Friday, August 16, 2013

An Interview with Our Quiltmaker

Starry Nine Patch Quilt
Starry Nine Patch Quilt, available in our Etsy Shop
It's time to take a little break from the needlework tutorials, so this time I'm going to give our resident quilter a little exposure. Her work has been featured in earlier blogs (April & June), and some of her new pieces are about to join those already available in our Etsy shop.

Oh, and be sure to check the announcement after the interview.

Our quilter working
Our quilter, working on a recent project
How did you get started making quilts?    I was bored. I can't just sit and watch TV. I have to have my hands busy. And I once read a quote from a pioneer woman who came west in the time of the wagon trains. She said she made her quilts warm to keep her family from freezing, and she made them pretty to keep her heart from breaking. That had stuck in my mind through all these years. I had made a baby quilt more than twenty years ago; then I didn't do any more quilting for about ten years. I made a few random pieces, mostly small ones like baby quilts, art quilts for wall hangings, and so on. I decided that I wanted to make only practical pieces to be used as bedding. That meant going to the larger standard bed sizes and using only durable, washable materials. I began doing these quilts seriously a little over three years ago. Now I've given up all other forms of needlework in favor of quilting.

Which do you prefer, patchwork or applique?   It depends on whether or not it's football season. If it is football season, I do applique; if it isn't, I do patchwork. I sometimes wind up taking out some pretty “wild” stitches if the Denver Broncos are having an exciting game. You can pretty well chart the Bronco's season by my stitches -- and by the needle stabs on my fingers!

Hand sewing appliques
Hand sewing appliques
What do you find most satisfying about making quilts?   Finishing one. Last stitches are always a triumph. (Laughs!)  Actually, I enjoy quilting because it keeps my hands busy while allowing my mind to roam freely. It also keeps me from smoking. I haven't quit, but I have really cut down!

What is most challenging about quilting?  Keeping straight lines. I have a real problem with that.

When most of us think of fabric yo-yo projects, we think in terms of things like shoulder bags or vests. But I know you made a full-sized quilt out of yo-yo pieces. How did you come to do that?   I saw a picture that I really liked of a yo-yo quilt in one of my many craft books and magazines. I decided I could do that. So I did. 

How did you collect enough yo-yos?   My husband had to have back surgery. I made yo-yos while I sat in the hospital waiting room and beside my husband through his hospital stay and much of his recovery at home. My husband is very supportive about my quilting. The only problem is that he wants to keep them all!

Do you keep a file of patterns you have used or plan to use?   I do keep some. I don't think you could call it a filing system, though. I started by stuffing them inside a huge envelope. Now I've moved on to a tub -- and it is getting pretty full.

Quillow with tulip applique
The latest finished "quillow" with tulip applique
You also make something called a "quillow".  What is that?   A quillow is a quilted throw that folds up into its attached appliqued case to become a pillow.

Who has been the biggest influence on your work?   Probably our friend Dianna, who does my machine quilting on her long-arm machine. She is very inspirational. She's also good about keeping me on task. One of my quilts was her 500th to quilt and another was her 1000th.

Is there a certain type of material you prefer?  Plain 100% cotton. It is sturdy and easy to wash and dry. It doesn't run or fade. Even sticky-fingered little kids can safely play with a cotton quilt.

Tropical Dream Quilt
Tropical Dream Quilt, available in our Etsy shop
What sort of color scheme do you prefer?   Bright colors in cheerful combinations. I find the Civil war quilts and other antique ones interesting, but they are depressing to look at.

What are you working on now and in the near future?   I'm making quilt squares out of black flannel and appliqueing them with piecework in felted wools. So far I've done fruit, flower, and animal squares. I do surface embroidery in floss on the finished squares. I also have the fabric for a blue-and-white quilt that I'm considering doing in an Irish chain pattern. I've never made a crazy quilt --- yet. I also think the Baltimore album quilts are quite beautiful.

What advice would you give a beginning quilter?   Start with a simple beginner's pattern, not with one you just happen to like. Buy a fabric you really like because you are going to be looking at it for a long time. Buy more yardage than the pattern says; you're going to need it. Don't quit in the middle of the project. Enjoy yourself.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did conducting it. Until next time,


An Announcement from Annake's Garden Gnome:  Did you notice that we have added some pages to our blogsite (see the tabs above the blog post!), including a new "Contact Us" page?  It's not real purty yet, but it does seem to be working. So, if you have downloaded our free rose needle arts chart and are working on -- or have finished -- a project using it, you can now share it with us by uploading a photo with our contact form. Show us what you can do!

And, please -- if you have any problems with this site, PLEASE let us know:  we're planning a lot of changes and additions over the coming weeks, and there are bound to be a few glitches -- we want to chase them out of the Garden as fast as we can. Thanks, all --

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