Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Coffee Talk Interview: Karen Oyerly

When I first joined the OKC Modern Quilt Guild, there were about six of us sitting around a table in the back room of our local quilt shop and it was easy to get to know everyone. Now that we're ten times the size, it's hard just to learn everyone's name. Relatively new to the guild is Karen Oyerly, our lucky October Coffee Talk Interviewee. Karen has a great sense of humor and I'm looking forward to hearing about and sharing her journey toward modern quilting.

So Karen....How long have you been sewing? 
About a year and a half; I learned to sew as a child and did some sewing in girl scouts, but it didn't stick!

Well then...how long have you been quilting?
About a year and a half.

Wow, that's not long and you do great work. With getting back into sewing just recently, how did you get into quilting? 
A friend kept bugging me to come hang out with her at a local quilt shop (sadly closed now).  I finally gave in one Saturday, and really fell in love with a quilt the owner had on the design wall - it was all Marvel comic fabrics in the "Big EZ" pattern.    The owner convinced me I'd be able to make it after taking her intro class, so by the time I left, I had signed up for the class and bought a stack of fabric.  I still haven't made that quilt, even though I've had the fabric for it since then!  In addition to the finished products, I was really drawn in by the community and camaraderie I felt in that room of quilters.  The class was scheduled for 3 Saturdays, but due to unforeseen circumstances, it stretched out quite a while - by the time it was over, I had finished a jelly roll race quilt top outside of class time on a Hello Kitty sewing machine I had bought on clearance at Target years ago and had never used - you could say quilting just "clicked" in my brain!

I love Hello Kitty. Did you hear she's not actually a cat, but a girl? Anyway....What is it that drew you to modern quilting rather than a more “traditional/classic” style? 
A little of everything, really.  I love modern fabrics, with the great prints and color palettes. I love the bold, busy quilts that are a barrage of color, but I also love the quilts that make use of empty space.  I love the minimal use of borders - all the quilts I grew up with didn't have borders, so to me that seems natural.  There is a freedom in modern quilting - to modify patterns, to play with color and scale, to improvise and adapt that just appeals to me.  So far, there's not a lot about the modern movement that I don't love!

There are so many great quilters with blogs and books...Who do you find inspirational in the world of modern quilting? 
I really like Melissa Lunden of Lunden Designs - she just has a clean style, and I think she makes really accessible patterns.  Sew Kind of Wonderful - I can't wait to do my first quick curve ruler project - and the quilting on some of her quilts is amazing! The Quilt Engineer does a lot with solids, and talks a lot about her design process, which I find really interesting and educational! HoosierToni - I love everything she does! 

Gee, I haven't heard of a couple of those. I'll have to look them up. What styles (designers or manufacturers) of fabrics speak to you the most, and why? 
Recently I've been really intrigued by what people are doing with linens - I just can't get over the depth that texture gives a quilt.  My favorite fabric designers are Joel Dewberry, Tula Pink, V and Co., Carolyn Friedlander. I also have a slight obsession with Echino fabrics from Japan.

When are you most productive? When do ideas strike you?
I think I get the most ideas in the evening.  I'm definitely more productive in the evening and in group situations. I seem to get a lot of piecing done listening to baseball games!

Haha...I like to have Thunder basketball on while I piece. What are some quilt patterns/styles that you hope to tackle in the near future? 
I definitely have a couple of quick curve ruler patterns in my future! And I've been plotting a quilt with linens and some of my Echino collection!  I just finished a Nancy Drew quilt for my niece - a quilt for me out of this collection is definitely going to happen! 

What quilt creation are you most proud of?  
I made a half-hexie quilt last winter for my niece - it was only the 3rd quilt top I'd ever completed, and the 2nd completed quilt.  It was the first quilt I did without any kind of pattern directions.  I just had the ruler and a stack of 10 in squares!  It was also the first pieced back I made.  To be honest, I've only finished five quilts, so I'm pretty proud of all of them! If you had told me 5 years ago that I would ever finish ANY quilt I would have laughed at you!

Have you ever had a quilt project go terribly wrong? 
Not yet - knock on wood! 

If you had to choose one must have book or blog to visit for modern quilting, what would it be? That's really hard, since I take inspiration from so many books and blogs! 

Me, too. There are so many to keep up with. What is your advice to someone just diving into the world of modern quilting? 
Join a modern guild if there is one close to you! You can learn so much from the guild members, and someone always jumps in to answer questions - we are all learning from each other! And every month at least one project gets shown that I want to make.  And follow fabric and pattern designers on your social network of choice - that way, pictures of new quilts and fabrics are in your feed every day to provide inspiration for your next project!  Make what you love, relax (there is no quilting police, and you are your own worst critic), and have fun!

Thanks so much Karen for being interviewed. Keep up the beautiful work! I look forward to seeing your future projects! 

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