Hi friends! It’s been a busy week at our house, with the kids going back to school. I’m looking forward to getting back to more regular posts in the weeks ahead – wish me luck!
Today’s featured quilter is Margaret! Margaret was nominated in the Favorite Professionally Quilted Quilt category, her festival quilt is really pretty. Margaret blogs at Quilts of Love, I hope you enjoy getting to know her better!
1. When did you begin quilting?
My mother taught me to sew when I was a young girl, nearly (gasp) 35 years ago. I remember making pillows and helping her with things she was sewing. When I was about 11 or 12, I designed a bed quilt, selected the fabrics, and then she put the quilt together. When I was in high school, she and I made many of my clothes. I learned early that I could have more and fancier clothes if we made them. In college, I received my first sewing machine as a Christmas gift. My first “official” quilt was made shortly thereafter in 1988. It was pieced, then tied. I went so far as to add a drop of superglue to each knot for good measure, a move that proved at times uncomfortable when laying on top of the quilt! My quilts have progressed significantly since then, thank goodness :-)
2. Why do you quilt?
I think that quilting has always been in my genetic makeup. I have always made quilts for baby and wedding gifts, for birthday and Christmases. I made them for each of my children, and my nieces, and parents. I initially made quilts because you cannot purchase anything equivalent in a store. Nothing has the personality and degree of comfort as when a quilt is made for you. The fabrics and pattern are customizable if you make it.
3. What is your favorite quilting tip?
My best advice to each quilter is to go outside of your box just a little bit on every project. You will find that you will learn little things about making a new block, or discovering that a material you thought you didn’t like, that you really do. Try those techniques that you find at first daunting, whether that is applique, or curved piecing or paper-piecing, etc. on a small project or block. Expanding your horizons to different methods and styles is how I learned as a quilter.
4. What was your inspiration for your (above) Quilt Festival quilt?
The quilt I put in the Quilt Festival is called Sea Glass. For many months, I collected fat quarters of hand-dyes in a variety of blue, aqua, green and gold shades, not really knowing initially what I would make with them. The colors just seemed soothing. When I layed them together, all I could think was that they resembled the frosty sea glass I’d seen in pictures. The water-color technique background of the quilt is made from about 50 different shades of printed and non-printed batiks, ranging from the blues of the ocean to the murky mid-tones, and then the sandy colors. I assembled them using the traditional kaleidoscope block, and arranged them in a gradation from water to the light sand. Swirly waves were appliqued on top of the background, and then the 125 randomly sized sea glass pieces were added, also in a swirl, as if the waves of the ocean deposited them that way. For me, as a longarm quilter, the real challenge comes when the top is completed, and the quilting begins. This particular quilt was a departure from my usually traditional ways of thinking. The background was quilted completely free-hand. I tried to convey movement with the quilting, as well as throw in many organic looks. Just as the traditional kaleidoscope block is offset by the more modern applique, I chose to juxtapose the free quilting with very structured and more traditional motifs for the borders.
While I was in the making of this quilt last summer, my kids and I actually discovered beaches in Maine that had sea glass to collect. My middle child was completely obsessed – loving to find those pieces of frosty glass. This quilt will forever remind me of him at age 7 that summer.
5. Do you sew other things?
Yes, but not as much these days. I have made all of the usual pillow covers, dust ruffles, and placemats, as well as many curtains and pieces of clothing. Since my daughter was born, I have also made several hand smocked heirloom-style dresses. Sadly, she’s starting to outgrow the love of this style though. Here’s a look at a one of the dresses I did for Sophie.
Oh, goodness. What to write here…
I’m married, three kids, live in Maine. Yup, that’s right. Cold, sometimes really snowy Maine. I grew up in the Southeast and love the sun and heat. I am an engineer and teach courses at a local university. Three years ago, I started a longarm quilting business called Mainely Quilts of Love. I quilt for talented piecers all over the US. Several of my clients have entered quilts into shows and earned ribbons. I, myself, also make quilts for shows. There is nothing like seeing your work hanging in a show, and hearing the responses of the people. I have found this to be a positive and reinforcing part of my professional quilting life. And when I am not quilting, I can be found in my garden or dreaming of going to the beach.
Thanks for listening, and happy sewing!