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!

1 comment:

  1. This was a wonderful interview with Julie! I love her work, and admire her so much for following her dream and doing what she is passionate about! Keep up the good work and keep the inspiration coming for all of us!!