Meet Judi

IMG_4505Tell us a little about your self: I’m a 60-ish mother of one son. I’ve been quilting for roughly 15 years.  Still learning and growing, which is a big part of the attraction to quilting.

What inspired you to start quilting: I have always admired quilts and I started buying them long before I started making them. About 30 years ago there was a quilt display in my local library, and I bought a quilt. My mother admired it, and clearly wanted one, and I thought how hard can this be!  I didn’t know anything about quilting, but I knew enough to buy 100% cotton fabrics (although they were dress weight) and I also bought the Eleanor Burns log cabin Quilt in a Day book. I made a log cabin lap quilt for my mother, figured out how to turn it into a quilt by looking at the one I had, but I had no idea about quilting it. I have never seen a quilt with so little quilting, but I gave it to my mother who loved it and used it until her death, when both my brother and my sister asked if they could have the quilt. I wouldn’t part with it and it’s my go-to comfort blanket if I don’t feel well.  I didn’t make another quilt for a long time, but went to a local exhibition where the ladies invited me to join their group and I never looked back.  Oddly enough, I ended up a member of the group where the maker of my original quilt purchase was still an active member, and I was able to tell her that I still had her quilt from all those years before.

IMG_4498Favorite tool or notion: I love my sewing machines! I don’t sew anything by hand if I can help it. Not because I can’t, but because I am too impatient.

IMG_4500Where do you work on your quilts and keep your fabric stash?  I took over my son’s bedroom when he moved out, but my fabric stash is now so huge that there ís no room left to sew. I tend to use the dining room, and use the kitchen to cut fabric as the worktops are a much better height.

Do you prefer to follow a pattern of improvise?  I followed patterns for years and years, always envious of those who produced original work, but scared to take the plunge. My passion for modern quilting means I do much more improvisational work these days and try to come up with original ideas. Though I think I am often rehashing designs I have seen elsewhere, but I’m getting there!

IMG_4502What is your biggest quilting mistake? Years ago I made a foundation pieced quilt with tiny pieces. When I came to quilt it, my aspirations were far in advance of my experience. I wanted to quilt feathers in the borders, but how to go about it? I decided to laboriously draw out the feathers on Izal toilet paper [the stuff that’s like greaseproof paper] pin to the quilt and sew, what could go wrong? Of course, what went wrong was that the quilt got smaller with every border I stitched, so that by the time I came to the last one, the design was way too big for the space!

I threw the quilt into a drawer and it’s still there (I think). I should dig it out and either take out one curve of the feather or make all the curves slightly smaller, but maybe not this week.

IMG_4501What are you working on right now? I recently went to an exhibition of the work of the artist Modrian and was totally inspired. I have been playing around with some ideas, but need to come up with a more exciting layout than I have come up with so far. I think I’ll start making some blocks, put them on a design wall and see what happens.

How do you start a quilt, fabric or design first? Design generally.

IMG_4503Do you stick to one quilt at a time or do you have several on the go at once? I have several on the go at once. I’m the same with books.

Favorite fabric right now: I still love Modaís Comma, even though I have made 4 or 5 quilts with this line, something I have never done before.

Tea or coffee: Tea

Machine or hand quilting: Machine, every time! I can hand quilt ñ in fact I took a class many years ago with Dierdra McElroy, who taught me a lot about hand quilting, but it’s too slow for me.

IMG_4506Favourite band: Not sure I have one. I tend to listen to Smooth FM when I am sewing.

What do you do when you’re not quilting: I work with my husband, running a business which provides admin support to Independent Financial Advisers. I am about to embark on a 2-year quilt judging course run by the Quilters Guild of the British Isles, which I am both excited and scared about.  I don’t have any great desire to judge other peoples quilts, but a lot of the course is about art and design (not directly relating to quilts) so I am looking forward to the personal development side of it.

First live band: OMG that was so long ago! Emerson, Lake and Palmer, I think.

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