Thursday, May 27, 2010

spotlight on... SABRA!!

Good morning, quilters! Hopefully I’ve caught you at a good time – just before the lovely looooong weekend. Before you head off to your weekend adventures, please read on to learn more about Sabra Smith, fellow PMQGer:

• Tell me a bit about yourself: name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.

Sabra Smith, Fort Washington. Moved here from NYC more than a decade ago and it's the longest I've ever lived in one place. I got here and discovered that I'd accidentally ended up in a place where I was surrounded by ancestors. In 2003 I went back to school to get my Masters in historic preservation after working in publishing, public relations, and as a stay at home mom. I'm now fortunate to be working in center city dealing with landmarks, heritage, and history.

• What do you do (employment or for fun)?
Historic preservation (making the world safe for old buildings!) see above. I'm also chair of the Upper Dublin Historical Commission where one of our prime goals is to increase awareness of our heritage, how that's expressed in our neighborhoods and why that adds value to our lives everyday. And I have a blog that's a nexus of my various interests in history, architecture, preservation, communications and marketing, art, photography, community, "place," planning, design and urban issues.

• How did you get started quilting?
I can still remember the thrill when my mother sat me down and taught me how to thread her Singer sewing machine. Watching her, it seemed so complicated and the machine seemed a little scary -- so I had such a huge sense of accomplishment when I could change the thread and bobbin myself. I "designed" clothes for my Barbie and sewed them using scraps of fabric. My first pattern was probably one for making clothes from felt for my little troll dolls (I still have some of them!). In Girl Scouts I learned about embroidery making an apron for Mother's Day and working toward earning my sewing badge. I don't think I started quilting until high school, when I thought I'd make a marriage ring quilt for a friend who asked me to be in her wedding (we were living in Scotland). That never got finished! Since then I've made crazy quilt embroidered pillows, baby quilts, wall hangings, dolls and more -- though usually as gifts. The only thing I can think of that I made for my home was a baby quilt for my first son. (I still owe the second son his quilt!) All were sewn on a cheap Singer I bought at Woolworth's in New York City so I could make some curtains for my apartment (I'd found this fabulous lining fabric with little Eiffel Towers all over it at one of the city's terrific fabric shops)

• What do you like best about quilting? Embroidering a little message or picture into one of the squares and wondering when the recipient will notice it.

• What is the hardest thing about quilting? For me? Precision. And boredom after cutting out the gazzilionth triangle.

• Where do you do your work? Do you have a q
uilting room? There's a creative person (author, artist, seamstress, crafter, stylist, gardener, life savorer, wonder woman) whose blog I love to read and whose studio I crave. But my reality is that I quilt all over the house. Someday maybe I'll get the attic fixed up as my own studio space... Who wants to come keep me company while I clean, patch and paint?

• Do you name your quilts or label them?
If it's for a baby, sometimes I will embroider their name and birthdate on it. For my son's quilt I embroidered all sorts of little messages onto a few of the patches. You have to look for them, but they're there.

• How do you choose your colors? What are your favorites? I took a painting course and learned the wonders of a color wheel. But I really would love to better develop my color sense. Lately I've been looking at the Kaffe Fasset books and am trying to absorb the ability to make those loud, wolf-whistle combos.

• Where do you buy your fabrics and materials? Is there any particular supply you’re partial to? I love(d?) the Country Quilt Shop. There was also a splendid, tiny, quirky shop in Lambertville that I adored, but it closed. While working in publishing I discovered a lot of great catalogues for fabric (this was pre-internet and they mailed them because we published a lot of craft books). That's how I found Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, New Hampshire -- great catalogue but my real goal is to visit in person. More immediately, I'm taking my lunch hour and hopping over to Spool on South Street. And when I get home tonight, I'm ordering this fabulous Japanese fabric (red, yellow and blue squirrels) from etsy. (Don't we all adore etsy?)

• What quilt(s) are you working on now? Don't remind me! Suddenly everyone I know is pregnant or just gave birth! I mailed the quilt with the houses to the preservationist. I'm planning my first attempt at "contemporary" for my groovy bloggity friend down south. And I get to indulge myself working with pink and girlie for a surprise!

• What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?
Anything and everything. I just love making things.

• What are your quilting related goals? I suppose I'd like to learn this whole paper piecing thing I've been reading about. The instructions seem very complicated and I suspect it would just be easier to watch someone do it. (How "guild" like to learn from others!)

• What do you consider your greatest quilting related achievement? I don't. I'm a hack. I have fun. I have not produced a magnificent piece of art that I'm proud of. I make things that I know are going to end up dragged under a stroller or tossed in the washing machine after being used on the floor as a changing pad. The quilt-related moment that touches me the most, is that my son believed his quilt could keep away bad dreams. And that he still appreciates that even though he's older now and doesn't believe it anymore. He loves I made something that made him feel that way once upon a time.

• What is your most treasured possession? Don't ask me to choose!

• What is your motto?
For quilting? Maybe it's "well, it'll stop bleeding soon"

Thanks so much, Sabra! I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my emails and answer all my questions!! And thanks for reading :)

Questions, comments, suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!

Brought to you by daydreams of fabric stacks and Nicole Bruno

Thursday, May 13, 2010

spotlight on... BECK!!

Today the spotlight is on Beck Gusler! She was super psyched to be my first random victim – AHEM – interview. Read on and get to know your fellow Philly quilter!

• Tell me a bit about yourself: name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
Beck Gusler. I live in South Philly (holla!) and work as a student financial services counselor at UArts where I got my Industrial Design degree and am working on my Masters in Art Ed.

• What do you do (employment or for fun)?
I get to give away other people’s money half the time (great) and the other half I do collections (not so great). For fun – I play old school video games, knit, quilt (of course), and I recently learned how to crochet. I’m always trying to learn something new. I also run a little etsy shop,, to try and sneak in some side income to support my hobbies.

• How did you get started quilting?
Oh geez. The summer my parents moved from Pittsburgh to Mississippi I thought it would be a swell idea to start this massive Lady of the Lake, quilt. It’s still sitting unfinished in a plastic bag now 5 years later. My mom refused to teach me how to sew, odd since she taught me how to knit and dye and everything else under the sun.

• Did you ever take quilting lessons from someone?
Not yet! I feel like I’m perpetually out of money.

• What do you like best about quilting?
The color combinations and fabrics! There’s something awesome about building something piece by piece and seeing it all come together.

• What is the hardest thing about quilting?
For me, it’s patience - resewing the stupid points that don’t line up for a fifth time.

• How do you decide what pattern to make?
When I see something that catches my eye that I know I must make and whether I'll enjoy the experience the making of it.

• Where do you do your work? Do you have a quilting room?
I have a nook in our office/guest room for my table, machine, and ironing board.

• Do you use a sewing machine, long arm quilter or do you quilt by hand?
Sewing machine. Did I mention that patience is not one of my strong points?

• How much time do you quilt during an average

It depends! Some weeks 20 or more hours, other weeks not at all.

• Do you name your quilts or label them?

I name the photos. I don’t like labeling objects for other people. I think there’s something nice about the nostalgia of not being able to remember who made what or which grandma it was.

• Have you ever taught someone to quilt?
Not yet! Most times people just ask me to do the work for them!

• How do you choose your colors? What are your favorites?
Oranges, greens, and grays are my favorites. I pick the fabric for each quilt specifically – although now I’m trying to figure out how to get rid of some uggo fat quarters.

• Where do you buy your fabrics and materials? Is there any particular supply you’re partial to?
Joann Fabrics. It’s affordable. Although I recently have started ordering off of etsy to satisfy my craving for better fabrics.

• What quilt(s) are you working on now?
I have a pinwheel party quilt along I’m working on to try and kill off some stash fabric. I have 4 inactive quilts I’ve hidden away until I feel like working on them and next up is the Single Girl quilt by Denyse Schmidt for my sister in purples, pinks, and oranges.

• Do you create your designs?
I love using graph paper and working a design out – but I’m no stranger to copying something I love either!

• What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?
I’d love to learn lace making.

• What are your quilting related goals?
To become more accurate at what I do. I want to learn how to appliqué bad.

• What do you consider your greatest quilting related achievement?
My headless flying geese quilt. So many triangles!!

• What is your most treasured possession? 
My spinning wheel. I love that baby, any time I move it goes in the car with us.

• What is your motto?
We’re Getting There. I stole it from Septa but I feel like it’s true. I’m always working on some project and always moving forward. I’m getting there.

Thanks so much Beck! I appreciate you taking the time to answer all my questions and wish you the best of luck with your shop!! And thanks for reading :)

Questions, comments, suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!

Brought to you by the letter Q and Nicole Bruno of A Stitch in Design

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pillow Inspiration

We really do find inspiration from each other here in the Philly Modern Quilt Guild!

After our Pillow-Tastic meeting a few weeks ago I fell in love with Julie's (Jaybird Quilts) Cushion Couture tutorial with Quilt Dad. I also felt completely motivated by fellow members to finally make some more pillows.

The pillows I use for lounging around on my couch were such embarrassingly gross old bed pillows, folks. It was a travesty that I hadn't made any sooner, but I got to work on 2 versions of Julie's cut up 9 patch pillow (one for me and one for my husband). And I love them! You can find some more photos on my blog, The Orange Room.

This pillow is mine, made with fabrics from a Tula Pink "Plume" layer cake.

And this one is for Adam, my husband, who wanted the same layout but "manly" colors. This is a hodgepodge of fabrics but looks similar to the Authentic fabric Julie used for hers.

Thanks for the inspiration!