Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about where you are from, work, family etc.
Born in central Illinois; grew up in southern Illinois through high school. Moved to St. Louis and attended secretarial school/training. Married young … had my only child/daughter at age 23. Moved to Chicago area for husband’s job in 1989. Divorced in 1995. Married second husband in 1997 – stayed in Chicago until 2007 when we moved to Austin, TX area. Lived “in the middle of nowhere” on 10 acres about 50 miles outside of Austin. Now work in computer software consulting so travelled a good deal for work. Husband passed away in March 2014 from a fatal heart attack. Sold the house 5 months later and moved to Jacksonville to be near my daughter and 2 grandkids – ages 4 and 6. Built a house in Nocatee 1 mile from them. Now loving every minute of life!
Tell us about when and how you started quilting.
I have a very creative sister who has always sewed – as our mother did as well. My sister had a fabric store in Champaign, IL and had a small corner of quilting fabrics. One year for my birthday she gave me a personal all day session with her quilting teacher and I was hooked. This was probably in 2000 or 2001. Before that I did a lot of cross stitch and some needlepoint. I’ve given up on cross stitch but still have some needlepoint that I would like to pick up again in the future.
What’s your favorite part about quilting? Least favorite?
Picking out fabrics and creating simple pattern tops. Finding fabrics that work together well is something I very much enjoy. I am not a “perfection” piecer and don’t worry about points that don’t exactly match. Patterns with too many pieces or matching seams are not for me!
Any favorite technique or one you wish to learn?
Paper piecing – yes … seriously! I know we joke about it, but I took a class one year in the Denver area (while travelling for work) and really enjoyed it. I just need to give myself time to practice and learn the skill and I know there are patterns I would enjoy making.
What fabrics are you drawn to? Any particular styles or colors?
I am more and more a fan of batiks. I like the way they feel and the absence of fraying edges is wonderful. Every fabric is so different and I love the randomness of the designs. My home here is decorated in coastal colors so aquas, teals, purples, creams, greys, etc – which is a total opposite from my home in Texas where everything was earth tones and very rustic/masculine/sophisticated western.
Who is your favorite quilter (whether international, national or local)? Any blogs you love to follow?
I am inspired by Virginia Findlay Wolfe and her creativity. I am a big fan of Marie Bostwick and her quilting-based novels – all great reads! I also enjoy Sue Spargo and her work with wool, many different embellishments and threads – one day I will have time to make something using her techniques.
Tell us about where you sew! Your stash? Your sewing machine/s.
When I had my new house built, I had a wall removed between a study and a bedroom which gives me a nice big studio. I share one corner with my work desk/filing cabinet as I still work full time – but blessed most of my work is remote/from home these days. I don’t sew that much at home right now. Most of my sewing is done at sew in’s or retreats – either in Florida or with old friends in Texas … where I still go to several retreats each year.
I have a Pfaff 4.0 that my late husband insisted we buy one year on the drive to Illinois for Christmas. He was a very good man who always based part of our vacation every year on visiting quilt shops regardless of where we were travelling. I had a HUGE stash of cowboy/western fabric that was all “left behind” in Texas when I decided what to move to Florida and what to leave for others to enjoy.
Here are a couple pictures of my sewing room. The long library type table in the middle of the room will be replaced eventually with an actual sewing cabinet. I am still deciding on what style/size to get but I know I want something that expands for working on larger quilts. The big blank wall at the end will become a design wall one day. The other storage pieces are a couple of the only furniture pieces that made the move from Texas to Florida. They hold fabric and other sewing room goodies behind closed doors!
Are you organized? Tell us, we won’t judge! If you are, what would you say the one thing that helped you organize the most?
Yes … and because of the move I have much less “stuff” than before. I am more careful now before I make fabric acquisitions and really decide if the fabric is something I am going to use before I buy it. I have several large cabinets in my sewing studio that hold my fabrics, as well as a nice big closet that has many bins for holding fabrics – yes … sorted by color and/or style.
Please share a picture of your favorite quilt that you made, and tell us a bit about it.
There are a couple of favorites … I made a yellow/pink quilt for my “bestie” who lives in Indianapolis for her 50th birthday several years back. It was fun acquiring the fabrics over the year or so before the quilt was made and it was a total surprise to her.
Then the second “favorite” would be a quilt I made for the master bedroom back in Texas. My (late) husband helped pick out the fabrics and the custom quilting was done in western styles with hats, ropes, barb wire fences, stars, etc. When I moved from Texas last year, I gave this quilt to my next door neighbors as a thank you for all they had done to help me after Bruce passed away … and for being such great people. Yes – she cried … as did I … I knew the quilt belonged in Texas.
Do you have a quilting bucket list?
Always! Most of the quilts I make are for gifts. I do make one now and then to keep but it is the exception. Since moving in the new house, I do have a couple for myself on the list … one for the back of the couch in new “calm” colors and another for my bedroom – which will be brighter and “happier” and then eventually for the guest bedroom as well. I have 2 other quilts planned for close friends and a daughter’s friend who is having a baby boy. Beyond that – who knows!
Anything else you want us to know?
I am very happy to have found the JMQG and been welcomed with open arms. You know there will be an immediate connection with most quilters in general but this group of women is filled with amazing people who I am making close friends with.
Janette Hughes would give me grief if I did not also include a couple picture of the cabinet in my guest room where I keep a collection of antique/older quilts acquired by Bruce during our years in Texas. Bruce was a man of “great admiration” (i.e. EXCESS) and had some 200+ quilts. Yikes … I had to select my most “cherished” of the collection when it was time to move and these are the ones that made the cut. One day we could have a bed turning at my house to share them with the guild – though there are none that fit the “modern’ category for sure!
Thank you so much Laurie for sharing with us!