Thursday, August 26, 2010

Introducing Johanna Hertz of Cloth and Bobbin

Johanna Hertz is a member of our guild and is also the proud owner of Cloth & Bobbin in Narberth. Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to speak with Johanna over the phone and ask her a bunch of fabric related questions which she answered with zeal!

Since it was a phone interview and I couldn’t type quite as fast as the answers were coming, this will follow a bit of a different format than other interviews. The best part of this interview was stopping by the shop to photograph all the offerings.

Even though it was pouring down rain outside, I was fully and completely distracted by all the lovely colors! Read on to learn more about this jewel of a shop - maybe tucked away in a neighborhood near you!

Johanna Hertz has been sewing since junior high but her quilting began more recently. She made her first quilt at age 55, the same year she opened her store (more on that in a bit).

Johanna learned how to quilt at a quilting class at Fabric on the Hill in Chestnut Hill. Her favorite part of quilting is choosing the fabrics and the pattern and putting it all together.

Consequently, Johanna found the need for her store when she noticed that no stores in the area carried newer, designer fabric lines.

Once the need presented itself, Johanna diligently did her homework by conducting market research in the area and talking to salesmen. She proceeded to stock the shelves and opened Cloth & Bobbin in September 2007.

Cloth & Bobbin is located in Narberth, PA and is run mainly by Johanna with help once a week. The store is well stocked with brightly colored fabrics and is chock full of patterns, notions, and information.

Johanna chooses fabrics and patterns that she believes will be popular with others but appeal to her most of all. She chooses items people will be attracted to and patterns that are doable but not too difficult or long term.

The two Berninas at the shop are her machines of choice thought as she said, “as a store owner, sewing all day doesn’t occur”. Any sewing that she can make time for does occur at the store since there’s no need for a sewing room when she has a whole shop!

These days, almost 100% of her sewing is to make samples for classes so she labels them as such, but doesn’t add personalized names or labels to the creations. Her store related goals are to build the business through marketing and increased classes. Currently the classes are mainly sewing and quilting (hand appliqué, techniques, handbags, children’s clothing) but she’s hoping to add more general classes to bring in more crafty people of all kinds.

It was a thrill to interview Johanna and hear someone so happy and satisfied with all that she’s accomplished. Through it all, she says her current occupation is a very rewarding business to be in.

Hopefully you can stop in when your in the main line area! And thanks to Johanna for answering all my questions.
Until next week!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spotlight on... JULIE!

Well, here it is! Just what you've all been waiting for! Ever since our guild came together around January 2010, I know you've been wanting to learn more about Julie Herman. She's such a great inspiration to all of us - from the novice to the 40 year expert quilter. Read on to learn all there is to know about Julie!
Tell me a bit about yourself
Julie Herman. I usually say I’m from Philadelphia.. but since most people reading this know the area I can actually say Huntingdon Valley and people don’t go... huh?
I studied Design in college and got my Bachelors as well as my Masters from Drexel University. I am a DPhiE alumni and on the advisory board for the Temple University Chapter
I have a blog... ...and i blog a lot!

What do you do (employment or for fun)?
I work full time with my dad. In addition to that I spend a lot of time dedicated to quilting, designing, and my blog. I have a small online shop that features my patterns and kits for a few things I’ve designed.

Most of us know how you got started quilting but what kept you interested and motivated?
I don’t know what has kept me interested and motivated! I’ve gone in waves. Some years I quilted a lot while others I barely touched my machine. In the end I guess I’d have to say that the fabric itself is what keeps me going and keeps inspiring me!

The photos of your quilt studio on your blog look fantastic. Any plans for additions or changes to the space?
Thanks! No plans right now. How I have the studio set up is working really well.

What made you decide to purchase a long arm quilter? How did you quilt your items before the addition of that machine?
Impulse. In hindsight I should have done more research. While I enjoy being able to finish my own quilts I don’t get as much use out of the machine as one would think. The machine I have is a mid-arm and it can get hard to do large quilts and so on... Also sometimes my deadlines are so close that I don’t have the time to do the quilting myself.

What do you like best about quilting?
Designing and planning... second favorite would be the actual piecing. I love the process. Most of the time this is how I work...
1. I sketch
2. I take the sketch to the computer and use EQ to draft the quilt.
3. I drop in fabrics from scans or the websites of fabric manufacturers.
4. I make 4-6 versions in EQ and then pick the one that I think works best.
5. I start cutting fabric and making the quilt!
Recently lots of your quilts and patterns have been featured in magazines – congratulations!! Where do you get the inspiration to create new patterns? Also, what’s the process to get your pattern featured in a magazine (if you’re able to share that)?
I get my inspiration all over the place. I keep a sketchbook and a camera with me at all times. The process to get your pattern featured in a magazine differs for each publication. Most of them have submission guidelines on their site. If anyone in the guild has specific questions I’m more than happy to answer them at a meeting.
• How much time do you quilt during an average week?
I’ve been asked this question a few times & the answer is a lot!! I don't actually count... I think it might make me stop if I do!! On top of actual hours sewing I spend a lot of time on the computer. {Blogging, reading other blogs, flickr, facebook, twitter, email, photography and so on! If I'd have to guess I'd say easily over 40.}
One time I pieced a quilt for another designer as a “stunt quilting” job and I had to keep track of how much time I spent on the project. I logged all my time spent over the course of three days. In total I spend 8 hrs and 10 minutes cutting and piecing the entire quilt top... and then I sent it off to the quilter. It was the first time I had tracked all of the time spent on one specific project.

I saw that you taught a few classes at Cloth & Bobbin in Narberth. Prior to that have you ever taught someone to quilt?
I taught a few classes at Spool last fall as well as a few classes this Spring at Cloth & Bobbin. In addition to that I have taught friends to quilt. I’ve also held a few workshops with my sorority where I’ve taught them how to make their own t-shirt with letters on them. My master’s dregree is actually in Education & at one point I had planned on being an elementary school art teacher. My career has taken a different path but I really enjoy teaching and watching people have “aha” moments when they learn something.

Where do you buy your fabrics and materials? Is there any particular supply/notion you’re partial to?
All over! I like to support local stores and I also shop online. I also enjoy finding shops when I travel and buying from vendors at quilt shows.
I used to use whatever thread I had to work on a project. Then someone showed me aurifil thread and now I use it almost exclusively. It has very little lint, rarely breaks, and comes in a ton of colors!

I’m sure you can’t fully answer this, but I’ll ask anyway! What quilt(s) are you working on now?
A few! Unfortunately I can’t reveal too many details about what I’m working on. Getting used to the publishing timeline of magazines hasn’t been easy! For example my Circle Around quilt that was featured on the cover of Quilts & More... it hit newsstands on May 5th... but I had made it in November of last year!
So what can I tell you? Right now I am working on finishing...
1. my neptune bee quilt from Bee Beautiful
2. my remix quilt for karrie lyne's charm pack quilt a long
3. a new quilt for a tutorial that will be posted next week on my column “a little birdie told me” over at the swatch and stitch {the blog for robert kaufman fabrics}
... and I have a ton of wips and things that may never get finished!
What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?
Right now quilting keeps me busy enough! I was a very crafty kid... and I’ve worked with clay, beads, embroidery, photography, oil & acrylic painting and more! I haven’t learned how to knit or crochet... so maybe down the road I’ll pick those up!
What made you want to start the Philly Modern Quilt Guild?
Before blogging I felt very alone being a quilter in my 20’s. I had met Christine at Country Quiltworks... but she was one of the only people I knew my age that quilted. I knew that there had to be more people my age... as well as more people with a modern and fresh style regardless of age.

Back in January the MQG started to really grow. Beyond the LA chapter there was an additional 5 chapters starting. Alissa posted about it & after some nudging from Jacquie (@ tallgrass prarie studio)i agreed to start the Philly chapter. My goal all along with the Philadelphia chapter has been to include all quilters regardless of age, style, or skill level. I think getting together with a group of people that share the same passion is good for everyone!
What are your quilting related goals either personally or with the Guild?
In my first post I wrote “It has been my dream to design patterns and fabric and spread quilting. I hope you enjoy joining me on this journey.” and they are still my goals. My blog has given me a place to share my love for fabric and quilting as well as connected me with people in the industry. I’ve been lucky this year to have designed quilts that have landed in a few magazines. Now I’m focusing on more patterns and hopefully down the road I’ll get the opportunity to design fabric as well.

What do you consider your greatest quilting related achievement?
Hard question! It really is the simple things that make me the happiest. Often people e-mail me when they have learned something from a tutorial on my blog. I’ll share with you an e-mail so you know what I mean. {E-mails like this make all the work involved in making a tutorial worth it!}
I don't know if you remember me or not, but I was one who had used the same method that you showed and could still never seem to get it right.
Anyways....I've used you're tutorial twice now.....and guess what?? IT WORKS PERFECTLY!!!
Where you need to match up the ends to finish the first side, is where I always got turned around at....BUT, you showed a slightly different method...and drawing the line, cutting 1/2" and then sewing, is what finally clicked for me.
Just wanted to say THANK YOU!
Thanks, Claire

• Do you have any hints or tips for a quilter/sewist out there who hopes to follow the same path to stardom as yours?
Try everything and learn as much as you can! After that find your style {or voice} and be true to it. Lastly... just go for it. For years I wanted to design my own patterns. I didn’t receive much support or information from the first few directions I looked and for a while I just stayed being a casual hobby quilter. Finally one day I decided to trust myself and took the leap into starting a blog and following my dream. Now a bit over a year later {and 300 blog posts} I’ve accomplished many of my goals and I’m continuing to develop new ones.
• What is your motto?
“one girl on a mission to make life better with fabric”
And just a few more photos:
I hope I asked all the right questions! Thanks a ton, Julie, for taking the time to answer all those questions! It's great to learn a little more about our famous leader :)

We'll be back next week with the first of our weekly shop spotlights. If you have a shop you'd like to see spotlighted on our blog, leave it in the comments!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

stitch & pitch!

last night members of the philly modern quilt guild & family attended stitch & pitch!
38 of us in total!
{ i tried to get a shot with most of us in it}

it was really really hot..
and sticky...
which made sewing hard.. but many of us tried anyway!

stitch & pitch is a collaboration between the national needle arts association and ballparks

 because we had so many people attend we got our name on the scoreboard!

these women were a part of the group that threw out the first pitch

rachael struggling to thread a needle...
"does anyone have scissors"
a few minutes later...

the usher misses a play and turns to nick... "someone has to know how that run was scored... what happened"
nick "sorry i missed it... i was watching her quilt"
{we all start laughing}
my dad then explains what happens... play by play

eating yummy food

me with candi

marlene with her daughter

the place was packed!

some game highlights...

this is Dominic Brown...

here he is again.

then Dominic Brown hit his 1st major league home run!

and the bell lit up & rang

and lots of people yelled!

Dominic Brown on phan-a-vision later... now showing ONE home run!

we have the best mascot... he shoots hot dogs into the stands

we had great seats...

janet snapping a photo of me... snapping one of her...
i gotta get that photo from her!

unfortunately we weren't winning
but that didn't stop us from having fun!!

there was lots of yelling in the 9th when Ibanez got a hit and kept his hitting streak going!

and even though few members of the guild {or the stadium in general} made it to the end of the game... for those that did it got pretty exciting... rally caps and all

let me set the scene...

{9th inning. 2 outs.}
we had just scored 2 more runs... down by 6... but lots of energy in the ballpark

me "wait who is 35..who is pinch hitting?" {i then realize it's pitcher cole hamels}
rachael "he's the only one left!"

lets go cole!!


{i bite my lip when i get nervous... in between yelling and cheering of course}

unfortunately cole didn't get a hit.
and we lost...
but it was the most fun i ever had at a losing phillies game.

we also got phantic stitch & pitch bobble heads!
{ he is knitting a scarf }
he may be little... but he is so cute & now hangs out with the rest of our bobble heads!

by julie of jaybirdquilts
{ all photos taken by myself or by my dad... with our amazing new camera}