Greater Western Sydney Modern Quilt Guild

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Member Spotlight – Caroline Gunn

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”.

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Every fortnight we will be posting up an interview with one of our members, if you’d be interested in contributing please send us an email to gwsmodernquiltguild@gmail.com.
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Member Spotlight – Jenna Appleton

This week I’m delighted to introduce you to Jenna who is another Flickr/coffee pal who I met a few months ago.  Jenna is extremely motivated and loves to hunt out fabric bargains, clicking up the KMs on her car to search through forgotten bolts of Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks and other out of print fabrics.  Jenna can be found online through Flickr here.  (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?

Properly – since January – but I’ve been around quilters before. My mum even worked in a quilt store for a little while when I was about 13. I wasn’t a fan of the fabrics available back then… Mum’s idea of modern quilting was a lot of zodiac fabric with metallic gold details. (Love you Mum)

Late last year I started buying fabric for clothes for my two little boys and noticed that the quilt fabrics available now are strides ahead of where they used to be… and I want them in my home! I made some pillows and things but quilts started to become a more attractive proposition. I’m fairly well hooked now.

2. What was your first quilt and how do you think you’ve evolved as a quilter from that quilt?

My first quilt was a grid of rectangles made from cheap, loosely woven poly/cotton/wool fabric remnants with polyester batting… in 1996, when I was 15 and had no fabric budget wink It was stitched in the ditch and needed 1/2″ seams to stop it fraying… I cut the rectangles so that it would fold down evenly to a pillow size and made a matching pillowcase to hold it. It was for a 20-hour bus trip to the snow, we could take a pillow or a blanket but not both so I got my craft on.

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?

Right now, I’m working on quilted pillows. I’ve also got a couple of tops completed that need quilting, and a few more I’ve started. Many of these are simple grids or tumblers etc but I’ve got a mod mosaic and a few other slightly more challenging things started.

4. Tell us about your sewing machine(s)?

I have my mum’s Elna SU, newly serviced, but I mostly do clothes on that. I was using a Brother NS30 until very recently but it doesn’t sew straight over bulky seams, which was a complete nuisance! Three weeks ago I shelled out for the Bernina B530 (“Bernice”) and everything is suddenly 200% easier. Except needle threading, I actually like the threader on the Brother a bit more!

5. Do you prefer hand quilting, machine quilting or sending it out?

I’ve never sent a quilt out for quilting so I can’t comment on that, and I am currently too impatient for hand-quilting. Many of my projects have been uber-basic in piecing so they don’t warrant that kind of time. When I get some of my more complex projects done though I probably will hand-quilt or send them out to have them done.

When machine quilting I have the digital radio on, probably a little too loud wink Usually 702 Sydney or NewsRadio. I’m an ABC kind of girl.

6. Do you sew on the dining table or do you have a dedicated space?

Currently our badly-set-out terrace house isn’t used downstairs for much other than storage due to the almost-dangerous staircase, small kids, and the kitchen is upstairs. I’ve let my sewing overflow to half of the ground level… it’ll need a significant cleanup and reorganisation when our renovation is done and I’m confined to a real room again.

7. Name three of your favourite fabric designers.

So many designers do stuff that I absolutely adore, but right now…

Anna Maria Horner – I adore Good Folks (I really went on a bender or two when Craft Depot were putting out all those rolls in June/July) and Field Study is really growing on me. Little Folks voiles are so beautiful as well, I have a little stash of Pastry Line yardage destined for backings (picked up at ~$7/yard, so it was too hard to say no!) Her colour sense is off the charts and nearly every range works together. Fabulous.

Melody Miller – fussy cutting all those retro motifs is great fun right now and suits the pillows I’m doing right down to the ground.

and American Jane (Sandy Klop) – I’ve gotten right in on her particular twist on 30’s and retro styling. Can’t wait for my parcel of Recess to arrive smile

8. Is there a fabric range out of the new season ranges that you’re drooling over?

I’ve fallen for three or four prints from Field Study (AMH), a couple from Bella (Lotta Jansdotter), and I’m itching to see some of Madrona Road (Violet Craft) and some of the new Koseki stripes up close. I’m mostly about basics and blenders this season though, so we’re talking the feathers from Field Study, the sketchy and pebbly prints from Bella and the sprouts from Madrona Road

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Every fortnight we will be posting up an interview with one of our members, if you’d be interested in contributing please send us an email to gwsmodernquiltguild@gmail.com.


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Member Spotlight – Lorena Uriarte


I’m really excited to introduce to you our new Member Spotlight series on the blog.  Every fortnight we will be posting up an interview with one of our members.  Amy came up with this brilliant idea as a great way to find out more about each other.  This week I’m delighted to introduce you to Lorena.  I first met Lorena about three months ago when a few gals on Flickr decided to have a little coffee catch up locally.  Lorena is very down to earth and has great taste  – I just love her version of the Jane Market bag made from Denyse Schmidt fabrics.  (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 had a very creative upbringing, there was always sewing, weaving, pottery and so on to be done. Growing up I hated being different, it was embarrassing having shoes and a school case that my father designed and made and my mother sewed our school uniforms but I can now see how special this was.

The reason I chose quilting is because it ties in nicely with my pragmatic view that art and beauty should also be practical. A nice marriage between form and function. For me there is no greater expression of this than a beautiful and warm quilt or a functional and attractive tote bag.

Like many, I discovered patchwork and quilting when I had my own children and found myself with so many repetitive tasks. Quilting saved me, it gave me a creative outlet, my personal space and instilled the importance of creativity and perseverance in my children too.

2. What was your first quilt and how do you think you’ve evolved as a quilter from that quilt?

I learnt to quilt in an eight week beginner’s class with a girlfriend, we made 40cm quilt blocks. I was hooked and searched the internet for many different patterns, before I knew it I had made 16 blocks, enough for our queen bed. We still use this quilt and I’m surprised it’s survived so well given how terrible I was at needle turn appliqué, perfect seam allowances and even hand quilting.

The fabrics were scraps from dresses I’d sewn for my daughter and bits and pieces I picked up at the fabric shop. I used lots of solids and calico, mixed with pretty florals, I knew nothing about patchwork fabric and the only specific patchwork fabrics I recognised were Jinny Beyer and Liberty.

My blue and yellow palette is still very popular with the first time quilters I teach today. It makes me smile when a student comes in with a blue and yellow stash for their first quilt. I’ve given up on hand quilting my own large quilts as I’d rather be working on my next design! I love the look of hand quilting, I just don’t have the time.

3. What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on two quilts: the Little Apples Hexagons and Stars quilt for my daughter. I started this in a workshop with Catherine Butterworth last August using a layer cake of Little Apples fabric from Aneela Hooey. The range is pretty cute and has lots of stories to tell; I have fussy cut the images and rearranged them to tell another story incorporating many other fabrics to extend the colour palette and design. My daughter and I like to name each block and give it its own story. I’m on the home stretch with this one and hope to have it finished and quilted by November.

Little Apples Hexagons and Stars by Lorena Uriarte

Of  course I’m already working on my next quilt, another project started in a workshop, this time with Lessa Siegele. Her pattern is called Ring Cycles; it is based on a traditional block often known as Jack’s Chain. Because I like to add my own twist to things I’ve decided to piece the internal hexagon rather than appliqué a flower in each centre. I’m using lots of text prints as the background and tone on tone brights for the small nine patches, Alexander Henry’s Matchsticks fabric is giving me lots of scope to fussy cut the centre stars. I’m really happy with how this quilt is progressing. It’ll be another large quilt, maybe a replacement for our tired looking Blue and Yellow quilt!

Lorena’s Ring Cycles

4. Tell us about your sewing machine(s)?

I have a Husqvarna Sapphire 870 Quilter’s edition, it was new on the market when I bought it after a particularly sad and difficult year. I love the extra throat space and the auto features especially for patchworking and quilting- needle down, lock stick and thread cutting. I also have 4 basic Janomes that I use to teach beginners. The Janome is great first machine and the feet are interchangeable with my Husky. Definitely a bonus when other people are sharing your work space.

5. Do you prefer hand quilting, machine quilting or sending it out?

I’d love to have more time to hand quilt as I do love the look of either larger stitches with Perle thread or the traditional quilter’s stitch. Unfortunately it’s not high on my list of priorities and I end up sending most of my quilts out to be machine quilted. Michelle Turner has done a beautiful job on a few of my quilts, she did a fantastic job custom quilting A Symbol Recomposed earlier this year, it takes time to build trust with a long arm quilter, it’s important have an honest and open discussion on what you are looking for and what is achievable. I enjoy the process of designing and piecing a quilt top more than the quilting process and I’m happy to let a quilting professional work their magic to finish the job!

6. Do you sew on the dining table or do you have a dedicated space?

I have a dedicated sewing studio at home. I know how fortunate I am and this is definitely my happy place. It is the first thing you see in our new home and there’s quite a bit of pressure to keep it tidy. I love having a calm and ordered workspace but with two quilters in the family (Sofia, my 11 yo daughter also quilts) it often looks like a fabric bomb has gone off!

7. Name three of your favourite fabric designers.

Hmm, I tend to gravitate to the colours used by certain designers rather than loving everything they put out. I love the palette used by Denyse Schmidt in most of her ranges, I also find her geometric designs very useful. Anna Maria Horner has grown on me as her ranges work so well together but I’m not drawn to the plummy or pink colours and prefer her blue and green prints. Alexander Henry is always fun and colourful I particularly love his Mexican themed collections, Viva Frida is one of my favourite large scale prints.

8. Is there a fabric range out of the new season ranges that you’re drooling over?

I’m patiently waiting for my FQ stacks of Chicopee (Denyse Schmidt) and Field Study (Anna Maria Horner). I can’t wait to see how they work with my existing stash and then buy more yardage of the prints I love. I recently saw the preview of Stamped by Ellen Luckett Baker for Kokka. I’m attracted to the pared back blocky yet interesting design and the two tone colour prints of this collection. I think I’ll be able to make some great textiles for our new home and some groovy bags too.

Stamped by Ellen Luckett Baker via True Up

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We’re looking for more people to feature as part of our Member Spotlight, if you’d be interested in contributing please send us an email to gwsmodernquiltguild@gmail.com.