I first met Crystal at the beginning of 2014, through a quilting bee we were both involved in. I've been quilting for a long time, but I'd never ever done improv quilting. Crystal's was the first block of the year and she asked for orange peel blocks in an improvisational style. I had no idea what to do! I remember that block with fondness because it introduced me to a totally different style of quilting rather than my particularly anal one.
Since then Crystal has participated in the Sewvivor Competition, released a number of patterns, exhibited at Quiltcon and is now teaching her unique style in classes across Australia. I thought it would be great to get to know Crystal and find out more of what makes her tick. Read through to the end and there may be a special surprise for you, Dear Reader.
1. Tell us a bit about you?
My name is Crystal, but you already know that! What can I tell you about me? I have been quilting for almost nine years now. I’ve always sewn, way before sewing was cool. When I was much younger, I went to fashion school before a quick detour into Beauty Therapy. I landed back in the ‘industry’, creating sporting uniforms for clubs and schools. After a few years in the public service, I have heard the call of the fabric and have answered with quilts. When I’m not quilting (rare!), blogging or taking photos, you can find me running after my two gorgeous children dancing, laughing and enjoying life.
2. When did you start quilting?
I started quilting around nine years ago when I was in my early 20’s. My mum has been an avid quilter for a long time, but the kind of quilts she made and the fabric she hoarded, I mean, curated, was, well, just not me. The style back then was a little bit ah, country without much in between. So technically I started one far earlier, a lovely dusty pink number. It never got any further than a few blocks. But, fabrics changed a few years later and once I made my first quilt, I was hooked.
3. Tells us about your first quilt?
The first quilt I made was a baby quilt with lots of very bright colours, animal appliqué and a bit of embroidery. I think of all the mistakes I made - I didn't even know that you cut the strips across the selvedge... But I loved it and so did the family I gave it to and I think that’s what is important. Hey, we all gotta start somewhere! I learnt so much making that quilt - I wish I had kept a photo of it!
4. What attracts you to Modern Quilting - what do you love about Modern Quilting?
I'm one of those annoying people that always ask why. To me, there is nothing worse than doing something a certain way, just because that is the way it has always been done. I want to break free, challenge the status quo and break some rules. When I think of modern quilts, I like to think, how were the rules broken? Did I take something traditional and twist it into something new? Did I create something unexpected? That's how I like to create, that's where my inspiration sits and that’s why I love modern quilting.
5. What’s your favourite part of the quilt-making process?
This is really hard for me to answer. I make most of my quilts from start to finish and I can honestly say that I don’t have a favourite part, or even a part that I like the least. Except squaring up a quilt. That’s the worst. How does anyone ever do it without their fingers crossed and a small prayer before beginning. Am I right?
6. What project are you currently working on?
I have several on the go at the moment of course! There is nothing like a deadline that gets you moving on finishing a quilt. The Canberra Modern Quilt Guild is having a display at the Canberra Craft and Quilt Show this year, and I have two that I am finishing to include. One has been a work in progress for a few years, it is a modern hexagon quilt - A hexagon, within a hexagon, within a hexagon. This quilt is made with using several techniques, starting with English Paper Piecing for the 1 inch hexagons. I made my 'own fabric' with them, before cutting them back up to splice them into the six pieced hexagons. Finally I arranged them into a larger hexagon flower and completed it with hand quilting. When I made this quilt, I paid my respects to the rules on the way to breaking them.
The other one is the first in my series of #quote my quilt. An interpretation of the theme ‘Modern takes on traditional’, it literally spells out ‘modern quilt takes on tradition’ using improv style letters.
7. What do you love about designing quilts? How did your design practice come about?
Great question! I love bringing my imagination to life. That’s a really special feeling, knowing that I have given life to a design and it gives me a special sense of pride. And more than that, watching other people bring my designs to life, is kind of amazing. I can’t tell you what it means when my customers tell me how much they enjoy my designs, that it challenged them or that they loved it so much, they made it twice!
8. What’s next for you – where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
In five years time I look forward being able to dedicate more time to quilting as a business as I shift to being a quilter full time. That will include teaching at workshops around Australia and starting to work on my exclusive book deal.
9. Where can we find you? (FB, Instagram etc - also please feel free to put links to your upcoming classes here).
You can find me all over the place, and I’m am hosting two local quilting classes in Canberra this year, which I am really looking forward to. Join me as we embrace modern quilting with my fun and unique designs. The workshops will be held at Hobbysew in Belconnen, Canberra. For more information, please visit http://raspberryspool.com/quilting-classes-in-canberra/
If you can’t make a class, you can always download one of my patterns online from www.raspberryspool.bigcartel.com/!
Website - www.raspberryspool.com
Instagram - www.instagram/raspberryspool
Facebook - www.facebook.com/raspberryspool
As I mentioned, there is a special surprise for you, Dear Reader. Crystal has been kind enough to offer readers of Vine Lines Quilting a 20% discount on patterns from her store. To take advantage of this generous offer, enter VINE20 at the checkout. This special offer is available until Midnight, Sunday 1 August 2015.