We have a lot to be excited about over at National Quilters Circle. For one thing, we just started our first ever block swap: The National Quilters Circle Happy Block Swap Challenge! Over the course of six weeks, you will have the option to quilt with a buddy & swap blocks, or finish the quilt pattern solo! Another thing we’re excited about? Teaming up with the wonderful and talented Andrea Smith of Happy Cloud Creations to make our quilt block challenge dreams a reality!
Among her many talents, Andrea designed the Happy Block Swap Sampler that is our featured design for the Quilt Block Challenge. We wanted to sit down with Andrea to learn more about what makes her tick (or rather, stitch!).
If you haven’t signed up for the Quilt Block Challenge, there’s still time! You can sign up here to make sure you get the block assignments delivered to your inbox each week. And make sure to visit Andrea on Facebook, Instagram, and her blog to see more of her free quilt patterns and projects!
National Quilters Circle: How long have you been quilting, and who taught you how to quilt?
Andrea Smith: I’ve been quilting for about 20 years. My mom taught me how to sew when I was a little girl. The first things I made were a pillow, blanket, and some clothes for my Barbie Dolls. I saw a quilt my mom made with fabric scraps she had from clothes she had made. I thought that was so cool, I wanted to make one too. My sister had a sewing class in high school and she taught me some of the quilting basics she learned.
NQC: What was your first quilting project?
AS: I made my very first quilt when I was around 13. I made it with flannel scraps my mom had left over. I would sit and watch TV and hand sew little squares together to make blocks. My mom saw me doing this and said I could sew the blocks together on her sewing machine. The quilt was hand tied with yarn and the edges were folded under and sewn close to the seam.
NQC: Tell us about Happy Cloud Creations – how long has it been around and what do you make?
AS: : I opened up my online shop in 2011 when I became a stay-at-home mom. I make a variety of handmade items. I specialize in Quick and Easy Quilt Pattern, Quilts, Pot Holders, Coffee Cozies, hand knit Dish Cloths and Infinity Scarves.
NQC: Is there a story behind the name, Happy Cloud Creations?
AS: After I became a stay-at-home mom, I thought it would be fun to sell all the items that I loved to create. I was trying to think of a creative name and my son Cloud received a cute wooden Cloud with a smile on it made by his cousin. We called it his Happy Cloud. I thought that would make a cute name.
NQC: What do you like to do when you’re not quilting?
AS: I usually quilt before my kids wake up in the morning. So I like knitting at night while we watch a show as a family. I also enjoy dying yarn with food dye with my kids, it’s fun seeing what color combos they come up with.
NQC: What are you currently working on?
AS: I have a stack of WIP’s that I’m slowly working on. I’m also working on a new Fat Quarter/Scrap Friendly quilt pattern. I’m hoping to release the beginning of October.
NQC: What project have you been most proud of?
AS: I’d say I’m most proud of finishing my son’s twin size quilt. It’s nothing fancy, but it took me a while to finish. Between working full time and having a new baby, it ended up taking a couple years to finally finish. Now he has a quilt he can keep forever that will always remind him of me.
NQC: What kind of sewing machine do you have?
AS: I have a Janome New Home HD-1000. I’ve always sewn on a mechanical machine, so when I was purchasing this one I was too nervous to change to a computerized. Next time I purchase a sewing machine I would like to buy one that specializes in quilting and has a large throat.
NQC: What’s your sewing space like?
AS: I live in a fairly small house, so I sew on my dining room table. I store all my supplies in totes in my family room. This is one of the reasons I tend to only sew when my children are sleeping.
NQC: If you could create your dream quilting space, what would it be like?
AS: It would be nice to have a room dedicated to crafting. It would have a large table, a nice sewing desk, and plenty of storage space for all my wonderful fabric. Just being able to leave my sewing machine set up and my current project laid out would be a great thing.
NQC: What’s your favorite type of fabric to work with?
AS: I’m all about quilter’s cotton. I’m not partial to one designer or manufacturer. I love vibrant colors, beautiful florals, and dots.
NQC: What would you say to someone who’s just getting started in quilting?
AS : I know a lot of people are nervous to try their first quilt. It doesn’t hurt to try! If you can sew a straight line and press seams, I’m sure you can put a quilt together. Once you try making your first quilt, you won’t want to stop. Start with an easy pattern and don’t worry about it being perfect. Quilts are your work of art and works of art are not perfect. You will love it, snuggle in it, and it will bring you happiness!
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