Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Introducing: Gigi's Thimble

After a long time of working and waiting, waiting and working, my first 3 patterns are now ready to present to you!  

Before I get to the giveaway part of this post though, I thought I'd share a little bit about how and why I got started designing quilts.  


First, the name of my little business: Gigi's Thimble

Where it came from:
My Grandma Baldridge has been an avid quilter as long as I can remember.  It has always been "her thing" and up until about 11 years ago it didn't seem like anyone else in the family was following suit.  My mom had always been a great seamstress and often tried to get me to make clothes and such, but it never really interested me.  I had just gotten married and was over at my grandma's house one day when I had the spontaneous feeling to ask her if she would teach me how to quilt.  It wasn't something that I had thought too much about (prior to my asking) but as we got started I quickly found that I shared the same passion as her.  She told me to first pick a pattern, so I told her about a quilt that was for sale at a store called The Quilted Bear.  I really liked it so we proceeded to mimick the design.  The thought never occured to me to actually go to a quilt store and pick out one of their patterns!  But, I felt it was easy enough to figure out for myself.  I was really drawn to it's scrappiness.  All of the prints were plaids, checks and stripes.  The blocks were Court House Step blocks.  My grandma and I spent many days over the next few months going to local quilt shops together and collecting fabrics that were either - plaids, checks or stripes in blues, reds, golds and greens.  She taught me about the importance of using good quality fabrics and then we started working on the quilt.  She taught me about pre-washing my fabric (so as to eliminate any bleeding or shrinking), the importance of cutting precisely (she seemed to tease me a little bit about what a perfectionist I was when it came to that), how to match up seams, do mitered corners, the binding -basically the whole nine yards.  That first quilt took me about 3 years (if I remember correctly) because when I went to square up my blocks they were all coming out to be different sizes!  I was getting so frustrated!  When I showed my husband and asked what could be the problem, he asked me if I was staying true to the 1/4" seam allowance I was suppose to be using.  Well, I learned the hard way that if you're off slightly on every seam, it can make a big difference in the overall size of the blocks.  After putting it away and then pulling it back out many times I finally finished the quilt.  Somewhere in that time, my grandma (better known as "Gigi" by her great-grandchildren) gave me a thimble.  I still use it to this day (mostly when I do my bindings, as I am not much of a hand quilter.)  With every stitch I take I think of her.  We share the same passion.  Quilting has truly bonded us together.  We continue to "talk quilting" and sometimes go to quilt guild meetings together when we get the chance.  I'm thankful to share a common thread with my grandma and will always treasure the times we've spent together shopping, stitching & embracing the art of quilting. 

Here's a picture of that quilt we made together:

So when I started thinking of owning my own quilting business, I knew the name had to involve Gigi.  After playing around with some names, I finally decided on Gigi's Thimble. 

The push to get started:
One day I happened upon Moda's Fabricmatcher website.  They were doing a contest where you had to use all of Fig Tree's fabrics to design a quilt online.  The judge was Joanna Figueroa (from Fig Tree).  I decided to give it a "go" and was completely ecstatic when she chose my design to be the grand prize winner.  How lucky was I?!?  My husband had just gotten laid off from his job, so I was so excited to have some fabric to play with and keep me busy.  Moda generously sent me 2 fat quarter bundles and a bunch of Joanna's patterns.  As I was showing my hubby which patterns I was going to make first, he said, "Why don't you do one of your own patterns?"  So, I said, "o.k!"  Shortly after starting that first quilt, I talked with a friend that gave me that extra push I needed.  She's had a dream of selling a CD of her music (she is amazingly good and should have gone to Broadway) so together we decided that we were going to pursue our dreams.  We often talk to see how the other is doing and to offer encouragement and support.  

In the end, this process has taken a lot longer than I think it should have.  I've tried to figure it all out and do it all on my own.  I've realized that I am not a graphic designer and I am not a photographer.  I am a quilter.  Hopefully I will get better at both of those other areas, but in the meantime I hired a friend to make the cover sheets for me.  They are so much better than I could have done myself and after hiring her, I finally have my patterns.  I also had Mary of Mary's Cottage Quilts offering support.  Mary has been so sweet to answer questions for me from time to time and I really appreciate her kindness and willingness to share lots of great tips with me.  Thanks Mary!!!      

So without further ado, here are my first 3 patterns:

   
    

                    

and

    


What do you think???

I'm just so excited that I've finally got my patterns done so I would ♥ ♥ ♥ to give away some copies, along with some other fun stuff.  Over the next 3 weeks I will be doing 3 giveaways because of my 3 new patterns! 

Grab this button from my sidebar to help spread the word:

This week I will be giving away a set of my first 3 patterns to 3 different people!!!

Here's what you can do to get entered into this week's giveaway:

1.) Just leave me a comment below to receive one entry.
2.) If you are a follower of my blog then leave me a comment that says "follower" for one more entry.
3.) If you want to help a girl out by spreading the word about my new pattern design company then grab this button and blog about this giveaway.  Leave me a comment that says "blog" for one more entry.

This week's giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, February 23rd with the  winner announced Wednesday morning. 

I also just want to say thanks for all of your support and encouragement (and patience) as I've been working on this.  This has been really fun and exciting for me and I hope that you will enjoy my patterns! 
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