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For the love of quilting

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Local hairdresser lays down scissors to follow her beloved hobby

By Deanna Godman

Jan Milby hosted an open house of her new quilt studio, Quilting @ Fashion and Flowers, on Sunday, Nov. 14. She retired in September after thirty-five years of being a hairdresser. For the last thirteen years, Milby had her own shop on the side of her home, which is located at 888 Mudd Lane in Finchville. When she retired, she decided to move her quilting hobby out of her spare bedroom and into her shop.

The renovations took eight weeks and included removing the central wall containing electrical, plumbing and phones. She also put in a hardwood floor and painted the walls a cheery shade of yellow.

Fifty-nine people attended the open house. Milby sent invitations to friends, family and former clients who marveled over the transformation.

“It was to close out me doing hair,” said Milby. “I miss my customers.”

Milby served raspberry tea and apple cider with a variety of hors d’oeuvres including a cheese ball, bruschetta, lemon bars and fudge.

Milby had not had a chance to use her studio for quilting by the time of the party. The date of the open house was her deadline for completing the renovations. The preparations for the open house kept her from sewing after construction finished.

The studio is white on the exterior with a front porch. Hanging over the door is a friendship star patterned barn quilt that was painted by Jan Barnett, president of the Kentucky Gourd Society. Salt River Electric hung the barn quilt for her, something they do as a community service.

Milby’s sewing machine is located near a window to give her good light for seeing fabric colors. She has two cabinets containing fabric that are organized by color and theme. In the center of the room is the table she used as a hairdresser. It will be used for fabric cutting. She stores her unfinished projects in the drawers. In a corner of the room, Milby displayed her grandmother’s sewing machine.

For the party, Milby’s studio was decorated with quilts that she has made over the years. Most of her quilts were given as gifts, so she asked the recipients to loan them back to her for the open house.

The quilts included a green and blue frog themed baby quilt, a Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt featuring fabric based on Eric Carle’s classic book, and a recess themed quilt that was a birthday gift for her schoolteacher daughter.

Milby plans to eventually make wall-hanging sized quilts specifically to adorn the walls of her studio.

Each of Milby’s quilts has a label on the back that includes the recipient’s name, the date it was completed, the occasion for which it was made, and Milby’s name as the creator. She believes that this is important information for the history of the quilt.

“I have a love for quilts: the fabrics and colors,” said Milby.

In addition to a personal quilting studio, Milby also plans to teach beginners’ quilting classes in the new year and will offer embroidery and monogramming services. Her beginners’ quilting class will cover basic quilting skills and participants will complete a wall-hanging in the six-week class.

In December, she is teaching several one session craft classes, including two ornament classes and a potholder class. Two of the classes teach basic patterns that could also be translated to making a quilt.

“It’s hard to transition after thirty-five years of hairdressing,” said Milby, who named the business in honor of her mother. “ I have a real passion for quilting.”

If you are interested in classes at Quilting @ Fashion and Flowers, contact Jan Milby at 502-477-8487.

Contact Deanna Godman with ideas for future At Home articles at ideas@funmama.net.