Featuring Cara — A Blogger’s Quilt Festival Quilter!
1. When did you begin quilting?
I started quilting four years ago but if you compressed all my quilting time together, it would probably only amount to about six months. I’m 100 percent self-taught and I have three kids three years and under. Needless to say, that’s a bad combo for quilting frequently.
2. Why do you quilt?
Four years ago, at the bewilderment of many, I gave up a great job at a prestigious international PR agency to figure out what I really wanted for myself. The long hours and travel had worn me down, but more than that I think I’d just lost my way. I needed to rediscover a career path that lit me up without burning me down.
So I resigned without having another job (much less the prospect of a job) lined up. It was probably the most spontaneous (and some would say stupidest) thing I’ve ever done. I lived off some modest savings while I tried to discover what really made me happy.
One day, I went into a fabric store to look around. I’d never sewn but I had fond memories of my mom sewing when I was growing up. Well, my spirits immediately lifted as I took in the row and rows of fabrics. I couldn’t stop touching them. I was unexplainably drawn to them. I picked up a couple of bolts and took them to the cutting table. When the woman asked how much I wanted, I didn’t even know enough to answer her properly. Um, about this much , I said gesturing with my hands. Heck, I didn’t even know what I was going to do with the material, how should I know how much I wanted?
I took my fabric home and unfolded it and folded it – over and over again. And then I went back to the shop a few days later and bought more. Soon, I’d amassed a small little stash.
Baffled by what I was doing, the practical side of me decided I needed to find a way to put the fabric to use. Quilting seemed like a good way to use it up lots of fabric so I went to the library and checked out four books. Reading those books was like reading a book in Chinese. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. (At that time, there weren’t – or maybe I wasn’t aware of — the amazing modern quilting bloggers.) I perservered and taught myself through trial and error. I made lots of mistakes but loved it.
Nowadays, quilting is my Great Escape. I quilt because it helps me feel centered. I can simultaneously unwind and challenge myself. And it gives me the creative outlet I crave. It may never be my career path but it definitely is my passion.
3. What is your favorite quilting tip?
Someone once told me: If you can’t see the mistake from across the room, no one will really notice it. In the past, I have let many a mistake or imperfection derail my creative process. Now I realize that I’m my greatest critic. Perfection is overrated! And sometimes the best mistakes teach you the best lessons.
4. What was your inspiration for your Quilt Festival quilt?
My daughter Violet inspired my Dreamsicle quilt. She was born 13 weeks early and very sick. She spent 110 days in the NICU. I wanted a quilt for her that was cheerful and vibrant. A quilt filled with all my favorite fabrics.
5. Do you sew other things?
Only with frustration. I tried sewing clothes but it wasn’t my thing. I hated how much yardage it required and would obsess the whole time about how much further I could make that yardage go in quilting. I’ve done an occasional bag and pouch and hand embroider from time to time, but quilting is my passion.
6. Anything else you would like us to know about you?
· I’m slowly starting to design my own quilt patterns. I’m excited to see where it will take me.
· I have an unhealthy relationship with my fabric stash: I’m completely unable to cut into coveted fabric until at least one year has passed.
· If you saw the basic sewing machine I used, you’d all laugh at me.
· I dream of some day being able to make a living by doing something in the fabric/quilting industry.
Thank you so much for sharing your quilts and your life with us Cara! Can’t wait to see what’s next on your to do list!