Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m Laura Jane. I’m a twenty-something computer programmer from Leicester, UK. I started sewing properly about 5 years ago as a procrastination tool whilst I was at university, and I’ve never looked back! I’ve always loved fabric and colour and pattern, so when I accidentally stumbled upon some sewing/quilting blogs through knitting blogs which I was reading at the time, I felt like I had finally found my place in the crafting world. I used to blog regularly at www.needlespinsandbakingtins.com, but recently my blog has taken a back seat in favour of other exciting endeavours in my life.
Tell us a bit about the book?
Quiltopedia is a book designed to gently lead a novice quilter through all the steps of the quilting process; from choosing and buying suitable fabrics, to cutting, piecing, quilting and caring for your work. It covers many different aspects of quilting in the detailed beginning section, and then demonstrates these techniques throughout the 27 projects. The projects themselves range from large bed quilts, down to teeny tiny pincushions and everything in between. Experienced quilters can jump right in at the advanced project section and also may find the block directory at the back of the book very useful in planning their own sampler-quilt style of projects.
What was the inspiration behind it?
For me, quilting is all about the fabrics. I’m constantly inspired by new fabric lines and new colour combinations. I love nothing more than delving into my fabric stash, pulling a little stack to work with, and coming up with a fun design to showcase the prints and colours. Most of the projects in the book started out that way; from a stack of fabrics just waiting to be sewed up into something fun.
Which is your favourite project?
My favourite project, if it’s okay to mention (I feel a little bit like I’m choosing my favourite child!), is the Obsession Quilt. All 80” squared of it! I had a few lines of beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics to work with, and I was having trouble coming up with a design that I liked that could pull them all together. I sat down over a cup of tea with my Mom and we started rearranging the fabrics and sketching up simple designs. The Obsession quilt was born; aptly named because I thought of nothing else except this quilt for weeks after that conversation.
What is your craft space like?
Whilst I was writing the book, my sewing space was my lounge/dining room. So when I recently moved house, my single biggest requirement was to have a sewing room. I now sew in a box room; it’s barely big enough to fit a single bed in, but it is my space. I mean, the whole house is my space, but having that room devoted to my passion makes me feel much more creative and productive. And at the end of a sewing day when lots of fabric has been flying around, I can just close the door! Being such a small room, it was tricky to fit everything I needed in there, but somehow it works. Plus the walls are entirely lined with my fabric stash which makes for pretty, and functional, decoration.
Have you always been creative?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been into arts and crafts. While most kids played with dolls, I played with paint and paper and glitter and yarn.
When did you first start crafting?
I have vivid memories of my Mom lining the kitchen floor and walls with big sheets of paper and letting me go to town rolling around in the paint, haha! I studied textile design at school, and really enjoyed all the different techniques we learnt, but ultimately decided to follow my other passion (maths) and went into a career in IT. I love having my creative side as a hobby; it’s how I wind down from a stressful day at work. I still knit and crochet, I sew some clothes and bags occasionally, but my main passion these days is quilting.
Who are your crafty heroes?
Anything written by Sarah Fielke will always hold a place on my shelf. Her books are truly beautiful to look at, and her quilts are miniature works of art. Her style is completely different to mine; I’d never even attempt all that applique and hand quilting which might be why I love looking at them so much! Tula Pink’s patterns are also some of my favourites. She has a really clear, concise and logical way of writing a pattern which appeals to my inner math nerd. I recently made her giant pixelated Anchors Aweigh pattern... when you’re working with nearly 700 2” squares, you come to appreciate well written patterns.
Where do you find inspiration?
I think with the age of social media, is pretty hard NOT to be inspired on a daily basis. In fact, my trouble sometimes is wanting to make everything right.this.instant! I have a great group of sewing friends, both online and in real life and they are a massive source of inspiration to me. My Instagram feed (@laurajane7789) is always full of my friends latest craft endeavours; I love how easily we can share photo’s and give and receive feedback. I also love reading sewing books; it’s a little passion of mine to collect all the books written by my friends. If I’m ever stuck for a project for a gift or occasion, I’ll often turn to them for help.
What's next for you?
I’d like to carry on writing and sewing. I really enjoyed writing Quiltopedia, and I love writing patterns and features for magazines. It’s always fun to see yourself in print isn’t it?! I have a couple of good ideas for future book projects… so time will tell on that front! I also have 2 weekend sewing retreats coming up this year with my friends which I’m super excited about, and as always I have hugely ambitious plans of finishing 12 quilts in that time. That’s pretty much not going to happen accounting for all the chatting and cake-eating that will go down. Maybe I’ll at least finish one top this year, haha :o)