Editor’s Note: Throughout our Back to School Blog Party this week, we’ll be introducing you to our 2015 team of Back to School reader-quilters and showing you their versions of Village Square. Our 2015 Back to School Party team consists of Amy Hering, Cindy Tiberio and Sonja Zastrow. They are real-life friends who, despite living on opposite ends of the country, meet up annually for a fun quilting retreat. At this year’s retreat in Kansas, they all worked together on their Village Square quilts.
Today we’ll be chatting with Sonja Zastrow. Sonja created her dynamic version of the quilt pattern using Skylines and Watercolor Palette, both by Hoffman California Fabrics.
QM: Where are you from and how long have you been sewing and quilting?
SZ: I’ve been living in Fairbanks, Alaska since 1999 but grew up in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. I have been quilting since 2004/2005, so not very long. I dabbled in sewing growing up, but mostly started with quilting when a co-worker brought in small quilts she was hand quilting…which I still have yet to do. I started buying books and magazines and mostly taught myself. It was fun getting acquainted with a machine that had a self-threading feature!! That was way cool, and rotary cutting was the icing on the cake, let alone all the beautiful fabrics!! I really threw myself into it in early 2006 and I started longarm quilting around 2009. I love being able to create a project from start to finish.
QM: What’s been the highlight so far of your quilting journey?
SZ: It’s an amazing way to meet all kinds of people. My husband and I do a lot of independent traveling, so I’ve visited fabric shops all over the world. A love of fabric and crafts is a language all its own and creates an instant bond. Many conversations have been started with people that most likely wouldn’t have happened if I never had gotten into quilting.
QM: From where do you draw inspiration for your quilts?
SZ: It might sound cheesy, but my inspiration comes from my family and friends. I can count on one hand how many quilts I have in my house that are “mine”; otherwise I always have someone in mind that I want to make something special for. I’m the only quilter in my family, so I feel blessed to make something that they will appreciate and cherish forever and hopefully they get passed on to the next generation. That reminds me, I have to get some labels on a few!!!
QM: What do you love about quilting?
SZ: The biggest thing is that it’s a stress reliever for me and has helped me decompress from the little irritating things in life up to the big things. Piecing fabric has helped me through some emotionally hard times. I really buried myself in quilting while grieving for my younger brother, who died in January 2006, while serving our country in Iraq. I have since been known to go into “my room” and just be quiet and sew and let my mind wander. It’s more than just a hobby, a lot of love (and some tears) go into my quilts. A piece of my heart goes with each and every one!
QM: Tell us about your version of Village Square, and the experience of working on your quilt with your friends Amy and Cindy.
SZ: When I first heard of the opportunity from one of our other friends, Kathy, (who did last years BTS) I thought, how cool!! I want to do it! And then I saw the pattern and thought, “oh my gosh, how am I going to get it cut, pieced, custom quilted and bound in this short window of time!?” But once I got started, it went together really quick and I’m just loving how it turned out! The fabric I was provided, didn’t thrill me at first, but once it started coming together, it reminded me of the Northern Lights!! Which is perfect for this Alaskan girl! Amy and Cindy’s fabrics were scrappy, so they had a different system of sewing their blocks together, where I was able to just “blow and go” on mine. They were able to get their tops pieced at retreat and I brought my blocks home to finish. I had never been to Kansas, so I had to visit some of the local quilt shops and of course meet Jenny Doan at MSQC and indulge in Kansas City BBQ!
Thank you, Sonja, for chatting with us and for all your hard work on the quilt!
OK, giveaway time! We have a prize bundle of the following to give to one of you:
For a chance to win this bundle, please leave a comment below by midnight tonight (Tuesday, September 15) telling us how long you have been sewing and quilting. We’ll choose one winner randomly and announce the winner here. Good luck!
The winner of the giveaway is ColleenL, the winner has been notified by email.
See you back here tomorrow for more of the Village Square quilt pattern, another beautiful version made by a member of our Back to School Team and more giveaways!