Welcome Caroline Gunn to our Member Spotlight Series. If you’ve been coming to our Monday meetings you might have already met Caroline who also blogs at www.hunnigirlquiltdesigns.blogspot.com.au. (Read to the bottom to find out how you can be part of this fun series.)
1. How long would you say you’ve been quilting for and what was it that got you interested in quilting?
I would say officially I have been quilting since December 2010, but unofficially I did do a patchwork TAFE course back in the early 90’s and started a sampler quilt of sorts… No rotary cutters, just rulers, pencils and scissors. I have always sewn for as long as I can remember, my Nan used to piece clothes at home. She used to get paid by the seam and gave us bits and pieces to play with. During the devestating floods in QLD I was blog hopping and found lots of blogs auctioning off goodies, whoever had the highest bid donated the money to the Red Cross Flood Appeal and you would receive the goods you won. I won an Auction on Natalie Lymer’s blog www.cinderberrystitches.typepad.com, it was a full set of patterns and fabrics to make her “Tail Feathers” quilt. If you’re not familiar with her work it has lots of sticheries in it. Once I received the pack and started reading the pattern I thought…. MMMM I better find someone to show me what to do. This is when I found Michelle Marvig’s shop in Penrith “Patchwork Heart” (Now Closed), with her help and encouragement the quilt was completed. And it was there, at her shop, that I can officially say….. I WAS HOOKED ON QUILTING!!
2. What was your first quilt and how do you think you’ve evolved as a quilter from that quilt?
With the anwser the first question in mind, my first unofficial quilt was a lovely lilac and pale orange number that sat in my Mum’s wardrobe unfinished until earlier this year. Once Mum found out I was quilting again she kept nagging me to get it finished, so I snuck it out of the house and got it quilted and completed for Mother’s Day. It has pride of place on Mum’s bed, but is so far from anything that I would do now.
The official first “Tail Feathers” quilt is also a style that my taste has changed from now. I love it, and I’m glad I did it, but I don’t find myself drawn to this type of quilting with lots of sticheries as much.
There are so many blogs that I love to read and all the eye candy is Modern colours, fabrics and designs and these excite me and make me want to make it all. I am now drawn to more modern fabrics and patterns, although every now and then I will still find something traditional that I love too. Needless to say – everything is different now! My machine is better, my technique is better, the fabrics I’m using are better.
3. What are you working on right now?
I think the question should be what aren’t I working on right now! I am making a wall hanging with Anna Maria Horner’s feather pattern, bought some lovely fabrics and the “weekender bag” Amy Butler pattern, I’m up to block 4 on the 2012 Designer Mystery Block of the Month from the Fat Quarter shop, plus lots of other UFO’s around the place.
Probably the most important things that I also work on are quilts and laundry bags for “Aussie Hero Quilts”. This is a wonderful project started by a lovely new friend Jan-Maree Ball. She had a great idea to help a friend of her’s husband who is a soldier serving in Afghanistan serving during the winter months earlier in the year. So at first Jan-Maree and her quilt group sent over 25 quilt & 15 laundry bags for this soldier and his mates. Thats when www.aussieheroquilts.blogspot.com.au was created. Word has spread throughout the soldiers and Australia (there are ladies involved from every state and territory) and to date 547 quilts and 578 laundry bags have been sent to Aussie Hero’s who are serving all over the Middle East. Our target is 1000 by the end of the year. If you get a chance, have a look at the blog it is very inspiring. There are lots of pictures of soldiers with their quilts and lots and lots of thank you’s.
4. Tell us about your sewing machine(s)?
I have two machines. One is a Janome memorycraft 10,000 – she is my back up, I have had her for about 10 years and is a beautiful machine. Lots of machine embroidery has been done with her in the past, but I haven’t done too much of that for a while. Last year I bought a Bernina 440QE and this is the one that I use to do most of my quilting, perfect stitching, easy to use. The only thing I wish for is a bigger throat space for FMQ. I am just learning and I find it a little frustrating rolling the quilt and getting a nice area to quilt.
5. Do you prefer hand quilting, machine quilting or sending it out?
I haven’t tried hand quilting yet, this is on my list of things to try. I am learning to FMQ on my machine with books and on-line classes at the moment. I haven’t done too much on my own quilts (beside Aussie Hero Qults), but eventually I envisage doing the quilting myself. There just isn’t enough time in the day to practice practice practice. The two large quilts that I have completed Wind Spirit (Michelle Marvig’s foundation pieced pattern that I showed at the 1st meeting) and Oh My Stars Quilt a Long were both quilted by a long arm quilter. Wind Spirit was custom quilted and Oh My Stars was done with an all over panto design. I have a lovely friend Carolynne from Honey Do Quilting who does my long arm quilting and she is base in Cranebrook near Penrith. If anyone wants any details let me know and I will pass them on.
6. Do you sew on the dining table or do you have a dedicated space?
I am lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing room, although if you walk into my house you wouldn’t think I did. There are fabrics and bits and pieces spread onto every surface sometimes. My design wall is a removable one that hangs on a curtain rod opposite my kitchen bench so I can look at what I’m working on. I have my Bernina in a drop in table and then tables all around so that when I quilt, so the quilt doens’t pull and lays flat. The whole room is in desperate need of a make-over, but who has time to do that… only time for sewing.
7. Name three of your favourite fabric designers.
Wow only three is hard, my favourites change daily, as soon as I see something new “oooh that’s my favourito too.” I love Anna Maria Horner, all her ranges are lovely but I am loving Field Study. I have a thing for Oranges and Teals so I picked out all of those to use in my feathers project. I love the big prints because it can almost look like different fabrics once you cut and piece them. I love Bonnie & Camille’s ranges, Vintage Modern is my particular favourite at the moment. I’ve made a lap quilt from this and my current Block of the Month is made from this range. At the moment I also really love “Birds and the Bees” by Tula Pink. I have purchased a full set of fat quarters. I couldn’t decide on one colour way so I got all three. I added to that the Amy Butler “weekender bag” pattern and that is the next project I am going to tackle. I have heard lots of stories about how hard this pattern can be… but I want to give it a try…. Stay tuned… Or listen for my screams. If you haven’t seen it already Elizabeth Hartman from “Oh Fransson” has done a lovely quilted version, here’s hoping mine will turn out just a nice. Here is the link for a look http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/2012/09/quilted-weekender-bag.html.
8. Is there a fabric range out of the new season ranges that you’re drooling over?
I am really eager to see the release of Tula Pink’s new range “Salt Water”, since I love all of her ranges and I’m sure this is one that won’t disappoint. I am building a nice little stash of her fabrics untill I can find a really interesting quilt pattern (or design one myself …ha ha) that will showcase some of her beautiful colour ranges and prints. I love the quirkyness of her prints. Next on my purchase list is a copy of her new book “Quilts from the House of Tula Pink”.