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Carolyn Abs

Sewist Spotlight: Meet Carolyn

How long have you been sewing?

My adult foray into sewing started 26 years ago when I just had the two boys. I fell in love with a simple quilt at Two Sisters on Grapevine Main in Texas. The focus fabric was a fabulous print that included USA monuments, Brooklyn Bridge, Gateway Arch, Golden Gate Bridge etc., still one of my favorite fabrics ever!  My eldest son was born a history buff, so he needed that quilt! A coordinating border print was stitched around the center focus fabric… How hard could that be? Right. And so I bought $60 of fabric with no idea how to put it together.  My neighbor’s mother sewed quilts for the whole family and she agreed to write out simple instructions for me, when she realized her verbal shorthand instructions left me blank eyed!  The backing fabric was a gorgeous blue that looked like water and the boys used it as a lake in their imaginative play for years. Next, I took a class at Two sisters to make a pinwheel quilt for my younger son. And I just kept on taking classes and making quilts ever since.

How did you learn to sew?

My mom sewed our clothes, PJ's and Halloween costumes. I don't remember her teaching me. I guess I just absorbed the idea, that this is something I might want to do.

What was the first thing you remember sewing?

As a teenager, the first thing I remember making was a pair of wool slacks for Christmas. I lined them and I can still see myself in them. I made them and I just thought it was pretty cool.

What do you like to sew?

In my Texas quilt groups over the last 26 years. I have been known as the scrap and I spy quilt maker.  I also enjoy wool and cotton applique, and making bags and pouches. I love to make things for family and friends. If I know someone is having struggles in their life, chances are I'm at my sewing machine making something to comfort them.

What is your least favorite thing to do involving sewing?

The thing I'm most dislike about sewing. I do not want to troubleshoot a machine. I want to sit there, turn it on, press the pedal and have it go.

Any particular type of fabric you like to use.

Mostly quilters cotton, but I also have done a lot of wool appliqué.

What kind of sewing machine do you have?  Any other machines like serger, etc.

I have an old Pfaff that I bought at Two Sisters in Grapevine, Texas on special for $700. It is a simple dual feed machine.

What do you make that you are most proud of?

I would say my quilts, especially appliqué, I Spy and Scrap quilts.

How long have you been a Guild member? Why did you join the Guild?

I've been a Guild member for one year, but I was a visitor before that. I joined the guild to socialize and increase my sewing knowledge.

Biggest change in sewing over the years?

No idea.

Best sewing tip for us?

Integrate sewing into your life, keep it handy.  I have projects organized and available in various levels of completion and various levels of difficulty. I can quickly choose based on my mood at the moment.

When I walk in my sewing room, I do whatever I want or need to do for my mental health. SometImes, I am producing half square triangle units mindlessly. I'm doing ‘no think’ sewing because I don't have any thinking available to me. Later, these units are available for my scrap projects. I still have boxes of them ready to go

What sewing groups do you belong to; neighborhood or online?

I was very active in various shop groups and guilds in Texas over my 26 years there. In St Louis I am in City Sewers and planning to pursue some quilt guilds.

Is there anything about you that you would like us to know?

Quilting has been a very special part of my life. I have made many friends and thoroughly enjoyed sharing the fruits of my efforts with family and friends.

Carolyn Abs
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