Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Nosy Parker in the Neighbourhood

I'm linking in to Kat's Nosy Parker in the Neighbourhood over at Diary of a Flutter.Kat this month. I missed the Christmas link up because, well by the time I thought of doing it I was done with talking about Christmas and just never got around to it. Kat gives us a bunch of questions to answer each month and then those who wish to join in, link up and tell all about the subject of the month. January is all about our sewing spaces.

Diary of a Flutter.Kat

1) How long have you been sewing? Are you a first generation sewer or was the knowledge handed down to you? Basically tell us about your journey...

About five six years ago, after trying a few other crafts unsuccessfully, I asked himself if I could have a sewing machine. A friend got pregnant shortly thereafter and I decided to make something for the baby. My quilting career was born. I knew nothing, but that didn't stop me. I very quickly discovered the joys of shopping for fabric online and was instantly addicted. The sewing was secondary to the buying for a while. No one I knew sewed. My mum never sewed anything. Until I found my LQS and took a few classes I was winging it. I don't think the world of blogging had been born yet, and if it had I was clueless about that too.

I did bravely hand quilt it though. With varied success.
2) Where do you sew?

I sew in our dining room. There are no other options in this house. I dream of having a sewing room. In this dream the room is big, with every toy and bit of storage I could ever want. Meanwhile I have this -

Admittedly it is not perfect, but it's better than nothing. And it beats the conservatory in the last house we rented where there was no electricity, or heating, or lighting so it was either too cold, too hot, too bright or too dark. I didn't get much sewing during those two years at all!

I have a small cutting mat I keep on the table for while I am working. It proves equally useful for piling stuff on to shift it when we want to eat in the dining room. When I am required to cut larger pieces of fabric I use my other cutting mat on the floor. This gets pushed under the rowing machine when not in use. The rowing machine is useful for stacking fabric on as well. Beats having to exercise on it!

3) What does your sewing room/area look like today in it's real state. Take a picture of it if possible and show it to us real :)

Well, the above shows some of the tale. I am currently planning on cutting that purple Enchino into charms for the Somewhere Over the Rainbow Charm Swap, and there is a yard of pink somewhere waiting the same fate. On the table are the bird fabrics, and Judith's blocks and a few other items. By the machine are the fussy cut birds waiting for sashing.

And on one of the chairs is my growing stack of Heather Ross fabrics which have not been cut into yet. I just like to have them there right now reminding me of the quilt I am going to make soon and they make me smile each time I see them.

4) What is the first thing that you made which you were really proud of? Show us pics of your favourite project.

I am so used to parading Wonky Stars, or one of my Pips quilts when asked this so I am going to go off piste and show you the scrappy blue quilt I made with leftover two inch scraps. It isn't big but I think it is very, very pretty and I love the way it went together - without a plan as per normal for me. Just started piecing the scraps in an experiment and the next thing I knew I had a quilt top I loved.

5) Do you always stick to the "rules" when you sew, or are you more improvisationally minded?

Rules!? What rules?  Think that about sums it up.

I have been making it up as went along pretty well from the beginning. The use of patterns in my quilting is almost non-existent. I will look at other people's quilts for inspiration - and there is some pretty amazing inspiration out there - and I will often take parts of an idea that suit me. Even when making a traditional quilt like an Irish Chain pattern I have just worked out the maths and the cutting requirements for myself. Yes, there have been mistakes along the way, and sometimes those very mistakes have become projects that I loved. Live and learn.

A year ago this blog didn't exist, I was just starting to read other people's quilting blogs, I had never sewn a pillow or a cushion, a zipper in any of my projects, done a swap or found out just how much finding a quilting community online would brighten my life, infuse me with new found love of sewing and experimenting, and generally open my eyes to a whole new world.

I like it!



  1. Hang on a minute. Aren't you supposed to show us pictures of your underwear drawer and your house and the neighbour's house and the contents of your fridge? Am thinking I might have been short-changed ;-)

  2. So glad you did take up blogging and quilting! I love the `most proud of` quilt and your sewing space is pretty tidy...I must link up with Kat too as this is fun learning about everyone`s `journey`.

  3. Wow, Susan you're much neater than I am! Of course, most everyone is.

  4. its great to see where everyone sews and how they got started

  5. Even the piles of fabric look sort of orderly! Tell me, is there thread and trimmings adorning the floor, or do you get the hoover out on a more regular basis than me?!

    Thanks for letting us into your sewing space :)

  6. Thank you for sharing your space. I wonder about cutting on the floor, my back is very sad at the suggestion, I use the kitchen counter which is a better height for me.

  7. This is just another window into why i love you. You are so genuine and talented. Thanks for another peak into your life. xo

  8. I do not know how you can cut on the floor either. I just can't manage it. Or sitting. I have to be standing I'm afraid...
    Wow that's some gorgeous stack of HR you have going there!
    Thanks for sharing your space with us :)

  9. So glad you tapped into all that latent talent Suz! It's been a joy and pleasure befriending you and you're an inspiration to me! Jxo

  10. Look at all those lovely comments - well I'm not going to bore you by telling you how marvellous you are for dragging me to the NEC and shoving me into my first swap cos you know that already!

    Great post - now go read my boring one!

  11. I love this post - thank goodness you decided to give quilting a whirl and to start a blog!

  12. As a deeply nosy person it was great to find out a little more about you and what makes you tick Susan! (Gosh that makes me sound like a stalker - don't worry, I'm NOT a stalker!!)

  13. Oh dear, I'm not sure if I want to delve into what makes you tick (like Helen does) because as my twin that would mean delving into myself, what a horrific thought ;o)

    Anywho, your first quilt looks like a perfectly good one, you obviously taught yourself well :oD

    As an ex rower, I can only say that is the best use of that machine too...

    I might be sneaking round one night to steal a goldfish or two, I have to warn you... ;o)

  14. If I tried cutting stuff out on the floor, it'd take me days for my back to recover.

    Thanks for sharing your space. Off to read the others now. :o)

  15. I am going to swipe the contents of that chair, for sure!!!

  16. I also sew in the dining room and I LOVE to use the large cutting mat to pile things onto to carry them around too!! I have to carry my things upstairs and keep my fingers crossed as I haven't had them all topple off yet :) My other favourite is to pile them onto the mat and slide the mat down one end to be able to sit down to eat, instant tidy up! Well, sort of...

  17. Love your enthusiasm! I used to sew at the kitchen table, before I got my lovely sewing room. I had a dream of a huge sewing room with a long arm quilter in it, a wall of shelves for fabric, a huge display wall, etc. But I'm happy with what I got :)

  18. You are a brilliant example of using what you have...rowing machine and all! :o)


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