I was born and raised in Minnesota and I currently own a home in South Minneapolis, where I live with my partner of nine years and a grumpy old cat and non-grumpy young dog. I cook and bake and do bookkeeping for a cafe to pay the bills.
Do you have a blog, Etsy shop, or other quilt-related business?
I have dabbled in the blog/ craft world but am not very good with computers so I tend to put off blogging or updating my etsy shops. My blog is called The Dirtyard and is supposed to be chronicling my quilts and thing making. I have an etsy shop of my own work called Dirtyard Designs and a craft business of an upcycled bicycling-friendly accessory line called Breaksea Upcycle that I run with my neighbor. I do a lot of craft fairs and sales in MN and WI.
Do you have any other hobbies, crafty or otherwise?
I am an avid gardener and garment sewist, but I also knit, crochet, embroider, make dog clothes, do block and screen printing, make art, pickle and ferment things, etc. Except for tatting I have tried to learn pretty much all of what was once referred to as the 'domestic arts'. I also collect records.How long have you been quilting, and how did you learn to quilt?
I have been quilting on and off since I was a teenager but I didn't start to take it seriously until about nine years ago. I learned to sew at age seven from my mother, who is a seamstress but not a quilter, and have had sewing jobs throughout my life.
I learned to quilt from books at the library and trial and error. (I had a grandma who quilted but she wouldn't teach me anything because I kept 'doing it wrong'. )
How many quilts do you think you have made? How many are still UFOs (unfinished objects)?
I have probably finished 20 sizable quilts and I am drowning in UFOs. I have some sets of blocks from at least 20 years ago and a whole bin of recent finished tops waiting to be basted and quilted. The majority of the quilts I've finished have been done in the past 6 years once I tried machine quilting.
How many hours a week do you spend quilting on average?
It varies with work and other sewing. At least 10 hours but as much as 40 or 50 if I am really into a project or have a deadline to meet.Describe your first quilt.
My first finished quilt is a wool fence rail quilt made from men's suit scraps and hand quilted with giant diamonds. I hadn't experienced the world of quilting fabric at that point and had some idea that machine quilting was taboo so I labored away on this 40 lb. quilt for years. It is quite warm but pretty unattractive.Which of your quilts is your favorite or are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of a baby quilt I made last year for a friend. It uses my favorite color combo (green and pink) and is all my own design featuring a tall bike with Mariner's Compass blocks for the wheels. The background is Drunkard's Path type blocks which had been on the to-do list for years. It is the first quilt that I really felt like I had a handle on everything as I did it.
I have two sewing rooms, one for quilting and one for the craft business. They are chaotic arrangements of milk crates and Ikea shelving with a few scrap totes strewn about. I sew on a Juki industrial straight stitch machine that shakes the whole house.Describe your fabric buying habits and stash. How do you manage your stash?
My fabric buying habits are limited only by my budget. I buy what I like in sizes between 1/4 and 2 yards if it is a good deal or on sale. I frequent thrift stores, S.R. Harris, 1/2 price areas in LQS, and online sales. My stash is out of control in size but organized by color and type. I also collect feedsacks and vintage aprons. To the untrained eye, I may look like a hoarder.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about quilting?
My favorite thing is finding the secondary patterns in block layouts and my least favorite is that specific moment of anxiety when I start free motion quilting a new quilt. I know I have to do it but there is always a little panic.
What are your current and/or long-term quilting goals?
My current goal is to make my blog a real blog and use it to hopefully share, teach, or inspire somebody else to quilt or craft. My long term goal is to support myself from sewing and maybe long-arm quilting.What is one (or more) quilt technique you would like to learn or are afraid of?
I would like to learn more about machine quilting and take some long-arm quilting classes. I would also like to learn more about fabric printing and designing.Who or what inspires you most in quilting?
I am most inspired by quilts from the 1800s, specifically a book called Old Swedish Quilts by Asa Wettre. The fact that there were no rules, no right or wrong way, made for some amazing and inspiring quilts.What advice do you have for new quilters?
I would say to trust your instincts and know that there are no real mistakes in quilting as long as you like the outcome.Anything else you would like to share?
I joined this guild to try new things and challenge myself and so far I am very happy with how it is working out so thanks to every one!!!