Thursday, August 4, 2011

Member Spotlight: Elizabeth N.


This is the first in a series of KC MQG Member Spotlights. Read along as we introduce you to the 96 (and counting) members, one by one! Ready to meet Elizabeth?

Who are you, and what do you do for a living?

My name is Elizabeth, and I am a Landscape Architect at Patti Banks Associates. It might be sacrilege to admit to a Quilt Guild, but I think I may love plants even more than fabric.


When did you first start sewing or quilting? How did you learn?

My mom tried really hard to teach me how to sew when I was a kid. I managed to make a few dresses when I was in high school but I sure didn’t feel the sewing love and probably let my mother know how lame sewing was. Years later, I very randomly decided that I wanted to make my son an “owl” quilt and set out to do it with a complete lack of how-to knowledge.

I borrowed my mom’s old sewing machine, sketched up a quilt pattern, found owl fabric on Etsy, googled ‘how to make a quilt” and dove right in. My husband’s grandmother gave me some advice on rotary cutting and strip piecing (after I cut at least half of the square pieces individually), and then I discovered the ‘Crazy Mom Quilts’ tutorial on binding. I made a lot of mistakes and definitely did everything the hard way but in the end I made a quilt that my son loved.

After my initial “success”, I did a little more poking around on the internet and discovered modern fabric and then the Flickr sewing community. I was captivated by the design aspect of quilting and have been hooked ever since. I still have very little technical knowledge and a cheap sewing machine, but I am constantly learning from others. I love how generous the quilting community is with sharing knowledge and tutorials! I honestly do believe that someday, I’m going to know what I am doing.

What is your favorite part of quilting, or favorite type of work to do? (handwork, machine quilting, designing, etc.)

I love designing a quilt and selecting fabrics. I will surf the internet for hours looking for the perfect fabric. (I will then get distracted and search Flickr for hours looking at all of the fabulous quilts everyone else is making, while lamenting my lack of free time for quilting.) I think that once I have a decent sewing machine, I will love the machine quilting as well. Right now I hate that part and I worry that I am ruining the quilt with my ugly quilting. (I hope my husband reads this, I am going to reference my inadequate sewing machine as many times as possible.)

What do you consider to be your quilting “style”?

Maybe “random”? I don’t think my quilts have a certain look, and they are definitely nothing groundbreaking or innovative. I try and think of what the intended recipient would like and tailor the design and colors to their personality and home decor. Sometimes I use a single fabric line, but I have the most fun when I mix it up. I do look forward to tackling more difficult patterns in the future when I have a decent sewing machine.

How would you define “Modern Quilting”?

Well, after reading all of the recent blog posts about modern quilting I don’t really think I have anything constructive to add to that discussion.


What is the thing you’ve made of which you’re most proud?

My third quilt, for my brother. It’s hard to do a “masculine” quilt but I feel I pulled it off, in large part thanks to the terrific pattern by Alissa of “Handmade by Alissa.” Everything came together exactly the way I was picturing it in my head and the binding corners were all perfect. If possible, I’ve gotten worse at doing corners with every quilt since.


(Optional) What is the one thing you have made that you are most embarrassed by?

In general, I tend to be embarrassed by the uneven stitch length on any quilt where I have attempted straight line quilting. Though I do lay all of the blame on my cheap sewing machine.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from quilting?

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. The first few quilts I cursed to myself every time I had to pick up a seam-ripper. Now I’ve come to expect that it is just part of the process. (Right? Or is it just me?) It’s important to me that each quilt I give to someone is the best I can possibly make, and I’ve learned that a little extra time pays off in the end.


Finish this phrase.... Quilting makes me feel: accomplished!

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Thanks for playing along, Elizabeth! I know we can all relate to her answers. (Oh, and Elizabeth? We're crossing our fingers you get that new machine!)

6 comments:

  1. Cheap sewing machine, or not, your quilts look great! Having personally experienced the thrill of finally getting a 'good' machine, I know it makes all the difference in how you perceive your finished works, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that someday soon you'll get to experience it for yourself :)

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  2. Your quilts are beautiful! It shows that you take the time to think about your colors and combinations, so lovely. A new machine is on the horizon...soon.

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  3. I love love love the striped quilt!

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  4. Elizabeth, your quilts are so pretty! I love your choice of colors and the balanced design in your quilts. I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

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  5. Thanks all for the sweet comments! And Jamie, I sure hope you are right!

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  6. my brother is a landscape architect too! i'm always hitting him up for garden advice. love your quilts, and a great interview!

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