We are pleased to share our Blogger of the month for March 2015. A massive congratualtions goes to……… Charm About You blogger, aka Lucy. Lucy writes a beautiful and colourful blog where she shares all of her patchwork and quilting experience. There is always a new project popping up finished with interesting embroidery or reading the journey through a blog post, as a selection of fabrics are gradually transformed into a patchwork design. Charm About You is the perfect place to gravitate for all patchwork lovers. It may well inspire you to dust off your sewing machine.
Read all about Lucy and her blog – Charm About You in the interview below. Don’t forget to take a look at her blog too. She has a fantastic offer and Black Sheep Wools gift card to give away. If you enjoy keeping up with your favourite bloggers via social media, be sure to follow Lucy @charmaboutyou.
How long have you been blogging? What made you decide to write a blog?
When I began quilting I read a lot of blogs and didn’t have any friends that sewed. I starting blogging to document my projects and reach out to the quilting community. I made my first quilt in the summer of 2011 and that’s when I decided to start blogging. The friendships and connections I have made through blogging continue to inspire and encourage me.
What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)? Do you have a photo?
There is always more than one WIP on the go! My current favourite is my Green Tea and Sweet Beans pattern by Jen Kingwell. I am hand sewing the blocks and enjoying the relaxed pace. I have created my own versions of the appliqué blocks because I wanted to incorporate some English Paper Piecing and have used different shapes to create the flowers.
Who taught you to sew? When did you catch the bug?
I am mostly self-taught and used a lot of different online tutorials to help me learn the basics. My Aunty and my American cousin both quilt and offered me lots of tips and advice. I did some embroidery when I was younger and still enjoy doing that occasionally. I have always had a basic sewing machine but it was reading blogs that encouraged me to really get into quilting.
What was your first ever patchwork / quilting project?
The first quilt I made was a present for my Nan using a very simple pattern. My grandmother is an amazing woman and she knits, crochets, embroiders and also paints beautifully. She made me and each of my children crochet blankets and I wanted to make something for her.
Do you watch TV or listen to music while you sew? If so what?
I do watch TV while I am hand sewing, mostly totally trashy stuff that doesn’t require attentive viewing! I prefer to do one thing at a time so I might stop to watch Scorpion, Bones or Elementary. My days are so busy and noisy (three children!) that I prefer peace and quiet when I sew so I can concentrate, also my machine is so loud I can’t really hear anything over it!
Is there any one project that you treasure? Made by yourself or a handmade gift from a loved one?
There’s a few but one of my most treasured is the Bees of A Feather quilt I finished last year. I was in two online quilting bees, ‘Bee A Brit Stingy’ and ‘Scrappy? Sew Bee It’, and asked both groups to make me feather blocks using the Feather Bed Quilt pattern by Anna Maria Horner. After making some of my own feathers I put them all together, it was a bit of a puzzle and I used low volume fabrics to fill in any gaps. I hand quilted it and loved every stitch! Having blocks come from friends all over the world, the scrappy and beautiful feathers and the overall design make this a very treasured quilt that I sleep under every night.
Do you have a patchwork or quilting tip you would like to share?
There are so many great books and resources online full of practical tips but generally I would say to sew what you love. Find a pattern that excites you, fabric that speaks to you and go for it! Quilting projects can take time and I stay motivated when I really want to see the finished quilt. I have tried lots of methods and styles of patchwork and quilting, it is fun experimenting and using different techniques so you can see what you enjoy most. I never thought I would love hand piecing until I actually did it. Foundation paper piecing, free motion quilting, appliqué, English paper piecing, hand quilting etc. – there are so many methods for you to try!
Where do you find inspiration for a new project? Do you choose the fabric or pattern first?
Usually my inspiration comes from online, I also see a lot of projects in books and magazines but anything can spark an idea! I tend to pick a project first and then find the perfect fabric to make it.
Do you have a favourite crafting snack?
Not sure it counts but probably coffee!
What is your favourite fabric to work with? Is there a particular brand?
I use many different brands and designers and like to mix lines rather than stick to one. I like modern prints, as well as 1930s reproduction fabrics and lots in between. Many of my projects are quite eclectic as a result.
Do you have a favourite project?
Two of my favourite makes combine sewing and embroidery to create cases that I use daily! The first is my Sewing Portfolio Organiser, pattern by Kerry Green available on the Liberty Craft Blog. I changed the outer part and used a Sublime Stitching embroidery pattern. The second is the Embroidery Bag, from the tutorial by Sara Lawson. Both these bags help keep me organised and I really enjoyed making them.
Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?
I follow so many, too many to list! I often use Feedly to keep up with the blogs I read but you can see who I follow on my Blogger profile.
How many projects do you have on the go at one time?
Loads! When I started I just did one at a time but those days are gone and now I’m happy with working on different projects when the mood suits me.
What other pastimes do you enjoy?
Other pastimes?! I think I’m too addicted to sewing for anything else! I love being with my family, my kids creativity makes me smile and seeing friends and having a good natter is always good for my soul. I am a voracious fiction reader and welcome book recommendations!
Which fabric designers do you admire?
I love Denyse Schmidt and her ability to create retro prints that still feel modern. Anna Maria Horner designs beautiful prints in gorgeous colour palettes. Darlene Zimmerman has adorable 1930s prints and two of my favourite modern fabric designers are Carolyn Friedlander and Rashida Coleman-Hale. There are many more I admire and I look forward to more fabric collections from Jen Kingwell and Ayumi Takahashi who both debuted their first designs this year.
What is your favourite item to sew?
Quilts! I adore making beautiful, snuggly quilts to cover people up in handmade goodness. I also love smaller projects like decorative items, zip bags and cushions for when I want a quicker finish.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Be yourself. I am glad I blog because it is a document of my creative journey. Only now have I started to feel I have developed my own style and am confident in my decisions when crafting. Join in the community; comment on blogs, link up to weekly/ monthly blog parties, join swaps or bees – it’s a great way to make new friends. I run another blog called Le Challenge with my friend Nat from Made in Home, we set a theme each month and people link up their finished projects and show how they interpreted the theme. It’s a fun way to get inspiration and get really creative!
Do you read any craft magazines?
I like Quilt Now! Quilt Mania, Love Patchwork and Quilting and Stitch. I tend to buy them when there is a project or article I would like to make or read!
Who do you sew for?
Anyone and everyone. I started giving quilts to all my family and friends but recently I have started more selfish sewing and making things for myself.
What one tool could you not live without?
Just one? Probably a needle! That is all I really need for hand sewing. For patchwork I couldn’t be without a rotary cutter, ruler and mat. There are so many great quilting tools available but those are the bare necessities!