RI Modern Quilt Guild Member Interview

Let's Get to Know Denise.....

I'm Denise Lamb of Sterling, CT    I am strictly a hobbyist, (but who knows?)

I’m a wife, mother of 6 children (1 biological, 5 adopted (1-Korean, 4 Chinese) – with a 12 year old and special needs 20 year old still at home).  I’m a semi-retired professional organizer, and happy, happy sewist/quilter.
  1. How did you learn to quilt and how old were you?
I began sewing when I was 7 years old, and remained primarily a ‘sewist’ for most of my life.  If it can be made of fabric and thread, then I have probably made it.   This fascination led me to a degree in Textile Science from URI.   In the 90’s I learned English Smocking and French Sewing and got really good at that.   I had dabbled in quilting here and there, but only since joining RIMQG have I decided to seriously pursue quilting as a hobby.
  1. What was your first machine and do you still have it?
I got my very own sewing machine (a Brother) when I was about 12 because my mother couldn’t STAND the mess I made of her sewing room.   In 1980 I bought my first Bernina 830, so that I could make my wedding gown.   I’m  really happy to say that the machine remains in the family!  My sister-in-law in Oregon bought it from me when I decided to upgrade.  It still sews like a dream.  I have owned 4 Bernina’s over the years and now sew on the B710;  Mary Ann Koblentz named her “Big Bertha”.
  1. Can you tell us about a favorite personal quilt?
A favorite quilt?  That’s like asking “Who is your favorite child?”.  Hmmmmm, maybe I’ll bring up three favorites?   My mother had started a simple quilt in the early ‘60’s made of 3” squares, all corduroy.  I finished that in the early 80’s, but God knows where that is now.  Another quilt was a design of concentric half-square triangles cut by cardboard template that my husband helped put together – just to prove he could!  And another that I dearly love, is one I made from all the scraps from my oldest daughter’s handmade childhood dresses.  It’s a Drunkard’s Path with center appliqué.  You can see it in the photo behind my longarm – it’s on the far left.  A neighbor hand quilted it for me (for $20!!!) in 1984.

  1. If you were to do this quilt over, would you do anything differently?
Nothing…it’s charming and full of sentiment.  I think my best quilts are those made with sentiment and love.  When each of my children flee the nest, they get a ‘love quilt’ from me – to take all of Mama’s love to their new home.
  1. What is your favorite quilting technique?
A month ago I would have said “piecing”, but now , being the proud new owner of a Nolting longarm, I can’t wait to get a top done to practice machine quilting.
  1. Do you follow a Modern Quilter/Blog/Fabric House?  Why do you like them?
I don’t follow any blogs, not really sure what’s out there.  I do admit to being a Pinterest Addict.
  1. What tips would you give a new quilter?
Be Organized!!!   There’s a difference between creative chaos and an  uncontrolled mess.    I can’t think clearly if I can’t find my tools. I am by NO means a ‘neat sewist’ -  My sewing room can get to look pretty disastrous when I’m in the middle of a project.   But, that said,  I won’t start a new project until I have completely cleaned up my space.  Everything in the room has a  ‘home’,   so when I get the urge to tidy up, I can do so very  quickly. (like when Jodi asked me to  send pictures of my sewing room!)   I have a large shelf under my cutting table, that works like a junk drawer – and that gets cleaned up at least once a month.
My last daughter moved out last year freeing up the largest bedroom  (13’ x 20’) for my new sewing room. It’s a storage heaven, with  two large fully shelved closets and  a built-in bureau with 8 deep drawers.   My sweet hubby, (who fully supports my all- consuming hobby), not only re-designed my cutting table, and perfected the mechanics of my longarm, he has also installed 4 banks of track lighting with a total 13,000 lumens of LED daylight bulbs – did I say it’s well lit?   There’s also a table and sewing machine available for when a friend wants to come over and sew.  I’ve always had a sewing room, but this new space is absolutely incredible. Sometimes I just go up there and sit and stare.  It was worth the 35 year wait.  
  1. What does modern quilting mean to you?
Modern Quilting, to me, means “Challenge”.  I’m thrilled to the core when I explore this new area of sewing, designing and quilting.  It forces me to work and think outside of my “box”, really stretching me and challenging me to grow.
  1. Please show us some pictures of your sewing area.

  1. What is something you love about Rhode Island?
What’s not to love about RI?  Family, first and foremost – I am fortunate enough to still have my happy, healthy 86 year old parents living in Warwick.   Also, two of my brothers are moving back to the area.  Food!  Yeah – RI has some of the greatest restaurants on the planet.  And, living in RI allows you to be within 90 minutes of 3 major cities; within 3 hours of the white mountains, not to mention that the beach is in your backyard!
Thank You Denise!

RI Modern Quilt Guild Member Interview

 "Let's Get to Know Tina...."

Today we'll share an interview with RIMQG member Tina Craig and gain some insight into how she became a Modern Quilter...

1. Tell us about yourself

Hi, I'm Tina Craig from Wakefield, RI. My husband Bill and I recently celebrated our 25th anniversary. Our daughter Julia is a junior at Siena College in Albany, NY. Our son Pete is a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps, currently stationed at Camp Lejeune in NC. Sometimes I feel guilty for admitting how much we are enjoying our empty nest!

25th Anniversary Quilt!

2. How did you learn how to quilt?

I started quilting shortly after we were married. I saw an ad in the paper for a beginner quilting class at Colchester Mill, which was a perfect way to start. I was immediately hooked! 

3. What type of sewing machine do you own?

In the early 90's, I bought a Bernina Virtuosa 153 that has served me well. Also living at my house are my grandmother's Singer, my mother's Necchi, Julia's Janome, a Featherweight that I've had about a year, and my mother-in-law's toy Singer.

4. Can you tell us about a favorite personal quilt?

I think my favorite quilt is Meadowsweet Dresden that I made in 2011. I still love the fabric line by Sandi Henderson. It took me an entire weekend retreat to quilt it.  

5. What is your favorite quilting technique?

I love piecing, especially paper piecing. Sitting at my machine pushing fabric under the needle is my happy place! Lately, I've been doing a lot of stash and scrap quilting. It's time to use it up! The problem with all this piecing is that I have a huge pile of tops waiting to be quilted.

Modern Log Cabin Challenge Quilt 2015

6. Do you follow a Modern Quilter/Blog/Fabric designer? What draws you to them?

I wish I had unlimited funds to buy every piece of fabric that Kate Spain designs!

7. What does "Modern" quilting mean to you?

The Modern Quilting aesthetic really appeals to me. I love the fabrics, colors and patterns. A quilty friend recently labeled me a traditional quilter with modern tendencies. With 25 years of experience and a 25 year old stash, I guess she's right!

8. What tips would you give to a new Modern quilter?

My tip to new quilters is to take classes. Online classes are great, but there's no substitute for hands-on, in-person instruction, especially for the basics.  

Thank you Tina! To check out more of Tina's fabulous work, head over to her Blog Seaside Stitches!

"Let's Get to Know You" Interview Series for RIMQG

We are continuing our series called "Let's Get to Know You!"

Today we'll share an interview with RIMQG member Jill Belisle of Warwick
to get to know her better and gain some insight into how she incorporates
(modern) quilting into her life.....

Let's Get to Know... Jill Belisle

How did you learn to quilt?

      I tried teaching myself at age 16, but I had no idea what I was doing! I cut fabric squares (didn’t measure them to make them uniform) and sewed them together (didn’t know about seam allowances). I also didn’t quilt it, because I didn’t know you were supposed to do that either! It fell apart shortly after completion. I took a long break from sewing until my late twenties, when my friend Leslie Lowenstein (also a member of RIMQG) provided much-needed guidance and instruction. She’s a great teacher!

      What was your first machine?

      My first machine was an old Singer that I inherited from my grandmother (it was probably made in the 50's). That’s the one I used for that disaster of a first quilt. When I started sewing years later, I bought a Bernina Activa 145, which is the machine I still use today.
      Can you tell us about a favorite personal quilt? 

      One of my favorite quilts was the baby quilt I made for my nephew Colin. It could not have been more simple – nine 12-inch squares sewn together in three rows – but I loved making it. It was my first “real” quilt and I remember spending hours at the fabric store picking out just the right colors and patterns.

      What kind of memories does it hold for you?

      I was so proud of that simple little quilt. I had always wanted to give handmade items as gifts, and now I had finally done it! That was the beginning of many, many baby quilts that I have made over the years for friends and family.
      If you were to do this quilt over, would you do anything differently?

      I think I would have tried for a little more contrast with the fabrics. I used a novelty frog print as the main fabric, and the other fabrics I picked were all similar shades of green.
      What is your favorite quilting technique? 

      I really enjoy English paper piecing. I have been working on a quilt that is made from two-inch hexagons for about five years. There are thousands of pieces to be sewn together, and I work on it a little at a time. I don’t know if I will ever finish it, but it’s fun to do!
      Do you follow a Modern Quilter/Blog/Fabric House? Why do you like them

      What tips would you give a new quilter to Modern Quilting?

      I would encourage a new modern quilter to be adventurous, particularly when it comes to free-motion quilting. It’s not as scary as it first seems!
           What is something you love about Rhode Island?

      I love how close everything is. You can go from the city to the country to the shoreline all in the same day. Of course, this sometimes gets me in trouble, because I think I can get anywhere in the state in 20 minutes, which means I end up being unintentionally late for things!

Thank you Jill!  Most of us can appreciate your love of giving away "handmade" gifts.

Interview by Karen McCann, Communications for RIMQG

"Getting to Know You" Interview Series for RIMQG

Today we are launching a new series called "Let's Get to Know You"! We will interview a RIMQG member to get to know her better and gain some insight into how she incorporates quilting into her life.

Let's Get to Know... Sue Ahnrud

Sue Ahnrud, Chepachet, RI 
Professional longarmer  - fb -Ponaganset-Quiltery
Hobbyist piecer

1. How did you learn to quilt?

I am mostly self-taught.  My great grandmother was a maker of utility quilts in the 30's, but I never knew her. My mother made us a wedding quilt in 1974, but that was her first quilt.  I also started quilting that year after seeing a picture of an Ohio Star quilt that I loved.  I used cardboard templates, scissors, and hand pieced/quilted it.  Some of the fabric was polyester, and it had a solid black back.  It was an horrible chore, did not turn out too well, but my friend still loves it.  (The one labeled 1975 is my first quilt).  The thing that I love about quilting is pattern, color, and creativity.  Dreaming of quilts is so much more fun that making that 97th block, but putting it all together is worth it at the end.
1st Quilt - 1975

2.  What was your first machine?

I had a Montgomery Ward machine with cams for decorative stitches.  I got it in 1970, and used it until about 10 years ago when the bobbin winder broke off.  Then I had gotten my husband's grandmother's White in a cabinet. I wore that one out too.  Now I have a Featherweight, a Bernina and a Juki.

3. Can you tell us about a favorite personal quilt? 

It's hard to chose a favorite child.  However, the one I am most proud of is the Wedge quilt.  I had seen a picture of a bed-sized one on the cover of a magazine.  I was so impressed that I wanted to make one for myself. However, I did not want it to be bed-sized.  I had no idea how to do it, but after studying the photo for hours I finally figured it out.  I drafted it and cut strips to paper piece it.  When it came to assembly, I finally had to hand baste all the intersections so that I would be satisfied with the piecing.  It was work but worth it. It is about 30" square. 
  2009 wedge

4.  What kind of memories does it hold for you?

I pieced most of it over a retreat long weekend with some of my best quilting friends.  I love our yearly weekend together.

5.  If you were to do this quilt over, would you do anything differently?

There are some errors in color selection in the outside spirals, and the inside "dresden" blades are in the wrong order in one spot.  Oh well.  Also, I wish that I had had my robotics when it came to quilting this one.

6.  What is your favorite quilting technique?

My favorite thing is to try new things and not take a class to figure them out.  I also seldom buy patterns.  If I see something that I like, I figure out how to make it.  Of course buying a pattern would be more efficient, but where is the challenge in that?  I'm a cheapskate at heart.

7.  Do you follow a Modern Quilter/Blog/Fabric House? Why do you like them?

Not a blog follower - not enough time in the day.  I do follow the Kaffe Fassett Collective Facebook Page.  I love the color and pattern in those fabrics.  Kaffe is probably my favorite fabric line overall.  Modern fabrics really appeal to me though, with their fresh clear colors and interesting patterns.

8.  How did you get into Longarm Quilting professionally?

I started with a midarm because it was less expensive and I wanted to see how it would work out.  I had no intention of quilting for others at first.  I have upgraded 2 times, and when I got my present longarm, I added robotics.  This was a big expense, but I really like the accuracy and intricacy that can be achieved.  I sort of needed to take customers to justify the expense.  Also, at this point in my life, I hardly need any more quilts of my own, but I love to see them.  It is so much fun to see the quilts that people bring me.  Some are brand new quilters and some have been at it for a long time.  Each has something that I love to look at.

9.  What tips would you give a new quilter to Modern Quilting?

Have no fear.  Go for it.  Just be accurate.

10. Would you like to tell us anything else about yourself?

In addition to quilting, there are other things that consume me.  I am an avid sports fan, following the Red Sox and Bruins particularly.  I am a season ticket holder of the New England Revolution soccer team.  Indoor soccer keeps me busy year round on Tuesday and Friday nights and I try to run three days a week.  In season, I work in my garden every day. Brazil/Mexico World Cup soccer is on as I write this - go USA.  I live with my husband, my cat Wembley, and my dog Frieda on a lake in the boonies.

Thanks Sue! Great to hear about your love of quilting. 

Interview by Karen McCann, Communications for RIMQG