I first read about the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop last year and thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. So when the sign ups started for this year, 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, I jumped at the chance and signed up. Thankfully the hosts accepted me into their group. And what an awesome group of people they are.
All of the participating bloggers is invited into a sharing platform called Slack. Where everyone is divided up into our own blogging platform groups. And divided further into smaller critique groups.
My Hive is called, the Better Bloggers Hive. Beth from Cooking Up Quilts is our Host for this blog hop.
This is our Hive Blog Button.
I designed this button. Whoop! Designing a logo is one of the things we learned how to do. Just love it. I designed this logo in Inkscape. The program is a free download.
For the past couple of months we all learned some new things about blogging. And there were a bit I learned. We all took part in a blog critique where the other member of your critique group look at your blog and give advice on areas that might need “changing”. And to be honest, when I started my blog 2 years ago, I new nothing about setting up a blog, about branding, logos or even how to express myself.
Of all the suggestions I received, I took all of them seriously and implemented all the suggestions. The only thing I am still working on is a branded logo, it is nearly finished. And I might even be able to add it to my blog before this post goes live. Then I will need to trademark my brand.
My blog looks completely different from before and with a couple more minor tweaks I will be very happy with it.
I have made some changes to the look of the blog, my menu is more streamlined. There will be some more changes happening soon, and still very much a work in progress. I would love to hear from you if you like he changes I have made.
OK! Let’s start the bit about me…
Hi, my name is Vanda Chittenden and I live in Amanzimtoti, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. I live within minutes of the beach. And it is warm all year round. In summer we die of the heat and during winter it is just bearable enough to swim in the sea.
I am 42, my birthday was last week Tuesday. I am a single mom with 1 grown up son age 18. I work full-time as a website administrator, thus making sewing time a very precious and valuable time. My biggest wish, to be able to sew all day long. But that is not practical at this time. Quilting is a passion and a therapy. It is the thing that keeps me sane at the end of a work day and something I look forward to for the weekend.
I started with quilting very late in life. My aunt tried to teach me how to quilt many times while I was younger. When I was 21 or so, I started a quilt which was calico blocks and candlewick mixed with embroidery. It didn’t hold my interest long. I never threw those blocks away, they are in my UFO pile ready to be finished up.
Decades passed by. Age 38, we heard my aunt was terminally ill and I drove 8 hours up to the farm with my mom to go and visit with my aunt. It was an awesome visit. And I was blown away by her quilts. In the year before she passed away, she taught everything she could.
In the year that followed, I tried to figure out where I stand in the quilting environment. What is my style? What do I like? What don’t I like? What technique do I like best? Which is the worst? Do I continue with just Free Geeky patterns or do a branch out into something else? What would that be? What will sell? Do I sell? Where do I sell?
A million and one questions!
My first foray into serious quilting was with the Project of Doom Quilt, A Harry Potter Inspired Quilt Along that started in January 2015. It was a weird how I discovered this quilt. I finally decided to try making a quilt based on Star Trek. And in searching the internet, I happened upon Fandom In Stitches. Be warned! You will get lost in all the awesome free patterns on this blog. If you don’t find the fandom or geeky or nerdy thing you are looking for here, you can ask for a pattern or series of patterns. There is a slew of designers designing new patterns daily. Anyway! So I was looking around the site for Star Trek patterns when I saw a notification about the Harry Potter quilt, and it looked awesome. I watched and read all the Harry Potter movies and books with my son while he was growing up. I had to make it, just had to. And I signed up. It was my first time paper piecing and I was terrified.
4 Months into the quilt along, I was thinking about the Star Trek quilt I wanted to make. On the site there wasn’t much Star Trek stuff, and not much elsewhere on the internet. So I thought (dangerous thing this) why don’t I design my own. After much trial and error, I found a free software that I could play around on to design some patterns. And let me tell you, it was not easy in the beginning. I felt like a fraud. But as you will see on my blog in the Star Trek Pattern download page at the top, I have made many, many patterns. My quilt top is finished, just needs to get quilted now.
Since the Star Trek patterns, I have realized I love designing patterns as much as I like making them.
My Fandom patterns will always be free, just so you know.
I also had my own, very first Quilt Along last year October to December, The Fantastic Beasts Quilt Along. The Pattern download page is above under the gallery tab. I was completely terrified and scared I would mess up somewhere. And yes, there was some glitches, but now that I have learned from this first one, I know how to do it right for future ones (and there will be many).
And here I am today, I have a lot of things going through my mind about the future.
Charity Quilts – I have decided to donate to Bobbi Bear. An organization that helps abused children. I test a lot of my own patterns, which may or may not go into quilts for myself or my family. My finished blocks will be worked into quilts for these children, to give them some comfort.
Which quilting direction do I feel is best for my quilting style? Still a lot to think about.
Do I stick with e-patterns or branch out into paper patterns?
Classes, I have been approached to give lessons in quilting. But it is far away? Viable??
Join a Quilt Guild. My local quilt guild is not interested my paper pieced quilts. But the district Quilt Guild is, but is also far away…?? What to do? Do even join a quilt guild?
Quilts on show. I want to, but have to be part of a guild. Back to previous question.
Ok! Now for the fun part. Some photos. Yay!
My First Quilt (Unfinished) The 20-year-old candlewick and embroidery quilt I talked about. Sorry for the bad photo.
My First Finished Quilt – Many, many mistakes, with puckers. A simple log cabin in lots of pink.
My First Paper Pieced Quilt & a Quilt For Me. The Project Of Doom, A Harry Potter Quilt. All these patterns are free to download and use at Fandom In Stitches
My Second Applique, bunny rabbit ears. You can find that pattern here. The first one is below.
My First QAL Quilt that I designed. The Fantastic Beasts Quilt patterns are here for free. This is not my quilt. I borrowed the photos from one of my followers. I am sill working on the finishes on mine.
My First Blog Hop Quilt – A Creepy Halloween Quilt. You can find it here. My first applique quilt.
My Favorite Quilt as a Present & wish it was mine. The Smartphone Quilt was made for my mom and dad for when they go camping. You can find the free patterns here.
My Aunts Unfinished quilt she gave me to finish. Hanging above my mom’s chair in the TV room.
Just blog. Even if you don’t have a finished quilt, show your progress. Your readers want to know what you are up to. Make them excited. This is my biggest flaw. I enjoy the sewing process so much, that I can go weeks between writing a post. Busy working up a schedule for myself where will set aside a few hours every week to write and schedule some posts for every week.
Measure twice, cut once. Need I say more, this mistake happens a lot with me.
Second quilting tip, make sure your thumb is not in the way of your rotary cutter. Hands up, who has cut their finger more than once with their rotary cutter? Yeah! I see you!
My question to you!
What is your favorite sewing technique? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to know and it will help me decide where I go in the future.
Other, is there an other technique I don’t know about?
Your Dream Vacation Spot – The mountains next to a stream.
Favorite book/s – Oh no, do I have to choose? It was Harry Potter, I have the entire book collection in my book rack. But have discovered Cathy Reich, who rights Bones. Which is also a series. I have watched every single episode all the way to the end
Favorite movie – No not again. #1 is Any and all Star Trek series and movies. I have all the series and movies, but not the books. Harry Potter, Beauty and the Beast, OK wait, just add any animated movie on this list.
Favorite tv show – Big Bang Theory
Random fact about me – I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, this is an auto immune disorder. And Fibromalgia.
There is a lot of Quilt Alongs and Block of the months planned for the near future. Working on them at the moment. Plus a bunch of new patterns.
On the free pattern side of things, I have a giant project planned for the Star Trek pattern archives. This will be worked on over time. And will keep on growing. So my awesome Star Trek followers, you will be getting spoiled.
Remember there are fantastic prizes being given away each week. To enter the giveaway go visit the 3 hosts