Speaking at Scenic River Quilt Guild

I did it folks! (Oh geesh! Did I just say “folks”??) LOL

On Monday I told you I was speaking at a local quilt guild, that it was my first official speaking engagement, and that I was a tad bit nervous. Well, I got through it and I can’t wait to do it again!

One of the reasons it went so well is that I had a wonderful audience of women to interact with. They were attentive, engaged, asked pertinent questions, and it was just a pleasure to spend an evening with them.

So now let me back up a bit. Most of you know that my local quilt shop, Bolts & Quarters, usually has several of my quilts hanging in the shop. They carry printed copies of my patterns and everyone who works there is so supportive of my quilting adventures.

One of the quilts they have hanging is an ombre version of Spinning. The quilt has received a ton of attention and has been instrumental in the sale of that pattern as well as the fabric I used. It’s my most popular pattern to date.

Spinning Pattern in Ombre Fabric

It is because of that quilt that Laura, the president of the Scenic Rivers Quilt Guild, contacted me. When she found out from the shop that the designer was a local gal, she got my contact info from the shop and invited me to one of the guild’s meetings. Laura asked me to speak about how I got started designing and writing patterns and about my journey.

Now at this point I could try to impress you and tell you that I was invited to speak out-of-state because the guild is in Ohio and I live in West Virginia. But the truth is that I live almost on the state line so many of my days are spent back and forth between both states. And Marietta, OH is only about 25 minutes from my house. But maybe you’re just a *teeny* bit impressed??

I took quilts from all my patterns as well as printed patterns. I was hoping that FedEx would deliver my newest pattern so I would have that beautiful booklet to show and they did! It was delivered about an hour before I left the house.

My original plan was to have a PowerPoint presentation and a show/tell at the end. However, as I spent the day practicing I realized I would be much more comfortable and more ‘myself’ if I just spoke from the heart with no notes or slides. I ended up ditching the presentation and just talked. As I reached each stage in my story where a quilt was part of the story I stopped and showed the quilt. It broke up my speaking and gave the group a visual for that part of my story. I really liked the way it flowed, and if I get to do this again I would like to continue using that format.

Several women asked good questions about copyright, pricing, digital vs paper, local printers and online printers. I even found a couple ladies who love quilty math! 🙂 On my drive home as I was thinking about the questions that were asked, I realized that information could be included in my next presentation. I was so happy we were able to interact and have such a great discussion.

After the meeting, several women told me how much they enjoyed hearing my story. Perhaps the biggest compliment I received though was being asked to join the guild. Totally unexpected and so sweet.

So here’s my takeaway from this experience:

  • If you have an opportunity to tell your story and show your quilts, do it! Quilters love to talk about quilts and see what other people are making, and no one knows your journey better than you. Once I started talking the nerves disappeared and it was easy.  It’s been a while since I’ve had all my quilts together in one place, so it was as fun for me to see them again as it was for the group to see them for the first time.
  • Don’t think your quilts aren’t as good as others. I have a bit of an issue with this myself. But when I look at my collection together I see piecing I’m proud of and free motion quilting that has evolved over time. I can see my own growth. One lady commented that they love to hear a good success story. To me, I might not be good enough, but to someone else I’m a success story! So remember, YOU are a success story.
  • Have fun. It was fun for me to talk about my start in quilting and my journey and I think it showed. If you enjoy yourself, others will as well.

I’d love to hear about your experience as a speaker or giving a trunk show. How did you feel about your experience? Would you like to present but haven’t made the leap yet?



About Beth

I’m a wife, mother of two, and lover of all things crafty. I love to cook up new things in the kitchen and in my craft room, and sometimes get “licking the spoon” mixed up with “licking the fabric”!!

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15 Responses to Speaking at Scenic River Quilt Guild

  1. Yay! Saw this post but didn’t have time to read it then, so reading it now. Glad it went well, wish I could’ve been there! I am taking your second bullet to heart, so very very true. I love that pattern period, but in ombré it’s fantastic.

  2. Kathleen McCormick says:

    Good for you! Sounds like a great first talk and I expect there will be many more!

  3. It’s always intimidating to talk in front of a group (I’ve read somewhere that most people are more afraid of public speaking than dying). Congrats on such a positive first time. I like your take aways from the experience.

  4. That was a lovely read Beth. What an exciting thing to do. I’m glad you got such an encouraging response – the first of many engagements I’m sure ☺

  5. Helen says:

    Well done Beth . You did the right thing , just let your real self shine through

  6. Andrea H says:

    Congratulations on your quilt speaking engagement. It sounds like it went very well. My college marketing class I am taking right now says that “from the heart” is selling the best right now. I’ve never spoken about my quilting, but I have been able to speak a number of times on other various topics. I always get nervous. Have a great weekend! –Andrea

  7. Great job! I wish I could have been there!

  8. Debbie says:

    What a great post! You did it and now the next time will be easier. And your quilt is to die for!

  9. I am so excited for you, Beth! You *are* a success story and I am so thrilled it went so well. How awesome to reflect on the questions and know you can already incorporate them into how you present next time, too.

  10. Tish says:

    I knew you would be a hit! I’m glad to hear every thing went well. Public speaking scares me to death, but I think the more you do the easier it gets.

  11. I’m so glad your talk went well!

  12. Yay for you, Beth! I’m so glad it went well!

  13. I’m glad it went well for you! And hope you have the chance to do it again. =)

  14. Cindy says:

    Nice to hear it went so well! I knew you would do good.

  15. kaholly says:

    Well, now, congratulations on your first speaking engagement! I’m not surprised it was a success one bit. And it will get better each and every time you have the opportunity to do it again!

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