Monday, April 7, 2014

Welcome my Guest Blogger - Maria Hrabovsky

I am so pleased to have Maria Hrabovsky as my Guest Blogger today. We met in 2010 when I submitted my first pattern to The Quilt Pattern Magazine. When it was accepted, Maria was so gracious and encouraging, I knew immediately that I had a new friend. Little did I know that we would soon be working together. She is a delight and I hope you will enjoy her words of wisdom. And so Maria, I turn this over to you.


I am absolutely delighted to be a guest blogger and I thank Nan very much for inviting me. My name is Maria Hrabovsky and I am a quilter, quilt teacher, pattern designer, writer, former elementary school teacher, and owner of the Quilts for Sale ( website plus blog and the Maria Michaels Designs site plus blog ( Although my blog, Maria’s Quilt Scraps, is active, my quilt pattern website is currently under reconstruction. I am also the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Quilt Pattern Magazine, a digital publication also known as TQPM. 

Like so many of us, I love quilts and quilting. There were no quilters or quilts in my family. I first heard and fell in love with them when my first grade teacher read us a story about our North American pioneers, which included their making quilts from scrap fabrics. Although it was many years later that I finally became a quilter, scrap quilts have remained my favourites. Part of the reason has to be that story, but the other part is the beauty of so many fabrics and colours used together.  -  By the way, I’m still the only quilter in my family, but I’ve made sure that everyone in it has a quilt.

I have often been asked what I most want to convey to quilters and do have a few things of importance. We quilters tend to shine spotlights on our tiny errors and think that they are immediately noticeable to everyone, when in reality, they are most often not. Need proof? One of my first quilts, Starburst and Diamonds (2002), was made up of 12 blocks. One set of blocks had 32 pieces in each and the other set had16. I didn’t realize until much later, that I had placed one of the 32-piece blocks the wrong way. I was devastated! However, not one person who saw the quilt ever noticed that error and one was a professional quilter while another was the professional photographer who took its photo for a quilt magazine. It was a good lesson learned early on. Do not point out what you feel are mistakes. Let people find them for themselves - that’s if they can find them at all! We should all accept our efforts, learn from them, enjoy them, and move on!

Here is a photo of my second version of that quilt. In this one, the blocks are all positioned the right way. This pattern is  based on two of the geometric designs my husband had drawn. (He has an art degree and taught high school art.) When I first began pattern designing, I based every pattern on his art. I design my own patterns now, too.

It is important to realize that a mistake is not always a disaster.  Rather, a mistake is a challenge to your creativity - and that creativity in solving or hiding your mistake, can actually lead to something better than you had originally planned. Most everything is correctable. Why do I say most?  Well, because after 29 years of quilting, I made a mistake I didn’t think was correctible. I had completely finished a quilt and when I was smoothing it out, I felt 3 lumps!  I had left 3 safety pins pinned to the batting inside my quilt! Finally, a disaster I didn’t think correctible. 
Then it occurred to me to snip into the backing of the fabric and remove each pin. Fortunately, the backing was a print. From the scraps, I matched the pattern in each area, hand-stitched each slit closed and hand-stitched small patches over each.  So far, those given the quilt haven’t found the patches, but I did break my rule in this case to tell them the story that goes with their quilt. I knew they would enjoy it. They did. They laughed at the fact that they have a quilt with a story, joked about it, and are enjoying the quilt, despite the patches. Granted, it would not have stood a chance in any kind of quilt judging, but that wasn’t its purpose. As the saying goes, “All’s well that ends well,” and this one definitely ended that way.
Remember that you are the only one who needs to be pleased with your work. If you are, others will be, too. Don’t be hard on yourself. I have a large tote bag that states, “Quilting is my therapy!” It truly is! We reap so many benefits from our quilting. Don’t ruin the therapy part! Be daring. Be creative. Most of all, have fun!
Another problem that quilters often mention is that they have made and given a quilt to everyone they can think of - family, relatives, friends, and even donated quilts to charities and made TQPM’s Kennel Quilts. They want to keep on quilting and support their habit, so what to do? Continue making them as gifts and for charities and try to sell some. Years ago, when my children were still young, I wanted to earn by selling my quilts, I couldn’t find a store that would accept them, not even on consignment. A few years after starting my pattern design website, I realized that the Internet provided quilters with a great opportunity, even those from small, rural communities who otherwise could not find a market for them. So, I started my Quilts for Sale site where I provide a venue for American and Canadians to sell them.There are other online venues for selling quilts, too. Take a look at all of them and see if they inspire you to try selling your work. Contact the site owners and ask all the questions you have. Quilts for Sale has provided me with the opportunity to get to know many quilters, all of whom are a pleasure to work with.

Enjoy your quilting and Nan’s blog and newsletter!
Thanks again, Nan, for having me. I have enjoyed it immensely.

Maria, Thank you so much for being a Guest Blogger. And not only is she a Guest Blogger, but she is a generous Guest Blogger as she is offering three patterns for her Easter Table Runner and napkins to some lucky readers.

In order to have an opportunity to receive this lovely pattern, all you need to do is make a comment letting us know your favorite Easter candy. I have to say - mine is jelly beans!!!! So just leave a comment by midnight on April 14th. I will use for the drawing for three lucky winners. Good luck and thank you, Maria.

I will be introducing May's Guest Bloggers in my newsletter so sign up. There will also be specials offered with every newsletter, so add your name to the list.
Until next time...



  1. My favorite Easter candy is Chocolate/peanut butter eggs. I will totally pig out on those! Then, my next is everything else! :O)

    Sharon Kirkpatrick

  2. I forgot to mention that I think Maria's Easter Egg Table Runner is a delight, and would look pretty great on the dining room wall at Easter, as well as on the table. :O)


  3. What an inspiring blog post, Maria and Nan! Thank you for sharing (and for including the link to Block Party Studios).
    I'm with Sharon - I could eat those chocolate/peanut butter eggs by the caseload.

  4. I understand about putting something in wrong and you see it and you thing everyone else is going to see it too. I lived in Arizona 12 years and as the Navajo say "mistakes allow the evil spirits to escape". I don't worry about the mistakes so much anymore. They are meant to be there for a reason. I think my favorite Easter candy would have to be the chocolate peanut butter eggs.

  5. I understand about mistakes. I lived in Arizona for 12 years and as the Navajo say "mistakes are to let out the evil spirits". I don't worry about the mistakes so much anymore. They are there for a reason. The Easter table runner is darling. Looks like everyone is in agreement that the chocolate peanut butter eggs are the favorite Easter candy.

  6. Dear Maria. I did so enjoy reading your blog and thank you Nan for sharing it because it jogged my memory too how much patchwork and quilting is such therapy. It is always wonderful to see the face of an absolute beginner, who often has hardly even used a sewing machine and had the courage to go home and go it alone to find out she has made a "mistake" when something is out of zink. I point out as it's fabric there is always a solution. I once read in a book about the history of quilters and one of them said only God is perfect.

    1. Ann - thanks for sharing. But you didn't let us know your favorite Easter candy! Looks like chocolate is very popular with a lot of our readers. How about you?

  7. Thanks Maria and Nan for this inspiring blog. When I was in grad school I had a sign above my desk that said "failure is an opportunity to learn." Mistakes do happen, it is what we do with them that matters.
    My favorite Easter candy: solid milk chocolate bunnies of course. And I eat them ears first.

    1. Poor bunnies - the ears are always the first to go!

  8. Love your insight and advice, Maria. I also have mistakes that scream at me that nobody else has ever noticed unless told. As for Easter candy, until yesterday I would have said my favorite was something chocolate. But I bought some sour jelly beans for the grandkids and it's a good thing I already filled their eggs because I can't stop eating them! So at least for this year, that's my new favorite.

  9. Crystal - another jelly bean convert! Yeah!

  10. I love those little malted milk eggs - yum! :) Great post and so true about the mistakes. WHY do we feel compelled to point them out? Sheesh! Let's do what Maria says and stop it!!