Each week throughout the summer we’ve heard from a designer about a pattern or book that caused them to head in a new direction and helped form their career. This is the eighth and final post in the series. You can read all of them right here.
Allison Rosen is a quilter and an accountant. She’s been blogging and podcasting since 2006 at Within a Quarter Inch. Allison worked for a time in the marketing department at C&T Publishing. She is now preparing to launch her own applique patterns as well as a brand new business, The Crafty Controller, an accounting service for the indie crafter. Allison lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with her husband and eight-year-old twins.
I’m excited to bring you Allison’s story of the pattern that changed her life.
In 2004 I was working in the Bay Area of California as an auditor. A co-worker asked if I was at all ‘crafty’.
My husband and I had moved there from Montreal 2 years earlier. Prior to moving, I was a full-time student, earning a master’s degree and studying for Canada’s Chartered Accountant Exam which was pretty grueling. Although I was raised by a Martha disciple who indulged my crafty whims from Ukrainian Easter egg making to needle point and pompom animals, I hadn’t found any one thing that drew me in and as a student I definitely didn’t have time for it.
However, I decided that, in my bones I was a crafty girl and responded ‘yes!’
After work that day, she took me to Micheal’s craft store and I was introduced to scrapbooking for the first time. And it was like the heavens opened up. Pretty paper, stickers, markers, paints, rub-ons, tools, more tape than you can use in a life-time. Then there were the magazines and the books filled with inspiration. It was the cusp of scrapooking’s heyday and I was in for the ride.
A few years later I became close friends with the owner of a great scrapbooking store. I did her bookkeeping and she took me in as an unofficial buyer and brought me to the Craft and Hobby Association and Memory Trend conferences. Around the same time a co-worker asked if I wanted to go the Sew Expo in San Mateo, CA with her. While there we picked up a few hobbies, like needle felting and needle punch, but as we moved through the show floor there was something that kept catching my eye. When it came into full view I just stopped. It became the pattern that changed my life: Rabbits Prefer Chocolate by Bunny Hill Designs.
Rabbits Prefer Chocolate by Bunny Hill Designs
I remember the pattern was $60.00. I knew nothing about quilting or applique and didn’t own any fabric, so I didn’t buy it then. We finished the show floor, and wouldn’t you know I now owned a bunch of fabric that would look great in that quilt! Serendipity!
My scrapbooking room soon became overwhelmed by the quilting supplies because if something interests me, I kind of go whole hog. I got that pattern and made the quilt, not knowing a darn thing, and it not only changed the course of my craft obsession from scrapbooking to quilting, but I was so lucky because I found what I love most about quilting right away – applique.
I love appliqué because I was never good at drawing. What was in my head did not translate to pen and paper. But I am able to make wonderful pictures using appliqué – whether using someone’s pattern where they have done the drawing already, or by drawing it digitally making it easy to re-shape as needed until I get it just right. Voila – I’m an artist.
When I discovered applique my husband and I were trying to have a baby, but were having a difficult time of it. Each time I didn’t get pregnant, I quietly worked on the Rabbits Prefer Chocolate quilt. I made it while I was hopeful, crying, crushed. I was sewing an heirloom without heirs.
I remember exactly where I was when I appliqued the last block for that quilt. We were in Lake Tahoe, on a weekend away. My husband was thrilled that we had found a cabin rental with a hot tub. I sat in a chair near him and we chatted away while I sewed and he soaked. I couldn’t get in with him because…hot tubs are not safe for pregnant women!
Today, we live in North Carolina and have a hot tub in the backyard. Our twins, Sarah and Max, are almost eight. The basement is my sewing studio, the paper crafting items are so handy when the kids need to do a project. I am about to release my first applique pattern. And that quilt, with it’s many flaws? (I mean, really, a bunny lost half an ear to a seam allowance!) It proudly hangs in the living room.
Rabbits Prefer Chocolate by Bunny Hill Designs was the pattern that changed Allison Rosen’s life. What pattern changed yours?