Handmade Conversations: Lindsay Conner, Quilter and Crafter
In our "Handmade Conversations" series, we ask amazing people in the craft, food and/or fashion industries a few questions that provide you with a glimpse into their world. This week's featured professional is Lindsay Conner, a quilter, blogger and CraftFoxes' newest Assistant Managing Editor.
In addition to working at CraftFoxes, Lindsay is the production editor for Frommer's and For Dummies travel guides. She is also the creator of the popular sewing blog, Lindsay Sews, and manages a website called Craft Buds, a great resource for tips on running a handmade business, as well as tutorials, giveaways and more.
A pop-up card Lindsay made in 5th Grade.
I don't remember the first craft I ever made, but I know I did a lot of doodling and paper crafts. My mother held on to most of it, and sends me one every now and then, like this pop-up card I made for her birthday. It is utterly ridiculous, and has photos of my family along with cartoon characters clipped from magazines.
Lindsay's "Hello Kitty" Janome sewing machine
For the last 5 years, I have been almost exclusively sewing and quilting, with a few other crafts thrown into the mix. Unlike knitting and crochet, sewing just "made sense" to me, and I love pairing fabrics to make a modern quilt, a piece of clothing or an accessory that is one-of-a-kind. I didn't really start sewing until after college, when my mother bought me a "Hello Kitty" Janome for my birthday.
The top of Lindsay's Equalizer Quilt
My inspiration can come from anything, but I like to draw on common objects or even a suggestion from others. For instance, when I created my Equalizer Quilt, my inspiration came from the motion of sound in an equalizer. Oh, and I also have to mention that it was completely my husband's idea!
Lindsay's "Bottled Rainbows" Quilt
I took part in an online quilt along called Bottled Rainbows, and my finished quilt not only took the longest of any I've completed, but I went to the emergency room due to a sewing injury. At first, I shrieked. Then I thought, "I'm okay, I'm okay." Then I looked at my finger and saw a broken needle inside. As the reality of the situation set in, and I just started saying, "No, no, no, no, no...." Luckily, it only required a 30-minute trip to the E.R. until they removed the needle.
Lindsay's sewing room
I am a late-night crafter, unless I can steal away the whole weekend for sewing and quilting. I do like to listen to something when I create, but I often get so focused that I forget to turn any music on. I can usually sew for a few hours at a time, take breaks, then get back to it, unless one of my favorite reality shows is on. Then I'll relocate to the living room. But I am lucky to have a dedicated room to hoard all of my fabric and sewing supplies.
What is your dream craft project?
I love it anytime I am able to create something original, write a pattern, and see others find joy in making the same thing. I had a lot of fun hosting a Pleated Pillow Sew Along from a free sewing pattern I wrote, and seeing everyone's unique take on the project. It really inspires me to teach others and see them enjoy the satisfaction of a finished project.
Describe your personal style in 3 words.
Modern, simple, colorful
In addition to crafting, what other talents do you have?
I am pretty good at finding stuff for free. When I was 13, I started my first website/blog, which was dedicated to finding free stuff online. The blog was horribly embarrassing, and no longer exists, but over time, I acquired free shoes, free dinners, free crafting supplies and more. A lot of this came from being a mystery shopper from time to time, where you go into a business and rate the service while under cover.
What advice would you give to aspiring craft authors or professional crafters?
I did a Q&A last year with Sarai Mitnick that was personally inspiring to me. Part of her story is that she left the corporate world, which wasn't a great fit for her talents, to pursue a creative business. Now she is successfully doing just what she loves, although she works long, long hours to bring it all together. My advice for aspiring professional crafters is to find what you love and do it, regardless of whether or not it earns you an income. Perhaps you can start a blog and meet other people like you. Maybe someday it will become your profession, but in the meantime, look for opportunities to learn and grow in your craft. Support the work that others are doing and enjoy the gift of creativity.
If you were only allowed to send out one tweet for the rest of this year, what would you say?
I have some exciting news!!! (Then I'd have to leave them all in suspense for the rest of the year.) Follow me at @lindsaysews.