Over the years, you’ve seen us make a lot of different kinds of products. The magazine, of course, but also special issues, books, patterns, virtual workshops, etc. All of these different categories have brought their own challenges as well as their own joys and accomplishments.
But the craziest curveballs often come from manufacturing goods. Heirloom Quilt Ladders, laser-engraved DIY Barn Quilts, Letterpress Stationery, you name it—these endeavors require finding all new vendors, materials, packaging, and shipping solutions … all of which present opportunities to learn new things and, occasionally, make some new mistakes.
This creative engine is part of Quiltfolk’s DNA, which probably stems from my own personal interest in making new things. It’s one of the most exciting parts of my job. And for that reason, I like to take the lead, whenever possible, in figuring out some of the product development challenges that inevitably surface.
One such opportunity arose during the preparation of our upcoming Adventure Workshop Dutch Discoveries: Quilting A Thousand Flowers. The Materials & Preparation document in the Attendee Hub includes printable templates that can be used when fussy cutting fabrics for the Millefiori quilt project that we will complete together. But at the same time that we were compiling these resources, we were also working with a local, Portland-based laser cutting company for our Holiday DIY Barn Quilts.
This is when the team’s inventive instincts kicked in: What if we design acrylic, laser-cut templates for the Millefiori project in addition to offering the printable paper versions?
We gave it a shot, and the pieces came out perfectly! (But not necessarily easily.)
900 Tiny Acrylic Triangles
If 900 tiny acrylic triangles sounds like a lot—that’s because it is! And, to my surprise, each template needed to be carefully punched out of acrylic sheets, separated, have tape removed from both sides, polished with Windex, and then separated back out for packaging.
For these kinds of hands-on projects, I often recruit friends or family to help out after hours … but my go-to production companion is my wife Marisa, who is annoyingly (and lovingly) twice as quick as me at these sorts of things.
We typically watch our “shows,” like Survivor, while we work. I suppose it’s an entrepreneur’s twisted idea of a “date night.” But she doesn’t mind. In fact, we both have a lot of fun doing it together. And it gives the project a personal touch.
It’s easy to perceive product creation as the domain of large corporations and sprawling factories. But our reality, like many small businesses, is far more intimate. Many of the products we cherish aren’t churned out by faceless machines; they’re born from the heart, from hands that care and minds that dream.
As my post comes to a close, remember this: Every item Quiltfolk creates carries a piece of our story, a fragment of our journey. They’re not just products; they’re tokens of our love for creation and a testament to the joy of crafting something truly unique.
Dutch Discoveries Premieres January 26-27, 2024!
If you are already enrolled in Dutch Discoveries: Quilting A Thousand Flowers, we hope that our Millefiori Acrylic Templates make your fabric-cutting experience much more enjoyable and efficient.
And if you haven’t signed up, please click here to learn more about our next Adventure Workshop and consider registering by January 25 to participate in what will be an unforgettable livestream experience with Jenni Smith, Kay Walsh, Willyne Hammerstein, and more!