Today’s featured quilter is Valentina – I met Valentina when she commented on the last Quilt Festival post, and was excited when one of you nominated her for a feature. I love her energy, and hope that you enjoy getting to know her a bit more too!
1. When did you begin quilting?
In the Spring of 1994, in Ottawa, Canada, while still in University, and a few months before getting Married. I had bought my sister a quilt for her wedding the year before and thought it was the most heartfelt gift I could have possibly given. But I soon realized that if I wanted a wedding-quilt of my own, I would have to learn to make it myself! ( it took another 10 years to finally make one for my own bed, but it was worth the wait as you can see from its very own special story here.)
My first quilt was a Sampler Machine-stitched and Hand-quilt as you go: using traced cereal box templates and scissor cut fabrics. But I was hooked! When we asked our teacher to show us how to use that ‘pizza cutter for fabric’ she refused. “First of all, the Rotary cutter will never catch on”, (LOL) she said, and insisted that it was important for us to understand the basics of quilt-maiking without having to rely on gadgets… Oh, she was an incredible teacher and I still hear myself echoing her tips and advice to my own students.
This became my baby sister’s quilt: the blocks were hand-quilted individually and then attached together by adding and quilting the sashing and borders. I no longer make my quilts this way, but it is a very interesting way of doing, and see how lovely the back turns out!
Unfortunately, I stopped quilting for a few years after that first quilt as I was finishing my Master’s, until we moved from Canada to Cyprus in 1999. This is when Quilting became my way to cope with the big changes going on in my Life. And eventually it became my way of making friends: ” What do you do with your time?” “I Quilt” “What is quilting?” “Oh, let me show you…” Another one bites the dust! :)
2. Why do you quilt?
…Because I Have to!
It’s the fabrics, the colours, the geometrics, the history, the legacy, the tactile, the visual…
Textile colour makes my heart sing.
Quilting is my therapy, it is ‘journalling about my Life’ stitch by stitch, it is creative expression, it is connection to other quilters, it is giving from the heart and sharing an enveloping hug through distance and time…
3. What is your favorite quilting tip?
I love and collect tips- I just delight in the ingenuity of women!
Among the many I share with students are:
Make it fun and enjoy the Journey: by choosing colours and fabrics that make your heart sing you will be more likely to want to see it finished!
Change your needles often- whether they be machine-needles, hand-stitching or hand-quilting needles. It makes a world of difference!
And: Clean your Rotary Cutter often from lint and threads. Add a tiny little drop of sewing machine oil between the blade and its plastic sheath, and it will feel like a brand new Rotary cutter! ( and change that old blade!!!)
Ok, one last tip: be organized and systematic in your work. It pays off, making assembly of quilts faster, more fun and minimizing unpicking!
4. What was your inspiration for your Quilt Festival Quilt?
My Grandmother, My Baba, she was so amazing. Read about her and her quilt here.
5. Do you sew other things?
I wish I knew how! Unfortunately, I am most comfortable with a straight stitch… :)
6. Anything else you would like us to know about you?
I am a trained Psychotherapist who has consciously given up her private practice and chosen to teach patchwork and quilting instead. This is how much I believe in the therapeutic nature of Quilting.
Nothing thrills me more than witnessing women naturally reach out to each other, take care of themselves and of one another as they search for creative outlets to help them cope with their lives, through classes, quilting bees, and Blogging.
I am so excited to be able to be part of it all, and witness it happening! It makes me smile!
Thank you, Amy, for this opportunity, and for organizing Bloggers Quilt Festival, as a way of connecting us all, so we can be inspired by each other’s quilts and stories.
Thank you for sharing Valentina! Look at all those hex’s…I love the idea of handwork, but I’m pretty sure I would never make it that far.
Have a great weekend everyone ~
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