These names might not be familiar to you right now, but take notice because they might be names you’ll know someday. Michaela, 15, and Elizabeth, 14, are award-winning quilters who already know how to rock a rotary cutter and stitch a steady quarter-inch. Both girls are 4-Hers, and they recently took top honors at the Jackson County Fair in Kansas for their quilts (and Elizabeth even won Best of Show at the Kansas State Fair!). Quilting on the Square in Holton, Kansas, is Michaela’s and Elizabeth’s LQS. Mary Pfeiler, co-owner of Quilting on the Square, shared the news with us about the girls’ big wins, and we decided we had to share it with you. Today, we’ll tell you about Michaela Little.
This high-powered teen is deep into 4-H, specifically with the Delia Early Birds 4-H Club, and participates in many project areas, including cooking, photography, several livestock categories, and sewing, of course. Her paper-pieced Crown of Thorns quilt—a Judy Niemeyer pattern—won Reserve Champion at the fair, and was her first major paper-piecing project. She not only did all the piecing, but with some help from Quilting on the Square’s Mary Pfeiler, she also designed the quilting and quilted it herself on the shop’s longarm. (Okay, so we’re feeling a little inferior here. How ‘bout you?)
Her mom, Nancy, taught her to sew when she was 7 years old. Her first project was a pair of shorts, and she’s been stitching ever since. She still makes clothes and competes in 4-H clothing categories–including winning Reserve Champion this summer in the Style Revue with her wool coat and slacks–but she began to obsess over quilting about five years ago. In fact, she’s a regular at Quilting on the Square, and has even helped teach some classes. (Mary says they’re all just marking time until Michaela turns 16, so they can hire her to work in the shop!)
Michaela has three older brothers, but none of them sew. At least one of them has tried to find out what all the sew-buzz is about, but Michaela nips that in the bud. “They try to use my machine once in a while, but I won’t let them,” she says. (Sometimes a girl’s gotta have some things that stay private, right?)
How did you get interested in quilting?
My mom got as job at the quilt shop in Holton, and I’ve just been going to work with her on weekends whenever I can. I got interested in it, and so I made one for the fair and I decided to keep doing it.
So, paper piecing…what’s the attraction?
I love it! I think I actually like it more than I like doing regular patchwork. I think the most difficult part about it was trying to get everything cut out and organized, because I’m not the most organized person in the world….but after the light bulb clicked, I really got it!
What is your fave thing about quilting?
I really like picking out my fabrics and seeing how it’s going to end up, and my other favorite part is seeing the finished project and seeing what I did and how much I accomplished. So, the beginning and end, basically!
How do you like ‘driving’ that longarm?
I love it so much! I just love doing it.
What is not your not-so-fave part?
Ripping! At the very beginning on those rings outside, I goofed and put the second fabric on the wrong spot. I did 42 of them wrong and had to rip all of them out! (I cried.)
What do your friends think about your quilting and sewing?
Not a lot of them know about it. They know I’m in 4-H. My best friend thinks that it’s awesome. She quilts some too, but not as complicated. There are 6 other girls in my club that come over during the summer to work on their quilts for 4-H. They aren’t as advanced and there’s a couple of them that want to try paper-piecing. So I think I’m going to help them with that.
What do you want to tackle next?
Judy Niemeyer’s newest one–and I don’t even know what it’s called–but it is beautiful!
Tune In Wednesday For Elizabeth’s Story
So, Melissa here again. Check in again on Wednesday, when we’ll tell you about Elizabeth Roach, the Jackson County 2012 Grand Champion winning quilter. And let me just share for a sec: As a former 4-Her myself, I have loads of respect and awe for all these two are learning to do in their club projects. When I was in 4-H in Wichita, Kansas (back in the Pleistocene Era), I don’t remember having the option to learn and compete in quilting. (Woulda been fun!)
How about a shout-out from all those Q-Bies who also learned to sew in 4-H?