Homespun Mums

Are you all familiar with Australian Homespun Magazine?  I first noticed them when they did articles on some of my favorite designers.  Well, guess what?

This time that designer is me!  Here’s my little spread and the project that I did for them  (perfect for those wanting to try 60-degree angles on a small-scale – BTW)

The article tells a little bit about me and how I got started quilting.  It also talks about “my mum”.  I just think it’s so cute when Australians say Mum.  When I wrote some of this for them, I know I wrote “Mom”, but it’s much cuter this way.  In fact, I had to call up my Mum to tell her about it and why I was calling her Mum.

Writing up my notes for Homespun was actually kind of fun.  I realized that I probably don’t “talk” that much on this blog, as I mostly show pictures, and I’m missing some chances to share about things that are really important to me.  Like my Mum and the things I have learned from her. 

I often wonder if I would have this job if it weren’t for her.  As I mention in the article, some of my first memories were hanging out in Mom’s sewing room.  She would always give me little projects to play on and things from her sewing room to play with.  I remember loving to play with her button stash and come up with color combinations – a skill that I still try to practice daily.  My early projects involved a gingham plaid fabric, stretched in a hoop, with a design marked out on it.  I then used a plastic needle to sort of cross-stitch the design.  Later, at the age of five, I got my first sewing machine.  It was a hand-me-down from my Great Grandma Anka.  I still remember that it had the foot petal attached to the side of the machine and you ran it with your knee, instead of your foot.  Now that I had a machine, Mom patiently taught me how to use it.  I learned how to make my own clothes, along with a few other crafty projects like making my own pound puppies and Cabbage Patch Doll clothes.  Remember those?  We discovered quilting later and I haven’t made any of my own clothing since. 

Through all of that, I think the most important lesson that I learned from my Mum, was that we can do anything with fabric.  I watched her make all of our clothes, curtains, stuffed animals, pillows, recover furniture, and craft up lots of home dec items.  I remember that she even made a covering with handles for a big inner tube that we pulled behind our boat.  See, I told you she could make anything!  I think that attitude had a big effect on me, and was highly influential in my decision to become a pattern designer.  There is a free-ness that comes with thinking that way.  I can do it.  Or at least, with my Mom’s help, I can do it. 

Here’s to being SO grateful for having such a mother !!!!

{Hi Mom!  I love you and everything you have taught me  – even when I forget to say it.  Thank-you for taking the time and being there. }

I hope that this journey has been rewarding for her too.  I hope that there are others out there like me, who have someone like this in their life.  Do you?  I’d love to hear about it.

About Heather Peterson

Quilt pattern designer
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35 Responses to Homespun Mums

  1. Michelle says:

    Hi Heather
    I just picked up my copy yesterday! Great article and the table runner is beautiful!
    Homespun is the only mag I treat myself to now, I love meeting new designers the stories and the quotes throughout just a great mag!

  2. Carmen says:

    Love your fabrics & designs! My “mum” and grandma taught me to sew at a very young age and my daughter caught the bug a few years ago which led to our sewing business. It’s so delightful to hear about other mom/daughter storys!

  3. Kelly says:

    Heather – my favorite childhood memories took place in my Mum’s sewing room! Of her and I sewing together. I’ll never forget the Christmas that I got her Singer Sewing machine! I was so excited. The thing had two speeds – fast and stop 🙂 Mom’s machine was a Kenmore that used cams – a very impressive machine at the time – and it’s still working. I made my first outfit – a jean skirt and jacket – when I was only 7yo. Mom and I still enjoy sharing our sewing projects even though we’re 1200 miles apart. She was a big inspiration in my life – and still is 🙂

  4. Jocelyn says:

    I think we all have been influenced by our Mum’s. My Mom did not sew, so the first time I ever used a sewing machine was in Home Ec class in 9th grade. What a wonderfully fun experience. I sewed my own garments for years. Then in 1985 I took my first quilting class. No more garment sewing for me 🙂 But the one who influenced me the most in quilting was Eleanor Burns. I learned her Quilt in A Day method and that revolutionized my quilting forever. So thanks to all those who have invested in me along the way and to those who have influenced the whole quilting community. Like you 🙂

  5. Julie in WA says:

    Like you, my mom is the huge sewing influence in my life. Her sewing machine was always in the den; we were forever stepping on dropped pins hidding in the shag carpeting! She sewed much of the clothing for us kids.; she taught me to sew clothing when I decided to work on the sewing badge in girls club.

    Mom emphasized the importance of accurate seams…I spent a lot of time ripping out imperfect sewing. I hated it then, but now as a quilter, I really appreciate the ability to cut and piece accurately.

    I remember the first thing I made…a pair of pajamas made from pink flannel with kittens on it. I seldom sew clothing anymore, but knowing how garments are constructed has been invaluable for me as I sew dolls clothes for daugheter, Shakespeare costumes for daughter, repairing clothing for daughter…. and daughter herself, though she made one bed quilt, has shown no more interest in sewing. But who knows if someday she will walk in the footsteps of mom and grama?!!

  6. mariajhmom says:

    Wow! Congrats! I think your Mum is pretty awesome too!

  7. Sherri says:

    Congrats! I can’t wait to buy a copy…love the runner and want to read the article, too! I too, owe my Mom and Grandma for my love of fabric, sewing and quilting. I started sewing at 10 and made most of my dresses and skirts through high school and college. I never thought I’d quilt…thought my grandmother was completely crazy for cutting up fabric just to sew it back together again. Wisely, she offered to help me make a quilt when I asked her to make me one! Anyway….that’s all it took…just one quilt! My grandmother just turned 90 the other day, and not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate her for “encouraging” me to quilt!

  8. Kris says:

    Congrats! I shall go buy it!!

  9. Well, this brings tears to my eyes and I certainly don’t feel deserving of such praises, but I’m thankful. It has been a priveledge to be a Mum to 3 precious children and even better now has come the grandchildren. I am very proud and count my blessings every day for what I have. God is Good!

    • That comment should say posted by Deb Mulder. I must have been logged into my blog on Mom’s computer recently and never logged out. When Mom posted her comment it showed up with my name instead of hers, leading to some confusion on both our parts. Mom called to ask if I could fix it, and this is as close as I can get to fixing it!

  10. Mary says:

    Congratulations on being featured in the magazine! I love the project you have designed for the article. And what a wonderful tribute to your “mum”.

  11. Diana P says:

    Awesome! I hope my B&N carries the mag!
    Yay for mums!

  12. marsha nelson says:

    My nana made all my clothes from the inside out when I was little. All of my friends liked them because you couldn’t buy them anywhere and I loved them. Although I used to hide when I saw her coming with the tape measure. Every time I sit at a sewing machine I think of her. I love making little girls clothing and then of course there is quilting. Loved the table runner.

  13. Lindsey says:

    Congratulation Heather!! With being the softy I am I cried reading about this. I’m so proud of you and what you’ve done with your business. I’m so lucky to have you as my sister. I too agree that we are so blessed to have our “mum”. She is the best!

    • I see so much of our Mum in you – You are such a good Mom too. You always put your kids first, no matter the cost, and are so patient with them. I thought of you when I was writing this, thinking that you are at the stage where it is soooo much work and lots of trying days. But then I thought about what will come next – the rest of our lives! Where you will get to enjoy the fruits of your labor and the joy that comes from those great family relationships.

  14. Mary-Kay says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your mom. And I’m going to look for that magazine and read the whole article. Congratulations!

  15. DianeY says:

    My “mum’s” machine that I learned to sew on was an old Singer & it had the same kind of pedal you described that you leaned your knee against. Nice article and I guess I see where your Anka’s treasures comes from

  16. Nancy L says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your Mum! You both are extremely gifted and talented and so blessed to be able to work together! You guys are an inspiration, and exceedingly generous in sharing your ideas with your quilting friends! 🙂 I remember learning to sew on my Mom’s machine with a knee pedal rather than a foot pedal too. Congratulations on being featured in the magazine!!

  17. quilty chick says:

    I grew up in an amish home so I didn’t realize what works of art my mum was creating till I was older and got interested in quilts myself. I learned to sew on a treadle machine and cherish those memories of sewing. I love that I learned to hand quilt at a very young age. I still enjoy it but would never attempt a large project on my own. My mom at 88 still quilts and her stitches are very tiny and even. So much to be thankful for in our mothers- Marietta

  18. Karen says:

    Heather (and Mum),

    Your post, and your mums, brought tears to my eyes… My mum was such a positive influence on my life in many ways… she always provided encouragement and told me I could do anything I put my mind to… sounds alot like your mum !! Taking the opportunity to praise, thank and love your mom while she is here on this earth is a blessing in and of itself. My heart and praise goes out to you both. Thank you for continuing to share your work and joy with us.


  19. Mums are great. My mum always fostered my creative side, too. I am really grateful for that as well. Congrats on your spread in the magazine. Your home is so beautiful, it’s neat that they featured it!

  20. Sharon Dimberg says:


    My mother taught all of us girls to sew. A few of us, my sister Judy and myself, sew pretty much everyday, mainly piecing quilts, and then finishing them on our longarms. Mom’s machine was a Necchi, with the side knee pedal also, and a box full of cams for decorative stitching. The earliest memories I have of sewing with her, was before I went to kindergarten. She would embroider dish towels, and then do a decorative stitch around the towels on the hem. That is when she would have me sit on her lap, to help. Of course, I thought I was doing the sewing, but it was all her. Mom sewed the majority of our clothes. So when we were big enough to sew ourselves, us girls would make our own clothes. I even made my bridesmaids and flower girl dresses. Then when my husband and I had kids, I sewed clothes for them.

    A great joy for me, is that one of my daughters likes to quilt. She has made 3 quilts for high school friends who have gotten married. Natalie just turned 24, so she has a lot of quilts in her future. Nicole, my oldest, she does not sew. I have a sewing machine for her, and offered it to her. Her comment was “What would I do with that?”. So for now she picks out the quilt patterns that she likes and I sew them for her. Someday I will get her to quilt, maybe with alot of help from her Aunt Judy.

    Our Mom’s can teach so many great things, hopefully we will all be able to share them, teach them to our children to pass on to future generations.

  21. Karin says:

    Thanks for posting this Heather. I realize that I really need to get my girls going and not care if they do it “just right”. Maybe they will go to quilt retreats with me some day like you did with yours.

  22. Dad says:

    Yes she is a very special wife and mum, and Heather you are also a very special and talented daughter. love ya

    • Wow – Dad too? This post is bringing my non-commenting family out of the woodwork! I have to say that you deserve credit too – If it wasn’t for you working so hard, Mom wouldn’t have been able to stay home with us. I think we sewed almost every afternoon and that would have never happened. So, you might not have been there teaching me to sew, but you certainly helped make it happen! I also witnessed your unbelievable work ethic and that was highly influential in my life as well. So Thanks!

  23. Diane says:

    Like Sharon, I learned to sew on a Necchi with the knee “pedal.” Muscle memory is amazing. After not sewing on that machine for 25 years, I bought a Bernina with the lift on the right side of the machine. My body could not adjust to not using that to power the machine. Now I use my left foot on my pedal, and it all works.

    My mom taught me everything I know about sewing, then I taught her about quilting, and she out-quilts me by a mile. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

  24. Although my mom purchased a sewing machine and tried to use it, it was our neighbor, Mrs. W., who first introduced me to sewing (and other crafty things) and taught me to sew. She had three boys, the youngest was my best friend and when we were about 10, she had a girl. I don’t think her daughter ever developed a love for sewing but I would never have started quilting if it wasn’t for her. Now, I wonder how she managed to spend so much time with her neighbor’s daughter, teaching her all sorts of creative stuff. God Bless Mrs. W. and the people like her who are so willing to share their knowledge and creativity with others…I think that’s why I love blogging!

  25. Mary Ann says:

    You are so blessed.

  26. SuzK says:

    Congrats on being in Homespun. I’ve been looking forward to this issue because it starts the new BOM – and now there is more reason! I love the stacks of your fabric on your header.

  27. Lyn Briggs says:

    I love Homespun magazine and loved your project and article. Your comments about your Mum were really moving. It’s so easy to forget to acknowledge those closest to us. Thanks for reminding us all.

  28. Linda P. says:

    I don’t know what was going on, that I missed all this good stuff last week!! Now, I’m crying too, as you know, I love reading about your family and seeing your photos. All that kindness and goodness just runs in the family!! Congrats on your article, I know Australia will love you as much as we do here in the states. Big hugs!! xo

  29. Di says:

    Congratulations! I just grabbed the magazine yesterday and it’s a lovely article. Love the table runner. I had a mum like you – so she was a big influence in my sewing. Little did I know while growing up that I would end up working in a sewing/patchwork industry & be surrounded by beautiful fabric and inspiration every day. It’s a lovely industry to work in. xo

  30. Sharon D says:


    Do you know where we can purchase this magazine in Minnesota? I have looked at Borders; Barnes & Noble; and JoAnn’s with no luck. Thanks in advance for any info.

  31. My mom taught me so much, too. I REALLY learned to appreciate her sewing when my daughters asked me to make Barbie Doll clothes for them. Then I remembered the ones Mom made for me. That takes a lot of patience. She helped me make my first quilt when I was 8. She sewed all my clothes until I was able to make them myself and then she made my wedding dress in 1975. I sure miss her. She passed away in 2009. I have some of her quilts to remind me every day of what a wonderful mother she was to me.

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