Dana Rankin, left, and Lynette Holliday show off some of the quilts they made by hand. The quilt behind Rankin is an image of her mother, Thelma Rankin. Holliday is sitting in front of an image of her in-laws, Freeman & Eveyln Holliday. (Jose Juarez / Special to The Detroit News)
Best friends Dana Rankin of Southfield and Lynette Holliday of Oak Park are a talented duo of fiber artists who met at their former place of employment in 2002. They began crafting together, making things to sell. Three years ago, they started a joint business venture — the Craft Divas.
Both quilt and crochet, but Holliday is also a knitter, and Rankin makes jewelry. They combine their talents to produce a range of handmade goods, which they refer to as “nontraditional fiber art.” Items include fabric greeting cards, knitted and crocheted accessories, and amazing quilts and portrait quilts.
“I design crochet and quilt patterns, and Dana also designs quilt patterns. Overall, we quilt and collaborate on a number of pieces and designs, and we play with new techniques,” Holliday explains.
Rankin, who works as a computer programmer, says, “We’re just working on trying to build up our collection of quilts, and then we plan to start doing shows.” Since learning to quilt, they teach quiltmaking classes for the Great Lakes African American Quilters Network.
The business-savvy crafters once sold their work strictly by word of mouth, but since establishing a website (www.thecraftdivas.com), sales have increased tremendously. “We’ve gotten a lot of customers,” Rankin says.
Holliday, a project manager, says they’d like to “venture out more into teaching,” and she advises other crafters wanting to start a business to not “underestimate the worth of what you do”; remember, “it’s a business and things need to be in writing.” And lastly, she encourages you to “have fun.”
Featured here is one their original quilt designs that utilizes “negative space.”
Hexie Gone Modern Quilt
Estimated time: 2 hours
Tools: Sewing machine, ruler, straight pins, rotary cutter, cutting board, scissors
Supplies: 1½ yard background fabric, 5 different color fat quarters, ¼ yard colorful fabric for strips, ½ yard fabric for binding, 1½ yard fusible web, 1¼ yard backing fabric, 1¼ yard batting, thread
Quilt top assembly
1. Cut a 4½- by 24½-inch strip (E). Cut a 2½- by 24½-inch strip (H). Join E to H lengthwise. Cut a 24½- by 30½-inch strip (B). Join B to other side of H. Press seams open. Set aside.
2. Cut a 4½- by 4½-inch square (F). Cut a 2½ by 4½-inch strip (I). Join F to I. Cut a 4½- by 30½-inch strip (C). Join C to other side of I. Press seams open. Set aside.
3. Cut a 2½- by 36½-inch strip (A). Join A to sewn strip combo E, H and B lengthwise. Cut a 2½- by 36½-inch strip (J). Join J to other side of sewn strip combo E, H and B. Press seams open.
4. Join sewn strip combo F, I and C to other side of J.
5. Cut a 4½- by 36½-inch strip (D). Join D to other side of sewn strip combo F, I and C to finish quilt top. Press seams open.
6. Trace a hexagon (6 inches tall by 7 inches wide) 5 times onto fusible web. Cut and separate each.
7. Press each hexagon to wrong side of a fat quarter.
8. Cut out each fused hexagon directly on image line. Remove paper backing from each.
9. Arrange hexagons on right-hand side of quilt top and press in place. Satin or blanket-stitch around each to secure.
10. Now, layer backing, batting and quilt top. Baste “sandwich.” Quilt as desired. Attach binding.
Contact: The Craft Divas at email@example.com for more detailed instructions, and actual size hexagon template for tracing.
Detroit News Staff Writer Jocelynn Brown is a longtime crafter. For more news and giveaways, visit her blog at detroitnews.com/crafts. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150.