On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about building a successful career in quilting with my guest, Eleanor Burns.
Eleanor Burns is truly a star in the quilting industry. She entered the field in 1978 with a self-published book, “Make a Quilt in a Day-Log Cabin Pattern.” Her innovative techniques in “strip piecing” made quilting possible for busy sewers and remains popular today. Eleanor’s signature technique is to take time treasured patterns and make them quick and easy to sew with new methods.
In 1990, Eleanor pioneered the way people view quiltmaking with her Quilt in a Day television series, which still broadcasts nationwide. She continues to be a highly sought after teacher and demonstrates her patterns and techniques on the Quilt in a Day website, live streaming webinars, and on YouTube.
A video from Eleanor’s Tales of First Ladies series.
In 1998 Eleanor designed her first fabric collection, “Anniversary Florals,” with Benartex. She’s designed several more since then and has also collaborated in designing several special edition sewing machines. To date, Eleanor has published over 150 books and patterns and created numerous quilt rulers, templates and tools.
In this interview Eleanor explains how she got transitioned from a career as a special education teacher in Pennsylvania to a quilting instructor in California. Hear how visiting a square dancing costume outlet led her to develop strip piecing as a quilting technique. She also tells a truly funny story about hoisting her younger son into the dumpster at the OP clothing factory to get scrap corduroy for quilts.
All of Eleanor’s books have been self-published and she’s produced all of her own television shows. She’s truly an example of a self-publishing success story. Hear how she pitched to get her show on the Learning Channel and then on PBS.
I ask her how she first started doing her signature move – throwing the scraps behind her as she cuts – and Eleanor tells that story. As she was building her business Eleanor was a single, working mom and she talks about what that was like and how she balanced caring for her children and being an entrepreneur.
And, of course, I ask Eleanor to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Eleanor recommends:
- How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan (affiliate link)
- the Accuquilt Go! Big machine (affiliate link)
- 101 Patchwork Patterns by Ruby McKim (affiliate link)
Keep up with Eleanor on the Quilt in a Day website.
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