Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spotlight on... Amanda!

Take a break from all your projects to drool over all the lovely photos and learn more about Amanda!

• Tell me a bit about yourself:

My name is Amanda Colyer, and I live in Phoenixville, PA with my husband and our lovable mangy mutt. I'm 26, and I've been sewing since I was in grade school.

• What do you do?

By day, I'm a traveling sales representative for a division of a global company. By night, I'm a quilter, knitter, and sewer. When I'm not doing something crafty, I'm playing video games (poorly) with my husband.

• How did you get started quilting?

My mother was the person who got me started quilting -- I had always wanted to do it but was intimidated by all of the precise cutting. For my birthday several years ago, she gave me a sample quilt kit she had put together, completely cut out. I had no more excuses to put off quilting. Embarrassingly, I hit a road block after piecing the top. I couldn't figure out how to actually quilt it! I got back into quilting a few years later once I figured out how to free motion quilt, and completing this one has been on my 'to-do' list ever since.

• Who taught you to quilt?

I learned to sew from my mother, and now we go back and forth teaching each other new techniques. I recently taught her how to free motion quilt.

• Did you ever take quilting lessons from someone?

No formal classes, no. I did teach a class at Spool in Philadelphia last year.

• What do you like best about quilting?

My favorite thing about quilting is that it appeals to both my crafty side and my analytical side. Measurements and angles meeting color and form is the best of both worlds to me.

• What is the hardest thing about quilting?

The hardest thing about quilting (and my least favorite) is still all the preliminary cutting that needs to be done... though clear rulers, rotary cutters and self-healing mats make it a much more painless process.

• How do you decide what pattern to make?

Usually I start with a color scheme in mind, pick fabric, and then decide on a pattern from there. I hardly ever start with a pattern.

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

I am lucky enough to have a whole room dedicated to my various crafty endeavors.

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

The first quilt I ever finished was quilted by hand. It was a queen sized monster, and I swore I'd never do it again. Now I do all of my quilts on my home sewing machine, from baby quilts to queen bedspreads. Just a basic run of the mill Kenmore. My preferred method of quilting is free motion. I just find that it looks good with every pattern.

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

In a good week, I try to quilt a little every day after work. I find it very effective in melting away the stresses of the day. If I'm really lucky, I have the time on the weekend to sit down and quilt for a few solid hours.

• Do you name your quilts or label them?

I don't usually name quilts -- I'm not terribly creative in that way. Usually they get assigned a name only when I upload them to flickr! I do however always try to label my quilts, and I like incorporating hand embroidery in each label.

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

I'm a fan of bright, saturated colors, and I almost always use plain white sashing. I love the crisp, clean look that white sashing gives quilts. My favorite color combination is green, blue, and brown.

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

Most of my fabric is purchased online. I watch for sales (particularly at and Etsy) like a hawk! I have a fairly large stash, but there's always room for more.

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

Right now, I'm making a lap quilt version of the cover quilt from 'Modern Log Cabin Quilting', using scraps of my favorite fabric line (Denyse Schmidt's 'Hope Valley') from a king quilt that I completed recently.

• Do you make up your designs?

I use a pattern about half the time, and make up my own designs about half the time. Once I've found a block that I like, I like to play with size and scale to make the perfect layout.

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

I am very passionate about knitting. This is another skill passed on to me by my mother. Plus it's a lot easier to drag around a sleeve than a whole quilt to work on while I'm traveling! I also design & sew purses and pillows, and crochet occasionally as well.

• What are your quilting related goals?

My goal is simple: find more time to spend quilting.

• What do you consider your greatest quilting related achievement?

My greatest quilting related achievement was completing my first spiderweb quilt. It was much more time consuming (and fabric consuming) than I had originally anticipated. After all the work that went into it, this quilt is my most prized possession. If our house was burning down, I'd grab three things: my husband, our dog, and this quilt!

Haaha! Thanks so much for answering all the questions, Amanda! Hope everyone enjoyed learning more about a fellow member.
Until next time!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 2011 PMQG Meeting and Kona Charm Challenge

Hi, everyone.  I've got another post full of photos of fantastic quilts for you!  This month's Philly Modern Quilt Guild meeting was held last Tuesday night.  At the meeting, participants showed off their MQG Robert Kaufman Kona Solids Challenge pieces.  The challenge for our guild involved using one Kona Solids charm pack (we picked the "Bright" pack) and adding as much additional fabric as we wanted, as long as it had a print (i.e., no additional solids).  There was no size requirement/limit, so it was really exciting to see what everyone did.  Without further ado, below are the photos of everyone's entries.

Sue again - we just HAD to get a closeup of this one!

For more photos from the meeting, including show-and-tell, please head over to my Flickr gallery.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spotlight on... Debbie Hansen and The Little Shop!

Here's a lovely interview with a fellow guild member who's also a shop owner! Read on to learn more about The Little Shop and Debbie Hansen.

Tell me a bit about your shop:
My shop, The Little Shop, is located in Haddonfield, NJ . We carry about 3500 bolts of all the major fabric lines, Patterns, Books, batting, notions and threads…All the good stuff! We also develop our own patterns and templates.

The Little Shop was featured in Quilt Sampler Magazine, An American Patchwork and Quilting publication, Fall 2007.

When did your shop first open its doors?

The shop was a traditional fabric and sewing supply store in the 1960’s and Ann Tomlinson updated it to a quilt shop in the early 80’s. I took a class at the shop to make my first quilt and I never stopped! I began teaching sewing and quilting in the shop in the 90’s and bought the shop in 1997. I have a background in teaching and retail and I love sewing, so, once I started to quilt it seemed like the perfect thing for me!

Does your shop offer classes?

Yes! We teach a beginners class, then all sorts of techniques… We use our own patterns, templates and then projects from our favorite book s and patterns…… We also offer classes for children, a “Sew What” every Friday evening that is very popular, and quilting retreats twice a year. Our big classes this spring are The Seriously Big Wedding Ring and the new “twister”. And every couple of months we offer a Stash Stew…a great opportunity to use your stash!

Do you have sewing machines in the shop?

We don’t. We really don’t have room.

Long arm quilters?

We have a number of long arm quilters who will meet clients at the shop. They all do our work, so we know how great they are!

Is there any particular supply you’re partial to?

I love a good iron, it’s so important… and the Oliso (some of my friends named him “GUS” because he jumps up like a puppy) is my favorite.. And my BIG Olfa cutter….how did we live without it? And….silk thread for hand appliqué…and…….( having trouble stopping… sorry!)

What’s unique about your shop compared to others out there?

We have terrific blend of quilters that work in the shop, so our style, our fabrics, and class offerings are broad spectrum. We have been a quilt shop for a very long time and ... it helps to know the history and use it to develop our creativity

What’s your vision for the shop in the next 2+ years?

I just want the shop to be a comfortable place for people to come and relax, be creative, enjoy others and make great quilts!

Now for questions a bit more personal:

My name is Debbie Hansen. I have twin sons age 31, a daughter- in - law who quilts, and a husband who helps with the shop…Life is good!

Do you sew or quilt?

I come from a sewing family and I love to quilt. I love the old traditional patterns, taken a step up and used with the new fabrics. I love appliqué and am currently working on a project that could be described as sort of contemporary folk art.

How did you get started sewing/quilting?

My grandmother and my mother sewed clothes and home dec things…I have never lived in a house without a sewing room, even if it was only a closet! When I decided I wanted a quilt for my bed, I took a class at The Little Shop, and made one!

What do you like best about quilting?

That’s the hardest question... I love it all... I love the fabrics... I love cutting and sewing … and I love the “Voila!” that happens when you finish a special quilt… and I love sharing it with others. I love star quilts…radiating, sawtooth, feathered…I love them all!

What is the hardest thing about quilting?

I have a hard time sticking with a quilt project that is very repetitive. If I need to make a lot of the same block, I have a hard time finishing. I used to think that basting big quilts on the floor was the hardest thing, but I just don’t do that any more. Thank heaven for long arm quilters!

How much time do you sew or quilt during an average week?

I probably quilt 6 or 8 hours per week. At the shop I reward myself for doing work I don’t care for (bookwork or cleaning) with sewing time.

Do you name your projects or label them?

I label quilts if they are going to be in a show, or if they are gifts. Quilts I make for my own family may not get labels, but everyone else…definitely!

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

I like to garden, and every once in a while, I cook! I cooked seriously before I learned to…not so much!

What is your motto?

Why use 5 fabrics when I could use 50!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions, Debbie! Hope you all will stop by her shop to say hello!