Today’s featured quilter is Carrie – her quilts caught my eye because Carrie is stepping out of the box in quilting – so to speak. Carrie blogs at The Zen Quilter, and I hope you enjoy getting to know Carrie and her quilts better —
When did you begin quilting?
I was a bit of a domestic snob when I was younger. I thought I had zero interest in sewing until my little sister, then about 19, started sewing really cute pillows, dresses, etc. Being a little competitive I thought “If she can do it, I can too,” and I taught myself to sew. It wasn’t too pretty for a while, but by the time I was 31 and pregnant, I was good enough to sew a few maternity outfits (which I then burned after I had my son because I was soo sick of them). I lost interest in sewing (or so I thought) until I moved back to Texas from Berkeley, CA.
My mother had become an avid quilter over the thirteen years I was away in college and living in California, and while I still was a bit of a snob, it was the time when everyone was making those cute flannel rag quilts, and I wanted one. Mother said it was so easy I could make my own and…BOOM! A serious quilter was born! I mean, I was absolutely hooked from the first stitch. Later that year when I attended the Houston Quilt Festival and realized the endless possibilities and amazingly creative things that could be done with fabric – I became obsessed! Been that way ever since.
Why do I quilt?
I think I quilt because I am. I am a maker and the challenge of taking an already beautiful piece of fabric, cutting it up and mixing it with other beautiful fabrics to make something new is so compelling I literally can’t wait to get up and get to “work” every day. (I now am retired from teaching school and quilt as much as my busy life will allow.)
I also love the quilting community – I’m blown away by how generous, supportive and FUN quilters are.
I always say my favorite quilt is the one I’m working on at the moment – really hard to choose, but here are a few that continually make me happy when I look at them. There are a lot more in my blog gallery if you want to check them out at thezenquilter.blogspot.com
What was the inspiration for my Quilt Festival quilt? (above)
I entered my “Drops of Jupiter” quilt in the Spring Festival. The inspiration for this piece was an op-art drawing done in a summer art class by my good friend’s nine-year-old son. When I saw it (as usual) my first thought was “Hmm – I think I could make a quilt out of that!” I found all these really gorgeous red and gray prints and it took off from there.
I also entered “Magnetism,” which is another of my all-time favorites (so far anyway). The inspiration for this came from a piece of wall paper with an art deco design. It was that cool silver embossed paper on white. I modified the design and added the colors and that was that. I love this piece for several reasons – I love the graphic nature and it’s my favorite quilting I’ve ever done. I actually quilted three squares entirely before I realized I HATED the design and pulled out every last stitch of it and started over. I fretted over it to the point that I was annoyed with myself but then inspiration finally hit and I have to say that I absolutely love the result.
Favorite Quilting Tip?
I’m not sure I have any quilting tips that are my favorites – there are so many and you have to find what works best for you. That said, I feel like learning to use Caryl Bryer Fallert’s (thank you, thank you Caryl) appli-piecing technique has completely freed me to do anything I can imagine.
But I guess I really have to go with the old stand-by which is “Just DO it!” Be fearless and try whatever it is you want to try. My skills (and I use the term loosely) are mostly self-taught, so I feel like I’m always learning from fellow quilters. There are great ideas and tips out there that people are sharing every day – I’ve learned so much from blogs and YouTube. But I’ve also learned a lot from trial and error, so don’t be afraid that you’ll mess something up – even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll have learned something that becomes a part of you forever, so it’s worth the risk.
Do you sew other things?
I mostly sew quilts and pillows; but have recently begun to make purses, also (super fun). I have other artsy hobbies including painting and writing (thezenquilter.blogspot.com), but they take a far back seat to quilting.
Anything else you would like us to know about you?
I’m overwhelmingly grateful to be here, now, doing what I’m doing. I try to enjoy each moment whatever it brings, and my ultimate goal in everything I do is to bring more joy and positive energy into the world. Pie in the sky? Sure, but I like pie.
Thanks for sharing Carrie! I love your encouraging spirit!
Have a great weekend all –