What is your name? My name is Stephanie. I go by yespositively on Instagram and Flickr.
Where do you live? I live in a cute little neighborhood in Chicago called Roscoe Village. Note! I am moving on June 7, so if your block is running a bit late, please check with me for a new address.
Tell us about your family. My only family in Chicago is my cat, Sam. He’s a big help when it comes to fabric selection and deciding which quilt to make next!
My family lives in the Pacific Northwest and is currently scattered around Oregon. I am the oldest of four. I wish I lived closer, but after five years Chicago has become my home.
Tell us about how you got interested in quilting. My Grandma Betty is an incredibly prolific quilter, so I’ve been exposed to her love of quilting for as long as I can remember. In the summer of 2006 I decided to make a t-shirt quilt with all of my HS quilts. Grandma took me to Greenbaum’s Quilted Forest in Salem, Oregon, and along with some fabric for my t-shirt quilt (I used the polka dots from the sock monkey line), I also purchased some of Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy and Heather Bailey’s Fresh Cut. I was smitten with fabric, and I needed to learn how to do something with it other than pet it!
That summer I made a really simple FQ quilt from the Heather Bailey, and I more or less abandoned quilting throughout college (no machine, no fabric!). In 2009, right after I graduated from college, I purchased an inexpensive Singer and have been sewing ever since! I got super into modern quilt blogs in early 2010, invested in a wonderful Pfaff in 2011, and upgraded to a Juki last December. I’m still finding my own aesthetic and learning how to create quilts that are “me”, and I find that a lot of my inspiration comes from social media as well as every day life, since now I see potential quilts everywhere.
How do you organize your fabric stash? I live in a fairly small apartment, so my fabric and all of my WIPs are completely out in the open. I have a large bookshelf in the dining room and a small bookshelf and linen cabinet in my living room. I prefer to sort my “stash” fabrics by color. I try my best to sort my stash in a way that encourages me to use it. My systems have evolved over time, but I think I’ve found a method that works for me. I used to keep them on comic book boards, but for some reason that felt too sterile for me—I found that I would use my newer fabric that wasn’t folded on boards much more readily than I would the “pretty” sorted fabric. So I unwound it all! My current system (below) allows me to pull out a color stack, make a mess, and then put it back. The little linen bins on the lower shelf hold my scraps by color, and the bottom shelf holds some larger cuts that I need to sort.
My skinny bookshelf holds some stacks of fabric collections that I plan on making an entire quilt of and don’t intend to mix up with the rest of my working stash. I also have a few larger cuts for quilt backs, some low volume stacks from Westwood Acres (I’m out of space in my LV stacks in the bigger book shelf!), and some folders that contain my patterns.
My red linen cabinet is kind of a mess! Since I’m moving I might have to repurpose it for kitchen storage, so I haven’t invested time in organizing it. It currently holds a lot of larger cuts that I have aspirations of turning into garments, some older fabric I need to destash, and some collection bundles that I intend on making quilts out of someday.
I also have this cabinet in the entryway. I guess this is fabric I need to sort as well as some solids and velveteen large cuts that I plan on using as backings… writing this post I realize that I might have a mild fabric addiction. Well, maybe.
I keep my WIPs in clear plastic bins. I find that I am more likely to work on them if they are visible and fairly tidy.
Who is/are your favorite fabric designers? My favorite designers are Anna Maria Horner and Denyse Schmidt. More recently I have also fallen for Carolyn Friedlander, Leah Duncan, and Ellen Luckett Baker. I am currently absolutely smitten with Anna Maria Horner’s Dowry line and Lean Duncan’s Meadow. I’ve also been sewing with a lot of the Botanics line lately.
What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting? This is a tough one! I always wish I had gotten into social media earlier, because I love my online community and now I can’t imagine life without it. I think blogs are a huge part of the sewing learning process, and I wish I had plugged into them a bit earlier. Along the lines of learning, I read Holly Degroot’s blog, Bijou Lovely, and she made this wonderful statement last February (her 2/20/2013 blog post) that really stuck with me:
I never considered myself a creative person until a few years ago, and I still have a hard time defining myself as a designer/quilter/blogger/etc. For the most part, I don't believe that creativity is something you are born with, I think it is something that is learned just like science or math. The more time you spend doing creative things, the easier it becomes and the more you improve, just like with anything else in life.
I think every new quilter should know that! We aren’t all born with a natural talent for picking the perfect colors or working outside of fabric collections, but we can improve over time. This statement helps keep my perfectionism in check when I sew. J
What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it? This isn’t a creative answer, but I LOVE my rotary cutter. I use an Olfa Splash, but I’m not picky. I’m sure you all have one of those, but that’s my favorite! I’m also a big fan of using washi tape to help me with my stitch width and my add-a-quarter ruler for paper piecing. Oh, and I love bloc-loc rulers for HSTs.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.) Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey. Love her. She has a cold side, but she’s very strong, elegant, and human. I especially love her during the Matthew storyline. I enjoy watching her grow as a character and I think it’s so neat that she show has a primary female character who isn’t immediately loveable.
Tutorial | This month I am asking each of you to make me pixelated heart block. I adore hearts and scrappy quilts, and this block captures both of those elements so well! The block is pretty simple patchwork, so hopefully it will be easy to sew together! These blocks will measure 14" unfinished.
Color Palette | For the background of your block, I ask that you choose one low volume fabric. I prefer my low volume fabrics to read closer to grey, white, and cream, rather than having one dominant color. I like text prints but please stick with a smaller scale prints since the strips you will be using for this block are fairly narrow. You will need about three 2” by WOF or six 2” by half-WOF to complete this block, so a FE won’t be quite enough but a FQ or ¼ yard would be plenty.
You will need 31 2” squares to complete the pixelated heart. I ask that you choose one dominant color that you have a nice variety of and create the heart using that color. Since this is a stash bee, it’s my hope that you can use up some of your scraps on this block! The picture below shows four color families (mint, pink, yellow, and navy) that all read the same color. If you don’t have a super scrappy stash, feel welcome to repeat prints, but I would prefer that you not use the same print more than 5-6 times in the block (that’s not a hard and fast number, scrappy is just better!). Please use whatever color you feel you can make a nice block with. For those of you sewing up the block a little later in the month, I think a lot of people have a ton of one common color (like blue maybe?) in their stashes, so if you notice that other bee members are stitching up lots of blue blocks, I would appreciate it if you would use a different color if you’re able.
Instructions | This little diagram details the unfinished measurements of the blocks. Each row is 2”, so the numbers shown on the white rectangles and squares are the lengths of each strip. Each colored square is 2”. When completing my block I found it helpful to leave slightly longer strips for the longer outside pieces so that it was easy to square up. I plan on sashing the blocks so please don't stress if your block turns out a little scant.
Please feel welcome to press open or to the side, whichever you prefer. I am not a perfect piecer, and I found that nesting my seams for the patchwork was a big help. If you press to the side like me, please press toward the darker side when you are pressing the low volume prints. Let me know if you have any questions about the block!
Thanks in advance and happy stitching!