Why this particular craft? I’d been sewing children’s clothing for a few years when I thought I’d try making a quilt. People had warned me that it was addictive, but I never really believed it. I can’t really explain why I love it so much – I think it’s a mix of being able to take pieces of fabric and reinvent them as well as, once they are finished, being able to feel the joy of handing them over to someone or watching my family use them.
Have you tried plenty of other crafts? Yes! I was a very keen cross-stitcher in my early 20s, took up scrapbooking with great gusto when my kids were younger and have even crocheted a few blankets over the years.
Who taught you your crafting skills? My mum taught me to sew when I was a little girl. She worked in the wardrobe department at Dreamworld, and if she wasn’t designing Kenny Koala’s gear, she was sitting in her sewing room at home. I took to the internet to learn quilting, however, even though Mum is an accomplished quilter herself. I’d met a wonderful friend – Gemma – who egged me on during my first attempt. It was her enthusiasm as much as my own curiosity that kept me going. I have only ever had one formal lesson, and that was in a class with Jen Kingwell.
What does this craft mean to you? My quilting has become so much more than just a hobby. It gives me sanity, has provided me with amazing friendships and has also given me something more in common with my mum. Even though our styles of quilting are completely different, we talk about fabric, she shows me her machine embroidery and the projects she’s working on and vice versa. Quilting has also given me more than I could have ever expected – my blog, which was once a personal space for me to share my life stories, is now a well-established quilting/crafting blog.
What are your favourite materials to work with? I absolutely love bold, gem-toned fabrics set against backgrounds of all colours. I haven’t worked with a white background on a quilt for quite some time now. I discovered shot cottons a couple of years ago, and haven’t looked back. Spotlight has a huge range of colours in them, and the texture gives my quilts a little extra eye candy.
Do you ever see yourself stopping or diversifying? I can’t see myself stopping, but then again, I said many years ago to my mum that I’d never do quilting. When I started my business, it was sewing children’s wear, and over time, I’ve moved on to quilting. Adding an online store, selling Aurifil thread, to my website has been a major step in my business.
Where do you live and work? I live in a beautiful part of the world – the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne. It’s a green and luscious landscape, and if I look out our windows, I can see the hills behind our house.
Melissa Gottliebsen, Ms Midge