SIGMT 2022 Summer

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32 | SIGNATURE MONTANA 32 | SIGNATURE MONTANA "I like to play with different techniques," says Crawford. In 2003, Crawford began quilting part-time for customers using a hand-guided machine while teaching full-time in a local elementary school. Five years later, she retired from teaching to be a stay-at-home mom and quilt part- time. In 2017, Crawford began quilting full-time while balancing motherhood. Like her mother, Crawford shared her love for sewing with her children. Her oldest daughter, Kylie, made her first quilt at age 5, and Clara, the youngest, created her first quilt at age 3. "Kylie sat on my lap when she was 9 months old and drove the long arm quilting machine," recalls Crawford. "I always tell them to draw it out on paper first. If they can draw it and explain it, then I can see how to help them create it in fabric." Now, 13 and 10, Kylie and Clara have created numerous quilts, many of which they have shown through 4-H, local and state fairs, and national quilting contests. e Crawford girls use piecing and applique quilting methods. "With applique, you cut your design out of fabric, sew it and then sew it on top of another piece of fabric," explains Kylie Crawford. "With piecing, you cut up fabric and sew it back together into another creation." Recently, both girls participated in a national School Block Challenge, in which they created 16-inch quilt blocks using three fabrics provided by the National Quilt Museum. Kylie created a quilt block inspired by a watercolor painting she did when she was 3, while Clara created a quilt block inspired by a jingle she sings to draw a dog. Both blocks are displayed in the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Ky. "As a mom, you want to guide your children to success," says Crawford. "I teach my girls the things I know and hope it guides them to success and creates opportunities for success later in their lives." Crawford saw early success in sewing competitions. In high school, she won the "Montana Make It with Wool" contest. She also won first prize in a national McCalls sewing contest and first place in the 1993 Montana 4-H Fashion Review with clothes she had sewn for herself. Her first quilting competition was the Montana State Fair in 2003. Crawford's quilting success continues as she implements new techniques. In 2017, Crawford was asked to create a tree skirt for the Montana Christmas tree displayed in Washington, D.C. Her "Tiptoe rough the Tulips" quilt was juried into five American Quilt Society (AQS) shows and featured in the AQS Flowers, Quilts, and Gardens book. In 2019, Crawford's "Canis Lupus" quilt was juried into six AQS shows, and her Lynx quilt was featured in the AQS calendar. "Because quilting is such a visible result of time spent, the most rewarding part is having a beautiful, finished product," says Crawford. "My favorite part of quilting is the actual quilting. Some people love to piece, and that's why I have a job. ey get to do what they enjoy, and I get to do what I enjoy." S MT Shannon Ruckman has enjoyed writing about Montana agriculture and rural life for 16 years. She has an agricultural communications degree from Kansas State University. She and her family live in rural central Montana and are active in 4-H and FFA. Twigs, rocks, and rust-dyed fabrics make up this nature- inspired quilt by Shawna Crawford. Stacks of colored cotton fabric line the shelves of an old bookshelf waiting for the next project. Shawna Crawford uses photos she has taken as inspiration for her quilts. She quilted her daughter, Kylie, here on a visit to Crystal Lake. Photo by Brookelynn Ruckman Photo by Brookelynn Ruckman Photo by Brookelynn Ruckman

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