When you have been quilting for as long as I have (or as long as I will admit to), you have been able to watch the resurgency of this industry. In the 1970’s, there was a much publicized quilt contest for the bicentennial, which is largely credited for the renewed interest in quilting. In fact, however, that contest had over 10,000 entries – so it must have started before that. The Bicentennial contest definitely was a catalyst for the boom that has fed the craft since then. One of the Forces behind that interest made unexpected news last week when Eleanor Burns announced that she has had heart surgery.
Eleanor opened the doors to Quilt in a Day in 1979, and the company has continuously reinvented itself since that time. The first quilt I ever made was a Quilt in a Day Log Cabin – the easy to follow directions helped this full time working mom fall in love with the process of quiltmaking. The photograph of the book above comes from my bookshelf, and it’s still a tried and true resource that I still use when I am in a time pinch.
Eleanor taught – and still teaches – the patterns which her company writes, and she is a regular feature at major quilt shows and online classes alike. The fact that the company has continued to evolve is one of the reasons that it’s still around – a lesson for companies no matter what their business. Today Quilt in a Day is found on every social media platform, it’s a huge presence in Paducah for Quilt week, and she regularly blogs and posts on Facebook. It seems as if she has been with us forever, and maybe that’s one of the reasons that the news of her surgery gave me such pause.
I’ve heard it said that the best time to tell someone you love them – or admire them, or respect them, is today. I guess I just wanted to say to Eleanor that I hope that you are with us for a long time to come. We need you.
Get well, Eleanor!