some helpful hints for getting your quilt ready for the show.
Prepping for sending
I like to print mine on printable fabric and fuse them to the back of the quilt. Years ago, I bought a hp quilt custom label cd program at a quilt show. Nowadays, I’m sure you can find something like it online.
What do you put on your label?
I always include:
- year made
- my name
- cell phone number
Well, not always- you can see I forgot the year it was made and my cell phone number!
I also quilt my first name on the lower right hand corner somewhere. You can also hand print with textile marker or stitch your labels with programmed stitches.
I usually use a wood-like slat from Loweʼs and screw 1/2” screw eyes on either end. You can also use real wood, but you should seal it first, and sand the ends. The fake wood cuts easily with a small saw. For larger, more important pieces, I use a 1/8”aluminum slat about 1 1/2 “ wide, drill small holes on either end for nail holes and file the ends so they are not sharp. You want your quilt to lay flat on the wall.
However, there are many creative ways to hang quilts if you do a little research. Things like decorative curtain rods, tree branches, etc. are fun sometimes. Most shows require a 4”sleeve. If you are curious, I use Libby Lehmanʼs method, but there are numerous tutorials online and in books are everywhere.
A handy way to store a quilt with the hanging rod safety pinned to the back, ready to go in your closet.
Packing your quilt so it doesn’t get smashed
There are many ways to pack quilts for shipping. For larger quilts, I like to roll them up around a tube of bubble wrap or a pool noodle, then put in a large plastic bag. Then I find a tube type box or get one from UPS. They can build you one that is long enough. This way is more expensive to ship, but your quilt will arrive with no fold lines, and you can include a hanging rod if needed.
Otherwise, you can fold your quilt and put rolls of bubble wrap in the folds so they wonʼt crease.
Place your folded piece in a pillowcase and plastic bag, and put in a box with room to add paper around it. Make sure to include any paper work or labels for the show organizers. I write my name on the outside of the plastic bag, with the name of the piece too. IF you send hanging rods, make sure they are labeled with your name, and the piece name.
Shipping, insurance, tracking
Luckily I have never lost a quilt in transit. I always ship using UPS or Fed Ex and make sure I check the tracking to see if it arrived. My pieces are insured through a rider on my home owners policy that covers them in transit and away from home. You can also add shipping insurance, but I donʼt usually since it adds a lot to the cost. Check with your insurance company.
Keeping good records
That being said, if a large quilt is stolen, or lost, I would have to prove through my sales records what the piece is worth. Otherwise, your insurance company will just consider it a blanket!
This leads me to the importance of keeping good records/documenting. I use a spread sheet to inventory my body of work. I also use this document to keep track of sold pieces, to whom, and how much. You will need to pay taxes on this income too, so save your receipt copies of sold pieces. And if something is lost or stolen, you have a record of what a similar piece is worth.
Speaking of sold pieces, itʼs good practice to document the making of a piece. Take in process photos of the WIP. You can use these for your blog, your website, to write articles, and to give to your buyer when they buy a piece from you. They love to know what shows this piece has been in, if it won any awards, how it was made, and how long it took. Buyers also love to know the background story of the inspiration of the piece. This all adds to your professionalism and to the value of your work.
Judges comments & Awards
When you get your quilt back from a show, make note of it on your spreadsheet. You will likely get some comments from the judges. They literally have 2 mins. to make these comments, so take them with a grain of salt. However, if judge after judge is saying your free motion quilting is poor, you might want to address that! Also, if your comments are harsh, donʼt let that stop you from making and entering work. Just learn from the comments and move on.
If you are lucky enough to win an award, celebrate and announce it everywhere- and make a note of it on your spread sheet. You can now raise the price on that piece, because it won an award!
Mostly, I want to leave you with this: We make art to share it. Have fun with getting your work out there, and try not to take it all too seriously. By the way, the quilt at the top, (Celestial Celebration) was purchased because the buyers fell in love with it at a show- jes’ sayin!
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Roxane is a full time studio textile artist, teacher, and author, with two girls, who are both growing up too fast! She recently appeared on Quilting Arts TV, and has taught at the Houston quilt show. She is also a BERNINA ambassador. Her work is in several private collections and she loves doing custom commissions. For more info go to http://roxanelessa.com.
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