Learn 5 things zapping your creative energy and what to do about it! Plus, hear an interview with Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt.

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5 Things Zapping Your Creative Energy

If you're having trouble starting a new project or feel stalled on the creative process, there are some common culprits that could be causing the problem. Alison Gamm, the designer of Quilts & More, shares five things that are zapping your creativity.

Quilting Changes Everything with Alison

Alison shares stories of quilters making a difference in their communities. Students at Severna Park Middle School in Maryland are learning to sew chemotherapy port pillows for cancer patients. The pillows are attached to seatbelts so the thick webbing doesn’t’ rub and irritate their port placement. Read the article here to learn more. She also shares the story of the Sleeping Bag Ministry, which has been sewing sleeping bags and scarves to donate to the homeless in the Chicago area for more than 20 years. Learn more about their mission here.

Ask Us Anything

Then Alison answers a listener's question about adding borders. The question is: "I love the look of borders and prefer to add them to most of my quilts (even when the pattern doesn’t call for them). But, how do I figure out how wide they should be?"

When adding borders to your quilt, there are two main things you should consider. First, think about how large you want your finished quilt to be. If you want to make your quilt significantly larger without adding more blocks, consider adding multiple borders to add visual interest. If you just add one really large border to your quilt, it creates a lot of visual dead space all around your quilt. Second, think about the proportions of your quilt. Proportion is key, because you don’t want your border to overwhelm the quilt, but you also don’t want it to look too small compared to the scale of your blocks. A small wall hanging should have a border of less than 6”, while a king-size quilt can handle a 12 to 14” border. An easy way to figure out your border width is to look at the size of the blocks in your quilt. If your blocks finish at 6”, try adding a 6” border to your quilt.

Collector's Corner with Jody

Jody Sanders, the editor of American Patchwork & Quilting, shares the history of crazy quilts. Crazy quilts were most popular during the Victorian era, especially during the late 1800s through the first decade of the 1900s in the United States. The charm of crazy quilts is that because there isn’t a set pattern, no two are the same, making each a unique work of the maker. Irregular shapes of jewel-toned silk, wool, velvet, and cotton were combined, then stitched to a base fabric and then embellished with fancy stitches, such as herringbone, fly, and chain stitches using colorful threads. Crazy Quilts are most often the size of a throw. Victorian Crazy Quilts were made as much for display as for warmth. They were thrown on the back of a chaise or sofa for dramatic effect versus being used as bed coverings.

Getting Sewcial

On today's show, Joanna Burgarino, the editor of Quilts & More, chats with Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt. Heidi is a talented pattern and fabric designer, blogger, and most recently the author of her third book Patchwork USA. Her projects are just the cutest and have a uniquely vintage vibe to them. In this interview, she shares on-the-go sewing tips, how she makes time to sew, and tips for mixing and matching fabric collections in her projects.

Follow Heidi on Instagram to stay in touch.