KCRW spoke with Dale Allen-Rowse, a.k.a. the Quilting Cowboy, last March when the pandemic began. He’s an energetic and creative YouTube personality, and his video tutorials cover all things quilting. Last year, he was working on a new line of fabrics and putting together his own television show, which all had to be put on hold.
Allen-Rowse says over the past year, sales of his patterns went way up because people had time to commit to learning how to quilt, and he had teaching opportunities around North America that went virtual. “That actually really opened up a door for me to be able to teach more internationally, if you will, without ever leaving my house.”
He says he loves teaching nationwide, but online learning still has its difficulties. To make sure video watchers can see stitches up close, he uses two cameras and gets help from a moderator who’s familiar with the lesson plan.
Allen-Rowse has been approached by one of his former directors (from his two decades as a professional dancer) and is now developing a craft show.
“It’s not a sewing and quilting show, it’s a craft show. So whether we’re reviewing haberdashery or distillery or tin folding or whittling — when was the last time you heard about the latest in whittling? … These are things I want to uncover and … really dive into because I think there’s such a need for crafts for all people, with men being a part of the discussion, which has never actually really existed unless it’s a super kind of butch show.”
He says his personal experiences in the crafting world pushed him to design quilting lines that could be more appealing to men.
“Up to now, there’s been really no fabrics or products that are really representative and appropriate for men. And that was born out of my ... 20 years of going to the fabric stores and just being so frustrated that there was nothing that I really liked or that spoke to me as a guy who isn’t really into novelty fabrics that have hammers and fishing poles.”