It’s a New Year and I’m excited to share that means a whole new season of the What’s in Your Sewing Bag Series! Kicking off the 2024 year is a fellow Canadian Quilter, Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd Story Workshop!
Andrea and I have been connected for years now. I’m sure my first introduction to her work was through Instagram. But I also caught wind of her amazing work when she won the Etsy Canada Design Award for New Talent. My local Montreal Modern Quilt Guild even hosted her FPP workshop, and I was so sad to have an ear infection and not be able to meet her in person. That didn’t come until early last year when we finally met at QuiltCon in Atlanta.
What I love most about Andrea’s creative journey is that she’s always exploring new things. From her initial play with FPP to writing her first book Gemology, to doing art installations, she’s always pushing her creative boundaries. You know how much I appreciate those qualities in my own creative adventures.
This is why I’m so excited for you to get to know the person behind the art and see what notions Andrea tucks inside her sewing kit.
Let’s dive in!
This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
Introduction – tell us a little about yourself! How did you get started on your quilting journey?
My name is Andrea Tsang Jackson and I live in Halifax/Kjipuktuk, Nova Scotia, Canada with my husband and two sons. I started quilting when I was pregnant with my first child, made a second quilt for my second child, and I thought that would be it! I made a couple more quilts in the following years, but only about 5 years into it did I join a guild (Maritime Modern Quilt Guild) and it changed everything. Looking back at that moment in 2016, I realize that’s when I truly became a quilter. Since then, quilting and textile art have become my working life and I am so grateful!
I love how your path to quilting wasn’t an instant focus, but rather one that evolved based on circumstances. I hadn’t expected to be taken with quilting either, so I find it fascinating that we both find ourselves with quilting and fiber art being such a focus in our lives 😊.
What kind of sewing bag do you have? (e.g. did you make it? Buy it?)
I bought it from my guild mate, Jeanette (Stamp Stitch Create), shortly after I joined the guild. I was in search of something to help me organize myself to attend our monthly guild sewing events. Jeanette has many years of sewing experience and I had seen her at many craft shows throughout the years; her craftsmanship is always excellent, no matter what she makes! She had a booth at a local craft show that spring, so I snagged a zipper pouch. It has a cork bottom which is sturdy, and I have since added a charm to the zipper pull given to me by one of my workshop students. It has stood up for many years.
I love Jeanette’s work too! How fun to have one of her handmade pieces.
What are your all-star essentials? Your tried-and-true must-haves that you can never run out of?
50 wt Aurifil thread in Dove Grey, 80 wt Aurifil thread for appliqué or other delicate uses, Sew Fine Thread Gloss in at least 2 scents but always Satsuma, Black Gold Needles Appliqué/Sharps, thread pulls, and Clover rubber thimble with a metal tip, small scissors to snip thread, Clover wonder clips in a little tin that was originally tea packaging.
I love having tea and jam packaging as sewing notions storage! I love your tea tin. Super cute and adds a special one-of-a-kind feel to your sewing space. I haven’t tried Black Gold Needles. I’ll have to pick up a package and see how they feel!
What is your favourite item in your kit? Why?
Our tactile and visual senses are continually engaged when we sew. However, there aren’t a lot of scents associated with my sewing process — maybe my wool pressing mat when it’s warm or the not-so-great smell of an iron on the fritz!
Sew Fine Thread Gloss is my favourite item in my kit, because the light scents always make me feel a certain way. Our olfactory senses have such a strong connection to memory and for me, the citrus smell of Satsuma brings me back to fun adolescent years shopping at The Body Shop at the mall. My next favourite scent is Fantasy — a very light, almost fruity floral scent but also with an underlying hint of “moodiness”. Somehow it reminds me of the same era; I am transported into a 90s teen romcom or something. It makes me feel good inside.
I love my Sew Fine Thread Gloss too! I also loved The Body Shop. My memory is of their strawberry lip balm and strawberry perfume. I loved both! I think it’s fun that you’ve found an extra layer of joy within your quilting practice by the simple use of your scented thread gloss. It really is the small things!
What’s one thing we’d be surprised to find in your bag?
I have three things:
1) A collapsible thread catcher made by one of my guildmates, Mindy. She made them a number of years ago as a swag bag item at a retreat and I love how I have a place to put my thread ends that fits so easily into my travel bag.
2) My small blunted tip scissors have surprisingly sharp blades. I used to actually bring these scissors to every restaurant I went to from 2012 to 2015; I used them to snip resto food into small manageable pieces for my babies to eat!
3) This third one doesn’t actually live inside my bag, but it’s too cute not so share. This Thingamal pin cushion by Deborah Fisher of Fish Museum + Circus was one that I thought about for years until I was finally able to purchase one from her at QuiltCon 2023.
Luck you! Deborah’s adorable pincushions sold out lightning fast at QuiltCon! They’re hot commodities, so if you spot one at a show snag it while you can!
Quilt Kits Will Travel
When do you find yourself using your kit the most? (Travelling, on the sofa, attending sew-ins?)
I most often use my kit on the couch under a quilt, sewing on a binding. To me, it epitomizes the feeling of coziness associated with quilting.
I couldn’t agree more!! It really is the best!
What’s your favourite travel memory with your sewing bag?
QuiltCon 2019 in Nashville! I brought a nametag kit from Karen Lewis (check out Karen’s guest post as part of the WIYSB) the year before, which had a handprinted panel with tiny letters on tiny hexagons. I used some Rifle Paper and Jen Hewett for Cotton + Steel prints to complement the orange-red letters. I brought the project on the plane so I could have my hexie name tag set to go for QuiltCon intros!
How fun is that! I love how mindful you are about your sewing, Andrea, right down to your nametag! There’s something about associating our makes with events/life/people that adds an extra layer of depth and goodness to the process.
Where Can We Find You?
Tell people where we can find you.
Thank you so much for participating in the WIYSB Series, Andrea! I loved learning more about your quilting journey through the notions you love to use. I thought it was particularly cool how sharing your quilting tools, also led to you sharing the personal story about cutting food for your sons while at restaurants when they were young! I’ll never look at blunt-tipped scissors the same again! 😉
For more What’s in Your Sewing Bag fun, check out these guests:
- Cristina from Ships and Violins
- Laura from PreQuilt
- Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs
- Karen from Just Get It Done Quilts
- Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl
PS don’t forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter so you don’t miss out on any future WIYSB guests!
This post uses affiliate links. For more info, visit the FAQ page.