Why do you craft?

1. When did you start to create and make crafts?

It seems I've been crafting all my life.  My mom was always making things and she took a job as a craft consultant at LeeWards when I was old enough to take care of my siblings in the afternoon.  She was always bringing home new crafts to try and I thought she could do anything!  We tried all manner of needle crafts- cross stitch, crewel embroidery, needlepoint, candlewicking as well as things like wood burning and tole painting.  We always had homemade gifts for birthday and Christmas, which is a tradition we continue to follow.

Through the years all of us kids ended up working at LeeWards at one time or another.  It was during that period that I gathered my rather impressive collection of DMC embroidery thread.  I ended up going into the sciences in college, but always had some kind of crafty project going on in my free time.  I learned to knit and crochet as a kid and would make baby gifts such as crochet blankets.  I didn't take up quilting until I was in my mid twenties.  I was the one who got my mom and sister into quilting.  I started with a quilting class just before becoming pregnant with my first child.  When I found out I was pregnant I abandoned that first quilt (finally finished it 10 years later!) and started a baby quilt.  Ever since then I've felt that any baby I know ought to have a baby quilt.

2. Why did you start creating?

I don't know how to answer that.  It was in my blood I guess!

3. Why do you create?

Now I do it because I'm interested in how crafts are done or I love the finished product.  With quilting I just loved the whole look and idea of quilts and really wanted to have some.  There are so many new things to learn about.  I like the challenge of trying something new.  I also can't seem to sit around with my hands free.  I've noticed that my reading has really taken a back seat in the past few years.  Rather than take a book somewhere like I used to, I'll have my knitting.  I also want to be sure the love of handmade is passed down to my kids and to other kids I know.  I think I'm doing a pretty good job with that!  The very reason I decided Chloe should be homeschooled was when she was two and was already so creative.  I knew I couldn't send her to school to have that creativity crushed.

4. What do you create?

I make quilts and knit sweaters, socks, scarves, mittens, hats and felted things.  I got into the paper arts last year in a big way and have been makings Artist Trading Cards, greeting cards, handmade books and other paper crafts.  I like to sew bags and will try patterns for certain things.  I really don't like to make clothes, so will only do it when absolutely necessary (and usually grumble the whole time).  I love quilts simply for the fact that they will always fit!  I have found lately that with quilting I love to make scrappy things (the more fabrics the better) and I like to make up my own patterns.  I'll still whip out something with a traditional pattern if I need it quick, but I love to make something totally unique.  I guess that's why I love applique so much. 

5. Has this changed since you began crafting?

I made a lot of needle work pictures in my youth- the kits you buy at a craft shop.  I don't care for those anymore, though I do still have one in progress that I'll probably never finish.

In the mid 80s I went to UC Davis for my Master's degree in science.  I was terribly busy with all that, but found out there was an craft center on campus where anyone could take classes.  This turned out to be a very important outlet for me.  In fact, some of my best memories of that time came from those evening classes.  My husband also took classes there in woodworking.  I took black and white photography, silver jewelry making and wheel thrown pottery.  We made all our Christmas gifts that way and my family members still have those things!  In fact, my favorite mug is one I made way back when. 

Now, I don't do any of those crafts any more, but I very much appreciate them and love to go to craft galleries and museums to immerse myself in those arts and crafts.  I have developed a love of color and folk art style, so my fabric choices have changed dramatically over the years. 

6. What are your crafting goals for the future?

For a couple of years now I've been wanting to learn to spin, both by spindle and by wheel.  I also want to become a more intuitive knitter.  With knitting I feel like a slave to the pattern for more complicated items.  I'm planning a sweater now using the percentage system and made without seams (I really, really hate sewing up!).  I would like to use more of Elizabeth Zimmermann's ideas so will be studying her books.  I've tried weaving and think it's pretty cool, but not something I want to get into now.  I am making an attempt to take better photos of my work.  I have an Etsy shop, but haven't ever posted anything for sale.  I hope that next year I'll have the time to do so.  I would love to someday have a style that is recognizable.