Paper Pieced Meet 'n Greet: Elizabeth @ Don't Call me Betsy!

Today I'm so excited to talk with Elizabeth of Don't Call me Betsy! I was swooning a little to interview her, since she's celebrity status to me :)  
13 Spools
We also have a giveaway today!
Just leave a comment to win her Wheel of Fortune pattern!! 
Enter before Tuesday at midnight, EST. Winner announced on Wednesday, July 3.
Now, onto the chatting!
If you could give a short bio of yourself:

Well, I'm a stay-at-home mom who needed a hobby, and wandered into Jo-Ann's and bought myself a sewing machine. After a few miscellaneous sewing projects, I found my niche when I made my first quilt, and have been quilting ever since.

When and what was your first paper piecing project? How was that experience?

My first paper piecing project was in my first virtual sewing bee, a group of online friends that I put together back in 2011 called {Sew} Beautiful Bee. Brooke Johnsen of Pitter Putter Stitch asked us to make a circle of geese block, which was really hot at the time. I'd never paper pieced prior to that, and honestly, the tutorial for the block was very well-written, but I had a really hard time grasping the whole process. I threw the block across the room, cursing at it many times, and threw away several practice attempts, before things started to click and I started to understand the process. I briefly wrote about it on my blog here.

Your (foundation pieced) spiderweb quilt made it into International Quilt scene – how cool is that! How did that make you feel?

Totally floored. I had initially submitted something else to the magazine, but they wound up getting in touch with me to ask for something else, because the quilt I initially submitted wasn't ready, and they asked for the spiderweb quilt. It's positively near and dear to my heart, in part because it was assembled with my friends from the {Sew} Beautiful Bee, but also because it's got so many of my all-time favorite fabrics in it!

You have designed quite a few paper piecing patterns! How does it make you feel to see others make projects with your patterns?

I love seeing that - especially when I see people putting their own twists on my blocks, changing the colors to create new repeats and new visual impacts. It is so fun to see a block I designed out there somewhere, on a journal cover or in a quilt or on a pouch.

When did you first start designing your own paper piecing patterns?

Hmm, looking at my computer, it looks like my first attempt was in the fall of 2011. I had started sketching out lots of blocks, thinking about shapes I wanted to use, and started toying with the idea of designing my own paper pieced pattern. The first one I ever tackled was graph paper based. I wasn't sure it would work out, but it did, and that's when I made the leap to using the computer.

What does the design process look like for you? (computer, sketching with pen and paper, where do you find inspiration, etc.)

I typically start on paper. I like to sketch, and although I sometimes bypass that step, I do really enjoy taking the time for it. I love the sound of colored pencils scribbling on graph paper, it's such a calming sound to me, kind of like white noise, but it makes me smile. I often find inspiration in things like tile patterns as well as other furnishings, like an old movie palace in town which has fantastic light fixtures and architectural details that are so inspiring. I get lots of color inspiration from nail polish and paint swatches, as well as Design Seeds.

You are currently leading the Lucky Stars BOM program, where participants receive patterns and instructions for piecing 12 different paper pieced blocks. What is your favorite part about this event?

By far, it's sharing the fun of paper piecing with all the club members. It's so fun to see all of the different interpretations of each month's block, and I love how many people are telling me that now they love paper piecing, after having been afraid of it. That's the ultimate compliment!

Of all the paper piecing projects you have done/patterns you have designed, which is your favorite and why?

I think my favorite paper pieced project right now is something I made as a class sample last year for the Sewing Summit, using four Mariner's Compass blocks, some beautiful Moda solids, and Violet Craft's fantastic Memoir print in black. I took a lot of time planning out that mini and placing the text print just so, and I love the secondary repeat that the text creates as a background.

Do you have any paper piecing tips?

Well, for starters, remember that if you're using a paper piecing template, you're going to be aligining your fabric on the blank side of the paper template, and sewing on the printed side of the paper template. Be sure to shorten your stitch length, between 1.2 - 1.5 mm to perforate your paper thoroughly but not to the point of the template falling apart. And put away the rotary cutter! I've found in my classes that trimming your excess seam allowance with a pair of scissors is way more accurate with less than of cutting into your template or block by accident than when you use a rotary cutter.

Are there any links you would like to share with us? (to QALs, patterns, Flickr group, etc., can be your own or others’)

You can find my two paper pieced patterns, Wheel of Fortune and the Lucky Stars Block of the Month club, as well as my other non-paper pieced patterns, at my Pattern Shop. I do have some free patterns available as well, like my String Heart Block, which you can find here. You can find lots more paper piecing inspiration on Flickr in the Paper Pieced Blocks group as well as the Addicted to Paper Piecing group. Thanks again so much for asking me to do this!

Thanks so much to you, Elizabeth! And readers, don't forget to leave a comment to enter the giveaway!

Prism QALAmy Garro