Wow another summer is almost gone! It’s hard to believe this time last year I had a bazillion tiny squares on my work table partially sewn …Read More
Secret designing revealed-Yay! I had been sitting on this idea for a while now. I'd even started buying fabric for it but was never satisfied. It was so clear in my head how it should be. The idea was to invent the ultimate, snuggling on the couch, watching shows quilt, based off a North American test screen... Then I got another one of those emails I love! It was from Daryl of Andover Fabrics reaching out and inquiring if I'd be interested in working with Libs Elliott's latest collection called Mix Tape. Boy would I! And Mix Tape was a perfect fit! So perfectly, perfect! I'm thrilled to bring you "REWIND" a FREE pattern ready for download HERE.
I can't wait to get my hands on this new collection and sew it up!!! Until then I'll be pining away for Libs' Mix Tape collections of tiny lips, hearts, stars and skulls. Not to mention those selvages!!! Have you seen the selvages? Each print has THE BEST titles like: Tainted Love (Lysa Flower fun fact, it's my very favorite song!), Heart of Glass (YES!), Lick it up (my husband was a HUGE Kiss fan back in the day. I even did an embarrassing painting of Paul Stanley for him in high school. Maybe I'll show it to you some day... er maybe not, cringe, ha, ha!), Satisfaction (if you had to choose, Beatles or the Stones?), You Shook me (Hello AC/DC!), and more! OOh! My Cassette patterns are SCREAMING for these selvages!
Until we get the fabric in our hands to sew REWIND up, here are some RECOMMENDED TV shows for curling up on the couch with: Amazon Prime's The Marvelous Miss Maisel, The Night Manager and The Man in the High Castle. A show I watched on my own, on the nights when everyone was away, Good Girls Revolt (fingers tightly crossed they do another season!). Oh and we just started watching Sneaky Pete (totally binge worthy)!
RECOMMENDED for your play list (how could I not, this quilt is screaming for this song): The BUGGLES, 1979's Video Killed the Radio Star and here's their 2004 version. I think Prince Charles quite enjoyed it, don't you!
Perhaps you've seen her work in the pages of UPPERCASE magazine or in an issue of Curated Quilts for her "Log Cabin A". Or was it in Quiltcon 2018 issue for her "Everyone's Got an X"? Wait, maybe you heard her on Modern Sewciety's (episode 124) podcast. But then again maybe you first found @3rdstoryworkshop on Instagram. That's how Andrea landed on my radar. Her feed is pretty darn dreamy.
3rd Story Workshop named after her attic studio, Andrea embarked on an incredible project that won 1st place in the Group or Bee Quilt category at Quiltcon 2018. I saw it in person and it was jaw dropping so I think we need to start with that...
1. In 2017 you completed The Here and Elsewhere Bee (compiling nearly 1,200 immigration stories) as an Artist in Residence at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
A) How did this project come about?
For a few months, I had the idea in my head that everyone should know what quilting looks like today. When I saw Libs Elliott's Unity quilt from New York Design Week in 2016, I thought that a public, collaborative quilt would be a great vehicle for that. In early 2017, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 put out a call for proposals to engage their visitors in an art project that would respond to an exhibit they had on display. The project was selected through the proposal process and I had the opportunity to make the idea become a reality.
B) The project was inspired by the children's story book "Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt". How did you come across this book and can you describe your "ah ha!" moment, when you knew you had to do this project?
I had a friend introduce me to the book in 2016, which I had never encountered before. It was such meaningful story and I thought it would be a great way to do a modern spin on a traditional quilt block. When the call for proposals came out for the artist residency at Pier 21, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. I thought that this would be an excellent way to build a collaborative quilt and to relate visitors' experiences at the museum to their own personal story.
C) I would imagine the project and stories were quite emotional. How did that affect the work. And you?
It's amazing to think of what is behind a single little 5" or 2.5" block -- the people whose lives were turned upside down because of war, in search of opportunities, in the quest for a more peaceful life. People come to the Canadian Museum of Immigration often on pilgrimages to honour their family members that risked a lot to make a better life. When they came to my little studio in the museum, they had just absorbed an intense amount of information about Canadian immigration. But here was where they made it personal; they paused to think about what brought their families to Canada whether it was 300 years ago or 2 years ago. And yes, it was emotional: "My grandmother raised me; she came to this port when she was a little girl. And the life I lead now is a result of that moment."... "My father was 15 when he had a gun put to his head, and asked, 'Are you with us or against us?' My choices are along the lines of, 'Should I get this car or that one?' What he went through was all so that I could have freedom." The weight of what's behind the quilt is tremendous.
The emotional impact of the piece really hit home that what I'm doing as an artist isn't only for my own self-fulfillment. The project really forced me to turn outward and see how the work and the process could affect people's experiences. This project made me realize that for me, interacting with the public is an important part of what I will do from here on in.
2. When did you move to Halifax in Eastern Canada? Where did you move from? How has that move affected your work?
I was born and raised in Ottawa, which is also where I made my first quilt and had my first baby in 2011. We moved to Halifax a year later for my husband to pursue a graduate degree. It was not until early 2016 that I joined the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild and that's how I started quilting seriously. I had no idea about the modern quilting movement before that, nor had I encountered other quilters. The community of people that I have met here and that I have since encountered online has been a huge motivator for my work. To understand the range of voices represented and how I fit in the quilting world has been informed by jumping into the MQG world.
(Check out Andrea's ETSY Halifax Map/Darthmouth 12" x 12" quilted map and post cards!)
3. Do you do all your own quilting?
Mostly I do, but The Here & Elsewhere Bee was the first that was too big for me to accomplish myself, so I had Sheri Lund of Violet Quilts to do it for me on her long-arm. Moving forward, I will most likely do my own if it is a one-off artistic work, but if it is a pattern sample or something of the sort, I'll have it long-armed by someone else.
4. What makers tool could you not live without?
I wish I could tell you that it was more of a physical tool or notion, but I'm pretty reliant on Adobe Illustrator to make my designs come to life. It allows me to design and test ideas quickly without the commitment of cutting into fabric. I can work out how to cut the fabric and how much I need so I that I can execute a design relatively smoothly. Using Illustrator allows me to design with very few limitations -- which gets me into trouble sometimes when I'm actually sewing and creating, but I'd rather feel freedom first and then deal with the tricky bits later.
5. What's your favourite colour? What's your least favourite colour? And why for both.
I have a lot of favourite colours and they are all neutral! Black, white, grey, navy, metallic gold. I like that they go with so many other colours and in the way that I imagine them, they are decidedly modern. Moreover, when colour isn't central to the visual impact, the forms and shapes come through more clearly. These also never go out of style.
My least favourite colour is brown, but I love it when it's from a natural source like wood, leather or cork. Again, form can show through when it's a natural hue. Another one that I dislike is purple. I just don't know how to go about it. With it being this year's Pantone Colour of the Year though, I'm coming around to it by seeing its applications. I am just not sure how it will have lasting power.
6. What book are you reading right now?
Confession: I actually... dislike reading. For someone who went to school until they were 26, I am extremely slow at it and it frustrates me. I've taken to podcasts and that way I can keep my hands busy while taking in information. I will likely be getting into audio books soon.
AND A LITTLE SNIPPET FROM NEXT TUESDAYS NEWSLETTER, PART TWO WITH ANDREA ...1) My favourite podcast is 99% Invisible.
*All photos are by Andrea Tsang Jackson or Deborah from @debisthinking
I've never been on a bender but I'm guessing this is what the aftermath feels like. Last week was Quiltcon 2018 in Pasadena, California. My phone is littered with ALL the quilts. My brain is full of inspiration and my heart is full of how much I love makers. And as you know I'm especially a fan girl of these two ladies: Melody Miller and Latifah Saafir! They were gracious enough to let me grab a picture with them in front of my Fangirl quilt. Melody designed the fabric and Latifah designed the Glam clam quilt pattern. I was the lucky girl who sewed it all together.
Quiltcon was busting with energy and I think the snaps I caught of Annabel Wrigley (my partner in crime at the show) summed up how we all felt to be there. She caught some good air there, didn't she?! Right after she landed that jump, security poked their head through the drapes to make sure everything was ok. Yes, indeed it was! One of her doodle quilts ended up on the banners for the show! Woo hoo! How snazzy is that!
There were SO many quilts, so many of them I loved but I was especially excited to see Lindsey Neill's Sewology quilt in the show. I had never seen it in person before and it certainly didn't disappoint! I've bought the pattern and it's on my to do list. It's supposed to be a monthly sew along but between you and me, I'm behind. In case you want to be behind with me, this pattern can be purchased on Craftsy.
The other quilt that especially caught my attention (I could have spent the whole day lost in it) was Carolyn Friedlander's Collection quilt. I think we can all agree her fabrics and quilt patterns are dreamy but seeing her quilting close up was stunning. Everything was so carefully considered, thoughtfully placed and gentle. Then we were given the treat of seeing her sketches and a peek into her process. I love that she's an old school paper and pencils girl!
I'm sure you've seen the Quiltcon pictures swimming around on Instagram all weekend. I didn't post anything as I was busy being overwhelmed. I did my best to drink in the show and live in the moment... and perhaps that's why I'm was left feeling like I needed to turtle and hide out for a bit (behind my CAUSE YOU CAN'T YOU WON'T AND YOU DON'T STOP quilt)... and why I feel like I've been on a week long dance party bender. Self care here I come!
This week's RECOMMENDED playlist addition: Party Rock Anthem. Which summizes the energy of Quiltcon! See you in Nashville next year!
This 60" wide quilt text that quotes the Beastie Boys, from their song Sure Shot, is a great BIG note to self.
Cause you can't, you won't, and you don't stop;
Creative work can seem romantic but it's hard, gritty (hello Y seams!) and vulnerable work. After hours of work, you can put yourself out there and sometimes tumble weeds roll on by but in the end you still have to make it. You have to keep going and sometimes you have to wade through making crap to get to the good stuff. The slog... I hate the slog. That's when I put on really loud music. I know it's loud enough if my kids complain... and then I start working. You put in the hours and make the work, no matter what the results. It just has to be made.
In doing so for this quilt, I finally cut into my Uppercase Volume One fabric. I was nervous but I plunged in and did it! Did I mention how brave we sometimes have to be?
As for quilting this, when Craftsy was a new thing I bought Ann Peterson's class, "Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine". Each section of text was quilted and then sewn together. Quilt as you go, I think it's called. It was a cool process but it was A LOT of hand sewing on the back of the quilt to cover up the seams... which was okay, cause, you can't, you won't and you don't stop, right? Wink, wink! See what I did there!
Part two with Natalie. She's a speed demon of a sewist, maker of bags, garments, quilts and patterns... and if that's not impressive enough she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro this past summer. She blogged about the experience HERE. Yeah, she's kind of my hero. I wish you could hear her laugh in person... it's contagious and she has a wicked sense of humour (one she's passed on to her kids, check out their photobomb in the third photo)! Okay here we go...
Less of a question and more of an instructions: You are my hero when it comes to being prolific. Go to your closet right now and count how many handmade clothing items you've made. It's okay, we'll wait... OMG I just don't know... I've given a lot away, sold a few, and lost some. My goal is to wear nothing but hand made, every day. I have SERIOUS issues with the apparel industry- morally and from a sustainability standpoint. I know fabric probably isn't loads better---but at least I won't be throwing anything out quickly. At least I'm "doing" and learning, appreciating the work involved. Plus it makes me feel a little medieval.
I highly recommend watching the documentary on Netflix titled The True Cost. It made me really rethink my consuming.
If you had to pick one piece of fabric that defines who you are, what would that be? This is too difficult! I have to say, Jennifer Paganelli's fabrics ALWAYS make me happy. I am drawn to bright, happy, fun pieces. I like so many though! Everything Cotton and Steel, I mean Beauty Shop is blowing my mind right now I love it so hard. I love Rashida's ships and lemurs and --well, everything.... Can I say "I PLEAD THE FIFTH?"
If I were describing my soul, I'd pick ballet slipper pink satin-- I'm a Pisces and super sensitive, though I try not to show it and probably overcompensate with faux toughness at times. I'm keeping it real here, because I think a lot of people do this. I can't be the only one.
What's your favourite sewing tool? My Simplicity Bobbin winder. I go through bobbins like 'Yur Mom.... it's redic.
What are three books that have made a HUGE impact on your life? Ok so you know I'm like the crazy book lady, right? Do you know how many people tell me I have "too many books"?! So this question is impossible. I will say the top 3 from my mind: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, (changed how I think about Africa completely, a 180 degree turn around)---
What are three songs everyone needs on their playlist? I'm a music nerd, I like a bit of everything from big band tunes, Ella FItzgerald to Ja Rule to Paula Abdul -I mean Straight UP! BUT--my playlist always has these artists:
1. Sarah Mclauchlan EVERYTHING but especially "Do what you have to do". Oh em gee. The lyrics on her songs are pure poetry. The piano playing, the strings, it's just absolute magic... "What ravages of spirit, have conjured this tempestuous rage..."
2. A Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd changed my world, I'll name Learning to Fly here. --- I remember the moment I put that album on and everything happening that day, (I was 14)-- the lyrics are so clever in every song. "Fatal attraction ...is holding me fast...how can I escape, the irresistible grasp?...That's how I feel about sewing YO!!!!!! Sung in a British accent. HELLO! You can't top that.
3. Weezer- Say it Ain't So. (It IS so.)
I'd like to you to meet Natalie Santini. She's an amazing lady. I adore her and her work. She bought my very first pattern on Etsy... er, ever really. She sent me a direct message and we've been each others biggest cheerleaders since then. She's prolific, talented, generous and hilarious. If you don't know her already she blogs at Hungryhippie Sews and is @sewhungryhippie on Instagram. This is part one of her interview because I asked her SO MANY questions! Enjoy!
Were you a maker as a kid? I was a do-er: dance lessons, piano, violin, camps, sports, etc... I never felt like I was good enough at art or design, but I did love to color and make weird things. I didn't sew though!
What was the very first thing you remember sewing or designing? I didn't sew until I was 31 LOL! I made a HORRIBLE top that made me look like a grown up cabbage patch kid. It was NOT cute. Instead of feeling defeated, I felt an intense motivation to keep going. I must have made 25-30 garments before I started to actually like them. Kinda crazy right? I also made a TON of bags, a ton of home items, and then eventually quilts. I think I've done 40 Union Jack patchwork quilts--which I sold because I couldn't work as a nurse in Britain. It was totally wild and fun.
Tell us about your experience with Love Patchwork and Quilting? Which issue(s) and what did you have in it? I have so much love for LP&Q! They are really SO kind and supportive. I was crushed when my skull quilt was rejected by an American magazine which shall remain un-named --- so I sent it directly to the Editor at the time, Jenny Fox-Proverbs in a personal email. I mean, the audacity! It was so bold and unlike me, but I figured I had nothing to lose. I didn't even expect a response, I promptly forgot about the whole thing because I was too busy creating my new American life (we had just returned from living in Britain for nearly 7 years)... Then one day I had an email response from Jenny herself, and there you go. The Skull was very "me"---for a long time I've loved Mexican culture. I lived in San Antonio when I left the Army for quite a few years and really fell in love with all of it, like you do... That was issue 26. I have a quilt in Issue 34- "Colour Splash", "Good Karma" in Issue 36, and in Issue 38- "Modern Aztec". Just this month my HST quilt is in Modern Patchwork here in the US. I think being published is stressful but lovely, if that makes any sense. I do not think it validates anything-- I see so many amazing quilts that nobody knows about, from local people. I'm talking MIND blowing work! It keeps a person humble, to say the least. And also sometimes being published is simply luck.
AND you have some new patterns out! Tell us every sorted detail! The inspiration behind them, anything juicy about the making them? And where can we get our hands on them? YES! I'm so excited about my patterns! I have learned Adobe Illustrator and InDesign in order to be able to publish them, and it's been a very L O N G road. Ha! I am not a tech person, did I tell you? I print the patterns that I feel are most successful, which so far are: The Essential Oils cases, Modern Aztec quilt, and The Essentials Tote. I think next will be The Santorini Tote, a "no-fail" multi sized Zipper Case pattern for shops, and a bag I'm collaborating on with Stitch Supply Co that is the shizzle (not my design but I'm writing it)... More soon on that! I only make what I WOULD WANT myself, into patterns. It's a TON of work and time involved-- at least for me. It does not come naturally for me, like most things. I test and re-test, send it out to multiple testers, then write again. Proofs come in, I change things again, etc.. I happen to really adore my Printer Guy- he is totally OCD and it works! (He is ok with me saying that FYI.)
All my patterns are available in my Etsy shop: And I'm slowly getting them out to local shops, including Blue Bar Quilts and Stitch Supply Co. My main obstacle is time, since I have a "real job" as an RN too---like everyone else, life is BUSY.
BUT Natalie still had time to whip up a very clever Halloween costume for herself. She's such a good egg! In the best devilish way... more to come next week!
Holy moly! Talk about sewing like a mother trucker. That was a whirlwind of a project. I posted it's making on Instagram. Are you on Instagram? Love Instagram. If you are on Instagram think of this as an instant replay.
From start to finish this took about a month. You'd think a month would be oodles of time... but it's not. It's really not. I'd been sitting on this idea for a while now but when the idea did come to me it was as though I was struck by lighting. After my Mixed Cassette tape quilt I had been searching for something to new to do with it. Then BAM! Memories flooded me with my first boombox... and they ended with John Cusack holding a Boombox over his head in the 1989 movie, Say Anything. *Spoiler alert* I called this quilt, "Say Anything"
Okay, that's all I got, I'm going to go have a nap. I'm pooped!