Welcome to Coffee Talk! This is where we have the chance to chat with our members one-on-one and find out what makes them tick. This month, we're sitting down with Regina Engling. Regina has been a member of the OKCMQG for about a year now and is just one of those people you instantly like. She blogs at Life in Bits and Pieces 2 and makes wonderful projects. I'm happy to get to know her a little better and share her work with all of you.
Let's start with an easy question first. How long have you been sewing?
Like many young Oklahoma girls back in 1959, my first sewing project was an apron in pink gingham for 4-H.
(laugh) Mine was a green gingham stuffed turtle. The only thing I ever remember doing in 4-H.
I can still remember my Mama helping with the cutting and then sitting me on her lap to learn how to guide the fabric through her old Singer sewing machine. I was so proud to model it at the Carter County Fair that fall, and then present it to my Mama (who put it to good use for many years). My Mama made most of the clothes for her 3 girls; and, I was her assistant, hand sewing hems and sewing on buttons – good training for hand sewing quilt bindings! Today my sewing is for grandchildren – twirly skirts for my youngest grand-daughter and Trick or Treat bags. The bags are usually a joint project with grandkids supplying the designs and me doing the stitching – you can never start them too young!
I definitely agree that we need to teach kids to sew. So, you've been sewing for a long time. How long have you been quilting?
I’ve been quilting long enough (over 20 years) that the first fabrics I purchased are now becoming ‘trendy’! My first quilting projects were quilts for new babies in my large extended family. Using books from the library, scissors, fabric and thread, I managed to create very simple quilts. One of my first quilts was a baby quilt for my niece – machine pieced, with flannel used in place of batting and tacked with yarn. My niece is 40 now and still has that quilt along with a baby quilt for each of her three children, all stitched by me. According to my quilt journal, the total number of quilts made for our family’s grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren is 35 quilts.
What a wonderful legacy of quilts! What or who inspired you to get into quilting?
Over 20 years ago, my friend, Linda, who worked in the same office complex, was a new quilter like me. We would meet during our lunch hour in her office to hand stitch quilt blocks together. Later we joined Central Oklahoma Quilt Guild and soaked up all the knowledge and creativity that those quilters were glad to share. I loved the sense of community the Guild brought to my quilting journey and I’m so glad to have found the OKC Modern Quilt Guild. Linda has been my quilting mentor and even though she and I live miles apart – we still keep in touch with the help of texts and email. She’s still the first person I turn to when I’m in need of some quilt/sewing (and non-quilt related) advice.
So, with your experience and history of quilting, what drew you to the relatively new modern quilting movement?
My quilting journey began with needle, cloth and thread – I fell in love with quilting, but soon found out that I was drawn to quilt blocks & patterns that were less fussy. Quilts with clean lines, colorful prints framed by solid fabric. Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate traditional quilting patterns and the quilts created from those patterns; but, they just weren’t for me. I began taking traditional designs (especially my two favorite traditional patterns: log cabin & stacked coins) and putting my own stamp on them. After that, with each quilt I stitched, I was learning what I liked and what ‘spoke’ to me – and, that made me happy. Having the freedom to create with fabric, thread, and needle on my own terms, without boundaries or restrictions, -- that’s what Modern Quilting is to me.
Freedom...that's a great definition! There are some amazing people in the modern quilting world. Who do you find inspirational?
- Camille Roskelley – her take on traditional blocks/patterns is amazing.
- Susan Beal at West Coast Crafty – Modern Log Cabin; log cabin blocks, pretty fabrics, crafty stuff – what’s not to like!
- Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts and Cheryl Arkison at Dining Room Empire. Their book 'Sunday Morning Quilts' and Cheryl’s book ‘A Month of Sundays’ are both filled with quilts I want to stitch.
What style of fabrics (designer or manufacturer) speak to you the most?
The designers at Moda are some of my favorites: Bonnie & Camille, Fig Tree, Basic Grey, French General, and Bunny Hill. But really it’s all about color for me, if it catches my eye on a website or in a quilt shop, at least a fat quarter will come home with me. (I’ll admit it – I have an addiction to fat quarters!)
When are you most productive? When do ideas strike you?
Weekends are my most productive -- Saturday afternoons are my time to create in my little sewing corner. I never know when an idea will pop into my head – which is the reason I have little note books stashed all over the house, the office and in my purse. Because at my age, the memory isn’t what it used to be!
I'm lost without a notebook! What are some quilt patterns or styles that you hope to tackle in the near future?
- Stripes from ‘A Month of Sundays’, which is made with men’s shirting fabric;
- Scrappers Delight from ‘Sunday Morning Quilts’. It's a quilt to make use of my scraps.
- Modern Crosses Quilt from ‘Modern Log Cabin’. I have a collection of fat quarters started for this quilt.
- Dwell from ‘Retro’ by Camille Roskelley. This quilt just might be made as a mini.
We all have a favorite quilt, whether because of workmanship or sentimentality. What quilt creation are you most proud of?
My husband and I had our first date at Jazz n June in Norman and for our 25th anniversary I made him a quilt from his Jazz n June t-shirts. It’s not the best quilt I’ve made, but it’s filled with memories and that makes me smile every time I see it. Plus he loves it and that makes me happy too.
Aw, I love that. Did you ever have a quilt project go terribly wrong?
O’ yes – at times my seam ripper and I have been very good friends!
If you had to choose one must have book or blog to visit for modern quilting, what would it be?
Modern Quilting has so many talented and unique quilters/designers - I don’t think I could pick just one!
What is your advice to someone just diving into the world of modern quilting?
Explore blogs, take some classes, join a Guild, discover what fabrics, patterns and quilts catch your eye -- just go for it! And, remember to create quilts that make you happy.
"Create quilts that make you happy"...I couldn't have said it better. Thanks so much, Regina, for sharing your quilts and thoughts with us!