Six Questions with Carol Ann Waugh

Here it is: the second entry in our new weekly feature, Six Questions!

This week, we sat down with Carol Ann Waugh, instructor of the online Craftsy classes Stitch & Slash and Stupendous Stitching.

In this chat, we learn all about why Carol loves making mistakes, how acrylic nails once saved her life (or at least her fingers), and what her number one desert island supply would be (hint: it has nothing to do with crafting).

Thanks for playing along, Carol! And to all you readers out there, make sure to check out Carol’s awesome Craftsy classes, Stitch & Slash and Stupendous Stitching! And, remember, we post a new Six Question entry every week, so keep checking back.

What was your first sewing/quilting project?

No one in my family sewed so the first time I was exposed to sewing was in Jr. High School in Home Economics.  We had to choose between a straight skirt (horrors! Darts!) or a circle skirt (horrors! A big hem!).  I choose the circle skirt (sounded less scary).  I got hooked right then!  I made my Mom buy me a sewing machine and I just started making clothes.  I loved the process.  Best part --- I got 100 on my report card!  Only time in my life that I aced a class! (Looking back on it, my grade probably reflected quantity, not quality!)

What are your three desert island sewing/quilting supplies?

Assuming there is no electricity on a desert island, I would HAVE TO HAVE some needles, many spools of different thread and some fabric to stitch on!  Of course, having a buff guy with me might be my first choice for survival gear.

What item has been in your stash the longest?

What a great question!  I have no idea.  I tend to use up my "stash" or donate stuff I no longer use so I can buy new stuff.  Thinking.......  OK, I've got it.  I still have some metal washers I used in one of my first "mixed media" pieces.  Those are at least five years old.  Time to donate!

Cat person, dog person, or do pets just interfere with your sewing/quilting time?

Ha!  My only "pet" is a large goldfish who lives in my back yard pond.  Does that count?  We call him "Nemo."  (I know, a cliche!) He feeds himself so he's very low maintenance.  I haven't invited him to my studio yet -- I'm waiting until he matures so won't be splashing around too much.

What was your biggest sewing/quilting disaster?

I've had so many; it's hard to just pick one.  My philosophy is to make LOTS of mistakes so you can learn from every one.  But then, there are really no "mistakes" only opportunities to be more creative in problem solving.  Some of my biggest "mistakes" have turned out to be my biggest successes.

I DID almost sew through my finger once.  Luckily, I have acrylic (fake) nails and that saved me from bleeding all over the place.  Does that count?

In 10 words or less, what inspires you?

Living life.


Debbie Thompson

Thanks for reminding us that making mistakes and trying new things isn’t problematic, but an opportunity to grow. As a home ec. teacher with 40 years of sewing experience, I often think I should know it all, and I am discovering that the more I sew and quilt, the less I seem to know. I am more often than not on the learning side of the seam ripper, which I keep thinking I will outgrow. Instead, I just bought a new one and am enjoying the title the one who knows how to fix almost anything.

Carol Ann Waugh

Isn’t it funny how that works. At 18, we know everything and at our age, we’re wondering about the meaning of life. There are just a few people I remember as having a big influence on my life in school and my Home Ec teacher is one of them so thanks for all the ways you touched and encouraged your students to create fashion and home dec projects. I bet some of them are in my class!

Joyce Giampapa

I signed up for your stitch and slash class. I watched it all in a few days. Loved, loved, loved it.
Can’t wait to make the project. You did show some purses in the last session that you made with scraps. You also mentioned the patterns. Where can these be obtained. Thank you.
I have been sewing all my life, which has been a long time, and want to say I enjoyed this class more than any others I have taken in years. Thank you.


Hi Carol
I have to admit that Home Ec was a total disaster for me. I remember my mother buying me this terrible print material which I was suppose to make into a dress. I don’t believe I ever finished that dress.
I’m now in my 60’s and enjoy quilting very much. I can let my imagination fly and enjoy the process of creating a beautiful quilt. Of course, making mistakes is part of the creating and quilting process although I haven’t replaced my seam ripper as yet.
Thank you for sharing.

Barbara M

We must have had the same jr. high home ec teacher, Carol Ann. I had the exact same choices of sewing projects. Hand sewing the hem on that circle skirt took an eternity! Next we made a round neck, cap-sleeve blouse with buttons down the back. I remember that home ec teacher with great fondness.

Miss Pat

I am 73 and have been sewing since I was 9 when I finally wore everyone down and they let me run the sewing machine. No matter how many columns I read or magazines or books, there is always something new to learn. I remember in Junior High (7th and 8th grade) we had a Home Economics class. Our teacher liked to cook but did not like to sew. I made a red sheath dress with a green plaid bolero and a matching green plaid circle overskirt, matching the plaids. Needless to say, I made straight A’s in that class. It amazes me how many people do not know how to even sew on a button. I have two friends who bring me their shirts just for button replacement. Goodwill does a land-office business in clothing that is quality but needs only a button or a small repair. I now costume for community theatre so we do a lot of shopping at Goodwill. I enjoyed reading about your world.


Carol, reading your ripostes made me smile. I remember taking Home Economics but we didn’t have a sewing class, it was all about cooking which, BTW, I thoroughly enjoy. I guess it could be said that exposure helps us find our individual obsession. Continued success with your idee fixe. : )

Patty Pittala

Glad to meet you, Carol Ann!
Six Questions is a great addition to the Craftsy newsletter. I will look forward to it-
Crafting “mistakes ” have resulted in some of my more interesting pieces – I’ve turned the mistake into an element of fun or whimsy. My favorite projects are the ones where I don’t have a real plan. I just start right in and see what unfolds along the way without any hesitation about making a mistake. I love working that way :0)

Carol Stearns

I love making mistakes and sometimes just leave them be. That is the Japanese art of Wabi Sabi. They think that nothing is perfect and so each project or thing ought to have a mistake in it. My first quilt has a fabric that is upside down. Not the first time. Nor the last. Carol

Judie Martin

I like the words “Wabi Sabi”.. Fits me to a Tee..

Juanita Jarrett

If I end up with a Wabi Sabi….I MUST get it fixed right away cause it bugs me to no end to have a mistake in something. I wish that I wasn’t like that but to to fussy I am.


I love these chats, makes me giggle and know that we all are similar in our passion of quilting, yet it’s how we go about it that makes us the coolest fad group ever!

Sandra Moffatt

I may win the “item in your stash the longest” contest. I have a beautiful piece of Alaskine, pale green, that I bought in San Francisco in the mid-60’s. It is silk and wool, suit weight, with a gorgeous sheen. I don’t want a suit any more, and don’t know what to do with it, but I can’t part with it. Maybe a wholecloth quilt?

Karen W

Sandra, I also have some “almost antique” pieces of fabric that I can’t get rid of & a sizeable stash as proof! I’ve been known to drool over fabric!! You don’t say how much you have of the silk-wool blend, though it sounds like a lot, since you’re talking about a quilt! How about some lovely scarves or throws, with or without fringe (these are especially nice for gifts) — or perhaps one of the new drapey, unstructured jackets. I love to embellish w/ machine embroidery, so the possibilities are endless!
I also think it’s amazing how many stitchers don’t want to admit to making mistakes — but the learning adventures can often be so amazing –you know, ” the road less traveled”! My mom didn’t LIKE to sew, although she made a lot of dresses for herself, my sister & I when I was young (sometimes we all matched) — so it was from her mother that I learned to LOVE sewing, quilting, embroidering & crafting!
Thanks for a lovely article — it doesn’t take much to get the juices flowing!

Donna Ball

Thanks for the lesson on mistakes. I makes so many and yet I tired so hard I sometimes just sit and cry.DB


Thank you for reminding me that it is ok to make mistakes. Sometimes I feel myself hesitant on some projects because of that fear. My mother did not know how to even sew on a button (Dad’s job) and I was fortunate to have her send me to a wonderfully tall, elderly lady with an enormous beehive when I was in the fourth grade who taught sewing. Her first advice to me was that I would most likely stick myself at some point with pins, so get use to it! It was a good point which has stuck with me to this day. (Sorry for thr puns).

Terry Mathieu

Thank you for the sharing. It was in Home Economic that I also learned that I love to sew. With so many things happening in life it got left on the side for awhile, but when my mother introduced me to quilting it rekindled the love for sewing.

Patricia Johnston

I learned to sew at eight as a result of being given a piece of fabric as a birthday gift. I fell in love with fabric then and have remained in love ever since. I still fondly remember my Home Ec sewing project. I don’t remember what the other choices were, but my project was a two-piece outfit. Slim skirt, cut-in elbow length sleeves and BIG oval white buttons down the front. Made in a purple light-weight denim. It was my Easter outfit that year and I wore it proudly until it was threadbare in the seat! Carol, loved the bit about fake fingernails, but I usually (that is when I do it, which isn’t that often) sew beside the fingernail, right through the flesh. I’ve even sewn my finger and not had the thread or needle break!

Freda McCarty

Home Ec in school was a must for me in the 50’s! My mother would not let me begin sewing until I had taken the class because she didn’t follow the printed instructions. She wanted me to learn “the right way” of sewing. I did make the only 100 on our final exam, being the only one to correctly join a bias tape from hand cut fabric. I never quit sewing and am addicted!!!


Wow, I’m envious of your Home Economics classes. My school was small and perhaps we didn’t get the best of teachers. Sewing was one semester only in 8th grade (the spring of 1959) and we made a drawstring bag, a gathered on the band apron and a cotton gathered skirt. I did start making some of my own clothes after that but after I married I tended to sew more for the home and my children. I actually started sewing when I was ten by making doll clothes from leftover fabric my mother used to make my clothes. I can’t remember if I hand sewed them or used the machine. They actually turned out very well. Thanks all for the walk down memory lane!

Lisa Mackenzie

I was not lucky enough to ever be in a Home Economics Class! I had to study 2 languages, because in the dark ages the ‘powers that be’ decided that pupils with an above average IQ (not boasting – just explaining) had to be stimulated intelectually! Fortunately my very wise (headteacher) Mum let me sit with her when she was being creative and encouraged me to knit and sew by hand (from a very young age). She was a talented needlewoman/seamstress and she allowed me to use her precious old SInger sewing machine whenever I wished as soon as I was old enough to do so. I was instantly hooked and still am 50 years later. Thanks Mum!

Lisa Mackenzie

Tee hee… *intellectually indeed! Sorry about the spelling……. sticky key, honest. Lol!

Liz Yeary

Loving this site. Do I EVER make mistakes! I grew up in Jolly old England and at age 8/9 (1954) we were taught sewing and knitting (boys and girls!). My Mom sewed all our clothes (she had 5 of us under the age of 6 at one point) and we just sat by and watched her and learned how. I remember a dress she made me for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Wish I had that fabric now. My Mom’s mom, Nanny, also sewed all the time, so I don’t think I ever stopped. My co-worker here had a hem on her slacks come out recently, and she had to take it to the drycleaners to be sewn! Love sewing!

Barbara Young

At 74 I have been sewing more years than I care to count. I am glad others make mistakes. It is fun to embelish and correct your mistakes. Each garment I start I say “this will be the perfect one” it’s never happened. I’ve sewed through my fingers 3 times that I can remember. I sew for my 4 great grand children, and enjoy every minute of it. I made 125 garments, curtains and costumes for them in 2011. I cut an inch fabric square of each garment and post in a note book with pattern number, size, hem length and etc, this is helpful so as not to make the same garment again for that child.

Phylis Miller

I learned by watching my mom make clothes for me in the 50’s. I remember she made a pajama bag that looked like a clown face right in the same room I was sleeping in. I then started makeing doll clothes by hand and then I too remember home economics class, we had to make an apron, I still have that, and I got an A on that along with the other u neck jumpers, spring coat, and more things that I wish I had at least had kept some material from. as a young mom, I made shorts and t shirts for my 3 boys, which they laugh at when they see their pictures, actually the daughter in law laughs, she never learned how to sew and doesn’t appreciate the skill it takes, , I’ve made a night gown for her 2 year old, my grandaughter, and, a simple summer dress that has Dora girls all over the fabric, her favorite. I’m hoping my grandaughter will someday appreciate what her grammy makes her, a quilt for her 3rd birthday is in the making.


Something not to worry about, machine sewing through your finger doesn’t produce as much blood as you might think (voice of experience here). Bled on your project? Spit on it. Your saliva will digest the blood. Cut a hole in it? What a great opportunity to embellish it with something that’ll cover the hole.

Debby Lodding

I love the gold/black jacket you’re wearing. Would you share the pattern number & fabric types?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *