Hi, I’m Ella Herrera. *waves hello* I used to have blue hair. I kind of miss it. Might make it blue again.
In my non-quilty life, I’m a teacher in Atlanta. I’ve moved around a lot in my life, but I think Atlanta is home now. (I do miss the fall in Upstate NY, but I don’t miss the winters.) I love Atlanta. My favorite places to hang out here are the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Botanical Gardens, and DragonCon. Yup, I’m a scifi geek, too. I have a smooshy senior cocker spaniel (who has ruined me for all other dogs and who I need to clone into an army of lovey dogs) and a slightly evil tuxedo kitty (think Brain from “Pinky and the Brain”).
Obligatory animal pictures:
(Sorry, the tongue is a bit disturbing, but I still find her forcible grooming, usually limited to his floofy hair, HILARIOUS.)
I co-host the Finish-a-Long, but I’ve been a long time participant (and long time overachieving list maker). I started blogging back in 2011. A bit of trivia about my blog name. I’m also a bellydancer (although my knee issue has me a bit sidelined right now), hence the wench part. I tend to throw myself into things whole-heartedly, but I’m also a klutz…so, um, the wench in the works. I didn’t think about how often folks would read it as “wrench” and have trouble finding my blog. Ah well.
I started blogging the summer I decided to officially learn how to quilt. I’ve been sewing and knitting since I was little. (My mom taught me how to sew, by hand and by machine. My aunt taught me to knit when I was in third grade.) I made a quilt for my dorm room in college, but I don’t count it as a quilt that was completely mine because my mom hand tied it. It didn’t survive many washings.
I don’t actually have most of my first quilts any more from back in 2011.
When I started sewing again back in 2011, after many years of hiatus, I was initially obsessed with disappearing nine patches. I gave most of them away. The one below went to a friend going through chemo.
In my first foray into non disappearing 9 patch quilts, I made a HORRIBLE quilt. I used crappy fabric that did NOT stand up to being washed, which was probably also a product of my seams being totally inconsistent. Ahem, I was in a horrible Hawaiian shirt theme for the quilts.
It was part of a Row Robin that was launched online. I loved the community that I found there. Folks were supportive and kind. That led to swaps and lots of groups on Flickr. (Remember when Flickr was awesome? *Sigh.*) I did a ton of block swaps, even ran the 4×6 for a while. I admit, I have not been blogging as much as I did in the past. Now, I tend to spend time over on Instagram, but the online community is still HUGELY important to me.
I felt like, as I had with the bellydance community, I found a “tribe” to which I belonged. I had space to learn, people were so generous with their knowledge, and I could let my geek flag fly. I got to meet folks in real life from my first do.good.stitches group visiting Atlanta, Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, Sewtopia here in Atlanta, Sisters in Oregon, and many years of The Stash Bash. I’m kind of a spazz and feel incredibly awkward in big social groups. Going to new places feels like a big deal. (If you ever meet me, this won’t necessarily feel true. I TALK A LOT. I TALK MORE when I’m nervous.) I feel lucky to have met so many awesome, amazing women who remain important to me.
Charity is still a fundamental part of my sewing. I run the Serenity Circle as part of do.good.stitches. My circle makes quilts for hospice. I do this to honor my grandmother. She was a maker her whole life, making dresses for mission work, mittens in the winter, newborn items for hospitals. When she died, I saw how much the crochet blanket a stranger made impacted my mother. I’d love to do that for someone I will never meet with my quilts, to give some comfort in a really difficult time. I try to make as many as I can each year.
I’ve started doing a kindness project this year. I was feeling overwhelmed by how mean the world was seeming. I was constantly stressed. Sewing helped me deal with that. So far, I made over 40 infinity scarves to give to women I know to let them know they are amazing and loved and seen. My next project is pincushions. This lets me do at least something small to impact others, to spread a bit of love.
I am NOT a confident FMQ, though I can do a mean meander. I’m still addicted to QALs. I seem to have to have AT LEAST 2 dozen things spinning at a time. I can’t seem to walk away from a challenge. I have only put 2 quilts in shows (the poppy below and the hexy garden). I’m trying to get braver about that. Quilting is still my least favorite part. I have learning how to long arm on my list (one of the long ones) this year.
Here are some of my favorite finishes:
This year, I’ll be running a BOM skill builder. It’s meant to be an intro to some different techniques, very low pressure. I hope you’ll join me!