Are you following our Greek Ambassador, Mania Hatziioannidi from Mania for Quilts? Mania started dealing with crafts at the age of 6-7. In the beginning, it was cross stitch, embroidery, crochet, and knitting. She moved on by attending classes and got the opportunity to extend her knowledge to more advanced techniques. Mania speaks four languages beyond Greek, which helped her communicate online with many teachers and crafters from around the world and follow many blogs and sites. At the same time, she was dealing with every craft, extending her knowledge to candle making, sewing, furniture remake, mosaic, micro-weaving, felting, and she entered the magic world of quilting. Her previous professional experience and her willingness to transfer her knowledge drove her to be a quilting teacher.
We asked Mania about her creative background. Let’s see what she said!
Island Batik: What sparked your interest in sewing?
Long story. I grew up in a house with two seamstresses (my mother and my aunt). They forced me to learn everything. This made me not wanting to even touch a sewing needle. On the contrary, I was knitting and crocheting like crazy, even from the age of 6 (that was not obligatory).
When I was married and had children I grouped everything needing repair and gave it to them to fix it. When they passed away and my daughter was in High school, I used to pay her a small amount for each button she would sew.
And suddenly, at the age of 49, while attending a felting class, I saw a quilted bag made out of hexagons sitting in front of me. I instantly fell in love. I knew that I wanted to learn this technique. And I did it. Needless to say that I hate hexagons LOL. However I am proud to say that there is no technique unknown to me. I learned everything as if I was taking university classes and I am thrilled about it – this is the reason I love quilting and textile arts. They are so versatile!
Do you have a favorite quilt that you have made and why is it your favorite?
I love most of my quilts but one of my favorite is an Island Batik challenge where I was inspired by Hokushai Wave (see below). I gave this quilt away as a gift. I loved it a lot because I think it was the first art quilt I made, as I have the definition in my mind.
What were your beginner mistakes in quilting?
My perfectionism that sometimes held me back, something that obviously was also happening with drawing and painting, and this was the last castle I conquered.
Is there block or pattern you could you make over and over again?
None of them. This is the reason I love quilting and textile arts. They give me endless possibilities not to make the same things all over again.
What are some of your quilting essentials?
My Husqvarna Epiq 980Q and my Juki TL2010Q, each one for different applications.
What inspires your design process?
It helps me a lot when I make something for a specific occasion, or for someone when I know what will please him/her. Then designing is easier. Another helper are the fabrics themselves and the patterns on them. And thank God Island Batik has great fabrics.
What’s your most favorite part of quilting, and why? Least favorite?
I love designing, cutting, quilting. Hand finishing binding is not for me. I also do not like to appliqué things, even if I adore the result. I like watching my work changing in every step, which is not the case with appliqué, since after you put the pieces on their places, you have a lot of work to do to fix them without changing much. You already have got the picture of the final result.
Is there a technique that you were hesitant about trying, only to discover that you ended up absolutely loving it?
Foundation Paper Piecing. I think it was the way it was taught that made me freak out. When I did it in my way, I adored it a lot and I also became a tester for this technique.
What do you do that you hope the “quilt police” never find out about?
Not all my seams and quilting are perfect and, you know, I was the Quilting Police for myself. It took me almost 13 years to overcome my perfectionism in every aspect of my life and I owe this to patchwork.
Do you have a sewing pet-peeve?
Finishing binding by hand.
What are your other crafty (and non-crafty) hobbies?
I have recently found out that I can draw and paint relatively well. That was a big surprise for me, because till two months ago I thought I wasn’t being able to draw anything but straight lines and circles. Therefore, I draw, paint and make collages and this makes me so happy! Sometimes I also knit and crochet.
If you could choose an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Oh! This is a life dream. Frankly, I would like to come to the States during one of the big quilting events! First, I would love to meet all of the Island Batik team and live in a fairytale among all these quilting things and classes and people!!! It is the first thing I would like to do when I win the lottery. LOL!
To see the whole 2023 Island Batik Ambassador team, please visit: https://islandbatik.com/2023-ambassadors/
If you want to join the fun Island Batik Ambassador family, fill out the application here.
Is there anything else you want to as Mania? Leave us a comment below!