a chat with Diane Gilleland

I read many books on a variety of topics. I sometimes receive advance copies directly from publishers but more often I request them on my own through NetGalley. Earlier this year, I received a copy of a new quilting book and I fell so head over heels in love with it I rushed to email the author and almost burnt dinner as I was typing away. She’s someone I’ve known online for a while, and it’s another case of I live on the wrong coast, I hope to meet her in person someday! That author is Diane Gilleland (perhaps you know her as CraftyPod) and her new book is, All Points Patchwork, out on bookstore shelves May 19th.

AllPointsPatchworkCoverA full review of the book is forthcoming and I’ll be a participant in a blog-hop in July to discuss a specific project I’m working on from the book. Without further ado, I thought it would be nice to share our recent conversation so you can get to know a bit more about Diane and her newest book. I wish we could have chatted in person over tea, but some days email has to work.

little acorn:
You explain in All Points Patchwork why English Paper Piecing (“EPP”) is a great fit for you. What was your first EPP project or which project really helped make EPP magical for you?
I think I made my first hexagons about four years ago. I’d seen them around the internet and was intrigued. Then one day I was cleaning out my fabric stash, and discovered I had hoarded a huge amount of random scraps. So I printed some hexies off a website, cut them out, and started basting. At the time, I thought I was starting a quilt, but I quickly adjusted my vision to something smaller – a tote bag. (I’ve also started a hexie quilt that turned into a set of pot holders.)

The thing I loved about EPP, from the first completed hexie patch, was the simplicity and precision of the technique. The paper takes care of matching all the points and keeping all the shapes exactly the same. All you have to do is relax and stitch! And it’s a portable craft that lends itself beautifully to Netflix-watching.
APP hexies

little acorn:
You teach quite a bit. I had the good fortune of watching your t-shirt quilting class with CreativeLive last summer. What is the one thing you wish makers would do when they take a class with you (or what you really wish they would stop doing)?
Well… I’m always glad to see students! I love to teach, and I love the community that forms in a classroom. I do think that the abundance of information in the web has perhaps ushered in an era of fairly passive learning. So I’ll see people sign up for online classes sometimes, intending to just grab the information rather than participating in class. That’s not at all common in live class settings, but in online classes, it’s always been some percentage of my students. On the one hand, grabbing the information is indeed a prerogative of online learners! But on the other hand, it can unfortunately keep that class community from forming.

In a live class setting, the one thing I wish my students could learn to let go of is that tendency to think of their work as “not good enough.” To me, making is a joyous process. I wish everyone could feel that way about it! The finished product always has a few lumps and bumps, and those are unique expressions of you, and therefore awesome. Craft is about enjoying the journey.

little acorn:
It’s why I am so excited about my quilt (which I still need to finish) … the lumps and bumps make it even more meaningful!

When not immersed in your current making passion, you can be found…
I love to visit farmer’s markets and experiment with cooking what I find there each week. Lately I’ve been in a mania for cleaning out and organizing all my stuff. I watch documentaries obsessively, and I just started learning Tai Chi. I’ve been trying to diversify my interests beyond craft lately!
little acorn:
Yes! All of this (I meant to take Tai Chi my first term in college but ended up in archery, but I digress)! Are you sure we’re not related? We do share a birthday!

Please tell me a bit about how you discover new crafts to explore, what causes you to jump into a craft with both feet?
kanzashi in bloomI love trying new techniques all the time. I can tell I’m going to love a new craft if it has what I call a “good plot” – meaning, the process of making moves through a series of different steps. So, the Kanzashi flowers that were the subject of my first book have a really good plot. First you fold the petals, then you assemble them into the flower, and then you add embellishments. There’s no one step that gets tedious for me, because there’s always a new piece of the process to do. I think EPP has a good plot too – first you cut the fabrics to the paper templates, then you baste, then you sew them together, and then you remove the templates. And even in a large project, you can bounce around among those steps so you never get bored.
little acorn:
Kitten or puppy snuggles?
Heh! Anyone who’s ever looked at my Instagram knows the answer to this one: Kitten snuggles. But when I’m out and about, I’m constantly pointing out the cute dogs to my partner. “Let’s get a little dog just like that!” I say over and over. But ultimately, and with no offense intended to dog-lovers, I know I love the idea of a dog more than the reality. 🙂

Thank you Diane!

AllPointsPatchworkCoverAll Points Patchwork
by Diane Gilleland
Storey Publishing
To be released on May 19, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-61212-420-9

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