Katy said yes to my idea to make this quilt. I honestly didn't think I would have a chance of having anything published in such a great magazine.
If you had told me those seven and a half years ago, when I picked up my first Moda charm pack and began hand sewing (I had no idea it was called hand piecing) those squares together, that this would happen I would have said , "no way!".
I didn't have a sewing machine and was literally just winging it along until I discovered this amazing online community full of advice, tutorials, you tube lessons and of course, friends.
You see, without the encouragement of my blog friends, IG friends, Flickr groups, and bee buddies made over the years, I would never have had the confidence to share my work.
I remember setting up my Etsy shop for the first time, and thinking to myself, this will be successful if I sell one item. I haven't been an Etsy sensation but I have sold quilts to lovely customers in Australia and the U.S as well as the UK. I have had commissions also. I literally couldn't believe it when people wanted to buy my work!
Etsy has fallen by the wayside over the last year I must admit. But in my relatively short span of quilting I have seen many changes. The blogosphere is still very much alive and kicking, but just adapting and evolving as it always has done. (Very Kerry Berry wrote an excellent piece on this and also money within the quilting industry - have a read if you haven't already).
I set my Etsy shop up knowing full well I would never make a living from it, but people had been saying increasingly that I should sell what I made. So I thought what the heck, if it pays for my hobby then why not? It has certainly helped do this.
When I first began quilting the only magazine I could ever find was British Patchwork & Quilting. Now look what we have available in the U.K specifically!
Just launched fabric lines are reaching us here in the UK much more quickly than than they used to.
There is an abundance of fantastic on line shops and bricks and mortar quilting shops appear to be growing.
So with all these changes I have grown as a quilter and opportunities to share our work have grown too.
Lets face it, Quilting and patchwork is one expensive hobby. The price of designer cotton yardage is not cheap. By the time you factor in your wadding, backing and thread you have usually spent a fair bit when making a large quilt. Not to mention the cost of equipment when starting out too!
My teaching journey began quite by accident really. Thinking aloud on facebook about maybe setting up a quilting class locally, Maggie said would you teach in my shop and here I am a year and a bit later still teaching two great groups of women.
Again I shall never be rich or be able to make a full time salary from any of this, but that isn't the point.
I now HAVE to sew. It is exceptionally good for my mental health. I want to share those benefits with others and if I can fund my creativity along the way then why not. We all have mouths to feed and bills to pay after all. (and fabric to buy!).
However, quilting will always be far, far more than a means to an end financially for me.
It is about love and creativity.
We love the people we make gift quilts for.
Let's face it, we love the fabric.
We love the people who share our passion and at times, craziness over quilting.
We love when inspiration strikes and we just have to make that block or design or quilt or sometimes, (in my case) mess!
Quilters are artists who use fabric and thread instead of paint to express themselves. Artists share their work often because they are trying to say something.
With each quilt we make, as many have discussed before, ( Thomas Knauer especially), every quilt tells a story.
You may not be consciously trying to say something with your quilt, but subconsciously they speak volumes.
I hand quilted the magazine quilt deliberately to say something of the love each of us invests into a quilt. Literally ( cheesy as it sounds) stitched with love.
Some might say all that hand quilting was a, gasp! "waste of time" and I say fair point. However, the relaxation it brought to me is something I gained from hand quilting such a large quilt. When I hand quilt I feel even more connected with the past and the way men and women used to have to work.
I remember Katy saying she was using it as "comfort" quilt because it is so soft and snuggly with all the hand quilting when she was a bit harassed with deadlines.
So even a quilt like that, made for no one in particular can tell a story.
Never underestimate the power of the Quilt!
(sorry for the epic post but I just had to get all that out of my system! ;) )