Friday, March 23, 2018

Quilters of the SCTMQG: Michelle Lieberson


How did you get started quilting? 

I've been a knitter most of my life. While I was living in London, one of the customers at my knitting shop taught me to sew. I hadn't sewn since I was in middle school. It wasn't until I moved back to Connecticut a year or so later that I got interested in Modern Quilting. I started reading some blogs, and ordering fabric, and making quilts.

Then I saw a postcard advertising a meeting for the MQG at the American Fabric Building Open Studios. I went to several meetings, but the group folded. It was then that I decided to revive the group, which has now become the SCTMQG.


How long have you been a quilter?

About 7 years.


How many quilts do you think you have made in that time?

I'm not very prolific, so probably about 10 lap size, and a bunch of minis.



What is the story behind the first quilt you ever made?

My first quilt was an Elizabeth Hartman pattern. It was a variation on a log cabin, pretty basic. It was very precise though, which is not me at all. I had to cut all of the pieces and label them in baggies in folders. I FMQ'ed it myself on my very basic Singer, which actually came out pretty well.




How would you describe your style of quilting?

 

I don't like to follow patterns, or if I do, I will look at it and then make it up myself. It's about the same as my method of cooking. It's the opposite of knitting, where the item you are making needs to fit your body. I like that about quilting, it's just flat pieces sewn together, so I can just go for it.


What is your favorite type of quilt to make? (Paper pieced, applique, etc. ) Why?

Improv. Its very freeing to just cut fabric up and sew it back together. I also am a big fan of curves.




What tool or tools could you not live without and why?

I love my Olfa acrylic rulers. I feel that they are the best ones since there aren't too many markings on them which enables you to see through them better. My Juki straight stitch machine is a workhorse.


What are your favorite materials to work with in terms of threads, fabrics, and batting?

I don't really have a favorite as long as the fabric is good quality. I do like cotton batting. I'm sure most of you know I dislike batiks, both for the look and the feel of them.



Which colors do you gravitate toward in your quilts?/Which color have you never used or want to use?

I tend to gravitate towards a bright palette of aqua blue, bright magenta, grassy green, and, orange, which are the same colors that I knit with. I probably will never use brown, nor do I have any desire to.


How many UFO’s do you have?

Quite a few. A few years ago I took Denyse Schmidt's weekend class, and still have to finish it. I also have a bunch from the first Quiltcon I attended. This is why I don't like to take project based classes any more, I'd rather learn a technique.


If someone were to peek in on your quilting time, what would they see?

I waste a lot of time and don't get as much done as I'd like to.



What themes do you see in your quilts? (Colors, shapes, techniques,etc.)

Simple, graphic shapes. Made fabric.



What were some turning points in your quilting process?

When I realized I didn't need to use patterns, and that I can just make it up myself.




Who are the people, artists, quilters, etc. you look to for encouragement and inspiration in quilting?

I follow a lot of people on Instagram, both for sewing and knitting. Victoria Finlay Wolfe has been an inspiration to me, the way she cuts up fabric and sews it back together in so many interesting ways.




Where else do you find inspiration for your quilts?

Graphic images on signs, street signs, nature.



What do you like best about quilting?

That it doesn't have to fit the body, as in knitting. I can just sew fabric together, and if I don't like how it looks, I can cut it up or cut it with a template and make something else.



Where are you headed in your quilting, and what would you like to learn more about?

Right now I'm more into making clothes than quilts. I'm sure I will make more quilts, there is always something else I want to make. My 'to do' pile is endless. I just took a class with Victoria using Y-seams. I'd like to work more to perfect that technique.



What would you want to try if time and money were no object?

Fashion draping class, and pattern making classes at FIT.



Last Question: What are you working on right now?

I decided to make something more basic where I don't have to think too much. Its a kit from Alison Glass. It is a pattern, but its more about the color placement, which is up to me.





Monday, January 15, 2018

Quilters of the SCTMQG: Lori Hashizume



How did you get started quilting?

My friend Edie Faile signed me up to help set up a quilt show at Southport Congregational Church. One day, during the show, a vendor at the market suggested I buy a quilt kit that included Amy Butler and Jennifer Paganelli fabric. After I finished the quilt top, I took it to a shop in Monroe to be quilted (shop is no longer there) and another kit caught my eye. I sewed that one and two raggy quilts. The first two quilts were eventually displayed at the Southport show in a special "modern" exhibit. Then began a long hiatus. Enter a knitting group friend, Michelle Lieberson, who got our group to enroll in a curved piecing class at The Quilt Shop in Danbury. Soon after, Michelle founded the Southern CT Modern Quilt Guild, and I "agreed" to join. My arm is easily twisted.


How long have you been a quilter? 

I made my first quilt probably in 2004. I did not know about attaching labels back then.

First quilt


How many quilts have you made in that time? 

More than a dozen.


What is the story behind the first quilt you have ever made? 

I was attracted to the modern design and colors of Amy Butler and Jennifer Paganelli fabrics and wanted the experience of sewing something other than clothing.

How would you describe your style of quilting? 

I save a lot of quilt photos on Pinterest. I'm drawn to the Gee's Bend quilts and like to use earthy colors with a pop of something joyful. I also like using recycled or vintage fabric in my pieces. Ha ha I say that as if I have sewn many quilts in this style.



What is your favorite type of quilt to make? (Paper pieced, applique, etc. ) Why?

I enjoy experimenting with all types of quilts. I could probably use more experience with applique. My favorite type of quilt to make is improv.


Favorite Quilt


What tool or tools could you not live without and why?

A sharp seam ripper, sharp rotary blades, and a good ruler. Recently, I discovered Quilter's Pressing Fleece made out of 100% felted wool. It's great for pressing blocks flat.


What are your favorite materials to work with in terms of threads, fabrics, and batting?

I like a sturdy, smooth thread and tend to use Mettler. I'm still experimenting with other quilters' favorites and have not developed any favorites. My batting of choice is Warm Company. I was surprised to find they make a polyester batting, which I like for the thicker loft.


Which colors do you gravitate toward in your quilts? Which color have you never used or want to use?

I tend to work with colors described by a word I heard often in childhood, jimina, a Japanese word meaning plain, simple, understated, maybe colors found in nature. I try to use all colors at some point. I know what colors I like when I see them.


How many UFO’s do you have?

According to our guild survey, I apparently have 12.

If someone were to peek in on your quilting time, what would they see?

I take my time. I like to clear my work space before starting a project, but that doesn't always happen.

What themes do you see in your quilts? (Colors, shapes, techniques,etc.)

I see a lot of curves.



What were some turning points in your quilting process?

I recently experienced a turning point, the kind where you say, "How did I not know this before?" It involves matching seams. More like an "aha!" moment than a turning point. I'm also trying to get a handle on free motion quilting on a domestic sewing machine. I would like to get better at that.



Who are the people, artists, quilters, etc. you look to for encouragement and inspiration in quilting?

I mentioned the quilters of Gee's Bend as a huge influence on my quilting. I was fortunate to be in a workshop with some ladies from Gee's Bend during Quiltcon 2015 in Austin, TX. I hesitate to single out any one artist, but I do draw a lot of inspiration from Denyse Schmidt. I love her fabric and her aesthetic. Of course, the ladies and gents in our guild are a constant source of inspiration with their show and tell and blocks of the month. And then there are the friends who follow me on instagram and like my quilts. That's all the encouragement I need.



Where else do you find inspiration for your quilts?

I find inspiration everywhere. In buildings, sidewalks, floors, windows, lampshades, grocery shelves, just about anything.


What do you like best about quilting?

Seeing a thought or idea become something tangible. I also like working with fabric. I started sewing at age 12 and made all of my clothing for many years. But using fabric in clothing is limiting in that one outfit is usually made out of one fabric. In quilting, I get to mix and match all my favorites in one project. I can see which colors and prints work together and which do not. I enjoy that.



Where are you headed in your quilting, and what would you like to learn more about?

Eventually, people start offering to pay you to sew a quilt for them. I usually say I cannot put a fair price on a finished quilt. I end up sewing quilts that I keep or give away to very special people as a gift. I can't keep sewing quilts for myself, so I'm not sure where I'm headed. I think I just need to keep practicing improvisational techniques.


What would you want to try if time and money were no object?

I would like to use the same pattern over and over but vary the colors, solids vs. prints, the amount of negative space, etc.


Last Question: What are you working on right now?

A baby quilt and a snowball quilt.









Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Quilters of the SCTMQG: Gail Berman



How did you get started quilting? 

I like to sew and when I saw a pattern I liked, I decided to make it.


How long have you been a quilter?

I've been quilting since the early seventies, but for a long time I considered the quilts, sewing projects. Many years later, I realized I had become a quilter.


How many quilts do you think you have made in that time?

Hmmm, maybe 30.







What is the story behind the first quilt you ever made?

I saw a Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern that I liked, purchased the most wild fabrics, cut out each hexagon using a cardboard template, pencil, and scissors, and then sewed the pieces together by machine. I wanted it to be a surprise for my parents, so I sewed when they weren't around. When I was finished, I laid it on their bed early one morning before they had awakened. I didn't know about "quilting" the sandwich, so my stitching was completely inadequate. Following the first washing, the entire batting fell to the bottom of the quilt. I diligently ripped out the stitching holding the front and back together, and re-sewed the batting in. I don't know if my second attempt was much better than the first, though, since I really didn't know what I was doing. I have fond memories of making this quilt.


How would you describe your style of quilting?

I'm a traditional quilter but I will explore any style or technique that seems interesting. This is one reason I took on the Block of the Month Modern Quilt Challenge this year. It made me explore and try to better understand what makes a quilt fall into the "modern" category.


What is your favorite type of quilt to make? (Paper pieced, applique, etc. ) Why?

I enjoy appliqué. More shapes are possible using appliqué, increasing design possibilities. And the process is relaxing.



What tool or tools could you not live without and why?

Which tools are my favorites depends upon the project. For strip piecing, of course a rotary cutter, mat, and rulers are indispensable. They are a time saver and allow for greater accuracy while preparing fabric pieces for sewing. I have gravitated towards using only fine silk pins which slide into the fabric smoothly and easily. And a fine seam ripper (to get into tight stitches and cut the thread when I have to re-sew a seam), and thread clips are important, as well. Oh, and a rubber mat to prevent the sewing machine foot control from sliding. An iron makes everything look and sew better. And a mechanical pencil (and ruler previously mentioned), helps to mark intersections for accurate piecing.
For appliqué, I couldn't do it without appliqué pins, freezer paper, a good pair of pointed small fabric scissors, a light box, fine point sharpies, mechanical pencil (chalk and graphite), my Richard Hemming & Son Large Eye Milliners Size 11 needles (okay you can try the size 10 if you have to, but it's not the same), and thread that will actually fit through the eye of these needles, which reminds me about my wonderful Clover needle threader (this is an amazing tool), magnifying glasses and/or magnifying glass/lamp. Good lighting and being able to really see where I'm stitching is crucial. I wouldn't get past a couple of stitches without a good thimble. And a computer printer to enlarge and/or reduce pattern pieces. It looks like I'm listing every tool, but each serves a specific purpose without which the quality of the work (at various stages) will suffer. 

Some of the benefits of the above tools may be obvious, and some may not if you've never used them. So I'll just add the reasons I use two more of these items. Appliqué pins are very short, about one inch long. When I appliqué, I first secure the piece onto the background with these pins. Thread is less likely to get entangled in the pins because they are so short, and I'm also less likely to get poked by the pins while I'm working. Less pain and bleeding is a good thing! 

Finally, the freezer paper can hold fabric taut while printing or drawing onto the fabric. It can also hold the seam in place, and keep the seam line smooth, making the appliqué experience easier and faster, and the final product more crisp and better looking. I don't use it for every piece in my appliqué, but I especially like to use it for circles and some curves.


What are your favorite materials to work with in terms of threads, fabrics, and batting?

I haven't yet explored various threads. As I get more into actual quilting, I've become aware of the use of finer threads for this task. I have always preferred cotton thread, but I see that some finer threads are very often polyester, some other man made thread, or threads made from silk. I would like to try using silk thread and have recently learned of a source for buying larger spools. So, hopefully I'll be able to try this soon.
Since I have enjoyed hand quilting in the past, I've come to enjoy cotton batting. I love the feel of the quilt after it's been laundered, as it creates that wonderful crinkled look and soft cozy feel. However, I've become curious about wool and silk batts and hope to experiment with them soon. Indeed, in one of my recent classes, the instructor mentioned that she uses two batts together, cotton on the bottom and wool on top. With her extensive quilting, she said this combination allows areas of her quilt to pop up. I'm anxious to try this as I become more comfortable with free motion quilting.
As time goes by, my tastes change about fabrics. Of course, cotton is what I use. I prefer good quality quilting fabrics. I don't find that bargain fabrics are a bargain. Sometimes "bargain" fabrics are not color stable, the print can be printed off grain, the grain is not straight, and the quality of the cotton is too thin or poor in other ways. For one of my earliest quilts (not knowing any better at the time), I used some cotton/poly fabrics. Over the years, a few of the fabrics have disintegrated. For all the work I put into a project, I want the final product to hold up. 
Also, somewhere in my stash I have collected some silk fabrics for several projects I look forward to doing.


Which colors do you gravitate toward in your quilts?/Which color have you never used or want to use?

I love the blues/greens/purples. I would have said that I've not used yellow, but there was one time when I had decided to use a "little" yellow. The quilt ended up having a lot of yellow, more than I intended, but I was happy with the result anyway. I've not used orange, but I have two ideas for an orange project in the future.


How many UFO’s do you have?

It's seems I have more UFO's than I ever imagined. If I count the projects I've purchased fabrics for but haven't yet begun, the number is even higher. I don't know how many there are, and perhaps it's better that way.


If someone were to peek in on your quilting time, what would they see?

A person getting a lot of exercise running from one room to the next for various tasks, such as ironing, cutting, viewing, and sewing. Fabric, tools, cutting and ironing stations have been showing up in other rooms in the house, other than in my sewing room, because I can't do everything in just one room. One room isn't big enough for everything.


What themes do you see in your quilts? (Colors, shapes, techniques, etc.)

I don't think I have a theme. Each quilt is so different.


What were some turning points in your quilting process?

Every time I do a lot of one thing, I reach a point where I learn something important. For instance, years ago I made a heart quilt. It had 63 appliquéd hearts on it. I had probably sewn on 50 hearts before I discovered freezer paper. What a game changer that was! Sewing on the hearts went so much faster after that, and they looked better, too.

When I took a liberated "Parts" class last year at The Bolt Quilt Shop, the monthly class and subsequent "homework" in between classes, relaxed my concept of a "perfect" quilt. It also relaxed my reliance on patterns. When I first learned to make a quilt, I wanted the finished quilt to be perfect and look nice. So I learned techniques which increased the likelihood that the pieces would match up properly and allow for sewing accuracy. Over the years, perfection became more important than the enjoyment of the process. This class helped me readjust my perspective. I can now sit down and enjoy the design and sewing without worrying so much about perfection. Sew time is now play time, and I can't wait to sit down each week and sew.

My latest turning point came after a recent quilting class at Quilt Odyssey. The instructor had us sew one quilting pattern after another during our four hour class. Her goal was to teach us 26 different textures. Her agenda filled every moment of our time, and four hours wasn't enough time. It was a very intense experience and I'm still recovering from it, and trying to digest everything I learned. But I know already, that the experience has changed my outlook on quilting. I don't think I will ever again be able to say, "I don't know what to quilt". Instead, I'll be saying "Which pattern shall I choose?" And rather than hesitate, I think I'll be able to jump in and do it. As I said, I'm still digesting the experience. Time will tell the effect it's had on me, but I know that something inside me has changed.


Who are the people, artists, quilters, etc. you look to for encouragement and inspiration in quilting?

I have been influenced by many people and quilters. My husband and son have encouraged me over the years. Years ago, when my son was a pre-schooler, I had begun (never finished), a watercolor quilt. The many small squares were placed on flannel on the wall as I built the design. Both my husband and son would occasionally walk by and add or move a piece to a better location. It was like doing a family puzzle together.

Eleanor Burns was the first quilter to influence me. When my son was a baby, I'd sit and watch Eleanor cutting fabric and throwing the scraps over her shoulder, making it all look so easy. So many others have also impressed me since then. I don't think I can remember them all.



Where else do you find inspiration for your quilts?

I find inspiration from the quilts made by others. That's one reason I love to go to quilt shows. The use of various techniques, styles, designs, colors, etc. inspires me. Sometimes a person inspires an idea. If I want to make a quilt for somebody, knowing their passions can help me determine what pattern or design to make. And sometimes I find a particular printed fabric irresistible, and I want to use it in a project. Nature, art, colors, lot of things give me ideas.


What do you like best about quilting?

Creating something is very therapeutic. I enjoy the creative process. As I work, I enjoy stepping back to review my progress. This gives me a great sense of accomplishment. I also enjoy the fabric procurement process. Ha ha ha. I once heard a quilter say that she wasn't so much a quilter, as she was a curator of an extensive fabric collection. I think this rings true for me, too. But I am trying to work through this collection.



Where are you headed in your quilting, and what would you like to learn more about?

At this time, I've become more interested in the quilting stage. And I'm becoming more relaxed about creating my own patterns.

What would you want to try if time and money were no object?

Visiting a quilt show on the west coast and one in Japan would be fun.


Last Question: What are you working on right now?

Multiple projects. Cheryl's challenge has inspired me to finish some of my UFO's. And I'm working on a baby quilt for my niece.





Monday, November 6, 2017

Quilters of the SCTMQG: Maybeth Wirz

How did you get started quilting? 


A friend was having fun quilting and producing modern works. She encouraged me to start as I was retiring from my job. I sewed a lot of clothes long ago so I was friendly with fabric and a sewing machine.



How long have you been a quilter?

About 6 years.



How many quilts do you think you have made in that time?

About 10 I think.





What is the story behind the first quilt you ever made?

I made a quilt for my granddaughters for their TV watching. I bought fabric on line ( some from Japan). When they arrived I only liked 7 of the eleven. I had a pattern which I altered because I didn't have enough different fabrics. I pieced their names on the back - which they loved.





How would you describe your style of quilting?

Love improvising. I feel overwhelmed at the thought of many many identical blocks. I do keep changing though.


What is your favorite type of quilt to make? (Paper pieced, applique, etc. ) Why?


I like it all. I enjoy paperpiecing and appliqué as well. I like hand work.


Favorite quilt ever made


What tool or tools could you not live without and why?

Thread cutter on my Juki!


What are your favorite materials to work with in terms of threads, fabrics, and batting?

Quilter's cotton, cotton/linen and regular linen. Warm and natural batting.



Which colors do you gravitate toward in your quilts?/Which color have you never used or want to use?

Aqua, red, oranges love them. Rarely use much blue. Would like to expand a bit with blues.


One of Maybeth's favorite quilts


How many UFO’s do you have?

About 8.


If someone were to peek in on your quilting time, what would they see?


A messy area, as I work I rarely tidy up until project is done.




What themes do you see in your quilts? (Colors, shapes, techniques,etc.)

Linear shapes, geometric - not much curves (yet).




What were some turning points in your quilting process?


Relaxing and learning to take a chance on an idea.


Who are the people, artists, quilters, etc. you look to for encouragement and inspiration in quilting?

Jacquie Gerring, my favorite. I visit sites of Elizabeth Hartman, Red Pepper quilts, Carolyn Friedlander, Lotta Jansdotter, Marcia Derse.


Where else do you find inspiration for your quilts?

Everywhere!



What do you like best about quilting?


Being engrossed in the fabric.




Where are you headed in your quilting, and what would you like to learn more about?

Want to learn free motion quilting as well as getting better at quilting with a walking foot.


What would you want to try if time and money were no object?

Quilt retreats in great places.



Last Question: What are you working on right now?


Just finishing quilting the "Make Do" quilt I meds from our Christmas scrap swap.