Please join me in welcoming today’s guest blogger, Scott Hansen of Blue Nickel Studios as he shares with us a bit of his own quilting journey. He’s also giving away a Moda layer cake, see below for details on how to enter his give-away.
I’m so thankful that Michele has invited me to be a guest blogger here today. Thanks for stopping by.
I always wonder how to start these sort of things off, you know? I could talk about so many things. I think the thing most quilters ask me is how did I get started quilting because being a man, I am somewhat of an anomaly in this arena of life, but not as much as I used to be. There are more and more men popping up in the quilt-o-sphere.
So how did I get started quilting? Well back in 1976 when I was a young teenager, Americana was a very big theme due to the Bicentennial of the US and all, and so I really was into “old-fashioned” stuff. Probably more Victoriana than Colonial, as the crazy quilt idea really interested me. I had learned to sew in a Home Economics class back when they still had those in school, and my mom was always sewing clothes for us. So I decided that I wanted to make my own crazy quilt.
My mom had put an old quilt top together for me earlier, but it was really just a comforter as it was simply tied, not quilted, but that was her limit of quilt-making knowledge. It wasn’t a heritage in our family as it is in many people’s lives. I am the first that I know of. Anyway that first quilt was my own design all done with cardboard templates and heavy as a lead blanket. I have no idea what we used for a batting. After that first quilt, I didn’t really sew until I was married years later.
Towards the end of college, I had picked up counted cross-stitch which interested me because I found I could be successful with embroidery that way. I really didn’t feel good about my ability to embroider any other way. I counted cross-stitched like crazy because I could create things and keep my hands busy. I am very fidgety. I was making my new wife and I cross-stitched Christmas stockings and didn’t have a way to sew them together, so I bought my own sewing machine – a $200 Singer that is still my little workhorse and a great little machine. Then my wife and I went to a quilt show, and I thought it would be fun to try something in that arena. I bought myself a book and taught myself the basics…still using cardboard templates. I made a lap quilt for my grandma in the nursing home and then baby quilts for my kids.
About the time that my second son was born, I fell in love with the idea of opening my own quilt shop someday, and got in touch with Mary and Connie at Country Threads and they invited me to Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon that year to help them with their booth. Oh WOW!! that was it, and it hooked me ever since. I also at that Market met my neighbor who invited me to her quilt guild near our home (funny how that was, meeting someone from home there five hours from home). Being part of that guild the Busy Bees was what settled me in to this arena pretty much for life I am sure.
Fast forward to now. From the get go, I liked designing my own ideas for quilts. If I saw a pattern I liked, I just figured out the measurements and made it. Now I find inspiration from life all around me, and I like translating things from everyday life into quilt concepts. I did a whole little series of blocks for Generation Q Magazine for the winter holidays. You can find them all together pictured here and if you look up “Playdate” on the Generation Q main site, you can locate the instructions for those. (Starlings is by John Adams not me.)
My favorite part of the process is designing and piecing. I love seeing my ideas come to life before me. Usually they work out just as well, or better than I thought they would, although on occasion there are some clunkers. I do not particularly care for the quilting process, and usually hire that out. But I love the binding portion…particularly sewing it on the back by hand at the very end. I think there is something very satisfying about that.
I have done work for fabric companies, designing quilts and writing patterns for them, many of which you can find on my site under the free projects tab. I am very excited to be teaching this summer at the Quilter’s Affair in Sisters, Oregon this year.
I am working on my first book (finally, I have been wanting to do this for years, working a full-time job and trying to be a good husband and dad make that pretty hard for me…I am amazed at how other people accomplish these things.) I am also working on my first set of patterns to sell online as PDFs and eventually in shops. So, yeah, I am busy!
I try to blog fairly regularly, but lately I have been so busy with projects, I have had trouble keeping up. But I love blogging because I have met so many wonderful people through it. Please stop by when you can, or you can sign up to receive my posts via email, then you get an email when I post and can keep up with me and my little fabric adventures. also you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook….the links are on my site.
I’d like to offer up a prize for all you Quilting Gallery readers as well. I will send this layer cake of Moda gems to one lucky reader.
Head over to my blog to enter the give-away.
Thanks for letting me share a little about my Blue Nickel Life, and everyone, keep sewing on!!
Blue Nickel Studios