On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about building a business as a quilt pattern designer, author, and blogger with my guest, Amy Friend. I had the pleasure of visiting Amy in her home studio in West Newbury, Massachusetts, and recording this interview in person which was lovely! Amy lives in a mid-19th century home that was formerly inhabited by a comb maker, shoemaker, and Morgan horse breeder. She grew up down the street from where she and her husband are now raising their three children.
A former museum curator, Amy designs unique modern quilts with a specialty in paper piecing. She’s written two books, both with Lucky Spool: Intentional Piecing: From Fussy Cutting to Foundation Piecing (affiliate link) and Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design (affiliate link). She also travels to guilds and national events to teach. Amy has a large portfolio of patterns for sale on her website, During Quiet Time, where she also blogs.
We begin the conversation talking about how Amy learned to sew from her mother and grandmother who both were skilled seamstresses. Amy explains how she discovered her love of art history at Bates College and then went on to get a masters degree and work as the first curator at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. It was Amy’s husband who encouraged her to begin blogging when he noticed that she was reading lots of sewing and quilting blogs after becoming a mother and sewing items for her baby’s nursery.
Namaste quilt by Amy Friend.
Once she discovered paper piecing Amy says things just “clicked” for her and she began designing patterns and developing her passion into a business. She talks about how she started teaching regionally and nationally, how she began working with brands, and how she got her first book deal. Amy explains the mental shift she had when she began thinking about her quilting as a business.
Recently, Amy was commissioned by the town of West Newbury to make a quilt in honor of the town’s bicentennial. She created this stunning design featuring combs, the industry that began in West Newbury. Amy talks about how this commission came about and how she approached it. We also talk about a series of quilt blocks Amy designed to go with the Little House on the Prairie series. She and her children made the blocks into quilts as they read the books and you can, too – the blocks are free to download on During Quiet Time.
And, of course, I ask Amy to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Amy recommends:
- Trader Joe’s candy cane green tea (available seasonally)
- the Daylight Wafer lightbox (affiliate link)
- looking through seed catalogs in winter to find color combinations for quilting
This episode was sponsored by the artist’s J.D., a place designed to add ease to the legalese of running your creative business. If you are a maker, designer, or shop owner, then you should consider joining the artist’s Courtyard. It functions as your creative business’ legal guide, mentor, sounding board, and resource library. Seize dream opportunities when they arise because your business is built on a strong foundation. Visit theartistsjd.com to learn more and use the code whileshenaps at checkout to get 50% off your first month.
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