4/20/2018

Designer Showcase: Meet Wendy Franczak of Modern Stitching Affair

Today I have a super special treat for you all because I'm bringin' it in with Wendy Franczak. She's one of the Founders of the Modern Stitching Affair, a former Mad Mod Quilt Guild President for many years, a Cat FANATIC, and one of the kindest, funniest people I know. 






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You're going to love her--and all her cats.




Yes indeed- she has a bunk bed for her kitties.













Here we go!






Getting to know you...Where did you grow up and do you think this had an impact on you as a maker?

Under age 14-- Illinois. Over 14--Wisconsin. I don’t think my locations impacted me creatively, but I’ve always enjoyed being creative. When I was a kid I enjoyed drawing, painting, playing with clay and making things out of paper. I was always most interested in learning about art or creating art compared to any other subject in school. My mom and maternal grandmother are very crafty and sew-- and encouraged me.



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Wendy's Winter quilt and mantel (with cat).







Wendy's Precious AF Quilt 
A Bee collaboration in 2017 with Wisco Gamblers





What drew you into the world of sewing?

I thought it was cool that people could make stuff. I was given an old Brother sewing machine and made two tie blankets. I thought sewing was too hard and put my machine away. A few years went by and in 2011 I was working 50+ hours a week and was exhausted. I needed a creative outlet and a purpose outside of work. I searched for creative classes at community centers, Madison College, and sewing shops. Only one class fit my schedule and it was a beginning quilt making class. They said as long as I knew how to thread my machine I could take their class so I googled how to thread my machine and enrolled!








Do you make daily?

I don’t. For me, that would be a chore. I like to read or veg out and watch TV and have ALL THE CATS on me if I am not sewing. Also, if I am working on my sewing retreat The Modern Stitching Affair, I find that takes away my drive to sew.


Wendy's sewing room.




What is your favorite thing in the world to make?

Probably quilts.


I think about quilts in my brain all the time.








Wendy is hosting the Scrap Vortex 100 days project sewing challenge on Instagram. Join in- it's never too late! 








What is your LEAST favorite? 

Probably bags, but I still make them. If a pattern has too many steps I get overwhelmed and think F that S. There are so many cool patterns out there though! Interfacing is a magical mystery that I am still trying to decode and stash.




YOU SEW CUTE Wendy!




We met at a Mad Mod meeting and I remember the exact moment --can you believe that? Do you find the modern quilting movement "modern" or a reinvention of a time honored art? How has it affected your personal outlook on life?

That’s crazy!  I hope I was nice LOL. I am afraid to answer your modern question because the quilt police might cut me in my sleep. This is what I think about “modern.” If it looks like it belongs in a modern, clean lined house, then it’s modern. If it looks like it belongs on an Amish person’s bed then perhaps it’s not. For me, it has nothing to do with the time in which it was made.




The Modern Quilt Guild has totally changed my life and I am eternally grateful. 



I started going to Mad Mod Quilt Guild meetings in 2012 because I invested so much in supplies. I thought, if I met other quilters maybe I would stick with sewing and all that money I spent on supplies wouldn’t be wasted. This proved to be true. 

There were only 6 of us and they were all SO COOL. Now there are over 60 members and a bunch of us are super-duper closer friends now. Through sewing, I always have something to do and think about, and have made  many friends through quilt guilds, Quilt Expo, the Modern Stitching Affair, IG and Facebook. 




To say sewing changed me is an understatement.









Do you sell ready made items or do you take requests? Do you find this invigorating or draining? 

No. This is a creativity killer for me. I sew for the pure enjoyment of it. I refer these requests to friends. Plus, I am still learning and am very much attached to the things I make.









Let's talk about MODERN STITCHING AFFAIR! Deets!!

 MSA was a glimmer in Trina Peterson’s eye. The lifelong friendships she made attending Sew South made such a huge impact on her and are so important to her, that she wanted the same for our local community. I remember driving in the car, circling a “round about” when she popped the question about starting a retreat together. I had 1000 questions but ultimately jumped right in.




The Modern Stitching Affair is all about 
community building. 



We want to bring people together to make friends, socialize, relax and learn a little.  We try not to cram the weekend too full, while still providing fun projects to collaborate on and be proud of completing.




Our second retreat is April 26-29, 2018. It sold out in 36 hours! HOLY S***. 

I think people come for the great projects and generous prize and swag bag sponsors--- but they come back because of the friendships they make.


This year we have two projects and instructors. Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness and her Crimson and Clover train case. Also Tara Curtis of Wefty needle. She’s teaching us fabric weaving which we will turn into a tote or pillow.


The sponsors are off the hook this year. 

We have four sewing machines to giveaway (!) thanks to Ardyth’s Sew N VacMill House Quilts and Quintessential Quilts. A pair of prescription CraftOptics, a ton of fabrics from the Electric Needle, jelly rolls and totes from Riley Blake, Aurifil thread, Fiskars razor edge scissors and fabric knives, OTT Lamps, DayLight Co. Lamps annnnd so much more!

 It’s crazy. My basement is expertly organized right now so I can manage all the inventory.

2019 is already in the works. We’re hoping we can continue hosting this retreat annually moving forward if people want it. Tickets go on sale in fall 2018!




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Do you prefer specific brands in your sewing arsenal of tools/ fabrics/ designers?

I am really into Pfaff for sewing machines. Olfa for rotary cutter blades. Fiskars for scissors – for real, try the razor edge! And most any fabric with awesome looking cats on it. Lotta Jansdotter fabric is always a favorite too.




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What is the simplest project a newbie can get started on and make successfully in your opinion?

I would suggest a zipper pouch. Don’t fear the zipper! I love making something and using it right away. I feel like a peacock all damn day. I want to shout LOOK I MADE THIS THING AND IT IS SO COOL. I want other people to share this feeling hence – The Modern Stitching Affair.









This glitter vinyl is GorG!





Favorite band? Favorite genre?

Oh girl if you know me I like the hip hop. Lil Debbie: Two Cups, Bake a Cake, Rachets crack me UP! I like music with a lot of bass that you can dance too. I want music to energize me like disco, rap, hip-hop, oh and FRANK SINATRA. I love Frank.


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Lil' Debbie



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Sinatra






Favorite food? I can’t list just one: Potatoes, Chocolate, Tofu, Chic Peas!


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Do you listen to music or watch tv while making? Give us personal details so we don't have to send in a drone. Oh wait- your husband already does that! LOL !


Real life drone spy:




 Right now I am re-watching Downtown Abbey while I sew. I also listen to a lot of audio books. Follow me on GoodReads.com!


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Will you move next door to me please? 

The house right next to me is for sale. We could build an underground bunker that connects the houses and share a long arm.




I've already started plans Wendy:
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Thank you so much for chatting with me today! 


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In other news, I'll be teaching a leggings class at Blue Bar this Saturday noon to 3:30 - I opened another spot in case you wanna come by. I can totally show you how to make gold spandex leggings if you want them! LOL









My husband found this Artist for me to listen to- I'd been whining about not keeping up to date with my music lists. I think the last time I played my iPod was 2015. I find it incredible how he knows what I'll like.  Try listening to St Vincent- she's something else- and performed at Coachella this year.

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Clogs are now available on Etsy through Lotta from Stockholm-- this is the brand I wear religiously! I love them. I prefer them to Hasbeens. I buy the low heel which is just enough to "look nice" but not hurt after hours of being on my feet. 
These are not my legs. LOL I feel the need to point that out.

photo from Lotta






My kids and I have been experimenting with Sculpey Clay jewelry making. It's been really fun- I've worn a necklace already and two pairs of earrings. It's bake clay- bake for 15 min at 275F and it's good to go. We seal it too, especially if we are adding paint or glitter.
I bought it here.


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Sign up for the twice-a-month newsletter I send out to be informed of classes, courses, patterns, and other sewing & crafting related news. You'll get a free bag pattern upon sign up. Click here.



Thank you for being here!

:D



HAVE a wonder filled weekend!


4/11/2018

Designer Showcase: Meet Tara J Curtis of Wefty Needle

WEFTY Logo Quilt

weftyneedle.com



All Photos courtesy of weftyneedle.com (except the drone)

 Tara J Curtis, WEFTY, TJAYE, LLC
weftyneedle.com





It's April which means it's time for another Meet & Greet. Today's interview is with Tara J Curtis of Wefty Needle. I hope you'll grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this short Q&A.  I always enjoy "getting to know" someone a bit better- don't you? :D

Here we go!





Where did you grow up and do you think this had an impact on you as a Maker?


I grew up in the Midwest. The impact my upbringing held me back in some ways from actually making. One thing I had to overcome was the idea that everything I make needs to be useful and economical. The mentality I grew up with was "waste not want not," so until recently I held onto all my scraps. All those scraps really weighed me down - trying to organize them, feeling like I should use them up before starting something else. I finally got rid of all of them and felt immediately free to MAKE.



Fabric Weaving and Bags! WEFTY Weaving Round-Up
weftyneedle.com







What drew you into the world of sewing? 

My mom taught me to sew when I was a teen, and the first things I sewed were upcycled clothes. My first quilt was an all hand sewn baby quilt when I was in my late 20's.


Fabric Weaving Pattern! Me + You Roller Coasters
weftyneedle.com







Do you make daily? What's your favorite thing to make? Least favorite thing to make?

I make every day. My favorite make is fabric weaving. I love pressing up perfect strips, the sound of the WEFTY needles moving through the weave, the texture of the weave - all of it! The time goes by so fast. My least favorite thing to make are cloth napkins. It's so boring, I feel the passing of every minute.


Fabric Weaving: How to Weave Your Jacket!
weftyneedle.com






Fabric Weaving Tutorial VIDEO: Securing a Woven Panel
weftyneedle.comon





Inventor Tara--- what is your general process for creating a tool?



weftyneedle.com


I've invented two products so far and I can say that essentially what happens is this: I'm making something and it seems way too difficult for some reason, I have the thought 'What I need is ...', and then I make the thing I need. It may end up being something someone else needs, like the WEFTY Needle. Or something people would like to try, like the EZ Miter. 



Boho FUSIONS & EZMiter
weftyneedle.com







Do you have any brand specific tools you prefer while creating?

I am not brand loyal that I know of. My loyalties lie 100% in supporting local quilt shops, though. I have made it a practice to check there before ordering online. Local Quilt Shops are so important to us as makers. Being able to get out of the house and away from the screen to enjoy some actual real live humans you can talk to about sewing??? Forgeddaboutit! 


Fabric Weaving Tutorial VIDEO: Tumbling Blocks Madweave Tutorial
weftyneedle.com





Where should one start if just meeting Wefty?


Check out weftyneedle.com where I have tutorials, a blog, and a shop. 


weftyneedle.com






Do you listen to music or watch TV while making? Give us personal details so we don't have to send in a drone. 


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My favorite thing ever is watching make and build videos with my husband and girls. We love Binging with Baddish, Diresta, The Woodpecker, and lots of science youtubers. It's a great way to learn while sitting on our butts snuggling together. I actually watch way too much TV - I love binge watching while making. I'm watching Samantha Bee as I write this - eek!

 Jelly Purse in Lecien First of Infinity
weftyneedle.com



You can find Tara here on Instagram and here on her website.










Thanks for stopping by Tara! 



Do you want to try a Wfty Needle? Leave a comment below and I'll draw a winner this Sunday at noon. Shipping to USA only.





Tara will be teaching at the Modern Stitching Affair in a few weeks- right here in Madison, WI.  This event is super popular in large part due to the hard work founders Wendy Franczak and Trina Peterson put into it. The swag! The prizes! 

Not to mention the friends made at IRL events.  
 (I had to google it the first time too- "in real life" bahahaha. Kids.)








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In other news:

-I've found an amazing group of testers for my next bag pattern the Iris Messenger, you can read about it here. I can't wait to post about these Makers- they are so supportive and helpful. 


-My cool meter always goes up when I talk with my friend Amy (Artist/ Photographer at D + F Studios--and she recently posted on Facebook (not that I'm stalking her or anything) this musical gem: 




O M STARS incredible music ...



- Our boiler broke (101 yr old house) SUPER fun.

-My Mama has bronchitis. (She's a spitfire, so she'll be fine.)

- I'm reading In the Heart of the Sea : The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex which is COMPLETELY traumatizing. I once said my favorite book was Moby Dick and the person I was talking to chastised me beyond belief, but I think most people miss the f*cking point of Moby.  Anyways, this book is an astounding testament of strength, courage, hardship, starvation, faith, and endurance. It's a must read- puts life into perspective. 


- I'm supposed to be traveling to Yosemite in May to meet up with my Kili friends. My flight is to Sacramento, then I drive the arduous (roll eyes) 4 hr journey down to Yosemite. Any tips? Things are becoming increasingly hectic with trying to leave for a few days, so not sure it's going to happen... Am I the only one that gets close to date-of-travel and wants to bail because of "sorting everything"? I hate that about myself. But I'm awesome in other ways. LOL! 
Stay pos!

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world of waunderlust

Nothing stops! Keep going! Go to work, keep everyone's sh*t together, run the business, clock in at work on time, take care of groceries, finish the taxes, cook breakfast and dinner-- I swear. Some days I want to say:

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image via redbubble





I HEART YOU. THANKS FOR BEING HERE.



"To Do: Live in the moment."
yourtango.com