With that said, I am very excited to introduce you to Jemellia. She was my first true quilt-y friend that wasn't via the internet. And we quickly learned that we have a good bit in common outside of the quilting world as well. This lady is a MACHINE! I don't think she sleeps. She keeps a blog over at JemJam and sells some wares at her Etsy shop. But, you'll have a better chance of finding her at local craft shows in the fall/winter or at local shops. So without further ado...meet Jemellia. :)
Hi, Jemellia! Thanks so much for being our October interview. So, lets start at the beginning shall we? How did you get started in the sewing world?
I learned how to sew in junior high in Home Ec., I didn’t do much after that until over 5 years ago, after our daughter was born. I mostly sewed zipper bags, totes, skirts and dresses. I also love pincushions.
So when did you start quilting?
I started piecing quilts just last year, after my second, I started quilting. I’ve made a lot of quilts in that small amount of time.
I swear you're a machine. You must not sleep! I'm always amazed at the sheer quantity of the things you produce with impeccable quality!!! Did you always know you wanted to be a quilting machine? HA!
When I started sewing, I wanted to make quilts, I owned a few books with quilts in them and knew that I would eventually do it. My first sewing book purchase was Amy Karol’s Bend the Rules Sewing, I started reading her blog in 2006 and when she had her book listed for pre-order in early 2007, I knew that I was ready to begin my sewing adventure. I also started reading The Purl Bee and Sew, Mama, Sew around the same time and I’ve never looked back.
So, it looks like you have been attracted to the modern vibe from the get go. What draws you to this particular style of quilting?
Well, I guess the colors and prints attracted me most, I already had a love for print and pattern which was displayed in my daughter’s clothing, my aprons and bags--it just made sense for me to be attracted to modern quilting.
You've shared a few of your major early influences. Who continues to be an influence in your quilting journey?
ElizabethHartman is very inspirational, her work is precise, calculated, and balanced. I have both of her books and they are great references and sources of inspiration when I need a boost or an idea. You know, I first heard of her when she posted a doorstop tutorial on SMS--it wasn’t even a quilt project! Denyse Schmidt and Joelle Hoverson were 2 authors (and fabric designers) that I soaked up and loved for their meticulous instructions. Apparently, I’m into precision and plans. I’m shocked by this...
This is how you ended up with the title "Queen of the Tedious." :) Everything you tackle seems so intricate and/or time consuming. lol
A lot of people may not know that you work at a local quilt shop, and I know you were a big help to me on one of my quilts in particular by introducing me to the Echo fabrics. So, I'm curious...what fabrics or designers speak to you the most?
Some of my first purchases were Peas & Carrots (American Jane/Sandy Klop), it had Pez prints and she has great basics, still. Summer in the City (Urban Chiks), Flea Market Fancy (Denyse Schmidt), Freshcut (Heather Bailey), and Belle (Amy Butler), I could go on and on. Anyhow, the prints that I liked best were bright, mainly had pink or green in them, or were easy to blend. I still love Urban Chiks the best. Now, as I look for fabric for quilts, I look for smaller prints and I still love dots, stripes and crosshatch. Mmmm, crosshatch, nom nom.
Yes, what would the world do without a good crosshatch?!
So, when do the most ideas strike you, or when are you the most productive?
I’m most productive when I am warm, so in the summer, I cannot sew much during summer days because I have a dependent, but when she is napping or playing on her own, I get busy. I also will stay up late to sew, ideas usually strike me when I’m close to waking up, almost falling asleep, or, you won’t believe me--in the shower! Yes! When you said that about yourself, I was giddy! Seriously, I probably did a shower wall drawing that day of your interview!
DUDE!!! I am not alone in the shower thing! Wait. That came out wrong! I mean...other people come up with ideas in their showers?! Thank goodness I'm not the only one!
So, what were you drawing on the shower wall? Your next great idea? What are you hoping to tackle in the near future?
The easier question would be to ask, “What do you not want to tackle?” I have some projects that I started that I would like to just sit and finish. I started Swoon as a curiosity and I really loved it, but, I started a big needle-turn project (almost done) and I put it aside. I want to make it big enough for our bed, so I did not feel the need to work on it, but now I’m ready to start some more blocks. Also, I made 4 blocks for the Avalon quilt and put it aside for lack of time needed to dedicate to so many pieces. I love it, I just sometimes want to “bust out” a quilt. I have a great idea (to me, at least) that I need to work on because I would love to apply to enter it in the QuiltCon quilt show. It’s still secret right now, I like secret projects.
|Twin sized quilt Jemellia made for her daughter's bed.|
I’m most proud of this quilt for our daughter’s room, I started collecting fabrics when she was a baby because I knew that I would make something for her room, this is actually the first quilt that I started, which was in January 2011, there were so many pieces, it was so mundane and I put it away for months--months! Then, the fabric was just in my way so, I decided to complete it and move on with my life! It’s a twin quilt--75”x90” and I quilted it over 2 evenings, luckily, we have a pool table and I moved my machine there to tackle that beast. My goal was to finish it by 2011 and I sewed the last bit of binding in place the evening of December 31! I know what you are thinking, yes, I popped open champagne for the victory!
You're too funny! I remember that blog post. I think I had fingers and toes crossed for your on time finish that night!
Of course we've all had at least one project go terribly wrong right? Tell me I'm right.
If you had to choose one must have book or blog to visit what would it be?
Can I pick one blog and one book? I choose Chawne’s blog, she is inspirational and intoxicating, it makes me hurt.
As for a book, I think I’ll pick Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering & Katie Pederson, it is fabulous, the quilts, the quilting, the colors, just phenomenal.
Good choices! In closing, what would your advice be to someone just entering the world of modern quilting?
About half of my items are modern, so, I’m not sure that I can give advice, but I guess I could say, do what you want, sloppiness sucks, eat mint chocolate malt balls as fuel, and be proud of your work. Also, that’s my life advice.
Words to live by, by Jemellia Hilfiger, ladies and gents! ;) Thanks so much for your time, Jemellia! I hope y'all will take the time to check out more of Jemellia's work on her blog, and I know she'll be at the Deluxe Indie Craft Bazaar on December 8 at the OKC Fairgrounds.