When I was five years old, my family moved into a new house. One day soon after the move, another five year old girl who lived two houses down the street, came over to see if there was someone new to play with. I was so excited to have a new friend, I tried to lock her in my room so she could not go home! Lucky for me, Mary Miller was and is fearless and thanks to her good hearted and quiet tenacity, we have been the best of friends ever since.
Since the beginning of Delicious Perspective, she has been one of my biggest supporters, so when I got a glimpse of her latest quilting masterpiece, I had a lightbulb moment – Lets try an interview – I want to share her story of catching the quilting bug and following a new creative passion!
⇒Mary’s quilting passion has grown into a blog and and Etsy Shop-SpoolHardyGirl where you can purchase her quilts or commission a custom designed and sewn masterpiece! I took advantage of her talents and had her make an amazing quilt for my brother and his new wife as a wedding present – #Loved it!! Check out some other things that she has made on her Pinterest Board⇐
Pip: Mary, you and I have known each other for almost our entire lives, how is it that I did not know about your passion for quilting and sewing until four years ago? How and when did you start quilting? Has quilting always been something you wanted to do?
Mary: I was struck with the idea all at once in the middle of Costco. I was starting to think about Grace (oldest daughter) leaving for college and realized my life was about to change drastically. I wanted to find something to do in preparation for the empty nest that was looming. I saw sewing machines for sale in Costco ($99), and I thought, I know, I will learn to sew! I knew nothing at all about sewing but I had a pair of jeans that I wanted to hem so I got on YouTube and learned how to hem my own jeans using my newly purchased sewing machine – I did it and they looked really good. I was hooked!
Pip: You have told me that you connected with some other great quilters and quilt fabric designers, how did that come about?
Mary: After I learned to hem my jeans, I was looking around for other things to sew. I made some simple pouches and bags out of fabrics. Then I wanted to make a quilt. I started Googling. I began to find this incredibly warm, helpful and creative community of quilters. They had blogs and videos and “how to” information that I followed and I started learning how to quilt. Enter, online quilting bees, online quilting swaps and online quilt alongs (click on these links to find out about these super fun interactive, online quilting get togethers) that completely change my life. I was beyond hooked – I made friends around the world and I had a new creative expression. I started following quilting blogs and lots of the bloggers have started really successful quilting fabric lines which I have gotten to see grow and develop. The bottom line is that I learned to quilt from YouTube and met some great women (and men) while at it.
Online quilting friends have become real-life friends as I started going to quilting retreats and fabric shows where I was so excited to meet these amazing, welcoming people who I had been talking to online and who taught me to quilt!
⇒Mary uses Moda fabrics, Riley Blake fabrics and searches Etsy for new and unique fabric ideas and vintage finds⇐
Pip: What fuels your quilting passion? It is time consuming and meticulous work – sometimes it must seem tedious -what keeps you going? Are their certain things that inspire you toward your next quilting project? How do you choose your next quilt?
Mary: I get attracted to a bunch of new fabrics and then I choose a pattern that I like and that works with those fabrics. I grew up with fabric, my mom was a designer, and I always loved going through her fabric books. I believe that there are “the seasons of the quilt”, cutting squares happens in the quilt’s spring, and just when you think that you need a change it is time for the summer of the quilt, when you piece everything together. The fall is actual quilting season. Then when you think you can’t take any more it is a snowy winter day and time for binding…that is my favorite part because I can hand stitch and binge on Netflix for hours – a perfect winter day.
I fall madly in love with every quilt…then somewhere in the middle, I break up with it! I start to date a new quilt…but I can’t really commit to a full-on relationship with the new quilt until I finish with the old quilt once and for all. Creative endeavors can be fickle, but I like to finish each project. A bed quilt usually takes me about 2 months to complete. Pip: Just enough time to fall in love and break up and fall in love again….
⇒Some things Mary can’t live without in her sewing studio are…candy apple red vintage sewing machine that she loves to look at but is a little afraid to actually use, her felt board that is mounted on the biggest wall in the room where she can stick up her sewn pieces to see how they will look together in the pattern and of course, her notions caddy and her Netflix...⇐
Pip: Any words of wisdom for would be quilters? I always thought quilting was for the retirement years, but you have told me that the community is young and very vibrant.
Mary: Quilting is really about women at their best – they quilt because it is fun. They are warm hearted and they are welcoming and supportive. If you want to quilt there are so many great people out there to teach and support you, you just need to reach out and get involved.
There are quilters out there of all ages. In fact, I think I am on the older side of my circle of quilting friends. There is a modern movement in quilting that has a young following. My style has become more traditional in block style with updated modern fabrics. There are so many great combinations in both the modern world of quilting and the more traditional quilting school. There is really room for every style but people get very heated about their quilting styles. All part of the creative passion.
Pip: Thanks so much Mary for the great interview. Now I want to start a quilt – but I will stick with blogging and design for now. I started this post off with a quote that I think sums up my friend Mary as well as each of our needs to be creative and live up to our own expectations – embracing our passions with both hands. If you are lucky enough to have a group of passionate and like-minded souls to move with you through life, hang on to them – Lukewarm is no good 🙂
Also, a quick shout-out to another project that Mary is passionate about – BlinkNow Foundation. Mary is fundraising for this amazing cause by making headbands and she has also agreed to offer 50% of her quilt proceeds for any orders placed at her Etsy Shop – Just click on the photo of the quilt over the rocker in the sidebar (to the right of this post) and you will be taken directly to her Etsy Shop – so shop shop shop!