Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Member Spotlight: Jenifer D.



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

My name is Jenifer and I edit quilting books for The Kansas City Star. My authors include
Bonnie Hunter, Betsy Chuchian, Deb Rowden and even Barbara Brackman among others. I have also authored three books for The Star: Grapefruit Juice and Sugar, The Circuit Rider’s Quilt and my new book out in September, Quilt Retro, which is my first Modern book.


When did you first start sewing or quilting? How did you learn?
My mom attempted to teach me to sew as a child, but I was too much of a tomboy to sit still long
enough to learn. I did get into cross stitching in college and in 1993, I was in a cross stitch shop that had quilting supplies. They were offering a beginning class, so I signed up. Not sure why. I made a wall hanging and never looked back! I’ve been in love ever since!


What is your favorite part of quilting, or favorite type of work to do? (hand work, machine
quilting, designing, etc.)
I love and am known for my invisible zigzag appliqué. I also like picking out fabrics. I love
working with brighter colors and thinking about what colors “go” with each other – even if they don’t seem like they should! And I dye fabrics when I can’t find what I want commercially.


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

I have been traditional since my beginnings, but from early on I have been doodling with designs
that we would now call Modern. I never was brave enough to put them to fabric because they were so “out there”. That’s what drew me to Modern and this guild – the freedom to do what I’ve always wanted to do without fear of people “not liking it.” Or it could be age. Maybe I’m just old enough to realize that if I don’t do it to please myself, what am I doing it for?


How would you define “Modern Quilting”?

That’s a tough question – and a conversation that I typically avoid because I just don’t know and
I don’t feel qualified to help identify it. I guess to me it’s like pornography: I can’t define it but I know it when I see it!

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

I made a quilt a few years back that I entered into the AQS show in Nashville. It was part of an
Abraham Lincoln exhibit. It didn’t win, but it was seen by Klaudeen Hansen the author of Quilt Art Engagement Calendar. She called me from the show and asked if she could put it in the 2010 calendar. That was a thrill! That quilt also won first place for appliqué at the Missouri State Fair in 2009. And it has hung in two museums as part of Abraham Lincoln themed quilt exhibits. It’s had a more exciting life than me!


What is the thing you have made that you are most embarrassed by?

Oh there’s too many to count! One time I washed a top in the washing machine before it was
quilted. Needless to say it is ruined. Another time I cut all the seam allowances off about 9 appliqué blocks before I realized what I had done. Again, they are in a box somewhere – too pretty to throw out, but not usable! But I’m sure my most embarrassing mistake is still ahead of me!


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

Done is better than perfect. Quilting friends are the best friends. Follow your bliss. Be brave!


Finish this phrase ... Quilting makes me feel
worthwhile.



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Thank you Jenifer for sharing your expertise with us!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Member Spotlight: Lauren B.


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

I'm Lauren, from Overland Park. I am a Nurse Informaticist, which is a nurse who works with computers and hospital IT. I work at University of Kansas Hospital.

When did you first start sewing or quilting? How did you learn?
I dabbled in sewing as a child, even earned my sewing badge in Girl Scouts, back in the day. I started quilting around 1998. My first project was a block hotpad, which I still have. For several years prior to starting quilting, I had admired quilts and thought it looked like a fun thing to do. It didn't look like an addiction.

Unfortunately...well, you all know what it's like.



What is your favorite part of quilting, or favorite type of work to do? (handwork, machine quilting, designing, etc.)
I like most parts of the quilting process. I enjoy designing, piecing, and hand quilting and machine quilting. The only part I really don't like is marking the quilt for quilting. I try to get away with as little marking as possible.


What do you consider to be your quilting “style”?
I have a varied style. I don't even know if I have a style you can label. Traditional patterns appeal because they tend to be structured, geometric, and mathematic. I like contemporary patterns because of their form and color combinations.

How would you define “Modern Quilting”?
Modern quilting is quilting without a single set of rules. It applies the modern aesthetic to fabric art, and emphasizes on the design of the end product rather than a strict method or process to achieve the results.


What is the thing you’ve made that you’re most proud of?
I made a queen size log cabin quilt (see photo). I had it processionally quilted. It's on my bed, now.


Another one I'm proud of is a baby quilt I made for my nephew. It became his special "blanky." What higher compliment can a quilter get?

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from quilting?
Patience and persistence.


Finish this phrase ... Quilting makes me feel: Artistic and practical. I like making quilts because it produces something beautiful that you can actually use!



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Thanks for playing along Lauren! We look forward to many more of your beautiful creations!

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!)