Friday, April 22, 2011

A Chat with Sandy from Quilting...For the Rest of Us

I was lucky enough to have a nice virtual chat with Sandy, from Quilting.... for the Rest of Us podcast and blog.  I really enjoy Sandy's podcasts.  Each week there is a general Sandy update, but she then goes to a great effort to cover an educational topic.  These could range from product reviews, to interviews with guild members or artists, to quilt labels and appraisals.  Each episode is happy and well thought through, making it a joy to listen to.  

There is a short version of our interview posted here and the longer, full version will be posted under the Interview section of Fluffy Sheep Quilting. You can navigate to that page with the tab above.  Now, off to the interview! 

Are you a regular follower of blogs?  What are your favorite two and why?
I follow a ton of blogs; most quilt-related, but some are related to my job and other interests. How do I choose which are my favorite? Even though I often get far behind in my blog reading and have hundreds of unread posts waiting in Google Reader for me, I always make sure I read my listeners’ blogs  and other quilty-podcasters’ blogs. In the vast list of general quilty-related blogs I will always read Taniwa’s posts. She’s from Japan and she talks a lot about life in Japan—great cultural education as well as quilty-goodness. I also always read “Nancy, near Philadelphia. She and I have some life circumstances in common so I can relate, and I just appreciate her writing style. If I’m allowed to sneak a third in there, it would be “block-a-day. She’s Australian and her photography is just wonderful. But sheesh—I feel like I’m probably leaving about 20 other faves out of this list!

What first attracted you to quilting and what do you get from it today?
When I was in high school and college, my stress-reduction technique was to color in geometric design coloring books. Nothing I loved better than a brand new box of 64 Crayolas! My mother had taken up quilt making when I was probably 10 or so, and I loved going through her quilt magazines and picking out quilts she could make for me. By the time I was out of college, Mom would respond by raising an eyebrow and saying, “You know, you could learn how to do this yourself!” Long story short, eventually I did. I still love the interplay of geometric design and color—I love seeing secondary designs emerge, I love seeing how colors play together. I love the feel of fabric. I spend most of my day working in words—it’s really a nice change of scene to get to work in color and shape and texture instead.

What quilting experience would you never repeat?
Huh. This is a tricky one. My single worst quilting experience wasn’t really about the technique at all but about the fact that I was a rank beginner and was a bit over my head. The first class I ever took was a Stack-n-Whack class that was billed as a beginner class but was really intermediate. Bethany Reynolds has several stack-n-whack patterns that would be more appropriate for beginners than the one our class tackled (it’s even labeled an “intermediate” pattern in her book). I’d only done a couple of simple wall hangings before that and nothing that would’ve prepared me for what we did in the class. And now that I’ve taken a lot more classes with a lot more teachers, I’ve also come to understand that the teacher for that class wasn’t a particularly good teacher, either. Very nice, would sort of show us what to do, but didn’t give a whole lot of guidance other than that. And I was too new to know what questions to ask, or even that I was going wrong before it was too late. So I had nothing but problems from the get-go, and it took me 7 years to finally finish the dang bed quilt. If I could have a do-over, it would be that one—taking a different first class that would have been far less frustrating, and with a smaller project! I’d love to do a stack-n-whack again now that I actually know what I’m doing. It’s a really fun technique.

How would you describe your crafting space? 
I love my sewing room now—especially compared to the little corner I had in our old house that always got stacked with everyone else’s stuff. In this house, we finished the “bonus room” over the garage and it’s half sewing room, half home office—literally divided in half. The right side is completely designated for my quilt making and, for the most part, everyone else respects it. I only occasionally have to clear someone else’s something-or-other off my cutting table, but usually it’s my own mess. The computers and my home office space are all on the left side. Now that the kids are heading off to college, we’ve removed their old computer and computer desk to get a little more elbow room. Yes, my quilt making is likely to start invading the left side of the room too. Lighting is a bit of an issue—another long term project.

Do you have a plan to conquer your UFOs?  Are you working on one now?
I didn’t have a ton of UFOs until my mother passed away and I put my own projects on the back burner to finish many of her UFOs so they could be shared with family as she would have intended. She had a lot of UFOs! I think I did an episode on that topic, too—talking about how I chose which to finish, which to give to other quilters, and which to just donate. That being said, I co-facilitated UFO challenges two years running in my guild, so I’ve really whittled down the number of UFOs I have left to finish. I still have maybe two or three of my own, and one of my Mom’s. I have one of my own on my design wall as I ponder quilting patterns for it—that may make it on my sewing machine next while I also start cutting out my next new project. I’m at a very comfortable point with my UFOs—they no longer feel overwhelming! Mostly, now that I’m back into my normal groove, I tend to finish what I started so I’m not really creating new UFOs for myself.

You seem to always have a challenge on to motivate your listeners.  What was your most successful challenge and what do you see in your future?
I figure that I’m not the kind of podcaster who will be posting tutorials or pattern designs or who will have an Etsy shop. But I can challenge people! I love doing creativity challenges because they’re so open-ended. In fact, in all of my challenges I really prefer to be “inclusive” rather than “exclusive.” In other words, I go rules-lite. Not only do I want as many people as possible to feel like they can participate, but the fewer rules I set up, the more I get to be surprised by the results! I love seeing the wide variety of ways that people interpret a challenge. If you judge success by the number of people participating, my most successful challenge to date was probably the first quarter of the stash mystery challenge in which people had to do something related to flowers and use two fabrics from their stash. I think I had something like 15 people participate in that one and I loved seeing their photos. I’m continuing the stash mystery challenges through 2011—the current quarter’s theme is “inspired by children’s artwork.” I’d like to do another creativity challenge using the inspirational photograph again—I enjoy those even though fewer people tend to participate--and I’m pondering one that has a tie-in with charity quilts.

1 comment:

ButtonMad said...

So pleased to find your site...lovely interview...I agree it's often the secondary designs that emerge that make a quilt design even better...
Greetings from south Africa!

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