Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 2011 PMQG Meeting and Pillow Swap

Hello everyone.  I'm back with another post full of photos of the lovely members of the Philly Modern Quilt Guild.  Last week's meeting saw several new faces, and some old friends who returned after a bit of a hiatus, so it was a lot of fun.  The main event was a swap of pillows.  We also were lucky enough to have Jessica Levitt join us at our meeting.  She brought some yardage of her new line, Kingdom, for us to fondle.  We also passed around samples of various types of batting and I think everyone found a new favorite or two!  Personally, I'm seriously thinking of running out and buying a whole bolt of something because I like the idea of having a ton of batting on hand all the time!  Here are some photos from the pillow swap and a couple from show and tell.





Anna (love that Aviary 2 fabric!)



Becky's Central Park Postage Stamp quilt

Cathy's entry for the Monochromatic Challenge

Denise's purple and black Take 5 quilt.

Julie's Raspberry Dessert

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Cherri House Experience

Cherri House came and spoke to the PMQG a few weeks ago.  She flew from warm Texas to dreary rainy Philadelphia.  Despite the nasty weather over 40 people came out to hear her speak and over a dozen of them were guests new to the PMQG.

Special thanks to Andrew for being our unofficial official photographer.

Here Cherri is speaking about one of the first quilts she made after years of not quilting.

City Green - much more stunning in person!  Cherri quilted many of her quilts herself, including this one.

Cherri also spoke about the importance of the back of the quilt and how it continues the story from the front of the quilt.  Every piece of the quilt tells its portion even the binding.

During the Q&A session she was asked questions relating to batting (uses fusible), thread (uses silk to quilt with), her design process and her inspirations.  The PMQG wants to thank Cherri for her wonderful presentation!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spotlight on.... Monica!

Hello again! Spring has sprung and while I'm sure we're all busy spring cleaning our stashes, everyone should take a well deserved break to learn more about a fellow quilter.

Tell me a bit about yourself:

My name is Monica Cuartero and I am from Southern New Jersey, where I live with my husband James and our furry & feathered kids: three cats, a bird and a fish.

What do you do (employment or for fun)?

I am a graphic designer by day (and sometimes night!). I went to college for painting and still enjoy painting with watercolor and oils.

How did you get started quilting?

In 1998 I was introduced to quilting by my then-boss and her mother, who were both very talented quilters. One spring they had a quilting instructor come to the company and offer a quilting class at the office for all the employees. Since then I’ve been hooked!

How old were you when you made your first quilt?


Who taught you to quilt?

I don’t remember the teacher’s name but I would like to credit my old boss and her mom as the women that really got me into quilts. Soon after that first class, I tried to learn on my own. I found Japanese art quilts very inspiring. I continued to take classes & I'm constantly looking for new classes to take in order to improve my skills & technique.

Did you ever take quilting lessons from someone?

My two favorite classes were from Pam Holland (http://pamhollanddesigns.typepad.com/) and Philippa Naylor (http://www.philippanaylor.com/). They both made a big impact on me. Seeing their quilts up close was the most exciting part of class.

What do you like best about quilting?
What I like best are the personal connections that can be made with a quilt. I recently learned this while making my first baby quilt for a friend. As I worked on it, all I could think of was the love for the new baby that was on his way. It’s a much different type of art making than sitting down and making a painting.

What is the hardest thing about quilting?

Right now, it’s finding the money to buy fabric. I was recently laid off from my job, so there is no money now for my habit. Hoping that will change soon!

How do you decide what pattern to make?

I’ve been choosing designs based on different techniques I’d like to learn, such as applique and curved pieces.

Where do you do your work? Do you have a quilting room?

I work in my spare bedroom which is my office/quilt room. I have my computer, sewing machine, design wall and a recently installed TV to keep me company while I am working up here all day!

Do you use a sewing machine, long arm quilter or do you quilt by hand?

I use a Janome Memory Craft 6500 which I adore. I add hand sewing whenever I need to and recently got into needle turn applique. I have only quilted two quilts by hand and haven’t been pleased with the results, so now I am on a mission to learn how to machine quilt.

How much time do you quilt during an average week?
I probably sew on average about 7-10 hours a week.

Do you name your quilts or label them?

I like making the labels for my quilts, especially for a baby gift. I’ll usually scan some fabric from the quilt and then add the baby’s name and date. Thanks to Julie's awesome label tutorial (http://www.jaybirdquilts.com/2009/07/label-tutorial-spoonflower-way.html) I just made a label using some spoonflower.com fabric that just has my name and blog on it and a place to write the date.

Have you ever taught someone to quilt?

No, I still need lessons myself!

How do you choose your colors? What are your favorites?

It’s usually very spontaneous. I like mixing fabric of all different kinds & textures. I don’t always just use cotton.

Where do you buy your fabrics and materials? Is there any particular supply you’re partial to?

I started by buying all my fabric on eBay. I love vintage colors and patterns so that’s where I started. Now I buy fabric anywhere it’s on sale!

What quilt(s) are you working on now?

I’m currently working on designs for 3 new commissions. They include a baby quilt, a very unique wedding quilt, and a fun idea- a “You’re going to be a grandma” quilt. I am also working on quilts to try and sell to get some money together to donate to Japan.

Do you make up your designs?
Yes! That is my favorite part. I can’t really follow a pattern. The only pattern I am following now is Kim McLean's Lollypop Trees. I love the design and colors and I think it’s a great way to learn applique! It’s a HUGE quilt 94” x 94” and at the rate I am going on it, I estimate it will take me about 10 years to finish!

What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?
I like to crochet, make jewelry, collage, and paint, but I have not really touched that since the quilting has taken over. Right now I am interested in learning how to dye my own fabric.

What other organizations are you involved in to enrich your love of the fiber arts?

Besides this Guild, I like taking classes at my local quilt shop. (http://www.thelittleshopforquilting.com/) Debbie has been wonderful in encouraging me to quilt, and she is the one who helped me find the Philly Modern Quilt Guild.

What are your quilting related goals?
My goal is to learn as much I possibly can!

What do you consider your greatest quilting related achievement? 

Finishing my first quilt felt so wonderful after spending many years of just sewing blocks together. I honestly spent about 5 years of just working on quilt blocks and not knowing what to do with them.

What is your motto?
“It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.” - my high school art teacher Sr. Elvira, would say this to me all the time.

Thanks so much Monica, for taking the time to answer all my questions! And the photos were all just gorgeous - hope everyone else enjoyed them too!

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spotlight on... Andrew!

PMQG spotlights are back by popular demand! I'll be posting spotlights every other Thursday, starting today with lucky Andrew. If you or someone you know from the guild is interested in being interviewed, please feel free to contact me (Nicole Bruno.
Read on to learn more about your fellow quilter - Andrew Joslyn!

· Tell me a bit about yourself:

Andrew Joslyn in Elkins Park, PA. I went to high school in Japan (at the American School in Japan, or ASIJ) back in the late 90's and then I went to the University of Delaware and got a bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering. I went on to work for a consulting company (Golder Associates) after school and then later went back part time and did a masters degree in Environmental Engineering at Drexel University.

· What do you do (employment or for fun)?

I work as an environmental engineer managing remediation projects at Golder Associates in New Jersey. I work with Tricia, who is also in the guild (that's how I found out about it). For fun, I quilt, of course, but I also enjoy traveling. I get really into the planning experience and I love making personal maps on Google maps. I also like going to concerts, especially for small independent artists. I enjoy camping and I try to take at least 2 or 3 camping trips every year. I also enjoy playing tennis, although I’ll only play with my dad and I don’t do it often enough!

· How did you get started quilting?

I got started quilting last year when I decided I needed a creative hobby! My partner knits and he makes amazing things, so I was a bit jealous. I somehow decided that quilting might be an option. My sister was pregnant at the time with my first niece, so I decided to make a baby quilt.

· How old were you when you made your first quilt?

I made my first quilt last year (I was 28).

· Who taught you to quilt?

I sort of taught myself to quilt using Alex Anderson's Start Quilting book. I also had help from Tricia. We had a “quilting party” at a friend's house when I was just starting out and she taught us a thing or two. That really helped me get over my initial hesitation.

· Did you ever take quilting lessons from someone?

I haven't taken quilting lessons, per se, but I did take a curved piecing class from Sujata at Spool in Philly, which was a lot of fun! I also took a paper piecing class at Spool, so now I can do hexagons.

· What do you like best about quilting?

It's really hard to say what I like best about it. I think that cutting and piecing are my favorite parts. Once I get the top finished, I seem to hesitate before moving on to the basting step.

· What is the hardest thing about quilting?

I think the hardest thing about quilting is the planning stage – picking a pattern and then choosing fabrics. For some reason I agonize over this portion, although to a certain degree I do also really enjoy it and I spend days and days on it. I see a pattern I love and, of course, I see fabrics that I love all the time, but I struggle when I have to put them together. Plus, for some reason, I have a mental block against using a pattern someone else made up – I’d rather make my own. The only trouble is that I’m not terribly creative.

· How do you decide what pattern to make?

Since I've only made a handful of quilts so far, I wouldn't say that I have a “method” yet. For two of the ones I've made, I just picked a pattern from a book. For my first one I followed the pattern pretty strictly, but the next time I modified it to fit some particular fabrics that I wanted to use. While I'm still just starting out, I imagine I will mostly pick patterns that catch my eye in books or on blogs. Hopefully eventually I'll start being more creative. I probably should start thinking about the people that I'm quilting for and try to pick things they will like ... but for now I'm just doing things that I think are feasible for me.

· Where do you do your work? Do you have a quilting room?

My partner and I share a “Craft Room” in our house. We each have a work table as well as some shelving. We also have some Expedit bookcases from Ikea where we store supplies. I also have been doing a lot of my quilting at sewing gatherings, either at fabric stores or at friends' homes.

· Do you use a sewing machine, long arm quilter or do you quilt by hand?

I've done a lot of my work so far using the machine that was my grandmother's for many years. It’s a Singer Touch Tronic 2000 (from I think 1979), apparently one of the first electronic sewing machines on the market! I actually had some trouble with that machine toward the end of the year, so I bought myself a Brother – the Project Runway edition – and I love it. I also started some hand quilting on one piece, which seems like a LOT of work, so we’ll see what happens with that. Haha. Some day I’d like to try out a long-arm, but I think I’m still pretty far from that.

· How much time do you quilt during an average week?

It really depends, but I probably only spend a few hours per week on average. Occasionally it goes way up, like when I have some sewing events. Certainly the number of hours I spend is less than the number I WANT to spend!

· Do you name your quilts or label them?

Ummm ... no. I've never been into naming things. I recently got a new car and my neighbor keeps bugging me to name it. Similarly, I have a cat that I just call “cat”. Maybe I'm just not that original? Who knows.

· Have you ever taught someone to quilt?

I recently “taught” my mom to quilt, although she used to do it years ago, so really just needed some reminding.

· How do you choose your colors? What are your favorites?

Favorite colors? Well ... I really enjoy most colors when used well. I really prefer very vibrant colors – high saturation as well as browns. Some color combinations I love are purple/gray and green/orange. I generally choose colors based on what I’m making the quilt for, or rather who.

· Where do you buy your fabrics and materials? Is there any particular supply you’re partial to?

I buy a lot of my fabric at Spool, in Philadelphia. Some of the more basic supplies I pick up at other more convenient locations (for example, I'll sometimes pick up batting at A.C. Moore because I can stop there on my lunch break at work). I’ve done some ordering from sewmamasew.com and fatquartershop.com, but really I like to see the fabrics in person when I can. I’ve also purchased at some of the other local stores, such as Cloth & Bobbin, The Village Quilter, and The Little Shop.

· What quilt(s) are you working on now?

Right now I have 2 quilts in progress and a third that I'll need to start soon. The first one is the curved piecing quilt I started for the December challenge but still haven't finished. I'm at the quilting step and I'm going to try hand-quilting, so I know it’s going to take a long time. I'm also working on a quilt for my nephew's first birthday. I'm using a very basic pattern, but I'm using the My Happy Nursery organic cotton fabric from Cloud9 and I love it! The next one I need to start should achieve one of my quilting resolutions – the Bargello quilt!

· Do you make up your designs?

Sort of … but only very basic ones so far. I have followed patterns strictly, but I’ve also taken patterns and modified them a bit. Hopefully I'll become more creative with quilting as time goes on. My most creative one was probably the Bargello quilt I just finished.

· What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?

None! I have sometimes thought about trying out pottery, but in general, I get frustrated easily so I need to minimize my crafting. I love photography – I don't know if it would be considered a craft, but it's something of an artistic hobby for me. I also make jams and jellies. Is that a craft?

· What are your quilting related goals?

In general, I want to try to make every quilt I create be special and unique. More specifically, I want to try some new techniques this year. I’d like to make something from the City Quilts book using all solids. I also would really like to make at least 2 charity quilts this year.

· What do you consider your greatest quilting related achievement?

Finishing my first quilt! I didn't know if I could do it and I hit a lot of snags along the way. But I finished it before my niece was born and overall I enjoyed the process.

· What is your most treasured possession?

Wow, that's a hard question. I'm not sure I can identify my «most» treasured possession. To be honest, it's probably my iPhone, which is sad because it doesn't have sentimental value or anything like that, but it is definitely my favorite item that I own. Haha. Actually, my most treasured item is probably a small cookbook that my mother made for my sister and me several years ago for Christmas. It has all our favorite family recipes in it along with photos of us as children with our mom. It was a very thoughtful and beautiful gift and I still use it all the time.

· What is your motto?

I don't think I really have a motto. I think if I had a motto, it would be something simple like “Just be nice, and have fun.”

Thank you, Andrew!! It's great to learn more about quilters of all levels. Hope you all enjoyed the spotlight - see you in two weeks!