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One of the most delightful women we get to work with in our independent designer program is Stephanie. Stephanie runs a site called Designs by Loft Creations and designs some of the most beautiful patterns we've seen. And her photography? Second to none!
Because we adore her so much, we decided to conduct an interview so that all of you may see how wonderful she truly is. We've scattered images of some of Stephanie's designs throughout the interview so that you can see just how talented she is. We hope you enjoy!
Q: Tell us a little about you, your family and home life and how these are exhibited in your designs or process?
A: Mom is a perfectionist crafter. She insisted I learn to sew from educated teachers. Big mistake. She was more talented than the teachers. After two less than stellar attempts at Home Economics she feared the creative gene skipped generations. I'm a late bloomer as I learned to sew in my 30s while living on a military base in Japan. I wanted to be able to sew simple Halloween Costumes, jammies, etc…for my very young children. My ultimate goal though was to learn to quilt. My husband, Dave, is super supportive and when we plan a vacation he asks if there are any quilt shops I'd like to visit. He's a keeper. My daughter, Allison, is my pattern formatter, pattern cover designer, patient computer teacher, and color go?to girl. Son James’ only request when I’m making him a quilt is that it's big enough to completely cover him, is warm enough (I use flannel for quilt backs) and he approves of the colors.
Q: How did you get started designing? What was your first design?
A: I have always been the sort that didn't want to do or make anything that looks like everyone else. When I was still a new quilter I altered patterns to my taste. I think the very first quilt I made totally on my own was one I call Murphy's Law. If there was a mistake to be made, I made it. I kept running to the quilt store to replace what I'd cut incorrectly. I still have the quilt. It was a learning experience and confidence booster.
My very first published pattern was The West Linn Bag. Still my favorite bag and still the one I carry most often.
Q: How has your designing over the years evolved since your first pattern design?
A: Although I’m still relatively new to the pattern design world, I try to vary the use of materials when bag making. I love trims, rick rack, vintage buttons, as well as using corduroy and denim. I've broadened my scope and look beyond what would be considered traditional. My collection of vintage fabrics and linens is growing steadily and I see future designs incorporating them.
Q: What type of patterns do you enjoy designing or do you have a specific design/style profile you enjoy most?
A: My pattern design life got started with bags but I was a quilt maker first. If I have to classify myself I'd say I love crafty, cute, contemporary. My taste is eclectic.
Q: What inspires you and your designs?
A: It could be a piece of fabric that gets the wheels turning or maybe it something I see in nature of an architectural feature like details on a decorative fence. Then I try to interpret it into my style. And nothing gets my juices flowing like vintage buttons!
Q: What developments or trends in quilting are you excited about?
A: I love the use of recycled materials in today's quilting. Certainly nothing new as our ancestors did it long before out of necessity.
Q: Tell us about your workspace? What do you like about it and what do you wish you could change?
A: My sewing life began at the end of the dining room table with a cabinet in the hall for my fabric. I moved to a loft in my current home (that's where Loft Creations began), then a small spare bedroom. Lucky for me my husband and son created my current sewing studio which is in our finished basement. It's a walk-out so I have windows and even a bathroom. I selected the colors, flooring, layout, lighting and they did the work. I wouldn't change a thing. I have a huge design wall right behind my sewing chair. Then I can sew, swivel, and pin. One of my favorite features is an eye/bolt and wire system strung along the length of the 27 foot back wall. I have clips to hang and display my quilts and rotate them when I want.
Q: quilting technique to use?
A: I love the use of big stitching quilting in projects.
Q: quilting tool that you could not live without?
A: Left-handed Gingher scissors. Finding true left-handed scissors is not easy.
A: Crafty, cute, contemporary
A: Absolutely without a doubt Lime Green. And if there are polka dots involved it's even better! I had a lime green bean bag chair in the early 1970s.
Q: quilt designer? (Other than yourself of course)
A: Actually, I don't have a favorite designer as I'm inspired by so very many talented bloggers.
Q: organizational tip?
A: I pre-wash all fabric before stashing it so it's ready when I am.
Q: Do you have a personal motto you try to live by?
A: Two actually: 1) I'd rather do one or two things well than lots of things mediocre. That applies to my everyday life. 2) When it comes to agonizing over perfection my rule of thumb is ?? I'll un?sew and re?sew twice. After that it's meant to be "imperfect."
Q: Do you have any advice for new quilters?
A: There really are no rules when it comes to quilting. Do what you like, when you like, because you like. No one else's opinion matters. Just love what you do. And remember "mistakes" can turn out to be very happy new designs.
Q: What would surprise us most about you?
A: Perhaps that I do not own every piece of polka dot fabric in existence!