I believe I first encountered Alyce on instagram, although I hardly remember how anymore! However, her work is so classy, and her adventures in Other Countries (Japan) are neat to watch and read about on her blog!
Website/Blog: Blossom Heart Quilts
Store: Blossom Heart Quilts pattern store
How did you come to be a quilter?
I had always been vaguely intrigued by quilting, knowing that it existed, but I really realized what it was when a mum in my local mums’ group showed off the quilt she had made with her own mum! It was gorgeous and I decided to make one each for my kids, maybe when they were 5 years old… They were 1 and barely born at the time! I started reading up about it, when one day in Spotlight, my husband told me to just buy a machine already while they were on sale. So I did. And Ellie the Elna 1000 and I have had such adventures since!
What is it that you love about being a quilter?
The colour play. The choosing of fabrics. The math of making the designs coming together properly. The community.
What are you most proud of from your quilting experience?
On the actual quilt side of quilting experiences, my latest quilt is definitely my proudest achievement. Eternity was not only the biggest quilt I’ve quilted myself, it’s also the most detailed that I’ve done.
In other quilting experiences, I’m definitely proud of the writing opportunities that have come out of blogging – Make Modern
and Craftsy blog
What’s the one piece of advice about quilting that all new quilters should know?
Experiment and try everything once. That way you’ll be able to find your style much more easily!
What’s your 3 favourite quilts that you’ve made that reflect who you are as a quilter?
Well, we’ve already covered Eternity, and I’d be remiss to mention the original Bright Sky quilt:
It was such a fun journey to get to the final design, and very precious to me as it was a gift for my best friend.
I think I’d have to pick Tea For Two
as my third one, as it really reflects my love for quilt math and sneaky-cool repetitive patterns:
I have sketchbooks full of designs like this, that work on simple blocks repeated to make an effective, complex design. I’m excited that many will finally see the light of day next year!
If you weren’t a quilter, what other creative endeavour would you like to master?
Well, I dabble in cross-stitch and Project Life scrapbooking, but I don’t know that I’d want to master either of them… I guess potentially scrapbooking? I have always loved beautiful paper and stationery! So really, living in Japan is truly the best place for me with all the fabric and adorable stationery everywhere!
What is your favourite kind of pie?
Apple or cherry for sure. Or both. Both is good! Chapple pie, anyone?
What holidays, traditions or religious occasions do you celebrate in your family at this time of year?
We are all Christmas, all December. We put up the tree roughly December 1st (or for the past couple of years, the weekend nearest, anyway), we sing carols, we eat fruit cake, and now the kids are at last old enough to fully enjoy the Advent calendar I made a couple of years ago! This year, they will find a piece of the 24-piece Nativity scene puzzle, a Bible verse and an activity to do together. (Pic - http://www.blossomheartquilts.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Ornamental-Sew-Seasonal-bundle-400x400.jpg and link: http://www.blossomheartquilts.com/pattern-shop/christmas-pdf-pattern-bundle/ )
Do you listen to music, watch television or prefer the hum of the sewing machine when you sew?
I frequently try to watch videos/TV on the iPad while sewing, but I just get too distracted – I either sew away and suddenly realized I haven’t paid attention for 5 minutes, or I realize I’ve just spent 30 minutes to do a 5-minute task because I was watching the show instead. Ditto for podcasts! So music is definitely my best companion while sewing.
What are your favourite types of blog posts to read?
I love stories. It’s so easy to see images everywhere else – Instagram, Pinterest, etc – but this is why blogs aren’t really dying. Words. Nowhere else can you find the stories, the tips, the tutorials, the behind-the-scenes information that take us deeper than that snapshot into your sewing room.
If you had to pick any designer to sit down and chat or work with for the day who would it be and why?
Kate Spain. Anyone who knows me for even a few weeks would know this already! I just love her designs. While some other designers have the most amazing uses of colour in individual prints that might make my heart sing more, it’s her actual patterns that get me and the way her colours work across the whole range. Each line takes me to a different place! Cuzco and Terrain are definitely my favourites, and her Christmas lines are always so fun but also full of good blenders for use any time of the year.
What’s your favourite colour combination to work with and why?
It changes every few months! 2013 was the year of navy, pink, yellow and teal green. These evolved into a more saturated palette of navy, coral, rich/golden yellow, aqua and/or teal. Currently, I can’t bear to put this autumn-inspired pull away (http://www.blossomheartquilts.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/IMG_7347.jpg). These aren’t usually my colours – hello, brown?! But it’s gotten under my skin and I know I need to use it somehow.
Do you have any quilting goals for 2015, what are they?
I have some big goals I’m already working towards! There will be a year-long quilting series on my blog, and several patterns to go along with it. I also want to make at least 2 full-size original quilts, plus it would be good to chip away at a few UFOs lying around before we move back to Australia in 2016.
Do you prewash your quilting fabrics?
Nope, ain’t nobody got time fo’ that! Especially all the ironing afterwards! I only prewash flannel if I don’t want it to shrink, or fabric for garments.
What’s the best quilting tip you ever got?
A quarter inch seam really does make the difference. So does pressing seams – my Clover finger presser is my best sewing friend!
Do you have any favourite tools that you love to use?
Clover finger presser is obviously at the top! I also love my little pink scissors for trimming thread tails, and my red Clover seam unpicker is one of those tools you need but hate but love. Also red and awesome are my Clover Wonder clips. I’ve got 30 of them, and I’d love another 30! They’re awesome – not just for binding or holding bulky layers together, but also long paper piecing seams:
What are you hoping the festive season will bring for you?
Well, my chances of getting that new Juki sewing machine are about as real as Santa, so I’m quite happily settling for some beautiful family times with our five guests visiting us here in Japan! My cousin/sister-from-another-mother is one of those, and oh boy, I have late night chats and sing-alongs and crazy dancing sessions already lined up!