· Tell me a bit about yourself:
My name is Jessica Levitt. I'm 35 years old (for a few more weeks) and live in Central NJ with my two kids (ages almost 4 and almost 7) and my husband.
· What do you do?
I'm a fabric designer and now an author (That's fun to say!). I work from home so I get to spend lots of time with the kids. For fun I do more sewing of all kinds, I ballroom dance with my husband, and I love to travel both with and without the kids.
Please check out my blog, Juicy Bits ( www.juicy-bits.typepad.com ) to see what I'm up to lately.
· How did you get started quilting?
My aunt got me interested in fabrics when I was in about 7th grade. She mostly likes to just shop but I sewed my first quilt pretty quickly. It was an (absolutely hideous) Trip Around the World.
· Who taught you to quilt?
No one, but my mom taught me the basics of sewing. And I did a touch of sewing in home ec.
· Did you ever take quilting lessons from someone?
I've taken very few quilting classes. Maybe two ever. I mostly learned by trial and error. It took a while before I learned about batting, binding, quilting, and all that. My first few were done with the flip-right-side-out method and boy is that not fun to try to get the batting to lay flat.
· What do you like best about quilting?
I love fabric and playing with all the combinations. It's always fun to see how you can completely change the look of a pattern by swapping the fabrics.
· What is the hardest thing about quilting?
· How do you decide what pattern to make?
I very rarely follow patterns. I'm often inspired by something but have to change it to make it my own. Although, lately I have realized the joy of simply following directions and not having to do any math etc myself. You can jump right in and finish in no time.
· Where do you do your work? Do you have a quilting room?
Yes, I have sewing studio. I'd send a picture but it's nearly always a disaster!
· Do you use a sewing machine, long arm quilter or do you quilt by hand?
I sew everything I can by machine. That includes binding. I'm all about instant gratification! I did recently send some quilts to a long arm quilter which was fun. No more basting or shoving it under the machine! But I will probably still do some myself.
· How much time do you quilt during an average week?
It really varies. I sew probably 8-10 hours on a slow week, much more if I'm actually working on something important. But not all of my sewing is quilting.
· Do you name your quilts or label them?
Yes, although I kinda hate coming up with names. I frequently don't get the label part done in time and have to go back and do it later.
· Have you ever taught someone to quilt?
Yes, I've taught classes at our local adult education program and taught plenty of friends. I love teaching beginners because they're so excited to see what they can make.
· How do you choose your colors? What are your favorites?
It's all about my mood lately or a particular fabric that speaks to me. My all time favorite color is chartreuse green and lots of other versions of green. You'll find that in a lot of my projects.
· Where do you buy your fabrics and materials? Is there any particular supply you’re partial to?
I shop in a lot of different places. I'm not particularly close to any big quilt shops, but Pennington Quilt Works (http://penningtonquilts.com/) is less than an hour away and I love their store. I grew up on Cape Cod and I still go shopping at Tumbleweed Quilts (http://www.tumbleweedquilts.com) every time I go back. Amazing store. I also shop online, but I'm not particularly loyal...it's all about who has the most of what I'm looking for.
· What quilt(s) are you working on now?
I'm excited to get started on my first quilting bee quilt from my Busy Bee group ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/busy-bees/ ). It's purples, greys, and greens! I'm also thinking of a baby boy quilt for a friend but I haven't made a firm design yet. And I'm working on writing up the pattern for my Prairie Glass Squared free pattern for my fabric collection Kingdom.
· Do you make up your designs?
Yes, very often. And I have finished my first sewing book. It has 7 quilts, plus bags, pillows, apron, tablecloth, and more! All the projects combine solid fabrics with designer prints. It's called Modern Mix ( http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Mix-Projects-Combine-Designer/dp/1607052490/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309976056&sr=8-1) and will be available in September.
· What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?
Way too many to count. You name, I've tried it. I always want to learn new things. I do a fair bit of crochet. I also do costume design/sewing. I love party design and planning (I was a wedding designer for a few years). And home decor as well.
But the big one is fabric design. My second collection of Windham Fabrics is called Kingdom (http://www.windhamfabrics.com/cgi-bin/fabricshop/gallery.cgi?Category=521) and will be available in august. Designing fabric was a dream of mine, especially since I've loved fabrics before designers were even a thing (AKA before Amy Butler). After my kids were born and I was home a lot feeling somewhat isolated, I discovered the sewing/crafting blogworld and I was inspired to just go for it and see what I could come up with. I love Art Nouveau and Mission style and I knew I was going to incorporate that into my design. I do most of my work in Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes I sketch a design first and then scan it and edit it and add colors and all that. I get my inspiration everywhere and constantly make little scribbled sketches.
· What other organizations are you involved in to enrich your love of the fiber arts?
I don't belong to any other guilds, but I'd love to join a new online bee. It's been a lot of fun this year. Since I work professionally in the industry I get to go to Quilt Market every so often and be inspired.
· What are your quilting related goals?
Mostly I want to support my fabric addiction so I hope to do enough work professionally to keep up with my spending. :)
· What do you consider your greatest quilting related achievement?
Probably my first fabric collection, Timber (http://www.windhamfabrics.com/cgi-bin/fabricshop/gallery.cgi?Category=410) . It was so thrilling to see the designs come to life and watch others sew with them. But once I hold my book in my hand, I'll probably consider that my greatest achievement.
· What is your most treasured possession?
Well, I don't know if family counts as a possession, but they're the most important thing in my life. As far as actual material goods, I'll say this: I LOVE my bed.
· What is your motto?
"The Lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." - Chaucer
Congrats, Jessica, on your new book!! I can't wait to see it. And thanks a ton for taking the time to be interviewed!