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Good Quilting Communication

I read with interest Lisa H. Calle's "Did You Hear Me?" blog post as she talked about communicating with her quilting customers. She writes " . . . I know that when I was quilting for customers, I composed an intake sheet that allowed me to notate information regarding each client and specifics on what they wanted on their quilt. Why was this so important? I am no super hero when it comes to retaining every single word my customer shared with during consultation. I could review my notes and realized 'I completely forget she had mentioned this, or requested that'. We all have good intentions of listening closely to the wants and needs of our customers . . ."

The mention of the intake sheet rang a bell with me. As a relatively new quilter, I was so proud when I completed a Crazy Quilt with fabric scraps from a special queen-sized Trip Around The World color wash quilt that I had created for our guest room.

The Crazy Quilt took hours and hours as each scrap was individually pieced (I had no knowledge of shortcuts at that time). As the quilt went together, my vision for the final look formed and I was thrilled when I took it to the quilter's studio - tucked in a side office at my favorite hole-in-the-wall fabric shop.

I chose the thread color and the intricate quilting pattern. Several months later, I received a call that my Crazy Quilt was ready! A few days later, I walked into the quilting studio - she unfolded my quilt and with a huge smile said, "Well, what do you think?"

I was heartbroken - not only was the thread the wrong color, she chose a different pattern, too. Finding a positive, I complimented her on the beautiful quilting. Then, I took a deep breath and said that the thread and pattern were not what I ordered. I continued that I couldn't take my seam ripper and remove all of the stitching and start over. As I wrote my check to pay for her work, she said she hoped I would learn to love the quilt.

After a few days, I pulled out a piece of paper and created what Lisa refers to as an intake form. The next time I visited the studio, I shared the draft form I had created and said that I wanted her to be successful and I didn't want anyone else to ever leave her studio feeling heartbroken. We talked for a few more minutes, we hugged then I left.

The next time I came in to purchase fabric, I peeked into the quilting studio and she had an intake form pinned to each of the quilts.

In her blog post, Lisa asks "Has anyone struggled with finding a balance in communicating with customers? If you have found a balance what’s your secret?"

As for that Crazy Quilt - I added the binding and created a magical keepsake label when I donated it to a Fundraiser for a local family in need.

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