Member spotlight: Colby L.

Tell us about yourself, e.g. family, kids, pets, day job, have you always lived in MN?
Profile PictureHello! My name is Colby and I am a 25-year old single lady that lives in the warehouse district in downtown Minneapolis. I have a dog, Marta, that is a Labrador/Greyhound mix, and a cat, Marlow, that is a grey tabby. They both love to help me quilt, even if they do get in the way more than they help.J I moved to MN a little over a year ago from Texas for my job. I work for Target, in Distribution, on the Reverse Supply Chain, dealing with hazardous waste. (It’s more fun than it sounds.)
Do you have a blog, Etsy shop, or other quilt-related business?
I have been blogging for about 3 years at I am right now in the process of building up enough inventory to start my Etsy shop, so look for that in the coming months!
Do you have any other hobbies, crafty or otherwise?
 I mainly quilt, but get into embroidering moods a couple of times a year. I have tried to knit but have never finished a piece. One day I will make a pair of socks, but it doesn’t look like that will be any time soon.
How long have you been quilting, and how did you learn to quilt?
 My mother was a seamstress by trade so I grew up with the constant hum of the sewing machine in the background. I made my first quilt when I was nine. I continued making quilts through high school and then picked it back up after I finished my undergrad and have been going strong ever since.
How many quilts do you think you have made? How many are still UFOs (unfinished objects)?
 Ooh, I have made probably about 25-30 quilts. They range in size, mini’s all the way to queen. I usually don’t have TOO many UFO’s. I would say right now I have about 5-7 that are in different unfinished stages that I actually intend on finishing rather than scrapping.
How many hours a week do you spend quilting on average?
 It all depends on the month. On a good week, I will quilt about 12 hours on the weekend, but I rarely get to do anything except for maybe handwork during the week. My quilting ebbs and flows, I will quilt like a maniac for a month and then take a break for several weeks, and repeat. I try not to make it a chore and only do it when I am excited about it to keep it fun.
Describe your first quilt. 
It was made out of a sparkly light blue space themed fabric. It was only squares with a thick yellow sashing. I tied it instead of quilting it, as I did with all my quilts up until I picked quilting back up after undergrad. My mom didn’t know that machine quilting existed and/or didn’t want to teach me so I used to tie all my quilts.

My first quilt

Which of your quilts is your favorite or are you most proud of and why? 
My Tickertape Texas is my favorite quilt. I live in a loft that has HUGE blank walls and I wanted to create something that was bright and acted like an art piece, but had a bit of personal feel to it. I thought of this quilt in my head and HAD to make it immediately. I worked for 48 hours, only stopping to eat and sleep to make it. I am from Texas and am very proud of it so I love that I was able to express that in my quilting and hang it where those who visit can see it as well.

Finished Texas Tickertape
Where do you sew? Describe your space and your favorite quilting accompaniments (music, tv, wine, etc). 
I sew in the corner of my apartment. When I search for places to live. The non-negotiable is a place for me to sew. I used to have a table, then moved to a bedroom, then under the stairs, and my current place, I am in the corner. I have it set up all the time which I found is really important for me. I have put curtains around the shelving to cover up the mess behind it. I have a huge closet that is completely devoted to quilting so I am very lucky, it works out very well.

Sewing Nook

Fabric Closet
Describe your fabric buying habits and stash. How do you manage your stash?
I usually just buy when I need fabric. I do a lot of online quilting bees and therefore work in certain colors. When a color starts getting low, then I go online and find a sale and restock on the colors that I need. I keep almost all my fabric folded and in color order, this allows me to quickly chose fabrics for bee blocks, plus it looks pretty. J
Fabric Stash Organization
 I keep big pieces in the folded baskets, and then anything that is too small that won’t fold up nicely I put in color segregated plastic bags. Once something is less than a charm squre, it goes into the bits box, which is all mixed.
                                                                                    Big Color Scrap bag
What are your favorite and least favorite things about quilting?
 I love picking fabrics, but who doesn’t? I also love putting the blocks together and seeing the final quilt come together. I think my absolute favorite part is sewing the binding on though, which is probably a weird part to like for most people. I love this part because it gives me a chance to see the final piece, pick off the loose threads, and part with it before it goes to its next home. I hate machine quilting. Okay, maybe hate is a strong word. I do not enjoy it, it is too much of the same thing for too long and it is a necessary evil. If I could just make quilt tops all day and never quilt them, I would be happy.
What are your current and/or long-term quilting goals?
I currently need to do a machine quilting marathon that I have been putting off to get my stack of quilt tops finished. I am not allowed to start another major project until that is complete. Long term, I would love to finish my family’s double wedding ring quilt that was started by my great grandmother. It is a mix of hand and machine pieced so it will be a challenge to see how to make it fit together.JHeirloom DWR
What is one (or more) quilt technique you would like to learn or are afraid of?
I am afraid of machine raw edge applique. Every time I try it, it looks horrendous and therefore I steer away from doing it. Maybe I am just doing it wrong, who knows.
Who or what inspires you most in quilting?
I love the community that has been formed around quilting in the recent years. Both online and in guilds, there is so much support for creativity and trying new things that I know when I jump outside the box, that someone will still be cheering me on, even if it is a fail. Just having those people around you to support your growth is amazing.
What advice do you have for new quilters?
Try it. You never know if you are good at something or are going to like something until you try it. Half of the things I love I learned through doing online quilting bees that forced me to try a new technique or color combination that I would have never tried myself.
Anything else you would like to share?
Be yourself in your creations. Some people will love what you do and others will hate it but all that matters is that you express yourself through what you create and have fun doing it!     

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