Samantha P. Hawthorne
Over the last couple years, the United States has faced a severe decline in the job market, and a dramatic rise in unemployed individuals.
This has had a direct impact on job seekers, as many are forced to learn new skills and be more creative in their job search.
Don Linn, from Redding, had such an experience when he was the victim of corporate downsizing. In a desperate attempt to make money, he opened his eyes to all possibilities, which took him down a life-changing path he never expected.
Linn’s efforts to find a new job were coming up empty until one day his wife guilted him into attending a quilt show with her on the Oregon Coast.
While waiting for her to finish shopping, he spotted a woman operating a sewing machine on rollers and tracks.
“I had no idea what she was doing, but I have always loved machines and making things,” Linn said.
After asking the woman what she was doing, she grabbed Linn by the arm and led him through the entire quilt show. “She forced me to look at the quilts and, more importantly, the quilting.” Linn said.
After the woman told Linn she was paid to quilt, he decided to research the concept of making money from the craft.
“I couldn’t care less about quilting,” he said, “but I fell in love with the creativity aspect of it.”
After teaching himself to machine quilt, he decided to do trunk shows and demonstrations for quilting guilds. He realized in order to do this he would need to learn piece quilting.
Linn said, “Being a typical male, I figured that if ladies could do this then it should be easy for a man to do. I had no idea how hard it was to do a good job of making a simple quilt.”
Eventually, he started teaching quilting classes and developing his own techniques.
As a joke among family and friends, Linn decided to self-proclaim himself as “Mr. Quilt,” a moniker he has become well known by. “I figured if Bob Uecker (a mediocre baseball player), could be ‘Mr. Baseball’, I could be ‘Mr. Quilt’,” he said.
According to Mr. Quilt, the moniker is what really changed his life. It opened the door for his appearance on the HGTV show, "Simply Quilts", which gained him more popularity in the world of quilting and a bigger audience to instruct.
Having knowledge of his story, Chester Piecemakers Quilt Guild invited Mr. Quilt to put on a trunk show during their Sept. 10 board meeting, at Chester Memorial Hall.
The next day, he was invited by the guild to teach them his Circles & Curves quilting technique at Mtn. Maid Quilters in Chester.
The women were full of inspiration as Mr. Quilt worked with them at improving their skills and developing a new technique.
Despite hard economic times, Linn found a way to earn money and enjoy doing it.
“I have gone from being completely bottomed out, to doing things that never in my life would I have dreamed of doing,” he said.
“I am blessed to be able to do something that I enjoy and to be surrounded by so many wonderful creative people.”
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