Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meet the Members--Mary P, President

1. Tell us about you
I grew up in San Jose, CA but have lived in Providence, RI and Boston, MA before coming to Chicago four years ago.  I am a software consultant at Heller Consulting for fundraising software that nonprofits use (Raiser's Edge and Common Ground).  I also teach swing dance at Big City Swing (sometimes). I have a wonderful husband James and we live on Chicago's north side.

2. When/How did you get into quilting? 

My mom "forced" me to learn when I was 10.  She was learning at the same time, from a family friend.  My (older) sister did a double Irish chain, where I did a simple four-patch.  I made a few quilts in high school, a few in college and the years afterward, but I really took off in the last two years. I think it has helped a lot that my machine is always out, so it is really easy for me to just sit down and sew. I'm moving to a new apartment next month, and I'll have a whole room for sewing, which makes me very excited!

3. Show us a couple of your projects 

This is a baby quilt I made for my friend's baby boy.  It was the first time I ever did anything "liberated" and it was really fun. It was nice to start with something small and relatively safe.
top view of P_K baby quilt

This was a large quilt I made for my friend's wedding.  I don't normally work in these colors, so it was a good stretch for me.  I really love how it turned out and it matches their home perfectly!
overhead of "block party" quilt
I had it professionally quilted, because there was no way I could get such perfect concentric circles!
Detail of "Block party" quilt

This was a quick baby quilt I made for a friend's little girl.  I have been wanting to work more in solids--I feel like they are quite neglected in my fabric stash, so I really wanted to challenge myself here. I love how it turned out.
baby quilt finished
4. What (if any) other crafty activities do you enjoy? 

I don't know if cooking counts, but I love to cook, and so does James, so we have a lot of fun with that. And, as I mentioned, we teach swing dance.  I find all of my hobbies to be very creative outlets.

5. What quilt or item you've made are you most proud of and why? This is a really hard one.  I have so many quilts I really love.  I'm going to say this one I made for my friend Sara.  It was a lot of pieces, but the quilting was the first time I had ever done anything so large that I did free motion.  It was quite a beast and I only did it a few months after my first free motion quilting project.

The back I completely free-pieced, which was really fun to figure out how to use up lots of small scraps.

6. Who inspires you most in your quilting?
Why, the folks from CMQG, of course!!! I get a lot of inspiration from our group.  There are so many talented members.  I follow a lot of blogs, and I really love Gwen Marston's "Liberated Quiltmaking" books.  I'm planning to go to her retreat in early October with my mom, where I am sure I'll get a ton of inspiration.  I also really love anything by the folks at FunQuilts (Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle). I'm hoping that we can bring them in for a workshop, seeing as they are in Oak Park and wouldn't have to travel.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meet the Members--Beth K, Vice President

1. Tell us about you 

Hi!  My name is Beth.  I spend my days working with middle school students, teachers and families as an administrator.  I love working with data and curriculum and am able to do a lot of that kind of work for my district in addition to working with kids.  I think the combination of detail work and creativity are things that appeal to me in both my work and in quilting.  I’ve been married for 14 years to my wonderful husband and we have two dogs, Milo and Quincy.

2. When/How did you get into quilting?

I come from a family of quilters.  My great-grandmother, Mama Pat, was known for her quilts.  She made one for each of her 15 children as well as her grandchildren.  That’s a lot of quilts!  They weren’t fancy quilts, but they were made with care and were meant to be loved and used.  I am fortunate to have received one and my mom now has several others in addition to the one that was made for her.  Mine is a bow tie pattern.  The others include a maple leaf and a grandmother’s flower garden, which was on my bed when I was little.  I spent hours looking at all the fabrics and can picture them now when I close my eyes.  I plan on wrestling my sister for them if I have to when my mom is ready to pass them on. 
My grandmother quilted, too, although she was more of a “fancy quilter” than Mama Pat.  My mom wasn’t a huge quilter, but she made my sister and me Christmas quilts one year, personalized with our names. 
I started quilting when I was preparing to leave for college.  My mom helped me select a pattern and we went off to Ohio’s Amish country, near where we lived, to pick fabrics.  We cut rectangle after rectangle, then pieced.  Mom cleared out the dining room and we set up my grandmother’s quilting frame and called everyone in to help.  My two grandmothers, my best friend, my mom and I, and even my sister, who was in 6th grade at the time, helped hand quilt my college quilt.  I started another queen sized quilt in my sophomore year, but didn’t finish it until just a couple of years ago: 3 states and 4 moves later.  I really started quilting again when my friends started having babies, following my mom’s and great grandmother’s tradition of gifting a new baby with a quilt.  Now that we’re done with the first and second rounds for most of them, I’m trying to focus more on quilts I actually get to keep, as well as a seasonal series for my mom – autumn and winter already done – and charity quilts for Shriners’ Hospital, Project Linus, and other charity projects here and there.

3. Show us a couple of your projects 
One of my favorite baby quilts – Jack and the Beanstalk.  My husband drew the pattern for me full size based on some children’s books and other reference I gave him.  I then hand appliquéd and embroidered the top.  This was our second quilt we designed together – the first was the Princess and the Pea – and the third fairy tale/nursery rhyme themed quilt.

This was a baby quilt from the Modern Quilt Workshop for a friend’s granddaughter.  I started out with a totally different color scheme in mind.  It’s a reminder to be flexible and if the fabrics aren’t working, switch it up and try something else.  Once I changed to these bright batiks, everything fell into place and I loved it.

The last one was selected by my husband, LBK, who wanted a quilt for his chair.  He selected both the pattern, Jelly Roll Diamonds by Fig Tree Quilts and the jelly roll.  I should have set some criteria first, because those diamonds were challenging!  Definitely a labor of love.  Eventually, I finished it and quilted it lightly by hand.  Machine quilting seemed to heavy for it. 

4. What (if any) other crafty activites do you enjoy? 

I like to try new things and new techniques, sewing and otherwise.  I’m currently trying to track down some transfer sheets for a thermofax to try some screenprinting.  I use my scrapbooking supplies more for decorating presents and the like than actually scrapbooking, although I have completed a few mini-books.  I am trying to get back into apparel sewing but find it challenging.  Quilts, like purses and shoes, always fit well.  I garden some. 
Most significantly, I like to cook, bake, drink and eat.  I spend time on several food forums ( egullet.org and lthforum.com for two) reading about food and restaurants.  In food as in crafting, I am always up for something new – whether it’s a recipe, an ingredient or technique.  I’ve taken to keeping a kitchen journal because I can never remember where I find things and if I don’t keep track, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to find it again!  I have two large bookcases full of cookbooks, a huge excel file of recipes to try, and more baking pans than you can shake a stick at.  My if-I-win-the-lottery dream is to quit my job, attend the French Pastry School, blow out the side of our house to expand our tiny kitchen into a larger one, and build a wood burning bread and pizza oven in the back yard.

5. What quilt or item you've made are you most proud of and why?
My sister and I played softball for many years, and my mom started hand piecing a queen sized grandmothers fan for their bedroom while sitting at countless softball games.   

We moved, they re-decorated their room, and the quilt was shelved.  I secretly rescued it a few years ago and made her a lap quilt with some of her completed blocks.  I used a few for a charity quilt, and used the unsewn triangles for my wonky log cabin that I have yet to finish.  I have several original pieced blocks remaining to make a quilt for my niece.  I’m proud to have given her old project new life in so many ways.

6. Who inspires you most in your quilting?
I think, like most of us, I draw inspiration from many places, mostly blogs and the quilting community online.  I tend to like traditional things done with a modern twist and spend as much or more time contemplating what I want to do than actually doing it sometimes!  I rarely make something just to make it, which means I am one of those odd quilters who doesn’t have a huge stash.  I want each quilt to have meaning and relevance and I look to the person it is for to give me inspiration.  When making baby quilts, I try to be inspired by the parents’ plan for the nursery décor as well as their personalities.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Pillowcase Queens!!

The activity at the last meeting of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild was making pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer and the 1,000,000 pillowcase challenge. And wow, did we ever make pillowcases!!

Jennie and Ebony de-stashed fabric and were happy to donate a total of 95 pillowcase kits for the cause. Several other members contributed fabric too, and we had a real fun pillowcase making party!

First up, Vicki showed us all how to make pillowcases using the "hot dog" method. It's really cool because all the seams end up completely enclosed- no fraying or need to serge!


Then, we really got rolling!! Some ladies rolled and pinned pillowcases, some ladies worked the irons, some ladies turned the pillowcases, and some ladies (like Michele above) worked their sewing machines to the max!

End result?

73 pillowcases! You read that right- 73 pillowcases assembled and ready to go to children and teenagers dealing with cancer or other illnesses.

It was an AMAZING day and we had a lot of fun!!

All photos courtesy of Sue R. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Meet the Members--Sue R, Treasurer

1. Tell us about you: Name, Location, etc.

Sue R: I am a lifelong South sider (yep..a major Sox fan) I have been teaching for the Chicago Public Schools for twenty years, most recently as a kindergarten teacher. I have been married to Charlie for 32 years. We have three fabulous daughters, Brenna (30), Kerry (27), and Meara (25).

2. When/How did you get into quilting? 
I’m not sure why, but quilting just crept into my consciousness through the years. I have a very dear friend who lives in Wisconsin (quilt country) and when I would visit her during the summers I would see books on quilting. I was so attracted to the color and designs….Finally, in 2002,  I got a sewing machine when my youngest daughter took a clothing class in high school and I learned to operate the machine and made my first quilt. It was a wonky Jan Mullen quilt pattern. I was also very influenced by Gwen Marston and liberated quilting. Soon after I took a basic quilt making class with Mickey Depre at a local college. I have also taken a class in hand quilting and free motion quilting.

3. Show us a couple of your projects 
The pictures include a colorful contemporary shape quilt for my kindergarten; 

a whimsical raw-edge appliqué fish wallhanging; 

 a baby quilt of liberated stars a al Gwen Marston;  

 a batik sunflower appliqué quilt; 

a quilt made with charm packs and Kona cotton solids and the ever present black and white fabric.

4. What (if any) other crafty activities do you enjoy? 
I enjoy making bags and crazy T-shirt appliqué. I also enjoy mixed media creations! Paper, fabric, paint, collage etc. I like to create…just play! I’m not good at following patterns and precise directions…

5. What quilt are you most proud of and why?
I have given away 98% of the quilts I have made..but I keep wall hangings for me! So I guess I like my wall hangings the most!

6. Who inspires you most in your quilting?
The Gees Bend and other African American quilts inspire me the most. I like the bold design, color, and surprises! They are visually exciting. I’m fond of  bright “busy” quilts!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Meet the Members--Ebony L, Program Committee Chair

1. Tell us about you!
Hi! I'm Ebony and like Jennie, I live in the far northwest suburbs of Illinois, up near Six Flags. I characterize my day job as allowing me to be a "social butterfly" - I work in information technology, but my role involves building relationships between the business folks & the techies to solve business challenges. Since that's pretty fuzzy... let's just say I'm a fabric addict who works to support her quilting habit. :)

2. When/How did you get into quilting?
I got into quilting in a bit of a roundabout way... my sewing background is in garment & accessories construction - specializing in evening gowns. Well, once you make a few of those, you end up with these odd-shaped pieces of really fabulous fabric, and I couldn't bring myself to throw them away. So I started stashing fabric scraps from my creations... eventually I got to the point where I was collecting more fabulous fabric than I could handle, which leads to the need to do something with it... and my quilting career started.

3. Show us a couple of your projects.
This is a baby quilt that I was commissioned to make... it was for a couple expecting the birth of their firstborn son, but they hadn't chosen a nursery theme yet. When I make baby quilts, I tend not to use a lot of pastels!

This is another commissioned project - it was a lot of fun making a Bargello quilt, and also doing a continuous work in separate panels. This is hanging in Madison, WI in a private collection.

abstract pants tote
This is an example of what happens when I get tired of working on a particular project. I'd been working on an abstract wall hanging made from old pants that had been donated to a garage sale. The wall hanging was about halfway done, and I couldn't picture myself finishing it. So I chopped it up and made two giant tote bags!

4. What (if any) other crafty activities do you enjoy?
In addition to quilting I also crochet & bake, but I think my most favorite crafty activity is designing & making handbags. Sometimes the quilting leaks into this, but for the most part I do not make a lot of quilted bags. Go figure! I also am a staff writer for HandmadeNews.org where I publish a series about quilting, and I also write for my own blog.

5. What quilt or item you've made are you most proud of and why?
Before last week, I would have selected a totally different item, but I think right now, I am totally in love with my interpretation of a 35mm film canister and film strip, using a vacation I took back in 2000 as the inspiration. (It's something I recently completed for Project Quilting.)
RoadTrip1 RoadTrip3

6. Who inspires you most in your quilting?
I don't think I can narrow this down to any one individual. I am inspired daily by the people I meet, the objects that I see, the places I go, and the things I experience. I also am amazed at other quilters and artists who are out there, and just the sheer ingenuity that people have. It's fascinating how you can cut up something & stitch it back together again, but the number of combinations & possibilities are endless!

Friday, June 4, 2010


We currently are surveying members about their preferences in meeting location, time, and content. If you haven't already, please take our survey.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Meet The Members-- Jennie S, Secretary

1. Tell us about you!

Hi! I'm Jennie, and I live in the far {very, very far!} northwest suburbs of Chicago! I'm married to a wonderful man and we have a spoiled rotten cat :)

2. When/How did you get into quilting?

I became interested in quilting when my mother-in-law was getting rid of some of her old fabric. She gave it to me, and I borrowed her sewing machine and made the ugliest quilt you've ever seen :) But I was hooked, and later that year I took classes at a local quilt shop. That was about 6 years ago.

3. Show us a couple of your projects

My Bamboo Quiltie
This is my favorite quilt ever! I use this quilt when I'm sad, cold, sick, watching a movie... it's kind of like the security blanket Linus has in Peanuts :)

So Ends A Fair Day
This miniature is free hand cut and "leaded" with bias tape. It's a really fun technique!

4. What (if any) other crafty activites do you enjoy?

I enjoy knitting and making cards. I mostly knit socks. I love knitting socks!

5. what quilt or item you've made are you most proud of and why?

Right now, I'm most pround of the new window treatments I made for my bedroom! The Roman shades are so fun and easy to make!

Amy Butler Window

6. who inspires you most in your quilting?

I'm really inspired by all of my online friends!! There is an amazing online community of quilters with blogs, on Flickr and at Twitter. They have amazing talents and I just love logging in to Flickr and seeing new pictures posted there every day :)