I met Penny Poppleton very briefly at a workshop I attended in Sydney a few months ago and have been following her on Instagram since. I’ve particularly enjoyed watching her progress on her fresh take on Mrs Billings’ Coverlet and thought we might get to know her better.
1. Tell us a bit about you? I’m thirty, American, living in Sydney with my husband and two small children, and I am an aspiring novelist! I’m an introvert but I like spending time with people. Especially book people. I also have a slight anxiety disorder and I’m very routine and ritual focused! (This is why my house is so clean.) 🙂
2. When did you start quilting? I have relatives who make quilts but I started out dressmaking. Since I can remember, I’ve been a keen sewist…even when I would get in trouble for getting into my mom’s sewing box! I got serious about sewing in my late teens and I started making baby quilts in earnest when I was pregnant with my now three-year-old. I remember thinking dressmaking seams were too big so I made more than one baby quilt with 3/8″ seams before I realized there was a standard!
3. Tells us about your first quilt? The very first quilt I made was a tragic looking mini made from scraps that I gave to my aunty back in 1996. It was awful! Also I got in trouble because she was teaching me how to sew and her rule was “never start more than one project at once” (ha ha). Probably the first quilt I made properly (1/4″ seams, out of all cotton) was for my niece. It was green and pink, and I made it as a disappearing nine patch on point. I really wish I had a picture. It was a pretty quilt.
4. What’s your favourite part of the quilt-making process? I can never decide if it’s design, or perfect points, or the quilting! I like almost all of it…maybe not binding. 🙂
5. What project are you currently working on? I am finishing the hand-quilting on an old WIP, about to start machine quilting my son’s baby quilt, and I’ve got an ongoing paper piecing project that I’m hard at work at. That one is going to take a year at least! I also need to get the bed quilts for my little ones made as they are going to soon be moving into their new room and I’d like those to be on their new big-kid beds. 🙂
6. When did you start blogging? I’ve had a blog of some sort for the last twelve years, but only in the last three or so years have I really focused on the creative parts of my life.
7. What do you love about blogging? I really love other bloggers. I’m not as good with people in real life (probably because my two daily companions are 3 years old and 15 months old!) but online I can have real conversations about the creative process with other adults…many of whom have kids and can remember (or are concurrently experiencing) the same need for adult conversation!
8. Tell us about English Paper Piecing – why do you love it? I really love having something to do with my hands, all the time, and I love being forced to slow down and pay attention. When I started EPP, I was doing it for our guild group quilt, and of course I vowed to never touch another hexagon. Two years later…I’m booking into get a hexagon tattoo! I’m doing the Mrs Billings Coverlet pattern (by Karen Styles) and it’s all EPP/hand piecing…I’ve set myself the goal of a year. It’s kind of nice to have a big project that requires so much time and attention and focus.
9. What’s next for you – where do you see yourself in two/five/ten years’ time (whichever you feel like answering)? I hope I’ll be a published author, and I really hope I’ll still have time for quilting. I’ll probably be busy driving kids around and still churning out quilts and manuscripts! Oh — and I really hope I have learned to knit by then!