Thursday, May 3, 2012

Coffee Talk Tuesday: Erin Jeffries

We thought it would be fun to have a way to share with you, our readers, a little bit about those of us in the OKCMQG.  And eventually we'll get into talking about other things as well.  But, we'll start off with interviews.  :)

First up is the lovely Erin Jeffries who has been a part of OKCMQG since the beginning I believe!  A big thanks to her for being our first interviewee!!!  So without further ado I give you Erin.


Hello fellow quilters and fabric lovers!  My name is Erin Jeffries and like all moms and wives out there I have many jobs and a few hobbies.

Erin, tell us a little about your journey in the world of sewing/quilting.

I taught myself how to sew at the age of ten or so.  My mom, grandmother, aunt, and great grandmother were all exceptional seamstresses.  They taught me how to thread the sewing machine and away I went.  I think my first project I designed was wide legged pajama pants.  This was around the time when wide legged jeans became popular (again).  For the next decade I sewed things for myself, and others, that were needed or that solved a problem.  You can solve a lot of problems with a sewing machine and thread!  I made bags, clothing, blankets, tool holders, ballroom skirts, and other items.  I made two quilts early on for my parents and my boyfriend (husband now).  They were simple and I just tied them instead of quilting them.  Oh how much I have learned since then!  I then started making “modern” quilts after my daughter Bethany was born in 2005.  

I was/am a stay at home mom, so quilting seamed like a good hobby.  I soon discovered the fabric line “Estrella” by Valori Wells and I was in LOVE.  My daughter will some day have a beautiful “Estrella” quilt to love and tote with her wherever she goes.  I’m still planning it because it’s such a special quilt for me that it’s hard to cut into that fabric.  So in a sense Valori and “Estrella” sparked my love for fabric and making something modern and snuggly.  To me that is what defines my quilting style.  You have to love the fabric choices and the color scheme.  You want to make a pattern that showcases the fabrics and the individuals personality.  You want to quilt it in such a way that the quilting complements the design as a whole.  Then hopefully what you have is a quilt that matches the person completely that they feel love and peace as they curl up in it.  Modern quilting in itself is not new.  I can look through a 1920 quilt calendar and see influences here and there from many “modern” quilts that have been re-mixed today.  I think part of modern quilting is the FABRIC and the colors.  It is also a simplifying of the pattern or changing the pattern that makes it modern too.  Now, don’t think that just because a quilt is modern it is somehow simple and easy.  Some are easy, while others take a trigonometry teacher to construct! 

Where do you frequently find inspiration for your quilts?
I design and make most of my quilts from scratch.  I get inspiration from buildings, shopping at Target or the mall, nature, bible inspiration, Crate and Barrel magazine, Ikea furniture, and anything out there that I see with a great pattern. 

I can imagine it's difficult to find time to sew as a stay at home mom.  When do you find the time?

I sew mainly now only when my daughter is at school.  So I actually sew less now than I did when she was a toddler.  I LOVE all the quilting and sewing blogs out there.  I have been in this quilting movement since spring 2006 and have seen a lot of progression in the blogging scene.  I do have a blog but I have fallen way behind on posting there.  I do have a website that I try to keep current pictures on.  My website has my bio, a big portfolio of all my sewing and quilting projects, my shop, prices, and a link to my blog on the homepage.  On my blog I tell all about the quits and projects I have created along with a few tutorials and tips.  The name of my quilting business is Miss Butterfly B’s.  At the time of thinking of a name for my small in home business I was raising butterflies with my toddler Bethany that we call Miss B.  So from that you get Miss Butterfly B’s (for Bethany). 

Which of the quilts you have created speak the most to you?

My first “modern” quilt I made was for my baby niece.  It remains an oldie but a goody.  I call it my “Vivien” quilt.  It was a lot of fun!
            My absolutely favorite quilt I have ever made is my “Vibrant Love” quilt.  Amy Butler’s “Love” fabric line had just come which I paired with fabric I already had in my stash.  The hexagon pattern seemed to fit the fabric perfectly.  I cut pieced the top using a half hexagon template which I made.  
"Vibrant Love" Front

The quilt back was pieced with scraps left over.  I am SO in love with the variant color strips on the back, that quite possibly the back is my favorite side.  Loving the quilt back just as much or more than the top happens a lot in Modern Quilting I think.  
"Vibrant Love" front/back

I quilted this quilt myself on my Janome 6600.  I quilted it in a spiral design and it is a twin bed size.  I think free motion quilting is easy and fun.  I’m still branching out in my quilting designs and getting better and better with each quilt.  Practice makes perfect! 

"Vibrant Love" pieced back

            I have a whole journal of quilt designs and ideas along with the fabric to go with them!  I have not been sewing very much lately but hope to sew more soon.  Currently I am quilting our group “habitat” quilt.  I really like the quilting lines I am doing on it.  Most of my quilts turn out way better than I thought.  I improvise a lot and am pretty good at thinking outside the box and solving problems.  I recently made my daughter a drop pleated jumper dress completely from scratch with NO pattern.  I just started cutting and sewing.  It turned out beautiful and was made from the “dropcloth” fabric by Jay McCarroll. 

Now that you’ve shared your favorites…do you have a big “OOPS” moment you’d like to share?

My biggest sewing mistake was when I sewed a 80” seam together incorrectly.  That took forever ripping out that seam.  Most mistakes I make are in the sewing department and require picking seams apart.  Well...there was that iPhone case I sewed that was too small.

What drew you into the modern quilting movement? 

            The FABRIC!  We have amazing fabric designers now that are always coming out with new fabric lines.  If you want to create and print your own fabric you have that choice over at Spoonflower.  Fabric options are limitless.  I like fabrics from Monaluna, Valori Wells, Melimba and Beccabury, Amy Butler, Michael Miller, Heather Bailey, Joel Dewberry, Lotta Jansdotter, and Robert Kaufman.  The blogs I frequently follow are: Carolina Patchworks, Film in the Fridge, Oh Fransson!, Red Pepper Quilts, Tallgrass Prairie Studio, Crazy Mom Quilts, Canoe Ridge Creations and many more!  True Up Fabric blog is the BEST resource for finding out about new fabric lines.  I buy my fabric locally if I can at Oklahoma Quiltworks.  I also buy fabric online, usually at Hawthorne Threads, if I can’t find what I’m looking for locally. 

But, can you pin down one book and/or blog that really speaks to you?

            I don’t think I can choose one book or blog that is my all in one resource.  I like to glean and get inspiration from everywhere I can.  I also don’t want to copy any one quilter so I try to get ideas and keep a fresh outlook but make my own creation.  The OKC Modern Quilt Guild has a facebook page with a lot of good discussions about favorite quilting books and blogs.  You can stop by there and get ideas and connect with our group. 

What advice would you give to someone just diving into the wonderful world of modern quilting?

            My most rewarding quilts have been the two quilts I got to make for my daughter’s school.  Every year in October the school has a fundraiser.  Each class is supposed to make something together to auction off.  Last year and this year I was in charge of the class project so of course I was thinking QUILT!  All the kids helped out by using their hands and some outstanding fabric paint from Jacquard.  The preschool quilt is called “Hearts and Hands”.  The Kindergarten quilt is called “Olive Tree”.  It’s kind of funny, when you set out to bless someone else, you’re often blessed and changed from that experience too.  I’m already looking forward to next years quilt if they’ll let me!  

            I guess what I would like to say to new quilters and old quilters is find something you’re passionate about and make that.  Whether it be the fabrics, colors, or the pattern.  Or it’s the inspiration behind the quilt.  Once you find whatever it is that your passionate about putting into quilt form…then you will be unstoppable.  There is always a way when you get your momentum going.  I know a lot of us have UFO’s floating around and to that I would suggest rediscovering your idea when you started the quilt or make it into something new.  If you are new and need help quilting then ask!  My grandma loves it when I ask her how to do something.  If you are experienced then please share what you do well.  We would all love that.  Sewing was a big part of community growing up in rural Oklahoma and it still can be a place of community and friendship.  I am so blessed to be a wife, mother, and quilter.  I love all my many jobs! 

Thanks, Erin!  We really enjoyed learning more about you, your quilting background, and seeing some of your work.  :)

Sew long for now!

1 comment:

  1. Ah love this! Love you Erin seriously so sweet of you to help me so much :)


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