Patterns Designed by Sonja Callahan
click on image for pattern
This week in the Guest Designer Spotlight is Sonja Callahan. I first became aware of Sonja’s work when we both participated in the Tiny Quilt Challenge over on craftster. Her entry, The Red Fairy, caught my attention immediately, because magic, fantasy and whimsy are my favorite subjects. Neither of us won that challenge, but I never did forget that block!
First name and where you’re from: Sonja, British Columbia, Canada
How long have you been paper piecing and/or quilting? Oh boy. The first quilt I made was for my daughter when I was pregnant with her back in 2001. I saw a simple pattern in a Martha Stewart magazine that got me thinking. I first tried paper piecing around 2003, I think the first block I tried was a little frog. Well no, that’s not exactly right. That was the first block that actually looked like it was supposed to. It took me literally 4 separate attempts at a beginners pattern to actually do it right!
What do you use own your blocks for? Oh all sorts of various projects from zippered bags, to coasters, pillows and of course quilts! One of my favorite pieces now adorns the outside pocket of my daughter’s backpack.
When did you start designing? In the summer of 2006.
Was there a particular inspiration to draw your first pattern? I wasn’t really finding the sort of patterns that I was looking for and really wanted to sew a detailed fairy.
Do you remember what your first design was? The Red Fairy
Do you have a favorite among your own designs? Can’t I choose them all? Ok ok, since I have to choose…. It would be a tie between Mister Gnome, The Red Fairy, and the little gnome offspring, Gnomeling and Gnomlette.
What do you use to design your patterns? Paper and pencil, a specific software, etc. I use Corel Draw 4x and Corel Photo Pro 2x.
How has the online community changed the way you craft/quilt/design, etc.? Oh wow, what an amazing source of inspiration! I tell you, there is no way I would have ever even tried paper piecing if it wasn’t for all the free patterns that can be found online. Back when I was first starting up, I found http://www.Craftster.org. while looking for a zippered pocket tutorial. Oh wow, I didn’t even know I wanted to sew purses until I saw that website. I’ve been inspired to sew, design, paint, knit, crochet, quilt, swap etc. from all the great websites and blogs that I’ve been finding over the years. I feel so lucky to have this incredible wealth of information and inspiration (don’t even get me started on http://www.art.com!), and all the support to be found right at my fingertips! I’m blown away sometimes by the friendships that form between people who have never met, but share a common creative pastime. Knowing just how isolating it can be when you’re a stay at home mom to a tiny little baby, I’ve found this to be a great comfort, and it has gotten me through many lonely, insomnia-filled nights, and blurry, exhausting days.
Anything else you’d like to add? What I find just so awe-inspiring and wonderful, is how a simple little blog of a talented crafty mother, can introduce opportunities into her life that would have never been possible without the internet. I’m seeing women being invited to display their work halfway around the world because a buyer from Japan happened across her blog. http://oneredrobin.com . Or how a young, and very talented knitter/designer who was simply posting about her hobby while she pursued other methods of creative employment, ended up suddenly being offered the editors job at Interweave press! http://www.eunnyjang.com/knit
I find this so amazing! I often think about how hard it must have been, before the internet, to get anywhere as an artist. Never mind a stay at home mom who longs do something with her seemingly hidden talent. It was only 15 or so years ago when women fought hard to get their music played as often as male musicians on the radio. *go Sarah Maclaughlan go* I feel like it’s free reign here on the internet. It really has opened the doors of opportunity wide open, especially for women and mothers. If you’re passionate about something, you’ll either find yourself a nice group of like-minded people, or you will attract them. It’s beautiful, and I’m so thankful!