Last month (November) Melanie Sullivan introduced a new quilting book to the FWMQG during our regular monthly meeting. Modestly, she shared with the group that she was a contributor to the book. Melanie has FOUR projects featured in the Sew to Swap book all about quilting projects designed for exchange.
As she began to tell about the book and the projects she contributed to the publication, her passion and attention to detail for quilting and sewing became abundantly clear to me. I thought to myself "Oh my gawd, she is CRAZY for sewing!" I already knew it, but I didn't fully understand it. I realized that she was REALLY passionate for the art of creating with fabric.
So, for the month of December, I decided to do a blog focus on Melanie. As I write this, I laugh to myself because I have known Melanie since the first grade and I often think to myself, why didn't I know that she was crazy for fabric, creative in every facet of the word and meticulous - or anal - as some would say about her quilting, also - this gal can iron like no one's business!
I hope you enjoy reading about her and her passion for carrying on the time-old tradition of quilting.
Q: What drew you to quilting? And when?
Melanie: Well, I have been sewing since I was a kid, but I had never really taken much interest in quilting until my daughter was born. I wanted to decorate her nursery in a shabby chic feel and had this image in my head of patchwork chenille bedding and accessories. I began ordering vintage chenille bedspreads on eBay and quickly cut them to make a patchwork crib quilt. With NO previous quilting experience, the end result wasn't exactly what I had hoped for and the project was set aside shortly before she was born. She's in middle school now and that poor quilt is still boxed up somewhere. Attempting to machine quilt through patchwork chenille, batting and backing event with a walking foot, was extremely frustrating for a first-time quilter. I think the first quilt I actually completed was about eight years later, a high school graduation gift for my cousin. The second time around the bright modern quilting fabrics are what drew me in.
Q: What is your passion for quilting?
Melanie: I think there are a number of things that draw me to quilting. I can't resist a new line of modern, colorful quilting cottons. I have always been drawn to bright colors and sparkly things. Many of my high school and college art projects included dustings of glitter and no shortage of sparkly crystals or rhinestones. My quilts are no exception, I love bright, busy and a little over the top.
I also love using my hands to create. In addition to quilting and sewing, I enjoy knitting and crochet, metal smithing and gardening. I just love to create things with busy hands. Which probably leads me to another draw to quilting and that is to see something I create in use. Seeing a baby cuddled up with a quilt I made just warms my heart! Keeping my family's toes warm on a cold night with one of my quilts or enjoying a picnic on a quilt in the park are all the motivation I need to keep making useful quilts for other to enjoy.
Q: Tell me a little bit about "The Uptight Quilter?"
Melanie: Oh, that! Throughout the Sew to Swap book there are sidebars where the author, Chrissie Grace, asked the contributors questions related to sewing and quilting. My answer to the questions regarding your favorite snack while sewing came across as, well, a little "uptight." I answered with, "I DON'T snack when I sew. I like to keep my hands and workspace free of any potential messes." I think that was the first page I flipped to when I received a copy of the book and saw my answer among the other quilters who enjoy things like Cheetos, M&Ms and goldfish crackers. I think my aversion to snacking while sewing comes from my college years. I majored in fashion design and spent many, many hours in the sewing lab. We were NOT allowed to have food or drinks in the lab and it always made sense to me to keep those things away from your fabric and machines. I attended a quilting retreat with friends from the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild last month and we enjoyed some good laughs about my uptight answer.
If you want to purchase the book, you can click on the link below for your very own copy. Congratulations to Melanie for her published work! Now, eat a bag of Cheetos!