April showers are bringing Wander Blooms and our newest quilting bestie, Stephanie Organes! We met Stephanie in Houston 2022; she's such an absolutely beautiful soul. Wandering is her first fabric collection with Andover, and she already has another in progress. We're absolutely thrilled to help host her first sew-a-long! Let's get to know Stephanie a little better:
I see you've been quilting since 2018, can you tell us about your first project?
My first project was a quilted bear. I made it at the first sewing class that I ever took. I had never sewn or quilted before and I was just amazed at all the steps: from piecing the patchwork together from a charm pack, quilting it, then cutting all the shapes of the bear out from a template. This was all new for me, and the joy when I finished it is something I treasure. To this day I still have the bear in my daughter’s room.
What's the rose and thorn (best part + hardest part) of fabric design for you?
The best part is choosing color for each print in the collection, I love playing with color- this is the part that I enjoyed the most in the creative process. And the hardest part is having to choose and leave out prints. I would love to have collections with lots of prints but usually we have to pick between 9 or 10 prints only, and those prints get made into 3 color ways.
Who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to surface design?
There are many artists that I admire and inspire me, one of my favorite ones is Kaffe Fassett. The way he works with color and pattern is so inspiring. Also I’m a huge fan of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, I find his process and the craftmanship very inspiring.
When it comes to inspiration my biggest source is nature! I love designing with florals and lots of color.
What's your favorite sewing notion or tool?
Sew Tites magnets for EPP! I love them! I used to use clips but my thread kept tangling around them. The Sew Tites magnets are the best! They make hand sewing so much easier and keep everything in place. And the second one is a Vivilux rechargeable light that I use for my sewing machine.
What was your first English Paper Pieced project?
I did my first EPP project at the virtual QuiltCon Together in 2021 during the pandemic. I took a beginner class with the girls from Brimfield Awakening. We made two blocks; the Mayflower and Meera blocks, and since then I was hooked with EPP.
I saw you have been teaching your daughter to sew, have she tried EPP yet?
Not yet! She helps me glue baste the pieces, she loves that part, but no hand sewing yet.
I have been taking her to sewing classes at my favorite quilt shop here in Mexico City and she has been learning to sew straight lines on the sewing machine. She’s making some dolls from a panel and she is very enthusiastic about it!
While you're sewing, what do you prefer to listen to? A show, audio book, podcast, or music?
I love to listen to different podcasts while I’m sewing. My favorite ones are Windowsill Chats, The Quilter on Fire, The Grateful Thread, Descubre el Quilting and Craft to Career. And when I’m drawing or designing on the computer I prefer listening to music. It helps me focus and get me inspired.
I saw on your Instagram that you went to Quilt Con this year! What was the most inspiring thing you saw?
This is a tough one! Quilt Con is just mind blowing and there’s inspiration everywhere, from the workshops to the vendor floor and the Quilt Show. It’s hard to pick just one. But this year I was so inspired by the people, by the energy and cheerfulness from everybody. We were all so happy to be together to talk quilts and techniques. Everybody was so encouraging and happy to be back after the pandemic, to speak the same “language”, to be surrounded by so many creative people that it makes it so contagious. It gives me the motivation and inspiration to get back home and keep on sewing and dreaming on designing new fabrics and quilt patterns. I really love attending each year, it is my go-to trip that I never missed!
Is there anything you can tell us about your next collection with Andover?
I just can tell you that it is already submitted and in the works! Lots of color and florals!
Your new sew-along Wander Blooms is designed for beginners and experts alike! What is something you would share with someone who has never English Paper Pieced before?
To give it a try! I thought hand sewing wasn’t for me as I’m not the fastest at it, but I can tell you that it is is so relaxing. I enjoy it so much, my mind just wanders while I’m hand sewing! It's so rewarding and exciting every time I finished a block. It looks so pretty and neat, you can embellish just anything with it, and it's so portable. I love having a project to take with me at my kids' afternoon classes or on vacation, I just pack a tiny pouch, prepare my pieces before hand and I’m ready to go. Try it you’ll love it!