Today I am pleased to share the "edited highlights" of an interview Rhonda has done with Julie of The Intrepid Thread, who very kindly agreed to sponsor the quilt along. You'll be able to hear the full interview a little later today on a special podcast over at Rhonda's place.
Hello Julie. Tell us about yourself & your family and pets.
Hmmm where to start… I am old… just kidding. I am married to an awesome guy named Lorin. I have two children. Michael is 18 and is going to college in Texas. My daughter Erin is 13. I home school her. We have fish, a turtle named Speedy, a cat named Mocha, and a crazy little mutt named Stella.
Where did that name The Intrepid Thread come from?
It has a few different origins. First, my father was stationed on the USS Intrepid when he was in the Navy (it is now a museum). We also feel like we were taking a big risk starting a business in the middle of some pretty tough financial times so it was a leap of faith on our part (Intrepid means fearless). Last I love to travel and explore.
How long have you been blogging and selling fabric? Which one came first?
I started blogging 2 years ago in August. I had just learned about the blogging community and I loved that everyone was so free with sharing their talents. They inspired me and I wanted to do the same. I just started selling fabric in March of this year (2011).
What made you decide to start selling fabric?
This is a hard one for me to answer. First I joined the Modern Quilt Guild and realized that most of the quilt shops in this area still sold primarily traditional fabrics and batiks. They weren’t what I was really looking for. So I thought I could fill a nitch in my own community.
I thought I would start out online then transition to a brick and mortar in a year or two. I have since realized that I like being mobile with the business. When we retire we don’t plan on living here so staying virtual I can take my business with me.
This was something I talked with my husband about for months but I might not ever have done anything about it. The real kicker, and what got me up off the couch to really do this, was I discovered a bunch of beautiful people that broke my heart and I wanted to help them any way I could. Please do not think that I am trying to say I am some kind of saint or something… but there is a mission in Haiti that I really wanted to support. Being a homeschooling mom that did not work outside of the house anymore I didn’t want to take money from the household budget to support the mission and I wanted to be able to give more than $25 a month to them. I really believe in what they do. It is called Heartline Ministries of Haiti. They teach women sewing skills and help them to start their own businesses to support their children. They also have a teen mothers home and hospital and birthing center for women. It is just a super organization. At first I was trying to sew and make things to sell to help support them but I am just not fast or prolific enough to do much good that way. So a good portion of my profits go to them.
What is your favorite thing about selling fabric? Is it having the stash at your fingers? But wait, do you cross your shop and your stash?
My favorite thing about selling fabric is the people I get to meet and help. I truly love giving personal service. The other thing, I was thinking about this this morning, is I do not have to buy everything anymore. I hardly ever buy anything for my stash anymore because I have a regular infusion of fabric every month to fondle. I do not cross my stash with the fabric in the shop. If I am going to use anything from the shop it has to be the last 4 inches left on the end of a bolt or something! I did just get a fabric collection in (Moroccan Mirage) that I can’t resist for my stash, though, so I have to pay myself for it :)
Image courtesy of The Intrepid Thread
Do you just quilt or do you also sew clothes, bags and such?
I sew everything. We went to Rome last year and I sewed a bunch of clothes for myself. I started making clothes for myself in Jr. High and I was one of the most interestingly (read crazy) dressed people in my small town school ( I say this with a grin). I started out blogging to show my bag designs. I also sew couture doll clothes and wigs.
How long have you been quilting/sewing? Who taught you to quilt/sew?
I started sewing when I was 6. My mom had to work the peddle on the sewing machine for me because I couldn’t reach it. That is 39 yrs and tells you how old I am! I sewed clothes and taught myself most of what I know from reading books and magazines. I started quilting in 1995 and one of my friends from my Bible study taught me. I remember when I first learned to quilt I saw everything in quilts. The hills were quilts the streets were quilts. The cows in the field were quilts (I lived in Germany then).
Tell us about your first quilt.
My first quilt was a complicated pinwheel quilt… the kind with templates not the half square triangle kind. I had no idea what I was doing. That was back in the day when no one pressed their seams open on quilts but I did on that one. It came out so wonky and wobbly ruffly. Hehe
What are your strong and weak points of the quilting process?
Hmmm I used to make complicated patterns and now I go for super simple ones. I think my lack of patience is my biggest weakness now. I guess as I got busier the thought of spending a whole day just cutting out a quilt doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I need to practice my free-motion more (I am a long time hand quilter and had a hard time transitioning). My strong point: I don’t have wobbly rufflies anymore LOL
Do you have any “big quilting flops” to share? How about a “major quilt victory”? What I mean is something you hide from company and something you show off before they are barely through the door.
Oh yeah I had a huge failure last year when I tried to do an improv Amish inspired quilt. It came out so ugly I never bothered to finish it. I made a quilt that won a crafting competition once in the textiles division I show it to everyone because it is the only evidence of my hand quilting that I still have.
Current project? Upcoming projects you want to share or give us a sneak “peak” of?
Oh anything I am making is always on the blog. I am working on a bag tutorial for my Newsletter this month. I have two swap items in the works, a mug rug and a pillow. The Modern Quilt Guild is doing a challenge with Habitat from Jay McCarrol and I have something in the works for that as well.