Welcome to the first installment of what we hope becomes a regular part of our website - the Member Feature Column. Each month we plan to spotlight one of our CLMQG members by showing photos of their work and sharing a short interview in order to learn more about them personally. Sound fun? We think it does!
So this month's featured member is... me. Very weird to be pretending to interview yourself as you write, but since I do frequently talk to myself (both out loud and in my head), I think I can make it work. So here goes!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Shelley Nielsen, and I'm a wife, mom of two lovely daughters, and a fabri-holic. When I'm not performing my household CEO and CLMQG duties, I'm either cutting, sewing, pressing, shopping for, admiring, or planning projects with fabrics. I also write about my adventures in sewing on my elsie's girl blog.
How and when did you start sewing?
My maternal grandmother, Elsie, taught me to sew when I was in middle school. She was a seamstress and tailor, and she could (and did!) sew everything - clothing, draperies, home decor items. Her entire basement was filled with sewing machines, tools and fabric, and I loved spending time with her there.
What about quilting? How did you become interested in it?
After college and marriage my sewing consisted of primarily home decor items. But when my youngest was a tiny baby (1997), I wandered into Prairie Patchwork Mercantile in Woodstock one day and fell in love with the fabric selection and quilts. I started out by taking a hand-pieced sampler class and some needle-turn applique classes. And thus began my love affair with fabrics! I thought I was a pretty smart cookie, and I didn't see any reason why I couldn't teach myself to create tons of machine-pieced beautiful quilts, so I bought some books and just dove in. Looking back, I think that my early naivete about how easy it must be to teach yourself machine quilting was a great asset (even though it was mostly incorrect) because it made me just start. So except for the handwork skills I learned at PPM, I was largely a self-taught quilter for many years.
What are your most and least favorite parts of the quilting process?
Choosing the fabrics is the best part! I can spend hours or even days mulling over fabric selections. Cutting is a close second though - I really enjoy the precision and math skills required in cutting.
Quilting is the worst part for me. I can do a decent job of it, but it seems agonizing to spend time deciding on a quilting pattern or design, let alone performing the actual quilting. By the time the top is finished, I just want it to be over. I'm quite ADD when it comes to sewing, so when the fun part is done, I want to be done too. Because of this I'm not quite as focused on completing quilts as I am on starting new ones.
Where do you get quilting inspiration?
I read a LOT of quilting magazines and books. Blogs too. Pinterest and Flickr are also great resources for inspiration, but I tend to lose all sense of time when I'm trolling on those sites, so I've been trying to limit my time there. Quilt shows, shops, and of course this new guild (!) feed my need for new ideas and motivation too.
Any favorite fabric or pattern designers?
I'm a huge Kaffe Fassett nut! I collect his fabrics the way some people collect stamps or baseball cards. I love the quilt designs of Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. Oh, and stars, I LOVE almost any quilt with stars!
What's your favorite quilting/sewing project?
Whatever I'm working on at the moment is almost always my favorite! There are so many fabrics and projects to sew that I tend to jump around between projects so I don't get bored or bogged down with one.
What quilt patterns/styles are on your sewing "bucket list"?
1. Feathered Star
2. Giant Lone Star
3. Blazing Star
4. All of the applique patterns by Piece O'Cake
Tell us three things about yourself that other CLMQG members probably don't know.
1. I am exceptionally skilled in worrying and perfectionism.
2. I love the smell of Crayola crayons.
3. I speak fluently in movie quotes.
And now for the wild card question... If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?
Needing only two hours of sleep each night. I've got big plans, a big fabric stash, and lots of things I want to see and do during my lifetime!