Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Adventures in Sewing

My first sewing adventure dates back to eighth grade Home Economics class. The teacher gave us a catalogue of stuffed animal kits to flip through. In typical Kate fashion, I bit off more than I could chew and chose a gigantic stuffed panda kit. I enjoyed sewing that oversized panda, but by the end of the semester, I still hadn’t finished it. I turned in a headless panda and feared the worst, but, for some reason totally unbeknownst to me to this day, I got an A. 

Fast forward ten years later to late 2007, and sewing wasn’t even on my radar. I had graduated college, moved to Washington, DC to be with my long-distance love, and moved back to the Midwest in Ohio. I was working a graphic design job and was, more often than not, bored out of my mind. So I took up blog reading to pass the time. I can’t even recall whose blog I was reading (though I do know it wasn’t a sewing-related blog), and I stumbled upon photos of a quilt they were making. They were using fabrics by someone named Anna Maria Horner, and I was smitten. Oh man, those colors! Those bold graphics! They were fabulous, and I had to have them. I googled Anna Maria Horner. I googled local quilt shops. I basically did no actual work at all. 

So I did what any normal person without a sewing machine would do. I started hoarding fabrics, particularly my beloved Anna Maria Horner prints. I had no plan of what to do with them, and I didn’t remember much from my eighth grade Home Ec. class. I just hoarded them…for two years. And let me tell you, you can accumulate quite a stash of fabric if you’re not actually making anything with it. Ha! Of course, by then, I had started to read more sewing-related blogs. I was taking it all in and gathering ideas of what I hoped to one day create. But it wasn’t until late 2008 that I actually purchased a sewing machine — a decent Singer on sale at JoAnn’s. It was basic yet had plenty of stitch options. (It’s the machine I still use on a daily basis.) Are you ready for this? I didn’t even open the box until 2009. I was too intimidated. I’m not really sure why, except that I didn’t know anyone who could show me how to actually use it, and I was pretty sure that I’d somehow manage to break this machine that I’d just spent several hundred dollars on. 

A few weeks before Mother’s Day in 2009, I decided I wanted to make something for my mother. I purchased a great patchwork pillow pattern online, and with my dear husband in the room for moral support and some cheap fat quarters of fabric to practice with, I put my first patchwork pillow together — piping and all. When the time came to turn the finished pillow right side out, both of us were prepared for disaster. But it had worked! It was beautiful! Certainly not without some minor flaws, but it was pretty and functional. So I did what any sewing newbie would do. I made a TON of pillow covers. Anyone who’s been in my little home can attest, there are colorful patchwork pillows on every seat in the house.

I didn’t venture into quilting until 2013. The first quilt I made was for my sweet little girl’s second birthday. In keeping with her bedroom color scheme, I chose a fun variety of red, yellow, blue and grey prints, and opted to keep it simple by making it a throw-sized basic patchwork quilt. In the last year and a half since, I’ve made a few larger quilts and plenty of mini quilts thanks to my swap addiction on Instagram. I’d say I’ve grown the most as a quilter just in the last year, and I’m finally pushing aside all of the self-doubt and learning loads of new techniques. 

My current work-in-progress is my Anna Maria Horner quilt. Remember that crazy stash of Anna Maria Horner fabrics I’d started hoarding back in 2007? I had rarely cut into them. I was so determined to wait and use them for just the perfect project, that I never actually got around to using them. A few months ago, I realized they weren’t doing me any good sitting in storage bins. Why not make something and enjoy seeing them every day? I wanted a pattern that would showcase the fabrics and chose to make an economy block quilt. Over the last month or so, I’ve been making 120 economy blocks using ONLY Anna Maria Horner fabrics. When finished, it’ll be a queen sized quilt and feature every single AMH print that I own — well over 100.

I would describe my style as a mix between modern and traditional. I’ve not gotten into crazy paper-piecing patterns. Don’t throw rocks at me, but I’m not even interested in them. I very much appreciate what others create with them, but they’re just not my style. I’m drawn to more simple geometric patterns that use larger cuts and showcase the gorgeous fabrics I’m using. It’s also no big secret that I love love LOVE color. The more the better! I mix bright, bold prints together without reservation, and prefer not to keep my work too matchy-matchy. 

To give you an idea of my style, here are a few of my finished quilts and WIPs, as well as a few mini quilts I’ve created:

My first quilt made in 2013 

A current WIP, "Between the Lines" by Denyse Schmidt

 Berestain Bears quilt made for my daughter last year

 My current WIP, "AMH Quilt". Only a dozen more blocks to go!

 One of my favorite mini quilts. I made this for my husband for Christmas. It's the stars as we saw them on the night we met in Washington, DC. I found a site online that allows you to enter a location, date and time to find the night sky exactly as it was on that day. I hand stitched all of the stars and constellations.

 My completed Rainbow Mini Swap mini quilt. My partner should have it in the next day or so.

 A current mini quilt WIP. This one is for the Spring Mini Swap. I created a plus quilt complete with the earth (with flowers), sky and Spring sunshine. The rays of sunshine are hand stitched.

Where you can find me:
Instagram: @katebasti
Easy: www.etsy.com/shop/stitchnkitsch

Post by Kate Basti - Week #12:   Kate lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and three-year-old daughter. Though a graphic designer by trade, she's currently a stay-at-home mom. When she's not chasing after her feisty kiddo, she enjoys sewing, knitting, cooking and baking. She's not ashamed to admit her addiction to Instagram and all things colourful. And shiny. Follow her on instagram

Monday, March 30, 2015

Week #13: Quilter #13 Kate Basti

Hello there! I’m Kate Basti, and I’ll be your captain for the next week here at 52Quilters. First off, how awesome was this idea?! To have 52 quilters from around the world, all with different strengths, techniques and insights, to share their love of quilting with the rest of us each week — it’s just fantastic! Bravo, Chris, for coming up with such a wonderful idea and putting it in motion.

So a bit about me… Well, I’m originally from a small, rural town in central Indiana. I grew up in an early 1800s farm house (without a farm) filled with antiques and, to be honest, really uncomfortable furniture. As a kid, I didn’t know any better, but as an adult I realize I basically grew up in a museum. My parents tried to fill the house with period pieces to match the age of the house. One of their many collections: antique quilts. So while I didn’t grow up around quilters, I was certainly exposed to quilts from a very early age. 

I’m married to a wonderful man, Eric, whom I met on a DC Metro train. He’s originally from DC, and I was in town for a week-long visit. That, my friends, is fate. After living in DC and working a crazy job at an advertising agency in Georgetown for a few years, we looked at a map and picked a town as close to the center between our two families as we could. Columbus, Ohio. So we packed our bags and relocated. Neither of us had jobs lined up. It was a total leap of faith, but a good one, and since then, we’ve added our trusty almost-four-year-old sidekick Jane. 

I’m a graphic designer by trade, but when my father died in 2012, my priorities in life shifted entirely. I suddenly felt a real need to raise my child full-time, so I quit my design job and became a stay-at-home mom. I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it. And soon she’ll be starting school, so in our spare time, my husband (a web developer) and I are preparing to launch our own design agency. It’s been a dream of ours for many years.

One of the perks of being a stay-at-home mom is that it allows me time to sew each day. While my daughter enjoys her “quiet time” each afternoon, this mama enjoys sewing time. I started sewing in 2009, but for years kept it very simple. In fact, I wouldn’t say I truly branched out with my sewing and quilting until last year. (More on this and how I got started sewing in my next blog post.)

What I’ve found is that sewing and quilting keep me sane. I’ve always been a maker. I enjoy working with my hands. When I’m working on a quilt, playing with gorgeous fabrics and crafting a tangible, practical, beautiful object, I’m able to tune out the chaos of life. It does something for my soul and my mind that I can’t quite explain. But I’m guessing most of you understand exactly what I’m saying. Don’t you?

Where you can find me:
Instagram: @katebasti
Easy: www.etsy.com/shop/stitchnkitsch

Post by Kate Basti - Week #12:   Kate lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and three-year-old daughter. Though a graphic designer by trade, she's currently a stay-at-home mom. When she's not chasing after her feisty kiddo, she enjoys sewing, knitting, cooking and baking. She's not ashamed to admit her addiction to Instagram and all things colourful. And shiny. Follow her on instagram

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 12, Jessie Hughes

Hello, I am Jessie Hughes and I will be your tour guide for the next week. I first want to say Thank You to Chris for allowing me to take park in this wonderful event!  I am excited to share with all of you a little about myself for the next week. Be warned I have never blogged or used twitter before. Any suggestions would be nice.

I made my first quilt 5 years ago.  I was pregnant with my first baby, a girl, and wanted to make her baby quilt.  I was well aware about quilting and the addictiveness that it could become ;) I have two really great friends that are avid quilters and I was trying to not get sucked in.  After I made my daughters quilt it was only a matter of time until I wanted a quilt for me to snuggle under.

Off topic- I am obsessed with polk a dots.  I say that but I don’t think you may know how deep my obsession goes.   I loved polk a dots as a little girl and my mom could never find me any, so when she did happen to find some I would wear it all the time.  If she would make me a skirt I would pick out polk a dot fabric.  My wedding dress has white on white polk a dots. I have a personalized license plate that says plkadot. Most every thing that I love and want to use is polk a dot.  It is something that I love and when people see polk a dots they think of me. Have you seen the new Cinderella a movie? You should.  It is well done.  The actors, music, choreography, and the costumes are absolutely amazing!  There are lots of polk a dot dresses ;)

Ok back to quilting.  After I made my first quilt for me I haved some orphaned blocks L so I made a baby quilt with them.  I didn’t make another quilt for almost 2 ½ years.  But in that time I was reading quilting blogs, getting quilt designs drawn out in a binder.  I then became pregnant with a boy and needed to make him a quilt, naturally.  I am a huge star wars fan! I decided to draft my own quilt using hand embroidered characters.  It was a lot of work but so worth it.  After that quilt it snowballed from there.  My home is now filled with soft and snuggly quilts.  And many many many WIPs.  In these last 3 years I have learned a lot about quilting. The true ¼ or scant ¼. The typed of quality of fabric matters.  Squaring up HST :/ and the stash.  Oh man the stash is out of control. 

I am going to try and do my best this week in showing you some fun things I am working on and try and keep you entertained.  Any requests?

You can find me over on:
Instagram:  quiltsbyjessie        
Etsy: customquiltsbyjessie (the shop is empty due to me just having built a house and moved)
Twitter: ummm I am not sure how that even works
Blog: Again no, what would I even say to keep people entertained

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Advice from Singer

Thursday's are my busy day, I have French lessons and I always leave it until Thursday morning to do my work. Every week I think I'll get it out the way on Monday or Tuesday and yet here comes Thursday again. I understand why the kid's put off their homework until the last minute lol...

I'm sure most of you have seen this advice from the Singer Sewing machine manual,it's been doing the rounds on the internet for years.

On reading it, yes it's a laugh but for me I have to say alot of it (not all) rings true. I don't think of myself as old fashioned yet I suppose I am, I wanted to give my kids the best start in life and for me that means being at home, family values are important to me and we are truly very fortunate that hubby's job allows that.  I'm not saying I won't go back to work at some point tho :)
  • I have to be in the mood to sew, I don't like being pressurised, I'm one of those people that loves to be organised, loves to know what I've got to do for when and would much rather be 3 weeks early for a swap deadline than 1 or 2 days before. You never know what life is going to throw at you and derail, I have had lots of times when I thought thank god I got that done early. I rarely sew in the evenings, I've not got a full time job and can sew in the day. If I was working, I expect weekend sewing would be more important to me but at the moment it tends to be family time and nagging kids to tidy their rooms.
  • I also CANNOT ever sew when I haven't tidied up the major muddles, hoovered downstairs(with 4 cats, 2 big dogs, kids and hubby this is non negotiable), mopped the floors, cleaned the kitchen, washing out and usually the dinner prepared or at least know what I'm going to cook.  I think perhaps one or two occasions I might have forgotten the dinner bit but the rest never.  The way I see it,why should I enjoy my hobby when I haven't done my *job* isn't my family lucky lol....
  • Well the make yourself as attractive bit is completely untrue, I don't sew in PJ's but always in normal clothes, leggings if I'm having a sewing day and threads stuck to me all over and quite often pins in my top or pinned to my trousers.  The teacher's at school must take one look at me and pity my kids.
  • What is french chalk ??? 
  • Hair in order, powder on and lippy eeek.... if this was my mum I'd say yes but my hair is very rarely in order although I do put lippy on for school run, by the time I get sewing I mostly look pretty scruffy
  • My husband works from home and so see's me looking at my scruffy best, luckily he doesn't mind at all but visitors must often get a shock and the postman is used to me going out to get the post with stray threads and quite often a piece of fabric in my hand.
I'm going to dig through my manual's and see if I've got a copy, I have two singer's
And she's here, sews beautifully and now back in her box until I can give her a clean, there's a very complicated looking zigzag foot

This 221 Featherweight I bought quite recently, I love how quiet it is and is great for taking to classes 
I also have a treadle, it's a french one and has the most amazing decals, It sews really well but I have difficulty co-ordinating the treadle but at least I could sew if we had a power cut eh.

Post by Pippa - Week #11:   Pippa is a wife, mum and social media addict. She's a Brit living in rural France who likes to make quilts and bags. You can read her blog at www.pippaspatch.com and follow her on instagram @pippaspatch

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 11: Quilter #11 Pippa Parsons 

Ohhh I'm so excited to be taking over the @52quilters blog/IG/Twitter account this week. Chris has kindly edited my photo and this is how you'll know it's me posting.

  • Who I am and what I do 

I'm Pippa Parsons, a 39 (soon to be 40 and over the hill) year old Brit, I was born in Bath, spent my young years in London, Milton Keynes, Brighton and West Sussex.
For those that don't know the UK, I lived  mostly in the middle and down by the south coast, I'm a “Southerner” with a definite London accent.
My Hubby is a true northerner lol who I met online on Millenium eve, he came to visit and never actually went back home. After we got married, we then sold up and hopped over the English Channel and now we live in a very small village, slap bang in the middle of rural France.
We have two children Jacques 10 and Amelia 7 going on 17 !!! and our family is completed with two Labradors and 4 cats.

Still room after 2 labs and 2 kids #lifeofparsons2015

When we came to France I left my career in the UK and became a Housewife and a Stay at home mum although I still do all the admin and paperwork for 2 UK and 1 French company, so not really just a SAHM :)

  • Why I started Quilting 
I started quilting when my son was about 18 months, I thought it would be a great way to converse with French people, improve my French and learn a new hobby.

Day 2 #early project #isewphotochallenge very first project by hand inc quilting still on wall and one of my favorites #dresden #grandmothers garden

This was our first project and still one of my favourites although the colours are typically French I have to say, it was all hand pieced and quilted (never again)
8 years later and I'm generally doing something with fabric, thread or talking/thinking about quilting and sewing.
I love social media and am usually found lurking on twitter and IG. I think social media is fantastic for linking up lots of hobbyists, whether you sew, read, cook etc etc. I have met so many people I class as friends and have been fortunate to meet some of them in real life.

  • Our brief is to tell you what our favourite quilt is 
This one is so tough, I love every one when i'm making it, I love them when they are hanging on my photo wall all finished. I generally give 2 or 3 quilts a year to Siblings Together. (A great charity where kids in care or have been seperated from their families get to spend a holiday with their siblings) I usually end up giving a few away to family and friends.My kids get quite annoyed at all the quilts leaving the house and have to ask me to keep them and not give them away to kids without parents lol.
Here's a selection of my quilts past and present

  •  My Style
My Style is errr mine, I like to follow patterns, I don't like Improv and I chose fabrics because I like them not because they are in vogue. I love anything bright, anything with metallics, sparkle and I like quirky quilts.
Flashing Christmas tree quilts with LED lights as an example,you get to see the video here

Post by Pippa - Week #11:   Pippa is a wife, mum and social media addict. She's a Brit living in rural France who likes to make quilts and bags. You can read her blog at www.pippaspatch.com and follow her on instagram @pippaspatch

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week #10: Quilter #10: Jeff Rutherford

Hi, I'm Jeff, and I'm taking over the 52 Quilters blog, Instagram and Twitter accounts this week. I'm 47. I live in Western Massachusetts. I'm the father of 2 boys (11 and 7 years old), and I've been quilting since 2002.
How did I get interested in quilting? In the late 1990s, I don't know the exact date, I was visiting Wave Hill, a park in the Bronx borough of NYC, on the shores of the Hudson River. I literally stumbled across an exhibit of modern quilts in a small art gallery on the grounds of Wave Hill. I had always wanted some type of visual arts hobby, but I had tried to draw and paint without a lot of success. I immediately thought, "I could try to make a quilt." Shortly after that day, I was on vacation in Vermont, and I remember buying several quilting magazines at a grocery store. I spent the vacation reading and re-reading those magazines and looking at the photos of the various quilts.
In 2002, I moved from NYC to Western Mass, outside of Northampton, MA. I bought a sewing machine, and I tried to teach myself how to quilt using Quilting For Dummies. But, I had problems even with a basic book. I had never used a sewing machine in my life, and I kept encountering terms such as quarter-inch seam allowance. I was confused. I soon took a quilting class at A Notion to Quilt, a quilt store in Shelburne Falls, MA. Before I even finished sewing my first quilt, I knew that I'd be making many more quilts in the years ahead, and I've done just that. Here's my first quilt, a log cabin. And, below is a recent New York Beauty Quilt that I finished.
Stay tuned for more blog posts this week. I'll be attending the QuiltGuy quilt retreat this weekend in Chester, VT, so I'll be sharing many photos from the retreat.

Post by Jeff - Week #10:   Jeff lives in Western Massachusetts with his two sons. He has been quilting since 2002. He mostly uses traditional patterns, but uses bold colours and has a growing interest in modern quilting. During his week he will be attending the QuiltGuy retreat. You can follow Jeff on instagram  @JeffRutherford

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Goodbye and Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my last day as your host on the 52Q.  If you have enjoyed following along with me this week, please follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to my blog, The Homemade Heart.  I have truly had so much fun this week, and thank each and every one of you that took the time to like and comment on my posts, and participate in my hashtag prompts.  It means the world to me to be a part of such an interactive, supportive, creative community.  Thank you all! And thank you to Chris, for organizing this whole adventure.  It has been a wonderful ride!
Thank you
I requested this week, because it culminates in my birthday!  I turn 30 years old today, which to me is such a gift.  I believe that we only get better as we age, and I am so honoured and grateful to have the privilege of aging a little more each year.  I have really enjoyed getting to look back during this week and reflect on my craft, my creativity, and what I have learned thus far in my journey.  I loved getting to share some of my projects with you, and some of my favourite things, including fabric!  I loved getting to share a craft night with you, and see what you all made.  This has been a fabulous experience, and I will remember it as a wonderful way to celebrate this milestone birthday. 

Chris has asked that all the contributors to the 52Q share a piece of patchwork to be made into a quilt.  This is my patchwork square.

I wanted to make a square that represents me and my week on the 52Q.  Since it is my birthday week, I decided to go with a birthday cake square, using some of my favourite fabrics and colours.  I found a pattern I liked, but it was too large to comply with the 8.5 inch square requirement.  I tried fiddling with it to make it work, but just wasn't happy with the results.  I took to Excel and planned out my own version, including three candles, one for every decade of my life.  

I know I said I'm a paper and pen planner, but I do use Excel sometimes
I selected a healthy mix of my favourite prints: mice on bikes from Lizzy House's Catnap, two pink prints and purple birds from Violet Craft's Brambleberry Ridge, green bees and flowers from Heather Ross's Briar Rose, teal circles from Eloise Renouf's Shades of Spring, purple unicorns from Heather Ross's Far Far Away, purple Mochi from Cotton and Steel, yellow linen from Kate & Birdie's Blueberry Park, and Heartfelt from the Littlest collection.  

I had a lot of fun (and only minor frustrations - I'm looking at you, candle holders!) putting this block together.  I feel like it is an excellent representation of myself as a quilter and a person, and here's why:

1) It has animals on it.  I kinda love animals.
2) It has words on it.  I adore reading, and have always had a special place in my heart for writing.  Since starting my blog last summer, I have found a new love for the written word.
3) The idea came from an existing pattern, but I designed the actual pattern I used.  This is a common theme in my work.  I have written about creativity before on my blog, and this is an area I struggle with.  While I am perfectly capable of coming up with a design of my own, I can hardly call it an original design.
4) It isn't perfect.  And neither am I.  But I learned a lot while making it, and can only keep improving!

I hope that you have enjoyed following along with me this week, and I hope that I have inspired you to learn something new!  Remember that there is no harm in trying.  Remember that there is no harm in failing.  Remember that every mistake is a learning opportunity.  And remember to have fun!

Post by Laura - Week #9:   Laura is an adventurous crafter who enjoys sewing, knitting, crochet, cooking, making cakes and blogging. Quilting is a relatively new string to her bow - but after quilting for little over a year she has completed three quilts and is working on a La Passacaglia quilt as a new project for 2015. Laura blogs and shares her crafty life at  http://thehomemadeheart.blogspot.ca/

Friday, March 6, 2015

But isn't quilting expensive?!

I’ve heard lots of people say that one thing that holds them back from trying quilting is that they can’t afford it.  They don’t have a sewing machine, they can’t afford to buy a large stash of fabric, supplies and notions are so pricey, instruction books and patterns cost too much, design walls are beyond their budget.  Well, let me assure you that, while you can definitely spend a small fortune on this hobby, it is not necessary, nor essential to drop large amounts of money to enjoy a creative quilting adventure.

1: Sewing machine
Sewing machines are amazing, it’s true.  But if you don’t have one, never fear!  I suggest you give English Paper Piecing (EPP) a try.  This is a technique that involves hand sewing, and yields fantastically precise and beautiful results.  And good news! It’s super easy to master. 

These are all the supplies you need to do EPP: needle and cardstock paper pieces, gluestick, needle, thread, fabric scissors, fabric.  That's a cheap startup!
2: Stash building
When you see people online posting pictures of their fabric stash, it very well might be that they have a large bank account to indulge regularly in huge fabric purchases.  But most often, it is the result of years of accumulation.  So find a collection you like, buy a fat quarter bundle, and set to work.  You can keep your scraps and fabrics you don’t end up using, and voila!  You have the start of your very own fabric stash. 
This is a fat quarter bundle of Sweet as Honey designer fabric.  It costs around $50, depending where you buy it, and you can sew a twin size quilt and still have left overs.  
3: Supplies and notions
It’s true.  If you want the best of the best, it will cost you a pretty penny.  And if you are deeply engrained in the hobby, by all means, indulge in a fabulous set of fabric scissors, or that huge cutting mat.  But for those of you just starting out, know that the mediocre pair of scissors will still cut fabric.  The on-sale seam ripper will still rip seams.  The walmart cutting mat and ruler will still measure correctly.  To start out, there is no shame in not buying the top of the line tools.  Upgrade later on if you find yourself truly wanting and needing the better set of tools.  Also, know that there are quite a few good DIY options for many of the “essential” supplies.  Just because you can buy laser cut hexagon pieces, and acrylic templates for EPP, doesn’t mean you have to.  It is so easy to print out the shapes you need on card stock and cut them out yourself.  And you can make your own templates for under a dollar! (I wrote a tutorial on my blog if you’re interested).

My $7 cutting mat, Walmart fabric scissors, cheapo seam ripper, self-printed cardstock paper pieces, and homemade fussy cut templates.  And I still manage to make nice things.
4: Instruction books and patterns
Um.  The internet.  You are already paying for it.  Use it wisely, and you can learn everything you need to know.  There are a huge abundance of patterns available for free.  And if you find a for-sale pattern that you absolutely must have, often you can purchase it as a pdf download for a lower price directly from the designer. 

Of course, sometimes you get the books for a gift, and those are good times!
5: Design walls
Okay, this is a nice little indulgence, but it is absolutely not necessary.  You can quite easily lay out a quilt on the floor or your bed.  Now, that being said, I am not going to lie.  The floor is full of pet hair, and the bed doesn’t give you a good head-on view to really get the feel of your design.  If you are lucky enough to have a bit of empty wall in your home, you can set up a design wall for under $10. Here's how:

  • Buy a picnic tablecloth.  The kind with a fuzzy back. 
  • Using pushpins, tack it to your empty wall with the smooth side touching the wall.
  • Now you have a design wall! 
The fuzzy back holds up fabrics so well, and you can get a hair-free, head on view of your quilt.  If you need a bigger design space, buy two and hang them side by side.  If you can get one with the checkerboard pattern on the front, you even have gridlines for lining up your blocks.  Easy peasy!
My design wall.  I could only find zig-zags.  Believe it or not, the picnic table cloth selection is a little lacking in the middle of winter in Canada.  
So please don’t let the perceived costs hold you back.  Just like in any field, you can absolutely find top-of-the-line equipment that costs top-of-the-line money.  But you can also find affordable options, and if you get creative, excellent DIY solutions.  

Post by Laura - Week #9:   Laura is an adventurous crafter who enjoys sewing, knitting, crochet, cooking, making cakes and blogging. Quilting is a relatively new string to her bow - but after quilting for little over a year she has completed three quilts and is working on a La Passacaglia quilt as a new project for 2015. Laura blogs and shares her crafty life at  http://thehomemadeheart.blogspot.ca/

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My first quilt (and other learning opportunities)

I made my first quilt last year, to give as a first birthday gift to my niece/goddaughter Briar Rose.  I had spotted on Pinterest a fabric line that shared her name, designed by Heather Ross, and I figured how hard could it be to put make a quilt?  I put together a straightforward patchwork quilt, with a mitered corner border, pieced together the backing, free motion quilted vines and leaves all over it with my home sewing machine, and hand stitched the binding.
Briar Rose for Briar Rose quilt
I didn’t know a thing about quilting before I started, but I studied up on each step, and followed tutorials on blogs, and watched youtube videos to figure out just what the heck to do.  I truly believe that anyone can learn anything.  I want to stress that most of the crafty things I love doing I have had no formal training in, and I have learned everything I need to know from the internet, which is such a great resource for anyone looking to learn!

I turn to Google so frequently in my crafty adventures.  My grandma had taught me how to knit a good ten years ago, but has since passed away, so I wasn’t able to ask her for help any more.  I didn’t know much beyond a knit and purl stitch, and so stuck with a lot of beginner patterns because I didn’t know how to do any of the stitches in more advanced patterns.  Finally one day, I decided to just Google what I didn’t know.  Now I have no fear to tackle the most difficult patterns!  I know that I can learn what I need to know from a quick tutorial or youtube video. 

On the left is a straightforward knit/purl blanket I made (a "before google" pattern); on the right is a blanket with all kinds of crazy stitches and cables I made (an "after google" pattern).  Amazing what you can learn if you just take the chance and try! 
The internet has guided me through so many projects.  I’ve learned all about cake decorating, knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, English paper piecing, foundation paper piecing, watercolour painting, embroidery, home repair/renovations, baking and cooking.  Yes, I won’t be turning professional with any of my projects, but they are still pretty darn good!  And I wouldn’t have ever known what I was capable of if I hadn’t just taken a risk and tried. 
All made with internet tutorials
All techniques learned from internet tutorials
All executed with instruction from the internet. Yes, even the fireplace.  Stone masonry is learnable via youtube video.
Lots of people in my life will ask me “How did you learn all this?!”  I tell them how helpful the internet is as a resource (literally anything you want to learn is on there), and I always encourage them to try as well.  I often hear them say, “Oh, I could never be as good as you.”  But believe me, I am not as good as the previous person.  It doesn’t matter!

Just because someone else is better at something than you, doesn’t mean that you are no good.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  Allow yourself the luxury of being a beginner, allow yourself the luxury of being forgiving of your mistakes, and allow yourself the luxury of being proud of your accomplishments.  Because you are awesome! Now get out there and learn something new!

Post by Laura - Week #9:   Laura is an adventurous crafter who enjoys sewing, knitting, crochet, cooking, making cakes and blogging. Quilting is a relatively new string to her bow - but after quilting for little over a year she has completed three quilts and is working on a La Passacaglia quilt as a new project for 2015. Laura blogs and shares her crafty life at  http://thehomemadeheart.blogspot.ca/