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!



  1. Andrew - it is great to learn more about you!!

  2. Nice to learn more about you Andrew! I'm surprised you've only been quilting for one year, your quilts are amazing!

  3. Thanks guys! I'm already learning a ton from all you guys in the guild and it helps keep me inspired!

  4. I was so surprised to see you were featured, Andrew. I am so proud of you!