July 9, 2016

Building a business with your ‘chosen craft’

RUTLAND – Stone House Quilting, established in Rutland in 2002, has received numerous awards and recognition at quilt shows. Janet Block, owner and sole employee of the quilting business, considers herself fortunate: “It is very rewarding to be recognized for doing creative and excellent work in one’s chosen craft,” she says. “I am very lucky to be working at something I love and find beauty in.”

Here, Block tells more about her craft and the business she created.

What is the nature of your business?

Stone House Quilting is a long-arm quilting business. Primarily, I sew quilt tops and bottoms together with a filler in between. My equipment consists of a Gammill Classic hand-guided long-arm quilting machine, which is a sewing machine that moves on wheels across the fabric and has a very long space between the needle and the motor. This space allows the quilt to be rolled up as you move across it quilting.

What was the inspiration behind creating your business?

I started this business when I realized that there was a need for such services. I had made a quilt top for my niece, who was heading off to college. I wanted the sturdiness of machine quilting for this quilt that would see lots of wear and tear. After finding that I was going to have to wait 6 to 9 months to get it quilted, I started researching the possibilities of getting the equipment to do it myself. I had been sewing since I was in grade school and continued to sew for myself, my children and my home, and was confident that I could master another aspect of the trade. I was ready for a new challenge and felt that this could be a business that I would enjoy, as well as fit with my family-focused lifestyle.

How did you get to where you are today?

To support and promote quilting I have served in various roles in the local quilt guild, Maple Leaf Quilters, and the Vermont Quilt Festival. I stay relevant and informed by following quilting trends in social media and printed publications. When available, I take classes to keep fresh and inspired. At one time I was quilting numerous quilts every week. I now have slowed down my pace to one a week or less. With this schedule I find I am more creative and excited with the process.

What makes your company unique? What is the most interesting aspect of your company?

Since I started the business, I have quilted approximately 1,300 quilts, both for customers and for myself. I can quilt both very simple and extremely intricate designs. I can put words on the quilts, like “Happy Anniversary,” or motifs, such as trucks or flowers. I am able to “draw” with the needle, and thread any design that I envision in my mind. My customers either give me directions for how they want their quilt designed, or they give me permission to do what I want. Every quilt is both sentimental and unique; I work to match the quilting design to the quilt’s personality and purpose to make it really special.

Why Vermont?

I have customers from all over New England. Vermont’s reputation with handcrafts is that of superior workmanship.

Contact information

Contact Janet at 802-773-3418 or stonehousequilting@msn.com.

If you are a locally owned Rutland-area small business or sole-proprietorship and would like to be featured in A Business Story, please contact joanna@rutlandreader.com.

Joanna Tebbs Young is a freelance writer and writing workshop facilitator living in Rutland. Contact her at joanna@rutlandreader.com, wisdomwithinink.com, facebook.com/TheWritersRoomatAllenHouse or on Twitter at @jtebbsyoung.

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