Paper Pieced Meet 'n Greet: Soma @ Whims and Fancies and GIVEAWAY!

13 Spools
Today, I'm talking with the lovely Soma of Whims and Fancies! If you go to her blog or her Craftsy page, you'll pretty much see that she's a paper piecing boss. These instrument patterns will knock your socks off!! And at the end of the interview, there's a giveaway :)
Give a quick, couple sentence bio of yourself.
I am a software engineer by trade who loves science and art equally.  I get bored extremely easily, so I like to work on different things to keep life interesting.  I travel as much as I can to learn about different cultures and to be inspired.  Astronomy and photography are my other serious hobbies. 

How often do you paper piece?
I am always working on new patterns and tend to paper piece every week.

As a paper piecing designer, do you use patterns from anyone else, or do you tend to just design what you want to make?
Very recently Caroline and I started hosting a Doctor Who QAL.  Along with blocks made from my own patterns, I am also making blocks from her fantastic Doctor Who patterns.  Other than that, I haven't stitched any blocks from other designers' patterns for a while.  I end up making patterns myself to match the specific picture I have in mind.
I do have a few patterns saved on my hard drive that I would like to make some day.  I would also love to make a quilt from all the wonderful blocks from the Spring Fling Blog Hop.

How did you get into designing paper piecing patterns?
I thought about making a quilt with things that make me feel comfortable around our place - books, tea (I am a huge tea drinker), music, favorite television shows, etc.  Then I started drawing.  That's how it all got started and I never looked back.

What does your design process look like? Do you use a computer program at all?
I do a little bit of research using Google, photos I have taken, or even a book I happen to have handy.  Then I start drawing using Adobe Illustrator.  Once I have the initial drawing, I start creating the pattern.  I always make sure to stitch the block using the finished pattern file.  That way I can ensure that the pattern I am posting is tried and tested.

Your piano pattern is intense, to say the least! I just like to stare at it in awe. How difficult was it for you to design? What made you decide to make it?
Thank you!!  I play the violin and the piano.  I always wanted to make a paper pieced violin and my husband insisted that I make the piano as well.  After I made the violin, I also got a few requests from others to make a piano.  Initially I kept on resisting thinking it would be too hard to design.  At the end, it really wasn't that hard.  Once I started drawing the piano, I started the seeing the pattern lines more clearly.

Iā€™m also really into your "Starlight Converging" and "Starlight Diverging" patterns. Tell us a little bit about those.
I love the night sky.  I think I was around 4 or 5 years old and I remember lying on the roof during a blackout and being mesmerized by the countless pinpricks of light.  I am fascinated by deep sky objects and the life cycle of stars.  Starlight Converging represents the birth of a star.  I also draw/paint now and then.  So I wanted to make that block with the color wheel colors.  I was really going to make just that one block.  Then I was reading an article about a supernova explosion and the Starlight Diverging pattern was born.

Starlight Converging
Starlight Diverging
When and what was your first paper piecing project? How was that experience?
I got into sewing and quilting because of paper piecing in late 2011.  The very first paper piecing project was a simple tree.  I followed a Youtube tutorial.  It was a pretty good one but there was a fair bit of guesswork.  I think I wasted a bit of fabric by cutting wrong amounts but it turned out alright at the end.  I didn't do much sewing after that until early 2012.  That's when I really started paper piecing a lot.

Do you have any paper piecing tips to share?
Now a days I never start sewing when I am in a hurry.  I take my time working on each individual section and carefully matching up the sections.  For me, paper piecing is a form or drawing and I would never want to rush it.

I used to continue sewing even when I was losing concentration, just to finish the block.  Next day, I would inevitably find some mistake caused by my rushing and have to redo a part of the block.  Now-a-days, when I reach a break point, I get up.  If I take my time, I make less mistakes and the seam ripper gets used a LOT less.

I usually don't trim the block the day I finish sewing.  I like to take one last look the next day with fresh eyes .  I found that If I discover a mistake on an already-trimmed block, it can mean having to sew a LOT more to fix the mistake, depending on the pattern.

I suppose at the end taking time and being thorough is the golden rule of paper piecing.

Are there any links you would like to share with us?
Caroline and my Doctor Who QAL -

I started knitting more and Caroline is really my inspiration.  I love her quilting too!
Trillium Design -

My Craftsy page -

and my Etsy page -

Thanks so much, Soma, for sharing with us! I'm seriously in awe of how detailed and precise your work is. Readers, if you would like to make something like Soma does, here's your chance! She's offering a free pattern of "Geese Around the Sun" - just comment for your chance to win! The drawing will be open till Tuesday at midnight, EST, and I'll announce the winner on Wednesday.
Geese Around the Sun

Prism QALAmy Garro