Member spotlight: Tracy W.

Tell us about yourself.
I'm married to a great guy, Brian, and we have two kids, Lauren 23 and Jack 19. I work a couple days a week and also volunteer at Ronald McDonald House every Wednesday. We live in Shoreview and have a sweet photo-bombing Boston Terrier named Ozzie.
Do you have a blog, Etsy shop, or other quilt-related business?
I do not have a blog or Etsy shop, but I do sell my quilts and other crafty stuff I make at a semi-annual boutique in Shoreview called The Chickadee.
Do you have any other hobbies, crafty or otherwise?
I do a lot of other crafty stuff. I like to use scrapbooking paper for everything BUT scrapbooking. You can modpodge that stuff to just about anything.
How long have you been quilting, and how did you learn to quilt?
My mom taught me to quilt when I was in junior high and I made a pillow for my grandmother and a really groovy vest for myself. I still have the pillow, but the vest bit the dust which probably is a good thing (and yes, I did wear it to school). I started quilting seriously in 2007.
How many quilts do you think you have made? How many are still UFOs (unfinished objects)?
When I started sewing again about 11 years ago, I made super-duper simple baby quilts as gifts for family and friends (I am use the word "quilts" very loosely here). I started to “officially quilt” in 2007 when my daughter graduated from high school and I committed myself to making six full size quilts for graduation gifts for her best girlfriends. Since then it's been like an avalanche of fabric, books and blog reading. I really don't have any idea of how many I've made since 2007, but I did start documenting them on Flickr in late 2008.
As far as UFO's go, I’m not a big fan of them. I feel obligated to finish what I've started even if I don't really like it. I currently have three UFO's and will hopefully finish them up this winter.
How many hours a week do you spend quilting on average?
This is always a hard question. I will work on a quilt almost daily if I have a project that I want or need to have done on a deadline. I'm starting to really focus on working ahead and not waiting until the last minute, which I'm finding is much less stressful. I do, however, sew much more in the winter. On average, a couple evenings a week are spent in the "sweatshop" as my neighbors like to call it.
Describe your first quilt.
This is the only picture I have of the graduation quilts from 2007. It was photographed before I realized that I like people behind my quilts holding them up, not in front of them. Please know that the fabric quality is horrid and I think some of the backing fabric isn't even real cotton (it was from Walmart's markdown table -- I was clueless about fabric back then).

Which of your quilts is your favorite or are you most proud of and why?
My favorite quilt is the one I made for the Robert Kaufman Kona Solid Challenge. My only regret in hindsight is not sending it out to be quilted by someone who knows what they’re doing. I laid it out and put it together on my own and probably did it wrong, but I really love how it turned out and I think it photographs beautifully, both front and back.

Where do you sew? Describe your space and your favorite quilting accompaniments.
I bought a laptop computer for the house about four years ago, which was when I was able to officially take over the "office/sewing room" once and for all. It is now officially a hot mess. I seem to have the same problems that toddlers suffer from -- short attention span, the inability to cleaning up after myself and maybe a little hoarding issue (it’s not Hoarding: Buried Alive, but it’s getting close). I like to work with the TV on or music playing. I don't really drink while sewing...I tend to forget about the drink and the ice melts, it gets warm or worse, I spill it. Next to having the dedicated space, my homemade design wall is my favorite thing ever (totally copied from Film in the Fridge)!
Describe your fabric buying habits and stash. How do you manage your stash?
My fabric buying habit is more like an addiction and my stash an embarrassment. I have a couple of bookcases that I keep my fabric in and although it may look messy, there is a method to my madness. The good designer stuff is on the top two shelves, the solids come next and then it's pretty much a free for all after that. I sort my scraps the same way. I buy most of my fabric on line, but have put a serious stop on that until I cut into my hoarded stash of Hope Valley...oh yes, it's still sitting on the top shelf untouched.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about quilting?
I dislike ironing my seams open, which is why I don’t do it very often. My favorite part is hand sewing the binding. For some reason, I just love it.
What are your current and/or long-term quilting goals?
Besides actually using the Hope Valley fabric, making a Swoon quilt (possibly with the Hope Valley fabric), and entering a quilt in the State Fair next year.
What is one (or more) quilt technique you would like to learn or are afraid of?
Well I was terrified of free motion quilting, but since I've tried it and discovered that's it not that scary, especially with the feed dogs down—Annik, you are TOTALLY right!
Who or what inspires you most in quilting?
I'm continually amazed at what is brought to our Guild meetings. Holy cow, can you ladies make some gorgeous stuff!! I love blogs. I have bookmarked Film in the Fridge (my favorite), One Shabby Chic, Jaybird Quilts, V and Co., Posie Gets Cozy, and then it's pretty much a free for all clicking links which leads then leads to hours looking at blogs and quilts and Flickr and more quilts.
What advice do you have for new quilters?
Start with a pattern that is easy to follow and easy to sew. If you have a successful first quilt project, watch out because it will open up a whole new world that you never knew existed and won't believe you lived without.
Anything else you would like to share? Oh, I think that's about enough.


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