This week we're featuring Ann, our new and fearless leader! She has some exciting ideas to lead us into the New Year with style. Ann is an amazing quilter who is very interested in all things modern. I haven’t had the chance to sew alongside her but I think he has some amazing ideas inside her head and is always up for trying out new techniques. So now we must get to know the OKCMQG new president!
Hello Ann! It’s so good of you to sit down with us so we can get to know you a little better. I’ve read your blog Annotations: A Paper Trail… and I’ve always wanted to get some insight into your background in quilting, how long have you been sewing in general? What was your first quilt like?
My mom first started me out on her Featherweight back when I was quite young. I still kept sewing in spite of junior high school home economics classes. Although I needed to improve my craftsmanship, ‘keeping back with the rest of the class’ was spirit numbing. For my first quilt I bought Hancock Fabrics St. Jude Quilt of Dreams fabric (2005) and finally designed and made it from December 2010 - January 2011and it’s all hand tied
That is an innovative first attempt! I like how the stripes of the fabric are all different directions; it gives it a defined edge. So I’m guessing that was when you first began quilting?
Yes, since December 2010. It’s one of those creative outlets I always wanted to tackle. The first quilt I made was from fabric I’d purchased several years prior with no real plan. It was a great first attempt and set the tone for the way I design my quilts—on computer!
That is 4 years of quilting! Using your own pattern to begin with is pretty bold. I bet you’ve learned a lot in that time with the way you’re always up for new ideas. What drew you to modern quilting as opposed to a more traditional or classic style?
The first design that really got me excited was the V & Co. Houndstooth quilt and Elizabeth Hartman’s Tokyo Subway quilt. I was drawn to the strong graphic elements and contrast. When I started falling in love with/collecting fabric again in late 2010, I noticed a definite preference toward graphic prints as opposed to the more delicate, historical ones. I think I was a modern quilter destined to happen! As much as I like the tight precision of a traditional pattern, large expanses of negative space with beautiful quilting excite me more and more these days. I think it’s mostly because less is more and a whisper is louder than a shout.
I know how you feel I love the modern prints and collections. The negative space reminds me of some modern art. And the patterns that modern quilters come up with are very inspirational and exciting! Who inspires you in the busy world of modern quilting?
I’m pretty happy with Elizabeth Hartman’s Oh, Fransson! Blog and Almost any book by Angela Walters would make me happy. Watching her do free motion quilting on PBS, it looks so effortless and her books instill the same kind of confidence. I’ve not yet searched too far and wide, but I’ll investigate more this year!
I’m sure your fellow guild members can offer some help with that! Like the book show and tell we had last year. How about some of you favorite fabric designers? Whose fabric inspires you to design?
My two favorite fabric designers are Brigitte Heitland (Zen Chic [Juggling Summer, Comma; Barcelona; and now Sphere]) and Carolyn Friedlander (Architextures & Botanics) and I am also partial to most of the patterns in the Parson Gray lines because they work great for stronger, more masculine themes. Again, it is the strong graphic elements, along with bold color palette, that inspire.
I understand you have come up with some of your own modern masterpieces! What is the quilt you are most proud of out out of those you have created?
My Comma Herringbone (by Zen Chic) Herringbone is my current favorite. I like it on several levels—it used up the two charm packs I already had, it was my first half square triangle quilt, and it was something I saw online that I put my own spin on. Laying in the background color as the end, on an angle, in Photoshop, to me, is what ultimately ‘makes’ this quilt ‘mine.’ This quilt is made with Zen Chic Comma and Bella Solids and is my own HST design which was quilted by Wendy Wells
I know that your quilt got a lot of ganders at the winter quilt show at the fairgrounds in January. You must be proud of it! When do you find time to design and sew all of your works of art? When are you most productive?
I am a long-time night owl. It’s my natural state. I’ve been up more often earlier in the day lately but I’m pretty sure it’s a fluke and I manage to get busy before I have a chance to get creative. My ideas seem to hit me mid-evening, but once one takes hold of me, well—that explains being up late nights!
With a mind for trying new patterns and techniques what are some quilt patterns or styles you hope to challenge yourself with or that we can expect to see from you in the near future?
I can imagine enjoying an Airship/Steampunk (Jen Kingwell) pattern. I also have another layer cake and ‘solids’ ready to try another Improv Curves quilt. I’ve also toyed with the idea of a jelly roll race quilt, but already know I’d put quite the twist on it. My other future project will be a pixel quilt. I took the Craftsy class by Caro Sheridan and totally embraced the process (by the way, I love spreadsheets!). Spontaneity is lots of work for me and the term ‘random order’ makes me twitch.
Sounds like you like ordered chaos or careful randomness [insert oxymoron here]. I too have trouble randomizing my quilts. I have a hard time figuring out how to thoughtfully randomize and make it look carefree. Do you have any closing advice for someone new to modern quilting?
Look at lots of examples and decide what speaks most to you. Design toward that and let it take you where it wants to.
That is great advice, do some research into the world of modern quilts and get inspired! Thank-you for taking the time to give us an introduction into your process and letting us get to know you a bit more. I’m sure we would all love to see the quilts you create and relate to your experiences as we move into the New Year!