A HISTORY OF PRAIRIE QUILT
BY RANDA PARRISH
Do you believe in Divine Intervention? I do. I think God guides us towards things and we have to make decisions about whether we’ll take his nudging or go our chosen way. For example, I never planned to be a quilt shop owner. In March of 2000, I was looking for a place to rent in Hennessey for an office for the OKC Winter Quilt Show. The plan was to make it a “come and go” office with no set hours. I went into the fabric shop that had been in Hennessey for 25 years to tell the owner I was not going to be a competitor but just have an office for the show. Her response was that she was going to turn 80 soon and didn’t know how to get out of the shop, so why don’t I buy her out? The lady didn’t carry many cottons and didn’t even carry rotary blades! She didn’t like quilting so didn’t invest in the supplies for it. Yes, there was even double knit in the mix of fabric!
After thinking about it I decided to buy the shop. My husband and I thought there would not be much business, we thought once in awhile someone would come in to buy a yard of fabric. At that time I decided to get a few bolts of cottons in and start getting rid of the old fabric I had just bought. Business was slow at first, so I was able to concentrate on producing the show. As the months progressed, business started picking up. A few of the local ladies came in and said, "If you’re going to have a quilt shop you might want to hang some quilts up!" They came over, and the three of us made the first Prairie Quilt sample. I still have it and cherish it dearly.
The business slowly grew; people kept coming. We opened up the four rooms of the downstairs, one room at a time as needed. In 2008, we renovated the upstairs as a large classroom. There was no plan to have a large quilt shop in the middle of the prairie. It just evolved. I thank my customers for their support so we could make it a fun place to sew, sew, sew. I thank God for nudging me into this job – I love it!