What’s in Your Sewing Bag? | Special Guest: Lucy Engels
I’m so thrilled you’ve been loving the What’s in Your Sewing Bag series.
And, for today’s guest, we’re hopping over the pond and heading to Scotland!
If you’re new to Lucy Engel’s work, then you’re in for a real treat. Her designs are bold, bright and very geometric – all things you know I adore too! Plus, she’s got a great sense of humour (have you seen her IG captions?!)
I couldn’t be more excited for you to get to know Lucy and see what essential quilting notions she keeps in her sewing kit!
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Introduction – tell us a little about yourself! How did you get started on your quilting journey?
Hi, I’m Lucy. I am an artist, quilter, designer, and printmaker. I live and work in Edinburgh, Scotland. My studio is within an old Victorian school house. A bit drafty, but it has very high ceilings and great light. I design, make quilts, and write quilt patterns. Design and handprint fabric. And, most recently, I have got back into printmaking and have been screen printing one off art pieces.
I had studied fine art printmaking at Gray’s School of Art and struggled for various reasons to continue to make work after I graduated. Fast forward a decade and I took a night class in fashion design which reintroduced me to my sewing machine. And then, as happens to many of us, I made a quilt for my nephew.
I had become interested in quilts in 2013 when I became aware of modern quilts and the MQG (The Modern Quilt Guild). The possibilities of creating a functional piece of art drew me in. And it snowballed from there. Finding other quilters on Flickr I became part of the quilting community and then Instagram happened and opened up a whole new world.
I didn’t know you studied fine art – that is so cool! I bet that was super fun too!
What kind of sewing bag do you have? (e.g. did you make it? Buy it?)
I have two sewing bags. Both of which I have made. They are seconds from when I made pouches. They have soft outters so I can put my needles and pins through them so they don’t get lost. One is for hand sewing. The other travels back and forth from the studio to home.
I just adore your pouches, Lucy! And love that we’re twinning on using seconds from when we made pouches!
What are your all-star essentials? Your tried and true must haves that you can never run out of?
There are a few things that I always have in my sewing bag. One is fabric glue sticks. I use them mainly for EPP (English Paper Piecing) but the glue comes in handy quite often. Good sharp scissors is another. I have a pair of stork scissors, again for hand work, that are perfect, and I love them. Neutral threads, usually a 50wt and a 80wt Aurifil. And not forgetting my seam ripper!
I love my *glue sticks too! They totally revolutionized my EPP game.
What is your favourite item in your kit? Why?
One of my favourite items in my kit are my Tulip needles. Not only do they look pretty in their distinctive packaging, they have really levelled up my hand quilting. Tulip needles are so strong, and they don’t end up bent like many other needles I have used. What can I say, I’m a chronic needle bender…
Ha! I’m a needle bender too! I’ve gotten better over the years, but I tend to put a lot of pressure on my needles. I picked up a package of *Tulip needles but haven’t tried them out yet. This has me even more excited to give them a go.
What’s one thing we’d be surprised to find in your bag?
You may or may not be surprised to find a massive thread ball in both of my bags. I have no idea how it happens but even after clearing out and sorting everything in my sewing bag, a week later there it is. A ball of tangled thread with safety pins and bobbins struggling to get out.
Lucy, we’re quilty sisters because I have the same problem. My pearl cotton thread balls in particular tend to turn to spaghetti string mess! I finally decided to use a smaller pouch just for my thread, so they don’t roll around or get caught on my other notions. It’s working like a charm!
QUILT KITS WILL TRAVEL
When do you find yourself using your kit the most? (Travelling, on the sofa, attending sew-ins?)
I use my hand sewing bag most often at home on the sofa watching a good film and getting my hand work done. I rarely take sewing away with me when I’m travelling or away from home. In fact, now that you are asking about a travel memory I don’t think there is one! I try to switch off from sewing when I am away and would be more inclined to gather inspiration and take in the experience. I do always bring a quilt with me, however, just in case that magic quilt photo opportunity presents itself.
I love that you focus on the experience of being away rather than bringing a project. It ensures you really absorb your surroundings.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU?
Tell people where we can find you?
Thank you so much, Lucy, for sharing more about your creative journey and giving us a peek inside your gorgeous handmade pouches. Super inspiring 😊
For more What’s in Your Sewing Bag fun, check out these guests: