Eleanor Burns – The Most Famous Quilter of Our Time

(Originally published December 2019 in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #72. Article written by Rita Farro.)

 

Eleanor Burns, SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #71

Eleanor Burns is, arguably, the most famous quilter of our time. Eleanor has taught thousands of students, written over 100 books and her unique quilting methods revolutionized the quilting industry. She has received every accolade or honors any professional quilter could hope for, including being inducted in the Quilter’s Hall of Fame.

Her business, Quilt In a Day (QIAD), is an American success story . . . but it didn’t just happen.

After college, Eleanor became a Special Education teacher, a job she loved. She taught for six years in the Pittsburgh, PA area. She married her college sweetheart, and they moved to California so her husband could attend law school. They had two sons, Grant and Orion. Those were some lean years, and Eleanor needed a job. She didn’t have a California teaching certificate, so she went to the Parks and Recreation department and offered to teach a Stretch & Sew class.

That wasn’t possible because Stretch & Sew was a trademarked business, and their techniques were proprietary. But it was 1976, and it seemed everybody wanted to make a commemorative quilt. Parks and Rec asked if she could teach a quilting class.

Eleanor eagerly said, “YES, I’D LOVE TO.” She had never actually quilted, so she immediately went home and made two pillows. That’s when Eleanor’s experience in writing Special Ed curriculum came into play. She broke the daunting, complicated quilting process down into small steps. Her directions were concise and easy to follow.

Although she didn’t know it then, Eleanor Burns was about to revolutionize the modern-day quilt industry.

 

(Click HERE to read the rest of Eleanor’s story.)

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