This month we are talking to Sandi Sawa Hazlewood from Crafty Planner. I first came across Sandi while listening to her amazing quilt (and craft/art) podcast – definitely my favourite! – The Crafty Planner.
Trained as a city planner, Sandi has been crafty in various ways throughout her life. She grew up going to fabric stores, attending quilt shows and cooking/baking for her family’s businesses. She then became obsessed with paper crafts and as a scrapbooker, before finding textiles through knitting and crochet. After making scarves, ponchos, hats and blankets, sewing and quilting became her passion when I learned about the modern quilt movement.
Tell us about how you started quilting and how you found modern quilting.
Despite growing up with a quilter for a mother, I didn’t learn to quilt until I was in my early thirties. My (now) husband and I were coming home from a trip in Mammoth Lakes, California and I came upon a quaint modern fabric store. It was one of the first times I saw fabric that appealed to me and I immediately bought yardage to make a dress. Once we were home in San Diego, I looked up modern quilting and discovered the Modern Quilt Guild’s post about finding local quilters. About five of us met at a local deli and started talking about quilting. From there, we started the San Diego Modern Quilt Guild where I was the first President.
What does it mean to you to be a modern quilter and a modern woman?
For me, being a modern quilter is about having an adventurous mindset. Do you want to explore new quilting techniques? Would you be willing to make a quilt without border? What about trying a quilt made with negative space? If you say yes to those (and other similar questions), then I think that would be a modern quilter.
I’m not sure how a modern woman would be defined. I can tell you about myself and maybe you can decide for yourself? I have a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCLA and a master’s degree in Urban Planning from USC. I’ve worked for city council, planning departments and led a large planning program. Through all of those experiences, I have been crafty. My friends from city council were often treated to baking treats and knitted items. I’ve learned how to can fruit and planted a raised bed full of vegetables. I love my pyrex and fiestaware collections along with my fabric stash.
Which quilt that you have made represents you and why?
A friend and I made a quilt to give to another friend. We used Elizabeth Hartman’s New Wave quilt pattern for the front and an improv back. As a large throw, the back was my responsibility and was made up of blue solid fabrics. I’d never played with improv before that point but somehow I felt like it was the right choice. Our friend’s husband had been recently diagnosed with cancer. While I was making the quilt, I thought of them both and how life is short and unfair. Yet, as humans, we have the ability to give each other warmth and a smile. So that quilt reminds of me of the importance of friendship, what handmade means, the ability to try something new and that love is love.
How do you connect with other modern quilters?
I belong to my local guild but mostly connect with other modern quilters through my podcast. For the last year, I have produced weekly episodes with makers, quilters, garment makers and other creative people. I learn more about their stories and hope that by sharing their work, I get to inspire other people in their journey. I am grateful to be a part of the larger creative community.