Scott Flanagan is a show stopper.
The Fremont man was at the Pfaff National Convention in Orlando, Fla., where his quilt called “Midnight Garden” was being judged in competition.
At first, Flanagan didn’t know he’d won first place in the applique category. He walked past his quilt twice — not noticing that judges had hung the top prize on his work.
Then someone congratulated him. He went over to the quilt.
“When I saw the award I yelled, ‘Yes!’ really loud,” he said. “Everyone stopped and kind of looked at me.”
He’d momentarily stopped the show.
Now, Flanagan’s award-winning quilt will travel with Pfaff sewing machine company personnel to the Spring Quilt Market in Portland, Ore., and the International Quilt Festival in Houston this fall.
Flanagan hopes to have it back by mid-November. That’s when it probably will hang in Country Traditions quilt shop in Fremont, where he is creative center coordinator.
Originally from Longmont, Colo., Flanagan graduated with a business administration degree from Midland University in 2007. He’s worked at Country Traditions for six years and in 2011 launched his own pattern design company called 4th and Main Designs.
“I design quilt patterns exclusively for Country Traditions,” he said.
Flanagan’s start in quilting began many years ago.
“I come from an artistic family,” he said, adding that his mom, Jean, sews and dad, Gary, does woodworking and laser engraving.
Both sets of grandparents were woodworkers or quilters.
“My maternal grandmother was a quilter,” he said. “She made quilts for Lutheran World Relief and that’s how I learned to sew — helping her with those.”
His grandmother had taught him how to sew and use a rotary cutter by the time he was 5 years old.
Flanagan, now 28, grew to like the creative opportunities that occur while quilting. He discovered how to turn a mistake in a project into an opportunity instead of letting it discourage him. If he had a project that wasn’t coming together, he learned how to take a break, then return and fix the issue.
He added that with today’s technology — and how quilting has grown via the Internet — quilters are able to share information and support each other.
Flanagan used technology to design “Midnight Garden.” The 65- by 65-inch square quilt features colorful star design with flowers on a black background. The main colors are purple and fuchsia, but orange, yellows and greens are part of the design as well.
He used an AccuQuilt die to make shapes for the quilt. He also used a computer program, Electric Quilt 7.
“You can see the computer-generated image before you start sewing,” he said.
He cut and assembled quilt pieces. He created new stitches and made decorative yarn embellishments using the Pfaff machine. He finished with a piped binding.
Flanagan, who started the project in November, estimates he spent 250 hours on the quilt.
The local man enjoys quilting.
“I think it’s a very creative medium to work in and it’s very forgiving,” he said, adding, “I’ll make a quilt because somebody is getting married, having a kid, graduating or just because I feel inspired to make the project.”
After a friend from Midland University died, he used several of her college T-shirts and made a quilt for her parents.
Flanagan only makes quilts for family or friends and for his personal enjoyment. He’s done some last-minute work.
“I’ve been known to be finishing quilts on the plane as I’m landing for Christmas,” he said. “I go home to see my parents in Colorado. Two years ago, I was still binding the quilt as we were taxiing up to the gate at DIA (Denver International Airport). I don’t always work very far ahead of schedule.”
Flanagan plans to keep quilting.
“I’m loving what I’m doing and I can’t really imagine doing anything else,” he said. “I enjoy working here at the store. I enjoy learning all about the new sewing machines as they come out, getting to see the inspiration on customers’ faces when I help them pick out a new project and inspiring them to try new projects.”