Quilts and Quilt Zoos go viral

This post on a social media site shows a quilt made by Lewistown’s Shawna Crawford has “gone viral,” with over 44,000 people sharing the quilt photo.

Photo courtesy of Gerri Campbell

Lewistown’s Shawna Crawford shared a picture of her quilt, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” on Instagram. Her quilt is a variation on the “Cattails in the Meadow” pattern by renowned Montana designer Judy Neimeyer, Quiltworx. Judel Buls, Judy’s daughter and business partner, shared the quilt on the Quiltworx.com Facebook page. The quilt became an internet sensation, far beyond the quilt world.

From the time Shawna started watching it, the number of shares skyrocketed.

“Overnight there were 5,000 more shares,” she marveled.

That was just the beginning. Quickly the post garnered 44,000-plus shares, 6,000 reactions and over 1,000 comments.

Judel commented on Facebook that they’ve had a few quilt pictures go viral, but this is the biggest. “We’ve had tons of calls on the pattern. We’ve sold 10 patterns this week specifically because of it. I think we’ve answered 50 emails from people just wanting to buy it. I keep telling them it’s not ours to sell, but that they can make something similar if they want, using the pattern,” she added.

A more subtle attraction is the quilting itself; the stitching that holds the layers of the quilt together. Quiltworx has digitized patterns that can be programmed into a computerized long-arm machine for quicker, easier, precise work. Shawna prefers free-motion quilting, hand-guiding her machine freehand over the quilt, complementing and adding to her art.

As for the quilt being for sale, Shawna says she’s keeping this one. “You would probably faint when you hear the price I would let it go for,” she laughs. “Everything has a price though. I am keeping it because no one in their right mind would pay as much as I would want for it.”

Quilters don’t often sell their art because that would require logging of and billing for the time and materials, not to mention the value of the craft. Quilts are donated or gifted instead.


Quilters in Central Montana; quilter Kleinhans offers classes

There are many quilters in Central Montana, and the opening of our local quilt shop, Lewistown’s Sew Pieceful, and the growth of the Montana Winter Fair Quilt Show are venues bringing these talented area quilters out of their sewing studios.

During the Winter Fair, the first Quilters of Central Montana Fat Quarter Challenge was presented. Twenty-three items were offered for silent auction, raising over $1,000 to assist in bringing a quilt teacher to Lewistown. Challenge participants chose Montana quilter Monique Kleinhans to teach three days of classes June 23, 24 and 25. She will offer hands-on instruction in thread painting, coloring your quilt, and creating landscape quilts from a photo.

A group of like-minded folks to share stitches, laughs, love and support was formed. The group is flexible, and offers information, sharing and fellowship. After a quick thesaurus search, The Quilters of Central Montana Zoo had its name: the maintenance of a collection for study, conservation and display. That’s a group of quilters indeed.

All those who enjoy quilting are invited to join in the fun at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 6 at the Civic Center. Please bring your ideas and wish lists. We look forward to adding your great idea.

Shawna will kick off this zoo event sharing information on quilting your pieces, including free-motion quilting motifs for the beginner and the more advanced alike. Don’t bring machines, just a quilt top to share. We are not practicing on quilt tops; we’ll practice on paper. Bring a notebook and get ready to draw and share tips.

Registration for the classes Kleinhans will teach in June will open at this event to participants in the Winter Fair Challenge, a challenge perk. Classes will then be available to any quilter. Class sizes are limited.

If you quilt in Central Montana, you’re included in the Zoo fun. Spread the word.

For information and updates, please join the Facebook group Quilters of Central Montana or contact Gerri Campbell, 380-0900; Shawna Crawford, 366-4661; Nancy Wichman, 366-9333; Jill Owens, 538-9812; or Tammy Eckhardt at Lewistown’s Sew Pieceful.


What is your favorite part of the Fair?