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How I Learned to Quilt – A Quilting to Blogging Journey

Deanna at Stitches Quilting.com

Summary of things that would describe this quilter:

Blogger & Owner of Stitches Quilting Online Store – Live in Salt Lake City Utah – Born on a farm but now live in a city – Quilter – DIY – Sewist – Pattern Writer – Surface Pattern Designer – Graphic Design – Special Needs Mom – Proud Handy User of Power and Hand Tools – Hand and Machine Embroidery – Heirloom Maker – Long Armer – Jewelry Maker – Gadget Lover – Technology Lover – (I use every gadget to its fullest potential to not waste money – I like to read the entire manual) – Social Media Networker – Laid 2 stories of my own hardwood floors – Redecorated husband’s law office with DIY Repurposed Stripped Filing Cabinets in Industrial Look – Thrift and Repurpose Lover – Positive – Appreciates Antique, Vintage, Simplistic Items  – Bargain Enthusiast – Spiritually Oriented – Survivor – Creative parent – Gentle Spirited – Non Judgmental – Divorced and Happily Remarried for 12 years – Mother –  Practical – Enjoy making  Household Products and Makeup – Novice Photographer & Videographer – Entrepreneur – Firm Personal Believer in the Quote, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” (Often in this day and age we live a life of such over excess.)  – Generous and Love to Share what I have with Others – Always and Endlessly trying to improve myself to be a better person.

My love of sewing started when I was a young girl and I actually made a vest with my grandmother on a non-electric foot treadle sewing machine!

My First Sewing Experience Was on This Manual Machine
My First Sewing Experience Was on This Manual Machine

As a teen, I loved finding a pattern to make something to wear or a gift for someone else.  I always felt a sense of accomplishment after I made something, although I have to admit that sewing my own clothing was disappointing at this age.

I learned about quilting when I was in high school and I know this is mind boggling but my first quilt was a whole cloth hand quilted quilt.  I started it in the 1980’s which the shiny fabric and design dates my selection, I found hand quilting relaxing although I have to admit that family members helped me finish it as it was a huge undertaking.

SONY DSC
My very first hand whole cloth quilt I started my senior year in high school

My next sewing adventure that I loved was making Halloween costumes for my children.  It was something that my girlfriends and I enjoyed doing with our children and my children loved how I could make their imagination come alive with fabric.  My children loved the super hero capes and everything else I sewed for them.  Just a few years after I had my first child, a good friend, Randi Welch, taught me how to cut fabric and piece it back together again to create a quilt top.  I loved it and embraced the craft with precision.  The quilting generation at that time taught you to always press your seams to the side with the darker fabric.  I lived in Galveston Texas at the time, with no fabric store on the island with my only access to Walmart fabrics and one small darling quilt store that I didn’t feel I could afford the quality quilting fabrics.  Not having much of a budget for gifts during my 1st husband’s school and training, I made every gift for each holiday to extended family members.  I loved giving gifts that were personal, useful and handmade.  We didn’t have much money so I was very frugal with what I made.

Stitches Brick & Mortar Shoppe
Stitches Quilting Brick and Mortar Storefront

I never lived in a place where I had easy access to trendy quilt stores and especially in Yuma, Arizona.  I found myself having to travel three hours to Phoenix or San Diego to try to find quality quilting fabrics.  Even though there was a quilting store in Yuma, they did not sell Moda fabrics, and I really loved the style of Moda fabrics.  After my divorce in 2002, I invested some money into opening a 2,000 square foot brick and mortar quilt store.

I loved my Shoppe and it was a second home to my three young boys.  When the fabric started arriving, I was in ecstatic and loved touching and arranging displays.  My Shabby Chic Italian themed Shoppe attracted new young quilters along with the snow birds that would travel to Yuma for the winter months.  The Shoppe had a large variety of classes available, but was ALWAYS open and room for someone to just plop in with their sewing machine to stitch there and socialize instead of being alone at home.  The Shoppe had a beautiful area for children to play that had a custom crafted stucco Italian playhouse as the central feature along with dolls, quilts, tea sets, dress up clothing, legos, TV’s gaming and more.

Grama Lorene Pink Quilt
Custom Stucco Italian Playhouse for Children to play in while their Moms shopped

It was darling because no child ever wanted to leave my Shoppe.  After a mother would make her selections, we could see her nervously approach the child to say it was time to leave, and the child always protested.  The mom would have to say to the child five or ten more minutes and then nervously walk the Shoppe and visit with others going back to retrieve the still resistant child.  People loved to come to the Shoppe although leaving the Shoppe was often difficult.  Every month I showcased a local ordinary quilter’s work and displayed all their pieces in the store.  The Shoppe evolved monthly with new quilts from designated local quilters of the month let alone the beautiful samples for the fabric, books, pattern and notions being sold.

My Boys and I at Stitches Quilting in Yuma AZ
My Boys and I at Stitches Quilting in Yuma AZ

One of the hardest things I did was close the Shoppe, my youngest child sustained a traumatic brain injury at 11 months of age from riding a horse.  He was paralyzed on the right side and had to learn everything over again and I already had one autistic son diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosiss .  I knew I needed to focus all my energies to my children and it was costing so much to have other people run the shoppe.  I remarried and moved to Utah.  I had no idea how much fabric the sweet employees and snow birds had packed up for me after my son’s accident.  Unknown to me these boxes traveled with me from Arizona to Utah.  After getting my master’s degree 2008 and being the practical person that I am, I decided to re-open the Shoppe online with the boxes of bolts of fabric newly discovered from the store.  The fabric sold like hot cakes because by that time the fabric was highly collectible and out of print.

Ahhhh Look at that fabric!
Current Stitches Quilting Shoppe Studio

After selling enough fabric, I saved up to buy a long arm quilting machine.  I always wanted one and would only machine quilt my quilts on my domestic machine.  I had a friend, Renae Haddadin, at Quilts on the Corner, that encouraged me that I could operate a long arm machine and after admiring them for years, I finally bought one in 2010.  I don’t care to long arm for other people but love to long arm for myself and teach others how to long arm quilt tops they would make in my studio.

GLORIOUS long arm machine!sq50050072
Innova Long Arm Machine that Renae Haddidan encouraged me to get

I choose the name of “Stitches” for my business in 2002 but after reopening it in 2008, I had to add “Stitches Quilting” to the name in Utah.  The name Stitches represented happiness and lightheartedness.  I am a glass half full kind of gal, and the one that looks at things through rose-colored glasses.  I am one of those positive “Tiggers” that seem to naturally annoy “Eeyores”, although when I sense an “Eeyore” is with me, I am sensitive and naturally limit the positive annoying “Tigger” within me.

Stitches Quilting
Stitches Quilting

One thing that I love about quilting is the connections it brings with other people.  Either making a gift by hand or building relationships through spending time to teach someone how to quilt those connections naturally come.  I have domestic machines that are always available for people to come over and sew with.

I wouldn’t be able to even count the number of quilts I have made in my lifetime or the number of people I have taught to quilt.  I’m apprehensive to just show you quilts I have made, as it isn’t the quilts that I work hard at making but connections with other people and impacting others’ lives through quilting that is important to me.  Do you feel the same way about your quilts that each one is a personal journey of growth or meaning with an entire story behind it?  An extremely simple quilt of mine may have the most amazing personal impact in my life based on why I was making the quilt and what journey I was on in my life at the time.

A Quilt I made for my Mom before she passed away of Lou Gehrigs
A Quilt I made for my Mom before she passed away of ALS Lou Gehrigs

Many people think that they can’t quilt, based off of negative impressions say from their home ec class.  Nothing thrills me more than to share my enthusiasm that anyone can do anything they set their mind to.  Nothing is as difficult as it ever seems when it is broken down into sizable pieces.  Especially for quilting because anyone can embrace it at any level as really it begins with simple sewing of straight lines.  I love to teach people and even children that what they have told themselves from past experiences that they can’t do they really can do and are capable of anything if they have the faith and encouragement to try.  Were you someone that didn’t think you had a skill set or thought it would be too difficult that made you apprehensive to enjoy quilting or something else in life?

Quilting is also a hobby that is simple or challenging as one wants.  Each quilt is uniquely personal by learning new techniques, using different materials, fabrics, threads or expressions of what one loves at the time.  That is what I love about quilting is the connections you make with others and that the craft is as easy or challenging as you want it.  I now no longer need a pattern to make anything.  Someone can just show me a picture or doodle of something and I can personally make it or teach them how to make it.  I love the challenge to create my own patterns based off of the fabrics available, project needed and limitations existing.  I find that sometimes the limitations we are given is what draws out the most creativity that is within us.  Do you feel the same way?  What is the simplest quilt you have made and then the most challenging? Do you find your emotional attachments of the quilts you make are based on the complexity of the quilting?

This quilt I made for my youngest son upon his birth. I customized it with his eyes looking at a bumble bee on his nose.
This quilt I made for my youngest son upon his birth. I customized it with his eyes looking at a bumble bee on his nose.

This blog is dedicated to teaching others what I have learned from many years of quilting and “stitching through life”.  I fiercely believe that if someone buys fabric from me that I don’t want it to sit somewhere unfinished because they are overwhelmed by the project or just in need of some encouragement.  I believe in supporting those that purchase things anywhere so they are used in that the work of our hands can delight the souls of others along with making ourselves feel uplifted and good.

May the Work of Your Hands Delight the Soul
May the Work of Your Hands Delight the Soul

A blogging tip from me at this time of developing my own blog is to make sure your branding is carried through all of your social media.  Social media is a free place to draw others to the things we love.  Make your email, usernames of all accounts the same along using the same profile picture and banners on every social media platform.  Even if you are not comfortable with a certain social media platform and not nearly ready to even use it, save the user name so it is consistent with all your other social media accounts.  One can also really polish their social media networking by inserting hyperlinks into the bottom of your email signature including social media icons, a photograph of yourself and logo of your brand.  (photo)  What blogging tip do you have to share, because I have a lot to learn including that this blog post should be shorter in length?

Another quilt blogging tip is to join our #Quilt Bloggers# Pinterest Group Board where we can pin our blog posts to and then each member of the group will repin each other’s group pins posted to the group Pinterest board.  Email me at deanna@stitchesquilting.com to request to join.

Quilting or Sewing Bloggers Group Pinterest Board

For a quilting tip – take care of yourself meticulously now so that you can continue to quilt and share with others you love for a very long time.  When I say take care of yourself, live a gentle life of balance, keeping in mind that a healthy physical, emotional and spiritual well-being will give you more time to quilt and create giving you extended years of health.  I also believe in making your craft a family social affair to spend time together.  What life or health things do you think can extend your ability to quilt a long and healthy life.  My children always played right with me as I created things sometimes with them joining in to help and sweet gentle boundaries were always set to not touch the rotary cutter etc.

My son Nick helped me select every fabric for this quilt. Watched me stitch it together as he played along side me for his lizard decorated themed room.
My son Nick helped me select every fabric for this quilt. Watched me stitch it together as he played along side me for his lizard decorated themed room.

A quilting tip is to always have your sewing machine out or fabrics to cut.  I reward myself with a bit of stitching after getting a ton of required demands of life done.  But even that 15 minutes I may have been able to stitch something and admire the block or item gives me much pleasure.  If you always have a small area available it is amazing what time can be carved out of a day while you wait for noodles to boil for dinner or whatever it might be.  So have your machine or hand sewing project easily accessible.  What do you think helps you make progress on your projects?

A quilting tip is that hard and fast rules of quilting may change through the years as access to quality quilting materials, techniques, technology and sciences evolve.  (ex. the standard is now to press your seams open because thread and fabrics are of a very different strength)  Summing it up don’t be so rigid on yourself.  What quilting technique have you seen change through the years?

A great long arm quilting technique is to use Renae Haddadin’s “Red Snappers” to attach your backing and quilt to the leaders by just snapping away instead of pinning or sewing zipper leaders to your quilt top and backing.  It saves a TON of time!  Are you not amazed by the things that can still be invented in this quilting industry that has been around for centuries?  Below is a video of Renae explaining how to use these “Red Snappers”!  What an invention!

 

 

My dream is to make a complete cathedral quilt and have that quilt be on my bed in my later years when I can no longer quilt and pass on to another season and phase of life.  But before then I plan on sharing what I have learned in my younger years with anyone that would like to join me on the journey and share their experiences with quilting and life.  Attached is the picture of the cathedral window quilt that I have kept posted on my daydreaming board next to my sewing machine for years.  What ultimate quilt do you day dream of making?  What other life experiences have you learned from embracing the art of quilting?

Cathedral Window

Please comment below, I love to interact with people and hear the thoughts that you have.  I certainly don’t just want to ramble but look forward to having a dialogue with all of you and learn the thoughts you have about quilting.  I hope this article helps you learn more about me as the store owner of Stitches Quilting and author of “Stitching through Life” Blog.

Can’t wait to hear from all of you!

Happy Stitching!

Deanna

We want to hear from YOU!


I was challenged to write this blog post as a member of the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group.  This is week 4 of the group and there are many other wonderful Quilt Bloggers that are a part of the group that you would enjoy reading about them and their blogs.  There are also several valuable Giveaways that you can enter that are being used to promote this group of Bloggers.  I can’t possibly thank enough the four group leaders that have inspired all of us to collaborate as a group and optimize our skills.

This Year’s Hosts

Stephanie @ Late Night QuilterStephanie
Late Night Quilter

Sewcial Swarm - 2015 New Quilt Bloggers
My personal group leader is Terri Ann with Childlike Fascination and my group is called the Sewcial Swarm

 

Welcome to the final week of the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop! I’m so happy and thankful that you’ve all been here to follow along and check out all these new quilt bloggers along with us. Today I am excited to introduce you additional members of the Sewcial Swarm Hive that are posting in week 4:

Stephanie of quiltnparty.com
Jane of jollyanddelilahquilts.wordpress.com
Kathryn of upitisquilts.wordpress.com

I invite you to click and visit their blogs, and leave them a friendly comment to say hi. Bloggers appreciate comments so much; so many of us don’t have friends to sew with and connect to the quilting world virtually. Comments make the online quilting world go ’round!

22 thoughts on “How I Learned to Quilt – A Quilting to Blogging Journey

  1. If I am still able to place an order with you, please call me a 810-227-8022. Thank you!

    Liz Ostrosky

    1. Liz

      You can definitely place an order with me at Stitches Quilting. My cell phone number is 801-918-8792 or you can email me at deanna@stitchesquilting.com

      Just let me know what you are in need of.

      Deanna
      http://www.stitchesquilting.com

  2. My sister used to live in Yuma!! I would have loved to visit your store, I’m sorry I missed it! I so enjoyed getting to know you better from your post. You ‘re super!!! XX!

    1. It is fun that we have a connection through Yuma! I enjoyed being challenged to write a post about myself. I have realized what a difference it makes to know the person behind the blogs that I read! The connections with people are the BEST! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hi Deanna,
    So nice to get to know you after following you on social media! What a life story you have. I’m glad you’ve been able to continue selling fabric, that first store sounds awesome. I love the creative part of quilting too, figuring out different patterns and doing the math and working it out. I agree that anyone can quilt and often people talk themselves out of it, thinking it’s too difficult. I remember trying out difficult projects in the beginning because I didn’t know any better, so I took risks not knowing they were risks. I think that’s the way to go! I like your point about finding balance too. And Cathedral windows really are beautiful!

    1. Brianna, thank you for the lovely comment. I agree that is has been so enjoyable to connect with other quilters! I appreciate everyone’s story that has led our paths to cross. You are right that many more people can quilt. It isn’t that difficult. My son that took 1st place in Utah State High School Wrestling always said that he never learned anything from winning but learned from the matches he lost to become better. It may be discouraging not starting at the right place but we learn things from those experiences and can find something useful from it or get creative and use the item in a completely different way than intended. I love the creative powers when I get stumped set something aside and maybe months or years later pick it back up to complete into something or use it to try building new skills. It is fun to use things random to practice a quilting technique on a domestic machine or long arm. They can become works to share with others or examples saved to teach others how to do things things the right way and that we started somewhere. A blog post of the things we learned from projects that just didn’t work the way we envisioned might be fun to point out what didn’t work and maybe the pattern had errors in it or the pattern writing wasn’t thorough enough to execute or practice skills. They are all stepping stones we build to then execute it. My original domestic machine quilting was so simple with big stitches but are quilts I love. So I have easily unpicked them, put in higher quality batting that I can afford now, using a backing other than plain muslin that I could afford back then therefore giving me a chance to celebrate these quilts by stepping up my machine quilting skills in the process. I love working with those older fabrics that I loved so much and spent time cutting or piecing.

  4. Thank you sharing your story here. Visiting from the new bloggers blog happ.

    1. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s posts and have a few more to go! Thanks for commenting, I have a few more 2015 blog posts to read!!!

  5. Hi Deanna: I thought I commented already but in case I didn’t. I really enjoyed reading your post. I feel like I have taken your quilting journey along with you. Your positive energy in dealing with life shines through your writing.

  6. I can’t believe I read this and didn’t realize the comments were off. I did try to comment on everyone’s posts. I know I definitely did read this, because I spent a while looking in to what Tuberous Sclerosis was. I’d never heard of it before. You’ve certainly been given a lot to deal with, and it’s so difficult to think of something to say about your son that doesn’t sound completely cliche, but as a member of the neuro-diverse community, it’s lovely to hear from someone who’s committed to their child. Maybe I’m just reading the wrong forums, but I come across a lot of parents who very sadly seem to see their children as nothing but a burden.

    Aren’t Renae and Mike the best possible people to have as your longarm go to guys?

    I’d love to make a cathedral windows quilt at some point too. I think it’s something I’d prefer to take a class in.

    Do you ever go to HMQS? I wish there were a quilting show so convenient to me. It’s a nice drive up to Salt Lake City, but I’m worried that some of the semi drivers on that road have homicidal tendencies.

    I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you over the last few weeks. I hope we stay connected. Are you joining the create a block tutorial?

    1. Yes I love the HMQS (Home Machine and Quilting Show) in Salt Lake. Anyone that wants to attend it you should just come and visit Salt Lake – I have always wanted people to attend it with! I close to Renae Haddidan because her son and my son both took 1st place in Utah State Wrestling and we spent 100’s of hours together sitting at wrestling tournaments every weekend and sometimes doing hand quilting work while sitting there. Renae is not only a “Best in Show Long Armer” but now only an Innova Spokeperson but sells them now too. Renae designs the digital designs for Innova and many other things for them. She is an incredible woman! I have made that drive from LA to Salt Lake many times and have never had an accident on I-15. I can’t believe you took the time to look things about Tuberous Sclerosis. Nothing anyone can say about my special needs son would be cliche. I am definitely a different person from having a son with special needs and very very grateful for everything I have learned from him along with watching other people learn from him too. Yes I’m doing the block tutorial and looking forward to continue to stay connected with you and the entire group! Now I (kinda) have my comments to my blog working so that is definitely a bonus. I hope we stay connected too… Maybe we need to meet up in person or virtually to experiment with cathedral windows!

  7. Wow Deanna: You shared so much of yourself in this post, I feel like I’ve travelled along your quilting journey with you. I like your comments about flexibility. I’m sometimes amazed by quilting friends reluctance to try doing something a new way.

    1. Lisa Thank you for stopping by Stitches Quilting and reading this post. Quilting is a journey and that is something I love about it that you can grow through quilting from starting with such a basic quilt to then challenging oneself with a new technique. Isn’t it hard for quilting to get boring? I am surprised by how the general rules of quilting have changed and techniques are done differently with time! I love learning how to do things different ways.

  8. Quilting really is a passion for you, and I love how it is such a therapeutic outlet for so many of us. I don’t know that I have an ultimate quilt that I dream of making; usually I am just so excited by my latest design that I am antsy to make it a reality. 🙂 I hope this blog hop has been beneficial for you, and enjoy your week!

    1. Yvonne, I can’t possibly thank you for leading this 2015 New Quilters Blog Group. I have learned so MUCH and enjoyed meeting so many talented quilters! I always love seeing your latest designs! You are very talented in design, quilting, technology and blogging. Thank you for sharing your talents with so many of us!

  9. It was nice getting to know you better. I like that you involved your children with your quilting.

    1. Thanks Cindy for visiting Stitches Quilting, reading the post and commenting. Involving my children in quilting was important to me. I always designed and still have my sewing area right next to their playroom and now entertainment room as I love to visit and chat with them. My kids are older now with friends that come over sometimes with their moms too and we love to sew with them hanging out doing their thing alongside us! The kids are sweet to always humor me with compliments with stages of whatever creations I am working on. And when I am out and about with them watching their events, I very often take a hand project to work on. They are my best admirers! Now they do homework right along side of me too.

  10. What an amazing story. What I wouldn’t give to be one of the mothers or even one of the kids lucky enough to have been in your shop. It would have been paradise and a wonderful memory to have. I am in awe of all you have accomplished and you are an inspiration. You have such a warm and positive attitude I am honored to have met you through this blog hop.

    1. Thank you Tish for your kind comment. I’m the kind of mom that usually takes my kids with me everywhere and they are good kids. They are used to running errands with me. But going to quilt stores was different with kids because they really don’t want the kids touching or getting the fabric dirty etc… It is very different atmosphere from JoAnns etc… So I was so determined that when I opened my quilt store that kids were very welcome and their moms! The ceilings of the store were extremely high so the children’s area had a built in white picket fence and lowered ceiling. It was very cozy in there and I loved it too! I hope kids created great memories there. I wish I could find better photographs… I really have enjoyed getting to know you too! Thank you for reading the post and commenting. You are very talented and it is fantastic seeing your blog posts!

  11. That Cathedral Windows pattern is from the book, Best Loved Quilt Patterns. I made my first quilt from that book. My mother had started the subscription and it was at her home that I picked up quilting. I now have the notebook. It’s about half filled. It’s amazing that the Cathedral Windows has gained popularity with modern quilters. Maybe I could start a cathedral quilt a long. We could make one each week. In about three years we’d have enough for a twin sized quilt. It’s a great way to use up 2 inch scraps. And I love using up scraps. All solids would be cool. Thanks for the inspiration and your inspiring story of hope and resilience.

    1. Wanda, Thank you for letting me know where that pattern came from. I have had it for so many years that I have never known! We should do a Cathedral Quilt Along Together! I LOVE the math you put to creating one! That is just a very fun way to think about it! I love using up my scraps from quilts as I have created as each piece means so much to me! Solids would be fantastic too! Thank you for reading and commenting on the post! It has been a privilege to get to know you through this 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group.

      1. That book has such sentimental connections for me. I’ve written about it on my About page so I won’t review it here. So how do we organize a Quilt A Long. I’ve seen them online but I’ve never participated in one. I’ll have to give them some thought.

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