Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 19: Introducing Diana from Red Delicious Life

Hello and welcome to week 19! My name is Diana Mattoni and I am super excited to be taking over here at 52 Quilters for the week.

So, a bit about me: I am a theater professional, turned quilter living in the Orlando Florida area. Truth be told, my family lives 2 miles behind Magic Kingdom castle. No joke, our house shows up on the mobile park app (The blue dot in the upper left corner is me in my living room):

I did a little bit of sewing in college as a requirement for theater but it wasn't until 2012 that I decided that I wanted to make a quilt that I was hooked. And what I knew that I wanted to do from day one was free motion quilting. Fast forward to today and I now have 4 machines. Ruby is a Baby Lock Symphony and is my good quilting machine; Pearl is a Brother CS6000i and is my travel and backup machine; Bessie is my 25-year-old workhorse Singer, and I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of the family, Eliza --

She is a 10-foot Handi Quilter Avanté that I got while I was at QuiltCon back in February. As you can see, she barely fits in my sewing room and is partially sticking into the pocket closet. :)  She and I are still getting to know one another.

Here are a few of my favorite quilts that I've made --

When I'm not taking over 52 Quilters you can find me on my own blog, Red Delicious Life and on Instagram @RedDeliciousLife.  Look for more posts from me later this week! Until then, I'll be posting more on the 52 Quilter's Instagram feed!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Week 15 - Introducing Lisa & Emily!

Hey all, Emily & Lisa here!
As you know from Instagram the past few days, we are your cohosts taking over this week for some fun! Since there are two of us, we decided to do our blog post a little differently and did it by video! We had fun chatting about our childhood, our journey leading us to quilting, and our special project we are sewing together this week! Grab a snack and some Dr. Pepper and get ready to hear more about us!
So what do you think?
Anything that really stuck out to you?  We'd love to hear some comments below!
Of course, as promised, here are the photos of our dads. The yellow and blue tradition totally still happens!
And for kicks (and because it is our week hosting!) here we are, then vs. now!
To recap: We love quilting, Dr. Pepper & girly movies.
We also apparently love to give shout outs to people!
Our dads are twin brothers, which makes us even cooler cousins.
Both of our moms were involved in our journey towards sewing.
We are cat people, as you see from our posts and our video photobomber.
Lisa’s dad Philip wrote a book about a Wiener Dog Man, while Emily’s dad Roger made a weiner dog puppet and performs often at the local Cowboy Poetry children’s show.
So because of the randomness of the wiener dog appreciation, this week we are making the Dogs in Sweaters quilt by Elizabeth Hartman for our dads as a gift for their birthday this year.

 Last, but surely not least, be sure to follow us at @wereradletshug & @sew_l1sa to see how our quilts finish up after our week is up, and to catch up on the big reveal in June! Of course, we love to have new quilty friendships as well in the Instagram community.
We'll be physically together through half of Saturday and will be on 52quilters until Sunday is over so stay tuned for some finished Dogs in Sweaters quilt tops as well as more goodness throughout the remainder of our week.
Talk to y’all soon!
-Lisa & Emily

Sunday, April 9, 2017

This is my last day as host of the 52 Quilter's account and I have really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else throughout the rest of the year. I don't connect with lots of different  quilters in real life as I'm not in a group anymore due to work and family commitments, so I have found the online world of quilting a brilliant source of information, inspiration and new ideas. Without 52 Quilters last year I would never have known about the wonders of spray basting a quilt (which I have since shared with a friend) No more taping quilt backs to the floor and trying to tack stitch on my hands and knees! I don't think I have any amazing tips or knowledge to impart to the quilting community that aren't already widely known, so I decided that this blog post would be some of my thoughts and musings on my quilting hobby and motivations. I'm hoping that this may make people consider their own motivations and what they want to create or achieve with their quilting and why they do it.

Having only stumbled into the quilt world 7 years ago, I can't ever imagine not having it in my life now. It serves so many purposes for me; an artistic outlet I didn't know I needed or had ability in (I was useless at art and drawing at school so assumed I wasn't artistic at all). An occupation to keep me busy and my hands working, as a hobby, as a connector to other people, as a challenge to set myself new techniques and to continue to develop and possibly most importantly to me, as object to create to give to people. I have already mentioned that I generally make to give as gifts and I have worked out that this is prime motivator for me. Before discovering quilting, I baked a lot and again liked to bake for others, my husband and work colleagues benefitted a lot from this! I love the feeling of making something special and unique for a person, from the design process, considering who they are and what they may like, how they would use it, where it might fit in their home, to the time taken to make it for them and get it right. I know most people outside of the quilting world won't understand how long it can take or how much it can cost (the way I justify it in my head is 50% is the cost of the gift and 50% is the cost of my hobby anyway) but I don't mind that at all, as long as I know the person will love it.  I have had people admire a quilt and ask if I can make them one, which is very flattering and in the past I would have agreed. However as my time is much more limited these days being a Mum, I have learnt that I need to say no to requests that I don't really have the desire to do. If not then it becomes a chore to me, rather than an enjoyable process. My motivation is my desire to create something unique for someone, rather than being asked or pressured into making something to someone else's pattern/idea.

Colour and design are also important to me. When reflecting back on my lack of artistic ability at school (though I did so well in textiles, they just cut it from the exam syllabus the year I wanted to take it!) I was always attracted to tesselating patterns in maths class. I used to love colouring them and fitting them together. I like to think that I have a good eye for colours and complimenting colour palettes, my Mum thinks this is because she took me a log to one of those "Colour me Beautiful" sessions as a child, where you get told which colours suit you best to wear. I do like to match or compliment, whether that is clothing, decor or quilt fabric! Which is probably why I find it hard to do scrap quilts and buy too much fabric as I "need" it to be perfectly complimentary. I'm working on this for the good of my purse now that I have a pretty decent fabric stash. (My husband recently joked that he wanted the fire brigade to come and risk assess the amount of flammable fabric I have in one room!)

I think the most important factor to consider is that whatever your motivation, quilting is your hobby/art/skill and you should always make what you want to make and be true to yourself.  Don't let others dictate it or demand from you as this is where the enjoyment fades. You might try something  new and think "I'm never making one of those/using that technique again" which is fine as long as you have made the decision. Quilting time is precious and it is your time.

Happy quilting everyone!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 14: My Introduction

Hello, I'm Chloe and I am your 52 Quilters host this week. I can't remember how I stumbled across the Instagram account in January 2016 but I'm glad I did as I have been an avid follower since. Last year I loved seeing the variety of skills, personalities, new types of quilting, stitching and being introduced to new patterns, fabric and techniques. I especially love that anyone and everyone is welcome, professionals and hobbyists. As a result of 52 Quilters, I took an international class online with Shannon Brinkley which was brilliant. Another host opened my eyes to the La Passacaglia pattern and I immediately knew I wanted to try that as a long term hand piecing project. During my visit to the Festival of Quilts last August I went to see her La Pass entered into the show (like a real groupie!) and also spent my birthday money on the book and templates to get started.

Well, I'm certainly in the hobbyist category of quilters. In 2010 I enrolled in a dressmaking course at a local college for evenings classes, with the aim to be able to have a go at altering clothes for myself. At the last minute the course changed to home furnishings due to a teacher change, but that was fine with me too. At the time my now husband and a I were self building our home and knowing that there were a lot of Windows in it, I thought curtain making skills would be useful. The teacher had a quilting interest and background so taught us the basics of cutting and measuring and piecing seams using quilt techniques.

My first patchwork make was a pair of tiny half log cabin cushions, and that was me hooked. By the end of the 8 week course I had started my first quilt for a friend's toddler, I made so many mistakes, such as cutting the blocks and then prewashing them (shrinkage lesson learned!) and I had absolutely no idea how to bind the quilt, so sort of folded some fabric and just stitched it through! It was well received and loved though!

My next project was to tackle actual pattern blocks, and I did so with pinwheels and flying geese, for a lap quilt for my Grandad. As it was an 80th birthday present, I had it long arm quilted at The Quilter's Trading post (we shall be taking a little trip to see them this week). A couple of years later I also made a large applique lap quilt for my Grandma's 80th.

So since then I have been non stop quilting. I discovered a love for applique by hand and often incorporate some applique into a quilt. Being in my 20s and now 30s, many friends started to have babies so baby quilts became my "thing" to make and gift for them. I prefer to design my own quilt, occasionally I will use a pattern or adapt one, but I'm very much a "wing it and see" quilter. Sometimes this trips me up, there have been many occasions where I have dived in to something and then had to adjust my plan/fabric/design. Not being able to draw well, I tend to make the roughest sketches ever, usually in the back of an envelope. Maths is also not my strong point, but luckily I am married to a cabinet maker and he is the King of precise measurements and maths and angles so is always on hand to help or check my maths. The only thing he hates is that I use inches rather than metric. The quilts always come out OK in the end, I have not yet had to abandon one (that's not to say I don't have UFO's though!)

A little personal history about me. I'm 32, married with a 3 year old son and 37 weeks pregnant. I work as a social worker in a hospital, with adults who have had strokes or brain injuries and also adults who lack capacity to consent to their care and treatment. I have officially started maternity leave today and will be off for a year. We have self built a house which is an ongoing work in progress. We moved into half of it when my son was 17 days old, so we had bedrooms and a bathroom and used a bedroom as a lounge/diner for 3 years, with a temporary kitchen in the utility downstairs. No doors, skirting boards or painted walls! This weekend was very exciting as we finally moved into the downstairs, still lacking doors and skirting boards and floor in one room, but the difference is amazing! No more carrying food upstairs, so much space and light downstairs, a playroom for all of our son's toys and maybe most importantly, a CRAFT room for me! More on that later in the week. Clearly we like a baby arrival deadline to motivate us! Quilting is my only hobby, with occasional upcycling of furniture and actual cycling on a bike for exercise too.

The next blog will explore my quilting interest in more depth, what motivates and inspires me and what I hope to learn and achieve in the future.