The past few months I have been getting to know a great group of new quilting bloggers, making new friends, fine tuning my blog, and learning a ton about quilting and blogging, as part of the 2014 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop organized by Beth at Plum and June. Today it’s my day to tell you a bit about myself and my journey into quilting.
Tell us a little about yourself.
When I think about what defines me, “mom” is the absolute first word that arises. I’m a full time mom of two little ones, and to say my life is filled with that blessed duty is an understatement. I also have a degree in environmental science and a master’s degree in elementary education. I’ve worked as a lifeguard, an environmental scientist–wetland and land use specialist, an elementary school teacher, and a yoga teacher. I grew up in New Jersey, but now live in rural Maine and love it. I also love to garden to grow my own organic food, enjoy nature, practice yoga, and of course craft! I have always been crafty, and have dabbled in card making, scrap-booking, jewelry making, mosaic, polymer clay, painting, and more, but only recently found the fiber arts. Now my crafts of choice are quilting and knitting.
How did you begin quilting?
There are a few catalysts that propelled me toward quilting, from my lifelong sewist mother, a gift of a simple squares quilt gifted by my talented cousin Hannah, and of course my expert quilter grammy. Shortly after having my son, when I had a gift-quilt only half finished, I discovered that sewing 20 minutes at a time could result in finished projects. This was a revelation for me, and thus began the Night Quilter: I grab a needle and thread when the kids are in bed.
Show us some of your favorite finished quilts.
Click on the name of each quilt to visit its relevant blog post (when there is one). If there is more than one relevant blog post, I will link them all at the end.
Delight in the Little Things is a 12×12″ art quilt I made as a donation for a local Art Auction to benefit a couple faced with an expensive illness. It was inspired by a Facebook group called 12x12s with Cosmo and Cook, where a word is given each month and the goal is to create a 12×12″ art quilt inspired by that word. The word for December, my first month involved, was “Delight”. “Delight in the little things” immediately came to mind, and so I figured I’d make my art quilt out of 1″ squares (little!), featuring a tiny paper pieced sunburst star and a dandelion seed applique. I love the outcome, especially the yellow bits in the binding. For this quilt, it was my first time creating an art quilt, my first time making anything out of 1″ squares, I designed my first paper piecing pattern for the star, and it was one of my first times free motion quilting.
Rainbow Hugs & Kisses is the result of a test run of a paper piecing pattern called Oops, I Scrapped My Pants by ShannonMac Designs. I offered to test her pattern for her, but wanted to make something bright and modern. I am all about rainbow gradient, so that was an obvious add. The black and white stripey binding makes this one of my favorites, and it hangs happily on my craft room pegboard. The pattern is free in Shannon’s Craftsy shop, and it includes a tutorial on the freezer paper method of paper piecing, in case you’d like to make your own.
Lillian’s Baby Quilt is one of the quilts of which I’m most proud. It’s one of the largest quilts I’ve made so far at about 58×58″, I designed the outermost border including the heart corner stones, and I kind of went crazy free motion quilting it. It was my first large-scale free motion quilting foray and I dove in head first. I even FMQed alphabetical baby-related words around the outermost white border.
There are many blog posts outlining my process and featuring better photographs of the free motion quilting, here, here, here, and here.
I’ve also been designing paper piecing patterns. I tend to gravitate toward more modern quilts, yet I also love paper piecing. Go figure. Here are some of my latest paper piecing patterns:
What are you up to now?
- I’m making a quilt for myself!
- I’ve teamed up with a couple of new-found quilting soul sisters to start a new Facebook Group called Late Night Quilters Club, where we share projects, tips, inspiration, and support. We also just kicked off a Tuesday Stash Swap which has been a smashing success.
- I’ve also found a way to bring my love of nature into my blog and the quilting world by using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 to create color palettes from my photographs, posted every Thursday.
- Finally, I’ve posted my very first tutorial on Basic Foundation Paper Piecing. I’m working on a series to outline what next–now that you’ve made a paper pieced block, what can you do with it? Stay tuned!
To finish off my post, here are some tips and fun facts:
Blogging tip: Take great photographs. The aesthetic pull of an artistically arranged and naturally lit photo is STRONG. Learn to use the manual setting on your camera (try P) and wait for the right lighting. It makes a world of difference!
Quilting tip: Pressing seams open helps improve accuracy of piecing, and helps make matching seams a breeze. Also, when trying to match seams, pin right after the seam. This creates the least torque and at least in my experience, the most consistently matched seams.
Question for you: Who is your favorite fabric or quilt designer, and why? I have my top favorites, but I’d love to expand and see whose fabric you just can’t live without!
Dream vacation spot: Galapagos Islands
Favorite book: tough question! My Side of the Mountain, 1984, or The Housekeeper and the Professor
Favorite movie: Overboard, or Pride and Prejudice, the Colin Firth version
Favorite TV show: I don’t have a TV, but I’ve been sucked into Downton Abbey on Netflix!
- After each blog post or email I write, I go back and take out 2/3 of the exclamation points and all of the :). I’m a happy, excited person but even I get annoyed when I read something with a gabillion !!!!!!
- I hate olives. I try them every year to see if I like them yet, but I still hate them.
- I was a competitive swimmer through high school and college. If you start talking swimming, I’ll talk for hours.
Now that you know more than you ever wished to know about me, go check out these other great bloggers involved in the hop. Have fun!
Jill @ Pie Lady Quilts
Chelsea @ Patch The Giraffe
Daisy @ Ants To Sugar
Rachael @ The Floral Suitcase
Elizabeth @ And Pins
Jennifer @ Never Just Jennifer
Alice @ Blossom Quilts
Megan @ Sew Stitching Cute
Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter
Kelsey @ Lovely And Enough