Some of you may have come across Victoria before and seen some of her amazing quilts. We were very excited to have her as part of our Designer Challenge panel in issue 3. I chatted to Victoria to get to know her better and to find out more about some of the projects she is involved in.
How did you start quilting?
Both my parents sew. My father has an upholstery business, and my mother always made quilts for family weddings, and her mother was a quilter. I would sit at my grandmother?s kitchen table with her tracing patterns pieces on fabric and cut them out for her. Sewing was a natural progression for me. I learned to hand sew patchwork in jr. high school, when they still taught those sorts of things. At the age of 19, I made my first quilt for my niece, It wasn?t very pretty, but it has been deeply loved!
Free form is the best description. I rarely have a clear idea of a quilt before I start. Like the way I paint, I start from the inside, and work my way out. I make decisions quickly and make what I have ?work.? My choices are based on instinct, and trusting my eye, and not over thinking. My favorite quilts start with random thoughts I’ve put together, like a stream of consciousness, I grab from a selection of fabrics and find a way for them to all live nicely with each other. I also like making fabric from bits of scraps, using them as found objects, and putting them together like a giant jig-saw puzzle. You can see more of my work here:
http://www.bumblebeansinc.com/or at my blog
That would easily be my “Everything but the kitchen sink,” quilt.
I grew up with my grandmothers crazy quilts on my bed, and I was all amazed at how they went together all willy nilly and yet worked! I wanted to make a quilt like that, so ten years ago, I made an attempt at doing so. If you look at the bottom of this quilt there is a 16″ band across it which is what I made in 2000. I took an old sheet, and arranged the pieces on top of it and machine appliqued them down. I got so bored, that I stopped and put it away for nine years. I pulled it back out a year ago, cut it off the sheet, and placed it at the bottom of the “new” quilt that I had laid out and arranged on my design wall. So, basically, I started trying to do it my grandmother?s way, and came back to making it in a way that was more exciting for me. I now see years of learning experience in this quilt. Simple piecing, machine and hand applique, scrap fabric making, and Y seams. But beyond that, color choices, balance, composition, the difference using lights, mediums and darks, movement, and plainly, instinct and trusting my eye, how to make it look pleasing to the eye, changing it till it works, and how pattern is as important as color. I also learned how letting go of a lot of “rules” can give you just as pleasing a look than planning an entire quilt with preconceived ideas.
What are your favorite colors / prints to use in quilts?
I use a lot of RED. I’ve made more red quilts then any other, and nearly every quilt I have made has red in it somewhere. That being said, I don’t intentionally go for red. When I walk into a fabric shop, I usually go the sale racks and buy what other might consider the ugliest fabrics they have. Odd off colors, weird color combos, strange prints. It’s easy to find a nice red, or nice yellow, but it’s the puke green, swampy browns, and sickly ochres that I am after, it makes for a well rounded stash. I don?t want to make rainbow colored quilts, I want the 1,000 tones and values in between red and yellow and blue. For me, there are no ugly fabrics
First and foremost is the beginning challenge. Finding the thing that says, OOH! I have to play with that! Recently, my 15minutes play group did a scrap swap, and in the swap, was a piece of made fabric from bits of batiks. It was already a great start. The lightbulb went off and I dug through my stash to find my 8 batik blocks I made the first time I played with batiks, and had never done anything with them. My blocks were very blue, and the piece I was starting with was very greens and purples etc… I put it up on my wall, and played. I stuck things up, and moved them around, and added different colors. What I thought at first would be the final decision was totally scrapped and I took off in another direction. I played until I heard that sound of angels singing in my head…. awwww!!!! Then I know I’ve reached my stopping point.
That part, that moment, is what makes me want to make another quilt…
Do you have any tips to share with our readers?
Yes, if you find you get hung up on making choices, play. Stop thinking, take your scraps and work for 15 minutes a day. Think of it like this, a runner warms up before he runs a marathon, a writer starts writing with run on sentences and no punctuation, and an artist does 30 second sketches to get his eyes trained for seeing. We can do the same thing, by working quickly and making “sketches? in fabrics. It makes you better at seeing, and you will find certain things that you find difficult will be easier and your sewing in general will become better, if you relax your brain. Trial and error is a great way to learn a new skill, make it up as you go, this leads to new ways, new ideas, and new quilts!
As I just mentioned, http://www.15minutesplay.com/ is a way to get yourself to loosen up. It gives you permission to play, just a few minutes a day, without have a “PLAN” as you start sewing. You make a block a day, you work out a new idea, you play with scraps do whatever you want, as long as you do it without thinking. After a while you have a load of blocks, and then you find you have something you might not have set about making to start with.. Now, how will you PLAY them to make them fit together? How can you keep the stream of consciousness flowing as you set the blocks? What other technique can you add that you wouldn’t normally do? Can you sash them, set them on point? cut them up again? It’s a site of play, and a place to share it, and bounce ideas off of, and show us your process for feedback. No patterns. Be willing to play and put the rules aside, just for 15 minutes a day and you will find making choice and trusting your eye will become easier.
This site is always open to more participants, the more the merrier. Just send me an email…
Tell us a bit about the NYC MOD QUILTER Guild. How can people join? What can people expect from being a part of a guild?
Amy of Commonplace Life and I started the NYC metro MOD quilters. We decided we wanted to see if there were other folks who were out there that wanted to find a community to share their work with. Everyone wants to find their community, so we set it up and quickly had 50-60 people. We had a couple of meetings and were feeling ourselves out, and at the last meeting we think we’ve found we are a GROUP of quilters who can come together, and share and bounce ideas with. We run it more as a group than a guild, we’re all equals, and we have started making group quilts. We meet the first Saturday every other month at my home, we bring our block challenges, and as a group decided how the blocks or strips will go together. Some say, too many cooks in the kitchen spoils to soup, but we found with more people working on a project, miraculously, we find a solution that is both modern and exciting. We are working on having a show the end of 2011 showing the quilts we have made as a group
We now have 108 members. Our group consists of all kinds of quilters. i.e. art quilters, traditional quilters, and beginners and anything in between. Show and tell is always exceptional and everyone leaves with a big smile on their face eagerly returning with their next months challenges…
You can join here:
http://nycmetromodquilters.ning.com/and you can follow our blog for inspiration here: http://nycmetromodquilters.blogspot.com/
After asking a friend of mine who runs a local organization if he could take a few quilts for his families, and he said, ? Do you have 700?? I saw a need and started the “BUMBLE BEANS BASICS QUILT DRIVE,” which gathers COMPLETED QUILTS to be given to families taken out of shelters, and are being put into the transitional housing by BASICS.
The drive is on going, there is no end, so keep the quilts coming. We have received about 120 quilts so far, and when we receive 200, We will draw a name from those who have donated a quilt for a chance to win a Janome Sewing machine.
There is always a need for quilts. There is no deadline. We will always accept quilts for the families.
November 10th, is our first distribution event where 50 families from one housing unit in the Bronx, will receive quilts. Photographs will be taken, the names of the person who donated will be honored, and hugs will be given…
Knowing that they will be warm this winter, brings me happy tears.
I?ve learned that one little idea can bring a whole lot of happiness to many people.
You can help spread that happiness.
Information for donating a quilt can be found at the quilt info link at:
Congratulations Debbie! Please email us at email@example.com with your details.
Inside issue 3, Tacha chats with Camille Roskelley – busy mother, fabric designer, pattern designer and author of Simplify.
Stash Books have very kindly donated a copy of Camille’s delightful book, ‘Simplify’, for us to giveaway to one lucky reader! Thanks Stash Books!
For a chance to win, simply answer the following question…
In her interview with Camille, Tacha asks Camille what her favourite colour palette is, so our question to you is…..
“What is Camille’s favourite Color Palette?”
Please email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘simplify’ in the subject line. Thanks so much!
Good Luck. Entries close 24th December. A winner will be randomly drawn and announced here after this date. Merry Christmas!
Inside Issue 3 of Fat quarterly, Katy had the enviable task of interviewing the fabulous Bari J & they chat about her latest collection for Windham Fabrics, ‘Country Lane’, among other fun stuff!
Bari J has kindly donated a fq bundle of Country Lane to one lucky reader! Yay! Thanks Bari J!
For a chance to win, hop into Issue 3 to read Katy’s Bari J interview and tell us Bari J’s answer to the following question….
“Tell us something only you know about Bari J Ackerman. Do you have any party tricks or hidden talents?”
Please email your answers to email@example.com & put ‘Bari J giveaway’ in the subject line, thanks.
Entries close midnight Saturday 11 December & a winner will be announced here Sunday 12th December. Good luck!
If you can’t wait to see if you won you can purchase Country Lane at The Fat Quarter Shop
Here at FQ Head Quarters we really value your comments and feedback. Therefore it’s important for us from time to time to ask you, our valued customers, to help us get a better understanding of what you want from FQ, where we can improve, to consider suggestions, or just to have a pat on the back to say hey, you guys are doing OK!
We would love it if you could please spare us a couple of minutes of your time to take part in our anonymous reader survey.
If you would like to take part in our survey please join our newsletter at the bottom of the page and we will send the survey directly to your inbox. (those already on our newsletter mailing list will already receive it automatically:))
This is your chance to tell us how it is!
We would like to offer a little something as a thank you for taking part in the survey. Thanks to Windham Fabrics, we have a 3 fq bundles of Spa by Rosemarie Lavin just for you!
Since this is an anonymous survey we have no way of knowing who has taken part! So we have decided to do a random drawing from people who have signed up to receive our newsletter.
So, to enter the draw, please fill in your name & email in the box below to take part in our survey & join our newsletter. You can choose to unsubscribe whenever you would like.(those already signed up to our newsletter will automatically receive the survey & be in the draw, no need to sign up again)
The survey will be open until 19th December and 3 winners will be selected at random after this date and announced here.
If you have any problems signing up to our newsletter please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of us will come to your rescue.
Need some inspiration on how to use Spa? Check it out – John designed and created this incredible tree quilt for our Fussy Cut Issue (Issue 3) using the fabulous mix of browns, blues and greens of the delicious Spa fabrics by Rosemarie Lavin.
Inside Issue 3 of Fat Quarterly, Katy was lucky enough to chat with Paula Ozier of Paula Ozier Designs and share with us all her wonderful bold designs and prints that include Russian dolls, Maneki Neko (lucky cats) and tattoo-inspired swallows.
For a chance to win, read Paula’s article in Issue 3 and answer the following question set by Paula…..
“Where did Paula study Textile Design?”
Please email us your answers to email@example.com with ‘Paula Ozier’ in the subject line, thanks!
A winner will be drawn from the correct answers and announced here next Monday.
Good Luck! It’s such an awesome prize! Thanks Paula!!!
Another fantastic quilt from Tacha!
Fresh and fun…I could spend quite a while looking at this beauty.
Have you ever seen hexagon’s looking so good?
Pattern from Katy, available in Issue 3 from November 9th!