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3. Nicole- Unplugged

Hi there, I’m Nicole Gilbert and you’ve joined the Stop Scrolling, Start Sewing Podcast. Are you new to sewing and want to start quilting but have no idea where to begin? Each Wednesday join me as I share the ins-and-outs of that quilt life. If you don’t have a sewing machine have no idea how much fabric you need or you’re just trying to figure out where the heck to stick that bobbin, this is the podcast for you.

Hey folks! Welcome to episode 3 of the Stop Scrolling, Start Sewing Podcast. I’m your host Nicole Gilbert and I gotta say I’m a little bit nervous about today’s episode. I’m referring to today’s episode as Nicole-Unplugged. A few weeks back, I sent an email out to everyone who’s in the Circle asking them what questions they want me to address on the podcast. Surprise, Surprise 99% of the questions were about me. So I figured I’d roll them all in to one fun little episode where I talk entirely too much about myself, but don’t worry. There is definitely a theme here. Also, if you haven’t joined me in The Modern Quilters Circle yet, head on over to to register.

Alright guys, lets get sewing!

So first up, Sarah writes: Can you tell me a little bit more about your journey as a military spouse and how you got to where you are today?

Okay, so I met my husband while he was an undergrad and shortly after he graduated, he commissioned and moved on to his first duty station. I decided, and this is my husband at the time boyfriend, I decided to follow him to his first duty station and I think about that now and like, if I had a daughter I would not approve. But thanks, Mom, it worked out. And so we moved in together at his first duty station and then just before he was set to move to the next duty station we got married. And when I say just before, I mean like we got married on Saturday and the moving truck was getting packed on Monday. We followed that move up with six more PCS’s through six states and 8 houses along the way we had three little boys ages five, three, and one.  It’s a very busy house. So yeah, we are in some ways that typical military family lots of kids close together living all over the US, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned a lot about myself over this last 10 years. I genuinely love the military community. I have enjoyed my time as an FRG leader. I have spent many, many hours volunteering both privately and within the unit with my husband. I genuinely believe that in many ways, we are an underserved community that can use all the resources that we can get. But I also see everyday people making a huge impact in military family members’ lives and I just love it. I love being part of this special little quirky community. I enjoy getting to live all over the United States and having there be different cultures assigned to each area that we get to experience which I also think is fantastic for the boys to grow up with so it’s definitely a different lifestyle. I don’t think it’s for everyone but it is for sure for myself, my husband and hopefully our kids so thanks Sarah for that. I wonder how many of you actually knew I was a military spouse. Probably all of you. I say it a lot.

Next is Kaylee. Kaylee wants to know: what was the very first thing you sewed?

Oh goodness. The very first thing that I sewed was a quilt that I affectionately refer to as the ugliest quilt known to man. It is large. It is turquoise and hot pink and purple and there’s glitter and there is zebra in two different colors. It’s got patchy binding and janky quilting and just its sloppy. I love to jump in to things with two feet. I get so excited about things and I just want to start right away and with quilting I just started right away. Sometimes I start things without doing all of the research and quilting with definitely one of those things. So I didn’t know about the 1/4” seam allowance. I didn’t know about different types of batting. I really didn’t know any, I didn’t know about rotary cutting! I cut each of those squares out by putting a square ruler on to the fabric, tracing all the way around and then cutting it out. First of all, huge waste of time and then every single square with slightly off. It was a mess. It was a nightmare and that ¼” seam allowance is imperative to having a quilt that stays together. So this quilt, which is bright and garish also has huge holes that you can just stick your hand into and you can just rub up on that batting. It’s a mess and that being said, it is also my favorite quilt. It is always within like 6 ft of me at all times. If you catch me out Saturday mornings at soccer, you will see me covered in Fig Newton crumbs chasing after toddlers while we’re all sitting on this quilt. It is a favorite. I love it to death. I am so embarrassed of it at the same time, but you have to start somewhere and that is where I started. So just know if you have a super janky or weird or falling apart somewhere. I got you dog, cuz I did it too.

Alright, so next up Kim. Kim asks: What’s on your sewing to do list this year?

Okay. I almost don’t want to answer this one and here’s why. I need to make my mother-in-law a quilt. She had asked in the past. I have to told her yes, and I just haven’t gotten it done. And this year I really, really need to get it done. But I kind of don’t want to say that out loud because she’s going to listen to this hopefully and then shes going to know that a quilt is coming and I might chicken out. So here’s the deal. She doesn’t quilt and I know she would love anything that I made for her because she really is a genuinely kind person. But I love her and I think she’s amazing. So I want to make her something beautiful and wonderful. Her best friend is the woman who kind of shepherd me into this whole quilting thing. You know, she gave me all of my little quilting books. She told me what kind of rulers I needed to start what I should look for in fabric. She helped my husband shop for my first sewing machine. I mean, she is a big deal. I think about her often whenever I quilt. So the idea of giving my mother-in-law a quilt that she will inevitably pull out and show her makes me really worried. Cuz it’s been like 10 years and I like am I good enough and is my final project what Robin will expect from me at this point. I get very nervous, but I’ve said it I’ve made it my mission and so this year my mother-in-law is getting a quilt for Christmas. I said it its out there. Its happening.

Okay. So Megan wrote in: How would you describe your quilting aesthetic?

So what I think is really interesting about my quilting aesthetic is that it is absolutely nowhere near my décor aesthetic. So if you came to my house right now, first of all, you would be like this chick is so basic because my house looks like Joanna Gaines threw up in here. We’ve got shiplap. We’ve got subway tiles. We’ve got industrial lights and barn doors. You Name it, we got it and I’m trying to figure out how to squeeze in more cuz I love It love it. Love it. Love it love it. But, that also means for the most part. My home is white on white on cream on white on grey. Very neutral, very soothing. It’s all very comfy and cozy it’s not cold at all. But it’s definitely white and that is so not my quilting aesthetic when I am quilting. I love bright, bold colors and I like to use very classic quilt patterns. So I like stars and I like flying geese and I like half square triangles. I love clean lines. You will pretty much never see me quilt with any sort of circles or floral patterns, like floral patterned fabric, but not actual like floral pedal cut out.  I never do applique. It’s just really not my jam. I’ve never seen an applique where I’ve been like, I love it. So until that day comes, applique is not on my radar. But I just I feel like for me quilting is my hobby and my hobby is something that I genuinely loved and enjoyed doing and I drive great joy from it and I want to be happy and joyful through every step of the process from shopping at the fabric store, to cutting, to putting it all together and binding it. You name it. I want to just like feel and have everything around me emanate joy because that is why I quilt. That is why I have a hobby. It is my escapism and I love it.

Next up. Let’s see. Oh Elise messaged me to ask: What is one skill that you haven’t gotten around to?

So for those of you who are familiar with quilting. There are a million different ways to quilt. I mean you can do you know jelly roll chase quilts to modern minimalist quilts. You can use applique you can do stitch in the ditch. You can do free motion. You can do stippling. I mean the skies are the limit. The thing that I haven’t gotten around to is paper piecing. So like I said, I tend to jump all in when I’m trying new things. So what will happen is I will try everything cuz I love it and I genuinely love quilting so I try everything. And then what happens is if I just love something I think it’s fun to do or it has a beautiful finished product, I tend to then just continue to make that because I just love it and I become obsessed with it. And so then I just keep doing that and then I get a little tired of it and I move on to the next thing and so paper piecing hasn’t really caught my eye yet. I’ve tried it, it’s okay. It’s just not really my jam right now. Similarly, with applique. Actually, I think I can firmly say applique is not going to be in my wheelhouse and mainly that’s because I just don’t like the effect it has and the finished result is not really my style. I just haven’t found anything that I’ve been like, ‘Well that would be awesome on top of my badass quilt. I just don’t get it. I really don’t. So if you love applique though, good for you. I would love to see how you’re doing it cuz maybe I just am completely uninventive and I need a new way to look at it. So I would love you to share what you’re doing in that regard. So, let’s see paper piecing, not my thing.

What is going on next? So, Adele asks: How do you find time to quilt with three little guys?

Honestly, how do I find time to do anything with three little guys? These kids run me ragged. Like, legit ragged. I will say that I am quite the naptime warrior. What I like to do is I save my favorite things to do for myself until naptime because I know at naptime I will get to have some peace and quiet and do things by myself. So, quilting, recording this podcast, speaking to everybody who signed up with the Modern Quilters Circle over on the Facebook group or on the website. That’s the kind of stuff I love so that’s what I do during that time. I save the clothes folding and dishwashing and all of those kind of things that I just do not love cuz I am not I mean I’m a stay-at home mom by trade. I’m not really great at all the at home tasks if we’re being honest. So I tend to do those when the boys are up and running around screaming anyway, and it’s just, you know, get it done. I do believe I mean, obviously we all know we are all given the same 24 hours in a day, but we tend to make time for what we really, really want to do so you’ll find time if you do something that you love.

So, the last question that came up that actually came up repeatedly was: Why and how did you start The Modern Quilters Circle?

And I thought this was a good one. So, here’s my stab at it. Please, feel free to comment and be like, hey, you rambled quite a bit on that episode, but you know what? That’s me. So, I Started The Modern Quilters Circle because I was in desperate need of community. Something about the military spouse life is that there are times and seasons where it’s feast or famine when it comes to friendship. And for the previous year or so l have been in famine. If I’m being 100% honest. We were at a duty station where we were not actually on an installation and there were no other military families and we were very isolated during that time. I took classes at various fabric shops, and I joined a Bible study at our church and I found wonderful women to pass the time with but I didn’t find my people. You know, I really was looking for people that were in the same stage of life that I am, looking for people with kids around the same age or even without kids. It just really, just looking for people like me and I know that sounds horrible cuz we’re supposed to like want to be friends with everybody and ya da ya da ya da, but sometimes you want camaraderie and comfort and some of that comfort comes from somebody knowing what the deal with naptime is and sending you a bottle of wine when they’re crazy and you know, all of those kind of things. And I just didn’t find my people so I created my own. And I have been so excited watching as people kind of come into the fold and seeing them connect. And like, going back to the milspouse isolation thing. We spend a lot on resources to make military spouses acclimate to what the military does to us. And so we fit all of these different sized pegs into this one square hole and it doesn’t work and we see that it doesn’t work. There have been many, many instances that I could reference right now of it not working and military spouses are not finding their way and I think one of the things that we really have to do is figure out how to empower these military spouses to be okay by themselves. And I know that sounds crazy. Like we want them to have community. We want them to have a place to go and friends that are family. But in reality, military life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you have that and it’s amazing and it’s like a cheesy episode of Army Wives, but sometimes its not and its not like oh for the first couple of months. Its like, oh for the whole two years that I live here. I didn’t have friends and I’ve been there and it sucks but quilting helps that and that sounds crazy and cheesy, but its so true because at night when the kids were sleeping I went to my sewing machine and I made awesome projects and I had a sense of accomplishment because I would finish these projects and they were gorgeous and I could give them to somebody or I can curl up on the couch with them and I just felt like I did this and its really great to have something that not only keeps your brain and your hands busy, but also fills you with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I think that if we can teach military spouses how to get that feeling and it doesn’t have to be from quilting. It could be from anything. It could be from running. It could be from Crossfit. It could be from crochet. It could be from, I don’t know, What’s that weird Olympic sport where there’s like kind of a marathon kind of shooting. Like I don’t care, do curling. I don’t care just do something and I think that if we can teach people how to do that we can solve a big problem with military isolation as well. So, that’s me on my soap box. So, there goes that if you’re not part of The Modern Quilters Circle meaning that you don’t receive my weekly newsletters, and you aren’t getting up-to date info on the podcast, please, please, please head over to I could talk on this topic seriously, forever. So if you are interested in having this conversation at length with me or would like me to have this conversation with somebody else. Please reach out. You can email me at I promise a real person actually answers that email. I’m actually going to leave it at that because I feel like I got real fired up there.

So. That’s it. But this was a lot about me a lot about whats going on. Don’t worry. This isn’t a different direction that the podcast is going. I just wanted to answer a few more questions about me and what I’m up to and what I’m into and what I’m thinking. I’ve given you a lot of information and, believe me, I’m going to keep giving you a lot of information, but I think its also good that you know a little bit more about the person behind the microphone. So thanks for listening in.

Congratulations. You just finished another episode of the Stop Scrolling, Start Sewing podcast. Thanks for hanging out with me. Make sure you never miss an episode by hitting subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and remember, its time to stop scrolling and start sewing.

Quilt Love

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and...

Noelani T.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and Nicole’s expertise was invaluable for this large project. Nicole is very patient and explained the different steps and their purposes clearly. She improved my original idea to better accomplish my overall goal. I highly recommend Nicole as an instructor and would personally have another session in a heartbeat!

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked...

Michelle L.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked me through everything step by step. And it was amazing. She taught me the ins and outs of my machine and how to add each basic concept together. It was invaluable, because now I can figure things out and get creative without fearing the dreaded unravel!
The Modern Quilters Circle