Meet Stephanie Finnell, the blogger, sewer, crocheter, and quilter behind the Katy Trail Creations blog and Etsy shop. I’ve followed her blog for years and recently reached out and asked if I could interviw her for ARHtistic License. Here are her responses:
ARHtistic License: You care for pre schoolers in your home. How do you find time to quilt?
Stephanie Finnell: I’ve been caring for children ages newborn through 11 years for over 25 years and have learned to utilize naptime pretty efficiently lol. Otherwise there are evenings and weekends.
AL: How did you get started quilting?
SF: I have sewn nearly all my life. My earliest recollection is making a toy ‘snake’ with scraps with my grandmother Inez on her treadle sewing machine. I took sewing in 4-H with my mother as the project leader and after I married, I bought my first machine. The quilting part came along after my daughters were born and I wanted to try using up a bunch of scraps. I’d made quite a good amount of dresses for my daughters and used them on a crazy quilt. I don’t have a photo of it (guess that should be a priority).
AL: Do you prefer traditional quilt designs, or do you like contemporary designs as well? What is your favorite kind of quilt to make?
SF: I do have a love for traditional but I really admire the contemporary quilts I’ve seen online. My favorite ones lately are from old Kansas City Star patterns. I’ve collected a few books that feature these and love trying them out. Some turn out great, others not so much lol.
AL: Are there any particular quilt designers you admire?
SF: I think I need to give credit to Fons and Porter for their influence with PBS as well as other tv quilters (Alex Anderson, Ricky Tims, Eleanor Burns, Sharlene Jorgenson) for jumpstarting my interest as well as giving all the wonderful instruction. There aren’t many quilters in my family and none that I’ve actually sewn with. I am slightly partial to Fons and Porter as they hale from my grandma’s birthplace in Iowa.
AL: You do a lot of hand quilting. Do you ever quilt by machine? Do you stitch-in-the-ditch or do you do free motion quilting? What kind of sewing machine do you use?
SF: I’m glad you asked. I definitely use machine when I can’t take as much time in completing a quilt. I like using the walking foot so more line quilting or serpentine styles when using a machine. There’s also tying when really pinched for time. I own a Bernina 1080(a real workhorse) and an Esante but use the Bernina most. I have also used embroidery with the Esante on a couple quilts. It worked really well on a cathedral window quilt.
AL: What are your favorite colors for quilting?
SF: I think red and white quilts really are my favorite. (This has reminded me of a UFO-stack of red & white blocks downstairs lol.) Also blue and white. But as you can see in my completed photos, I’m a lover of all color combinations.
AL: What is your fabric-shopping strategy?
SF: Usually sales and a need for specific colors to match.
AL: Do you usually have a particular quilt in mind when you go to the fabric store, or do you buy whatever strikes your fancy?
SF: When readying for the A to Z Challenge I’ve got a color scheme in mind.
AL: What is your stash like?
SF: It is pretty large with much of it in tubs. I am fortunate to have a designated space but as I’m working on projects, they overflow into my recliner for ease of access. Recently a local fabric store closed due to the owner passing and my mother and I had to restrain ourselves with all the fabric available. It was still a bit more than we could do and we both spent a significant amount but all fabric lovers justify their purchases and seem to have enabling spouses lol.
AL: What kind of batting do you like?
SF: All cotton, low loft. Much easier for hand stitching.
AL: What are you working on right now?
SF: Another eBay find. It’s a wedding ring-ish type but it is has a square border all around. Someone used Precious Moments fabric on it in the rings and will make some little girl an adorable keepsake I hope.
AL: How do decide what kind of quilt to make?
SF: I often try to decide how many fabrics I want to use, So for a red and white, the options are fewer in block pattern choices. Other times, I just use up my scraps so they aren’t continuing to pile up.
AL: What is the hardest part of quilting?
SF: Finding enough time. If I had to do it for a living though, I’m sure I wouldn’t enjoy it as much.
AL: What has helped you the most on your quilting journey?
SF: Working at home gives me more time than most people, I think. Out of sight, out of mind in so many hobbies and being here it’s pretty much always in my line of vision.
AL: Do you have any funny quilting stories?
SF: Well recently, my daughter who really does know better wanted a quilt by 1 pm the same day. I agreed only if I had her assistance in cutting and tying. It was the quickest quilt in history I think! Lol Glad we spent that time on it together though. Warmed my heart 😊
AL: What else you would like readers to know about your quilts?
SF: I just hope they bring someone joy. That’s a quilter’s ultimate goal.
Stephanie Finnell with her husband.