In less than one month Season 8 of Project QUILTING begins - going strong since 2010!
In the first seven seasons of Project QUILTING:
- 52 challenges were issued
- 1,488 projects were started-and-finished within the one-week guideline of the challenge
- Participants represented 42 US states, 5 Canadian provinces, plus 10 other countries
- TONS of prizes were awarded and delivered
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How does all this happen? With a lot of work, and a little luck! I'll tell you more in a minute: but first, a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
Fortunately, I knew right away who to ask, and SHE SAID YES! I’m happy to welcome Trish Frankland, aka Quilt Chicken, into the position of Challenge Giver (Trish Frankland, RFQ, CG) for Project QUILTING! You may already know Trish as a PQ participant and from her cameos here on my blog. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with new challenges for our Season 8!
Before the season of Project Quilting begins, there's a lot of work happening behind the scenes. First, we have to make it through the fall apple season here on my family's orchard. It's three months of non-stop action at the store and farm, which closes for the season at Thanksgiving.
Just as soon as I can (about December 1), I turn my attention back to Project QUILTING. I make a schedule of the dates the challenges will be issues, and the dates the challenges are due. Typically we begin on the first Sunday of the month … this year, that's January 1.
I send out many, many emails to potential sponsors explaining why they should want to donate prizes to this fun program. (Always looking: if you know a business who you think would be a good fit, let me know). Mostly, I tell them how wonderful and enthusiastic all of you are!
I create a spreadsheet and schedule of all the prizes to be awarded. Some will be shipped to me to ship to you - others will be shipped directly to the winners. I also collect the promo materials from our sponsors: "buttons" for the blog, website/social media links, etc. … all that information needs to be managed.
While that's happening behind the scenes, out in the online world I’m starting to promote Project QUILTING via Facebook, online groups, Instagram, and through my website, blog and newsletter. I work hard to get folks excited for the new season and ensure they've marked the opening date on their brand-new calendar.
This year for the first time I'll be hosting an Instagram hop. I'm hoping that will draw some new interest and enthusiasm - make sure you're following there and using our hashtags to help build the hype!
Questions? Oh, there are a millions of questions amidst all of this promotion and emails and contacts - and I’m happy to work through questions to make it all run smoothly.
Once Project QUILTING begins, I promote the challenge throughout the week, offer encouragement and give advice as needed to help participants stay inspired, answer more questions, and help folks link up their project. I also love to keep track of who's participating, where they're from, and how many challenges they finish throughout the season (this is where all those fun stats come into play).
During the off-week, I draw winners, send out newsletters, promote the viewer's choice voting, notify winners and collect addresses, connect with sponsors, and shipping prizes.
Plus, I have a husband and three very active young daughters.
So why do I do all this work? (yes, sometimes I ask myself that question too)
It's simply because I love the community of Project QUILTING.
In the last seven years, I’ve met people from all over the world. I’ve watched folks learn new skills, try new techniques and blossom as a result of these challenges.
But it's also about me. These challenges have changed me from a crafter to an artist. I've been inspired to find my passion, to follow my dreams, and to create the art I want to make. My quilts have been in national quilt shows, were featured on “Sewing with Nancy” and in print, and some of my work has even won ribbons. I use these challenge-inspired quilts in my guild presentations, and I believe I have helped others to take their own quilting to the next step.
Yes, there are headaches along the way: Is there anything good we do that doesn’t involve a headache or two? But in the grand scheme of things, Project QUILTING is worth it to me.
In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a series of blog posts to help you prepare for the new season's challenges. (No, Trish hasn't spilled the beans on what they'll be yet!) I'm planning to share my veteran experience on topics like where to buy fabric, how to store supplies and even great pre-planned meals you can rely on when you’re on a tight timeline.
I hope you've enjoyed this peek behind the curtain at the behind-the-scenes administration for Project QUILTING, I look forward to discussing prep work with you all this month, and most of all I hope you decide to join the fun this year!
You've got nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.