Quilting Lessons from Dolly Parton


I was listening to Connecticut Public Radio yesterday, as I took my dog to the vet, and they had an interview with Dolly Parton. (Unfortunately this interview has not yet been posted online.) She is an amazing singer and songwriter, having written more than 3,000 songs in her career. What I didn’t know is that she is also a very good business woman and a generous philanthropist.

In this interview, she said that she quickly learned she was in the music business and she needed to be able to make a living. She realized that being successful was not about playing music all day, but about paying attention to making money. Pardon the pun, but this struck a chord with me. Her realization mirrored a discussion I’d just had with several of my quilting business colleagues. Most of us would rather quilt all day, but we realize that our businesses require considerable attention if we are to be successful.

Another great takeaway from the interview is that Dolly believed in herself. She told the story of her high school graduation, when her fellow students were all announcing their plans for the future. When she announced her intention to move to Nashville and be a singing star, everybody laughed. However she was undeterred because she knew she would be a star, and she continued to believe in her dreams.

Dolly also talked about how stylists wanted to change her look for the Grammy Awards, but she wanted to remain true to who she was. I have to admire her commitment to being true to herself.

My earliest memory of a Dolly Parton song is “Coat of Many Colors.” It is a true story about a patchwork coat that her mother made from fabric scraps. Although the song isn’t exactly about quilting, I’ve always been captivated about Dolly’s love for her mother’s sewing skills. It is hard to believe this song was released more than 30 years ago. I hope it brightens your day!


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