Hi there!  I think we have survived the first full week of school – yay!  I’ve been struggling with a sinus infection all week, and am happy to report that I’ve been to the doctor a will soon be feeling much better.  Just what the long weekend is for – resting  up!  Anyway – today’s featured quilter is Jen, an online friend who is always sewing something new.  Jen blogs at ReannaLily Designs, sells patterns and notions, and just released her first book -read on for more info!  Congratulations Jen!  I hope you all enjoy getting to know Jen better —

1. When did you begin quilting?
I made my first quilt in 1992/93, during my Jr year of High School.   I was first introduced to the concept by my (then) boyfriend’s mom.  I went on to make a quilt for him when he went off to college.  It seemed like a good idea, even though I made the quilt with NO seam allowances and tons of poorly hand cut triangles.  The quilt fell apart after… probably less than a year.  On the other hand-   We totally got married three years later, and my “boyfriend’s mom” is my quilt-y mother in law.

2. Why do you quilt?
Initially,  think I quilted mostly for sanity and to have a creative outlet which is all my own.  I suppose that is still true, though now I quilt much much more for my pattern business.  And if those two reasons weren’t enough- I have enough fabric stash on hand that I really need to keep sewing/quilting just to use it up.  Did I say “use it up”?  I meant make room for MORE fabric.

3. What is your favorite quilting tip?
I love to tie fabric on the handles of my FABRIC cutting tools so everyone in the family knows instantly, that the item they are holding is for fabric… and they should put it down.  I guess that might not be a quilting tip so much as a territorial tip.

4. What was your inspiration for your Quilt Festival quilt?
My inspiration for my 2011 entry for BQF was the Machine Quilter’s Showcase in Overland Park KS.  I had recently attended that show.  I have tons to learn about machine quilting.  After that MQS show, I was so ready to go home and mark off some designs and give them a try.  I made a whole cloth quilt and tried different, more contemporary fills within the design.  After the BQF, I went on to make a “sister quilt” for my original whole cloth.  I used the same marked guide lines and then changed up the fills.  Now the two quilts act as a sort of menu when I’m thinking of what quilting motif I might try on my next project.  Machine quilting, especially free motion quilting, isn’t hard if you practice, turn on some music, and relax.  It is easy to get a feel for what you are doing while working on these smaller “sample” type projects.

5. Do you sew other things?
I sew bags and home dec items.  I suppose that is somewhat ironic, since my training is in apparel design.  I just don’t sew too many clothes these days, minus a few pokemon pajama pants here and there.  But yes, lots and lots and lots of bags.

6. Anything else you would like us to know about you?
I sew alot with military uniforms.  I’m a military spouse and the owner/designer at ReannaLily Designs.  My recycled uniform patterns have special instructions for breaking down a uniform to re-purpose it into the designs. This season I released my first sewing/quilting book that shows you how to use a military uniform to transform it from garment into new fresh stitched projects.  The book, Deploy That Fabric, has everything from bags to quilts, from baby to holiday.  It even has a couple of craft and home dec projects.  It has been quite wonderful to work on and I’m so thrilled to share the book with everyone.


Jen – thanks for sharing your quilts and projects with us!  I love your cover quilt, it’s so great!  And I’m curious to know – how old your kids are, and does the fabric “tag” really works for you?

Have a great weekend everyone!