Making It: all about Jemma Olson

Jemma Olson didn’t last very long as a contestant on NBC’s “Making It,” but she gave it her all! Here we learn more about her journey through crafting, sewing and quilting.

A self-proclaimed heartfelt crafter, mother of eight and grandmother of 16, Jemma Olson comes from a generation of crafters that made things out of necessity as opposed to beauty. She imparts that same tradition upon her grandkids while teaching them the beauty in making things by hand. Not the stereotypical grandmother by any means, Olson spends time with her younger family members to stay in the know of all things pop culture.

Making It NBC
MAKING IT — Season:1 — Pictured: Jemma — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Instagram: @athomewithjemmablog

What is your craft of choice?

This is a challenging question for me because I enjoy making and sharing a variety of crafts. So many of the handmade items I make are customized for the individual or individuals that I am making them for. However, I do love embroidering because it tells a story.  I am embroidering some adorable gifts for my grands using the embroidering kits of Tamir Nahir (love the whimsy designs). I also have worked with a graphic designer and embroidering company to embroidery a series of Owls for my new line of hobo bags and crossover bags for my Etsy shop.

How do you think your craft specialty prepares you to win the competition?

Handcrafted items require so much patience and perseverance, especially the delicate and tiny stitches used in embroidering. I am sixty years old and if I could share one thing with the younger generations it would be remain patient. Don’t worry so much, calm your mind and live with gratitude. Whether I win the competition or not, I was a winner just to be able to participate with such a talented group of makers and of course meet Amy and Nick! This show changed my life for the better!

Making It NBC
MAKING IT — “You Crafty” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Jemma, Amy Poehler — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

How has your craft helped in other areas of your life?

Sewing, embroidering, crewel, and needlepoint have helped me in other areas of my life by teaching me to follow directions! I am one of those people who likes to jump right in. You cannot rush the process of handmade and handsewn projects. Each stitch must be done correctly and precisely or the finished product just won’t look right. I approach each project as if it were a gift to a beloved family or friend. So, when I make items for my Etsy shop, or gift giving I know that they are the best that they can be.

What would you say to encourage someone who wants to learn your craft?

I would begin with one of the easiest styles of embroidery and that is Cross Stitch. Cross stitch has been around forever! You can begin with some great tutorials and kits from Red Gate Stitchery. They have a neat modern flair. If you find that you like cross stitch then I would suggest that you broaden your skill level and partner up with someone who can demonstrate some of the most basic embroidery stitches. If there is not anyone available take a class, read a book on how to embroidery or watch a You-Tube video. Many embroidery stitches are so much easier to master if you see a demonstration. Frustration is normal, just don’t give up! Embroidering is cool.

Making It NBC
MAKING IT — “You Crafty” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Amy, Jemma — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Did you get to try a craft you wouldn’t normally have done for the competition? If so, what did you learn during the process?

I did get to try a craft that I normally would not have made. I was able to design, saw, hammer and paint wood into a finished project. It was a very exciting project for me and I loved the way it turned out. I was just glad that my husband enjoys working with wood or I would have been intimidated by the saws. I came onto the show with a comfort level on making things out of wood. I learned that wood glue is awesome and that challenging yourself to try new things at any age is good thing to do!

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