Hi Debby! We’ve shared a lot since we’ve met it’s hard to believe I haven’t interviewed you for the blog however here we are and let’s get this party started.
Teri: As a traveling quilting teacher you’ve had access to a lot of chocolate cake from a lot of different places. Is there one cake that stands out, that you just must have?
Debby: I have sampled chocolate cake on three continents so far and have a favorite that’s pretty close to home: Garrett’s in Rockford, Illinois. I was teaching at Quilter’s Haven and they recommended this gem. I have thought about asking Garrett’s to ship me some cake and if that is not possible, I would consider flying there for dinner. It is that good.
Teri: You are one of the most organized quilters I’ve ever met can you share a little bit of your organizational strategy.
Debby: I am a productivity/organization nerd. Truly I am. My theory is: if a list would work, a spreadsheet would probably work better.
At all times, I am juggling 10-20 open teaching contracts with their associated plane tickets, hotel reservations, advertising requests, class samples, handouts, and more. If I didn’t have some sort of system to handle all of these details, I wouldn’t be able to do my job — teach quilters in the classroom! I rely heavily on David Allen’s Getting Things Done system. It is so freeing to know that the details are where I need them to be so that my mind is free to dream up new quilts and classes and samples and handouts….
Teri: Would you ever consider putting together a class for quilt teachers on “how to organize effectively”?
Debby: I would definitely consider that. If a teacher isn’t organized, the disorganization is a barrier to the students getting all they can from a class. I’ve encouraged a few teachers one-on-one, but would be happy to extend that reach.
Teri: How did you get started teaching?
Debby: The Quilt Basket, my local quilt shop, was selling quilting machines and, since I was an experienced longarm quilter, I offered to teach their customers how to use that machine. I taught at the shop for a few years, then started teaching for Handi Quilter, then at quilt shows, then filming videos… I’ve enjoyed every minute of this teaching journey and can’t wait to go to work each day!
Teri: What do you love best about teaching?
Debby: I love watching the students realize that they can, indeed, machine quilt! They usually surprise themselves and I get to be there for the happy moment.
Teri: What do you piece on?
Debby: I piece on a Janome Memory Craft 6600. It is one of the best investments I have ever made. I have worn the paint off the buttons on this machine. My love for this machine is obscene.
Teri: What do you quilt on?
Debby: I mostly quilt on Hazel, my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen. I also use her big sister, Belle, my Handi Quilter Fusion.
Teri: Tell me a little bit about how Hello Kitty became your quilting mascot.
Debby: I honestly have no idea; it just happened. I’ve been fond of Hello Kitty since I was young, but didn’t own my first Hello Kitty item (a notebook) until I was married. Soon after that first purchase came a pencil, a coin puse, and stickers, all probably purchased by my children as gifts for Mommy. I am not a hard-core collector and my house isn’t pink with Hello Kitty in every room, but each day, I am probably sporting some Hello Kitty gear — a watch and a handbag at least. Now, instead of gold stars, I give out Hello Kitty rings during my quilt classes. I am tickled every time a student or colleague contacts me saying, “I saw Hello Kitty when I was in (insert location here) and I thought of you!”
Teri: Do you have a Hello Kitty Sewing Machine?
Debby: I have one Hello Kitty machine…. so far.
Teri: Do you prefer particular thread and thread weights?
Debby: My thread choice is usually, “Look! Something pretty!” I have thousands and thousands of spools and cones of thread, but I mostly use WonderFil InvisiFil (100 weight polyester), WonderFil DecoBob (80 weight polyester), WonderFil Konfetti (50 weight cotton), and WonderFil Tutti (50 weight cotton). I own every color in those thread lines.
Teri: I understand you sometimes use 3 threads in the needle. Can you share with us how you accomplish this? And how do you choose the threads to do this? What size needle do you use?
I quilt with multiple threads through the needle at a time. Using a large needle (110-125), I typically use all 50-weight cottons for this. If I use a mixture of threads together, the tensioning becomes more difficult. Possible, but difficult.