Last year was The Year I Discovered Instagram. One of the beautiful people I met is Cassandra Madge. She is a fabulous quilter and one of the ‘good guys’ – a genuinely lovely and giving person who has coordinated some great random acts of kindness. I’ve been blessed to know her and watch her quilting dreams come true – she’s in the throes of setting up her long arm quilting business and I can’t wait to see it grow and for Tula Pink to knock on Cassie’s door!
Tell us a bit about you?
I am a wife, mother of two teenage boys, and fur mother to our two Maltese/Shihtzu cross dogs which rule the house. I have always been crafty, my mother was a fabulous seamstress so I learnt to sew, knit, embroider etc at a very early age. However I wasn’t very good at “Art” in school so I never considered what I could do artistic. I sewed when my children were young out of necessity, making clothes for them and myself, making blinds and curtains, sheets and pillowcases. I was left with nerve damage to my neck after a nasty car accident in 2010 led to a disc rupture in my neck in January 2011. Since then I have suffered from chronic headaches/migraines, fatigue, joint pain and insomnia. As my health issues prevent me from leading the active life that I was used to, and some hobbies now are beyond my abilities, quilting came around at just the right time for me.
When did you start quilting?
After a long obsession with cross stitch, photography and digital scrapbooking, I fell into quilting quite unintentionally. In 2012 I bought a charm pack to make a baby present for a good friend, a patchwork cushion for her nursery. It was love at first sight. Patchwork and quilting had come such a long way from the way I remember it in the 90s with dull country colours and small florals. The modern movement was underway and I adored all the bright colours and possibilities it opened up to me. For the first time in years I used my sewing machine for something other than hemming pants or sewing buttons.
Tells us about your first quilt?
My first patchwork project being a cushion, I decided I wanted to make a quilt next. I picked up a stack of grey, black and yellow prints from Spotlight and researched how different blocks worked and how to make a quilt. It didn’t occur to me to buy a pattern, so I made up my measurements and set about making a stack of half square triangles. I arranged them over and over on the floor until we found a chevron pattern that we liked, and I sewed it all together. I pieced the backing, quilted it myself with some straight lines and showed it to everyone!
What’s your favourite part of the quilt-making process? What do you love about free motion quilting?
I love almost all of quilt making – from colour and pattern to finding secondary patterns within the block intersections. However right from the very start I have been drawn to free motion quilting. I had no idea there were such things and quilt frames and long arm machines, so I went shopping for a new (second hand) machine that had the ability and space to free motion my quilts. For my fourth quilt, Rainbow Rails, I did a free motion filler design in each square, rotating a set of five designs throughout the whole quilt. It was the middle of summer and I certainly worked up a sweat. That quilt went on to win a 4th ribbon at the Royal Adelaide Show in 2014.
Tell us about the new addition to your quilting family?
I became more and more obsessed with the process of free motion quilting until, with a lot of encouragement and support from friends and my patient family, we decided that I needed a long arm quilting machine. After months of looking and hoping, I found an excellent Handi Quilter for sale 1500kms away, and my husband and I drove there and back again, in four days, to collect Winnie. She is currently set up in my lounge room but her very own purpose renovated studio is in progress. I will be taking on customer quilts very shortly, using the very extensive digital pattern library accessed through the computerised Prostitcher software. I hope to be offering custom free motion quilting at a later date.
What project are you currently working on?
Currently I’m piecing the Star Bright quilt from the book, Vintage Quilt Revival, using a beautiful set of Anna Maria Horner fabrics. In between blocks of sewing time I am working my way through quilting and binding my rather large collection of quilt tops. So much for my stated intention when I started quilting of only working on one project at a time. Cue manic laughter. I also have a complete fabric pull done for a Tula Pink Swoon quilt – my dream quilt – and a half dozen jelly rolls and layer cakes all with grand plans attached. When I’m forced to rest, I have a hand stitched EPP hexagon project close by me; after nine months I’m nearly three quarters through.
What’s next for you – where do you see yourself in two years’ time (whichever you feel like answering)?
In two years I see myself with my quilting business established, helping quilters from South Australia and the rest of the country to make their quilts look amazing! I plan to keep expanding my skill base and that may even have me travelling interstate or overseas to learn from the great teachers that are around. I would like to continue piecing and designing my own patterns. My big dream is to one day be the quilter that Tula Pink calls for quilting her latest creation, ready for display to the world at Quilt Market.
Where can we find you? (FB, IG etc)
I am still getting comfortable using Facebook, however you can find me almost every day on Instagram, and I have a complete website with tutorials, quilt gallery and random crafty updates.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cassie.madge.1
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/hillscass