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!

Member Interview - Let's Get to Know Mary Ann!

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

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

1. Tell us about yourself

My husband and I recently relocated from California to Rhode Island December 2013 to live close to our only child Kristin and her husband and our new grandson.  My grandmother started me sewing as a little girl around 7 years old.  I continued my sewing as I grew up and was in 4 H and home economics in high school. I often entered my sewing in the Los Angeles County Fair and still have the critiques and ribbons from the entries.  I made my own wedding dress completing it 3 hours before I walked down the aisle. Through my adult life I continued to sew and my one regret is that I never taught my daughter to sew. I am in the process of teaching her now. 

2. How did you learn how to quilt?

I have two friends in California who quilt and they started to teach me about 4 years ago.  Then I relocated to RI and was looking for a quilt guild and found the RIMQG.  I was taught the traditional way of quilting but have found that I love the modern approach that the RIMQG has to offer. It is not so rigged.  I love the freshness to modern quilting and the beautiful colors.

3. What type of sewing machine do you own?

My husband purchased me a Husqvarna Sew Easy several years ago and the stitches became so temperamental and I decided to purchase an old mechanical machine from the direction of Denise Lamb.  I searched on E Bay for about a month and found a 30 year old Bernina 817 for $250.  Denise's husband tuned it up for me and all that needed to be repaired was the bobbin winder for $13. The machine runs like a dream and the stitches are so pretty and consistent. I have to say I love this old machine and it reminds me of my grandmother’s old Singer. 

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

I have made several quilts. There are two that I love - The Eye Spy Quilt and the Nautical Quilt for my grandson.  

5. What kind of memories does it hold for you?
The Eye Spy has a special memory.  My quilting friends and I purchased 1/4 yard novelty fabrics about 3 years ago and when we exchanged our fabrics and I ended up with over 100 different novelties such as oranges, cows, fire hydrants, etc.  I designed, pieced and quilted it myself. I think the memories will be made for a lifetime with these two quilts.

6. If you were to do a quilt over, would you do anything differently?

I made a 5 patch Christmas quilt for my daughter and so-in-law for their Bridal Shower.  There were so many bias edges that the quilt top did not lay flat.  I took the quilt to a long arm quilter and she had to stretch it on her long arm.  Only I know that the quilt did not come out square.  It is very pretty and I had it backed with the plush fabric.  It's a great snuggle quilt.

7. What is your favorite quilting technique?

I am not sure that I have a favorite quilt technique.  I do need to be more precise when I am cutting and sewing and using a scant 1/4" seam allowance. I think for me I just need to slow down and not be in such a hurry.   I have done paper piecing and enjoyed the technique.

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

I really enjoy Lisa Calle on Bloglovin’s Vintage Modern Quilts.  I love her style and love the colors.

9. What does Modern quilting mean to you?

Modern Quilting to me means there are no boundaries. I love the fresh new approach and if you make a mistake it's okay, that is what I love about this guild.  I also love that Modern Quilting is so refreshing and that there are young women quilting and carrying on the tradition.  This is what drew me to the RIMQG!

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

Tips for a new modern quilter is to learn the basics first, take your time and then go for it!

Thank you for this opportunity to get to know me.

Happy Quilting!

Mary Ann

Jenn Boyce, Interviewer