Featured Designer: Sarah Vanderburgh
How did you get into quilting?
I began quilting in 1997 as a homebound newlywed and new University graduate. I was dealing with endometriosis and not able to do much and in very low spirits. I found a quilting magazine – or it found me! – and I fell in love with the stories behind the quilts and the women who made them. I spent hours researching the names of quilt blocks and absorbing the rich heritage of Mennonite quilts in the area where I was living. I then decided to make a baby quilt. I was dealing with infertility issues and felt that making the quilt would give me a positive way to pass the time. I used scraps my mother had saved from clothes she had made for me and my dolls. My first quilt became a UFO as I found other quilts to try. I was nervous about finishing it with handquilting and put it aside. It took me several years to finish that quilt by machine – just in time for my baby!
How/when/why did you transition from a quilter to a designer?
I’ve pretty much always designed my own patterns and definitely always picked out my own fabrics! I used to study quilts in books to see how they were constructed and I love to play with colour. I have recently started to have a small crush on appliqué – especially after discovering Mistyfuse. You can really layer colours with appliqué!
Which quilt is your favourite? Did you design it? Why is it your favourite?
My favourite quilt of the moment is the one on my bed right now. It’s a queen size Lady of the Lake variation I figured out. All from scraps. It was a 12 year UFO! I started it before I had kids and slowly worked at it. Only in the last few years, with the rallying cries from my friends at Pat Sloan’s Quilt Mashup Forum, did I find the persistence to get it done! It has so many memories in it, fabrics from my husband’s late granny’s stash and from my sister, that it just brings me comfort to look at it.
How many UFOs do you currently have? Almost enough to keep me happy!?!
What size of quilt do you prefer to make/design? (e.g. table runners, lap quilts, bed quilts, etc.) I prefer to make bedsize quilts for my family, and have started designing smaller items like wallhangings, tablerunners and placemats.
What colour do you use most often in your quilts? As many as I can?! I try to give all colours an equal chance to get in my quilts, but I really love orange.
Favourite one-sentence tip for a new quilter: Enjoy the journey!
Block Party #10 – Pumpkin Patch
Here’s Sarah’s block, Pumpkin Patch. Yes, there are lots of pieces, but Sarah’s put together an excellent photo tutorial to help you put it together. Head over to Sarah’s blog to download the block tutorial.
Sarah is hosting a giveaway on her blog of three of her downloadable quilting patterns. Enter here!
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