After a couple of weeks without a computer, I’m up and running on a brand new iMac – and loving it! So, I’m working to return to my usual scheduled posts with a Featured Quilter on Fridays. Today Jennifer is sharing her quilts with us! Jennifer was the winner of the two-color quilt category and blogs regularly at Quilter in the Closet. I hope you enjoy getting to know Jennifer better –
1. When did you begin quilting?
I started quilting about 4 years ago. I had just had my 2nd child and realized I wasn’t going to go back to work in the office. I recognized that being at home full time was going to be a huge change for me. I am the type of person that needs goals, progress I can see, and some finished project that shows I achieved a goal. Raising kids doesn’t exactly fulfill this need on a day to day basis. Maybe there are moms out there that view every spit up and diaper change as confirmation that they are doing a good job, but I had a little harder time with that. I know NOW that I needed to be patient to see that progress. At the time, I needed a hobby, and one that I could do at home. I drove by a quilt shop one day that had a sign in the window about offering classes and thought to myself, “I should learn to sew.” Sewing garments didn’t really appeal to me at the time, but I did feel sewing a “blanket” would be a practical thing to get me started and maybe I would learn enough to churn out a Halloween costume or two.
2. Why do you quilt?
Fast forward a few years, and now I still quilt to save my sanity, but it is less about filing time while a baby sleeps and more about fulfilling needs I have as a busy mom of 3. I never knew until I had kids that I was a control freak. I still can’t control my kids, BUT I can control my fabric to some extent. I am not perfect, but even quilting something wonky satisfies a need for order in my brain. Quilting also gives me a creative outlet – something that was limited to my cooking before I learned to quilt, much to the digestive distress of my family.
3. What is your favorite quilting tip?
My favorite quilting tip is simple – keep trying and don’t let perfection ruin you. I remember being rather frustrated as I took that first quilting class. I could barely sew straight and achieving that ¼ inch seam consistently was nearly impossible. I ripped out my stitches so many times that the fabric frayed and was useless. It was only the 2nd week of class and I realized that I was at a crossroads. I either needed to accept that I was trying something new and that perfection was something that would only improve with time and practice, or I was going to beat my head against the wall some more until I gave up and quit. I chose acceptance and decided in that second week to actually make 2 quilts during the class to give me even more practice making the blocks. Time and practice has improved my skills. I can even see a difference looking at quilts that I pieced together at the end of last year compared to those I pieced together last week. Keep trying and remember “Done is better than perfect and unfinished”.
On a similar note, I would like to point out that most of the classes I have taken in the past few years have been taught by people who have turned their failures into new techniques. So don’t be afraid to fail. Figuring out how to overcome that failure might lead you to the next “Big Thing” in quilting.
4. What was your inspiration for your Quilt Festival quilt? (above)
Speaking of differences in piecing skills, the quilt that I entered in this season’s Festival is one that I started piecing at the beginning of my quilting life. The second quilting class I signed up for was making a quilt from the book, “One Block Wonders” By Maxine Rosenthal and Joy Pelzmann. The class ended up getting cancelled, but as I had already bought all the supplies, I decided to try to figure it out on my own. I made a quilt for my mom using the technique, but the colors were more to her liking than mine. I was hoping to create a quilt that my husband might like in a color way I could enjoy also. I found a fabric at the quilt shop called “Summer Breeze” by RJR fabrics. It was a bunch of waves; I liked the colors and thought they would work for this new technique. I cut and pieced and promptly quit quilting all together. During this “hiatus” I was just busy doing other things like having a 3rd child. It was probably a blessing where this quilt was concerned, because I don’t think I knew enough about the quilting aspect of quilting to be able to put this quilt together. I had only done straight line quilting with a walking foot up to this point and even that did not always turn out so nice. So the unfinished quilt top went into a box for a while. Then last year (my first year as a blogger), I discovered the Free Motion Quilting Challenge at Sew Cal Gal. That challenge was so wonderful. It not only taught me how to FMQ and different designs, but it also encouraged me to put in the practice that was needed to really improve. With some new confidence, I returned to some of my UFO’s and finally finished them up. This quilt was one of those projects, and I definitely like it more now than I did when I first pieced it together.
5. Do you sew other things?
I primarily sew quilts, but I have been known to throw in a project now and then that is not quilted. I am even warming up to the idea of sewing some garments for my kids. I am fairly confident that I will mess up quite a bit trying that out, but I’m sure I will learn a lot during the process and maybe my readers will too.
6. Anything else you would like to know about you?
I am so glad to be part of the online quilting community. It makes me feel connected to others that share my quilty passions – because not everyone understands that. I treasure the friends I have made and the support I have received. It has inspired me to continue in this craft and take baby steps to coming out of my metaphorical closet. Thank you all!
Thanks for sharing Jennifer! I think there are many of us moms that know that motherhood is tough without a little creative therapy to keep us sane! So glad you found the online community too :)
Have a great weekend –