Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Member Spotlight: Shannon Fraser

We are very excited to bring back the Member Spotlight and Shannon Fraser has graciously agreed to play along and share a little bit about herself.


Your social media coordinates (blog/website, Facebook, Instagram, etc): 
You can find me online at a few places, including: my website, on Instagram, on Twitter and Facebook, as well as, on Pinterest.
What did you study in school and/or what do you do for a day job? 
I have always been a history buff! They were my favourite classes in both high school and Cegep. So after my year in cooking school, I decided to go to University and study history.  I’ve always considered education as just that – education and unlike many of my peers at the time, I didn’t want to go to school just to get a job. So I went and studied the French Revolution, English, Roman, Chinese and Japanese history. The latter actually lead to me spending a year in Japan teaching English, travelling, learning their culture and enjoying their seriously oishii (yummy!) food!!

How long have you been quilting? 
I have been quilting for less than a year, but I am hooked!

What first got you interested in modern quilting? 
I’m a fabric lover and I love being able to combine fabrics! So I set out to learn how to sew so that I could actually do something with the fabrics I loved! Jump ahead several years and I stumbled upon some quilting videos on YouTube and it was a total “aha” moment. I could pair lots of different fabrics and create something that was both pretty and practical – I loved that! Modern quilting specifically appealed to me due to the bright colors and bold designs. Plus I felt that there were less “rules” than in traditional quilting.  There was a freedom there that I felt I could make something my own.

How did you find the MMQG and why did you decide to join? 
While I was working on my first quilt, I really wanted to connect with other like-minded individuals and so I googled Montreal quilting and there you were!  Since I was such newbie, I wasn’t even sure if I would qualify to participate, but I felt welcomed from day 1, which is so awesome!

Whose techniques/style/philosophy do you most admire in the modern quilting community? 
This is a tough one! I feel like I am still in discovery mode, but I would have to say I am really taken by Kathleen Riggins from Kathleen Quilts – her quilting is so intricate that I am just in awe. I also really love Amy Sinibaldi’s work, it is quite different from my style, but she includes the sweetest little details which I adore. And I love the graphic and bold nature of Libs Elliott’s work.

Do you have any favorite quilting related social media accounts that you follow? 
OMG – I am following so many quilters feeds, it’s crazy!  But I just love seeing Nicole from Lilly Ella’s World, Vanessa Christenson, Karen Lewis, Sachiko from Tea Rose Home, Jamie Swanson and Christopher from the Tattooed Quilter show up in my feed – it makes me happy :-)

Where do you look for inspiration or ideas for your quilting projects? 
That is so funny, my last newsletter was all about finding quilting inspiration from interior design, art and fashion. Sometimes it’s the colour pairings, other times it’s the material of a dress or the lines of a tile that have me captivated and imagining how that would look in a quilt design.  

What is your favorite project that you have completed? Why is it your favorite? 
I don’t have that many quilts under my belt, but I would have to say the Dresden Plate quilt that is still a WIP has to be my favourite. My partner is beyond supportive and has spent more hours than I’m sure he cared listening to me ramble on about fabric options, quilting techniques and just me plain geeking out over anything quilty! I was surprised to find out that he really likes quilts, so I asked him if he would like me to make him one and he chose Dresden Plates as his favourite motif. Little did I know what I was getting myself into, but I’m thrilled I did. I have learned so much working on that quilt – the biggest one being that you never know what you can accomplish unless you give it a try. That and patience! Quilting is not a sprint it is a marathon and you need to pace yourself. Once I got the quilt top finished, I hummed and hawed for months whether to send it out to be long arm quilted or whether I should do it myself.  My machine is too small to handle a king size quilt, so I’m about to embark on big stich hand quilting! This may take me forever!  But I keep telling myself once it will all be done it will be well worth the time investment. And what an heirloom piece it will be!

What would you consider to be your quilting ‘superpower’?
My fearlessness! Except for client work, all of my quilts have all been a form of improv. I usually just have an image in my mind and that’s what I follow throughout the design process. I just dive in and figure it out as I go. This means my projects take a little longer, but I love mulling my options as I get to each step!

What is your favorite part of the quilt making process? Why? 
Hand binding! And it is such a pleasant surprise!  I honestly thought any type of hand work was going to be my least favourite part, but my first binding experience ever was on a client project and I wanted it to look primo, so I hand stitched the binding and absolutely loved it! I’m not sure if it’s because I was seeing all my hard work come to fruition, but I find it thoroughly relaxing and a contemplative moment in the quilting journey.

What project or technique is next on your “to try” list? 
I have been itching to get on the hexie bandwagon! I know they are everywhere at the moment, but they are just so darn cute I can’t resist! That and there is a painting that I saw a couple of years ago that I would love to recreate as a quilt.

What is the best quilting tip or technique you’ve discovered?
Chain piecing! For most quilters reading this, that’s probably a no brainer, but I hadn’t heard of it until I first saw the technique on YouTube by the Missouri Star Quilting Company. It seriously revolutionized all of my sewing projects, not just when quilting. Aside from that, I think it is so important not to feel daunted. There are so many talented quilters out there, that when you are beginning it can feel overwhelming or feel that you are not up to snuff.  That is one of the reasons I have loved our quilting community. I haven’t felt judged, just supported.  I love that.  :-)

What is the best bit of quilting advice you’ve ever received? 
To have fun and not to worry about perfection – the quilting police aren’t out to get us!

Describe your creative process in three words: 
Colourful, impromptu and true to my gut. More than three words, but that’s what came to mind. :-)

Describe/share pictures of your creative space:
My creative space is scattered at the moment! I have taken over the dining room, and our spare bedroom and part of the closet in the office! I have fabric stored everywhere! And I have been mulling how I want to set myself up for some time now so that things are more efficient. I have been scouring Pinterest for sewing room design ideas, which you can see here, and I will be sure to share with everyone once I’m all setup.  :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Do you have a design wall?

With the Libs Elliott workshop fast approaching, many of us are up to our eyeballs in color palettes and have dozens upon dozens of triangles and hexagons strewn everywhere in our workspace. The other night, one of my cats jumped up on my lap with a bright pink triangle stuck to one of his feet. :P

While the worksheets included in Libs' instructions are definitely helpful in figuring out your colors and layout, if you don't already have one now might be a great time to consider a design wall. This will allow you to layout your ideas full size and move things around to find a design you really like. It is a really useful tool to have both when you have a set pattern you are following, like the Weight of Love quilt, but need to decide on the color layout and when you are experimenting with an idea and want to see how it looks different ways before sewing everything together.

You can make them as simple or as complicated, as big or as small, as movable or as permanent as suits you. My work space is fairly small, but I did manage to clear some wall space and simply hung a vinyl tablecloth, right side facing the wall, so that the fuzzy underside faces out. You could also use a flat flannel sheet or a piece of cotton batting; they even make flannel fabric with a grid printed on it. If you don't have the wall space to spare, wrap that flannel or batting around a piece of heavy cardboard, wood or foam core that can be stored away in a closet or under a bed when not in use.

For some inspiration on how to make a design wall that suits your workspace, you can check out our Design Wall board over on Pinterest, or check out one of the tutorials below. They offer a wide range of size, price and permanence which is great for those of us with limited time/space/money! ;) Also, if you have some tips or tricks to share on making a design wall, leave them in the comments!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Meeting reminder!

Happy Friday all... just a reminder that tomorrow is our February pajama party Sew-In!

Pajamas (and puppies) aren't strictly required, but you are strongly encouraged to come dressed comfy... be it your flannel pjs, lounge wear, sweats, whatever! Just make sure you're comfortable, and don't forget your slippers! ;) We will have warm drinks on hand (bring your mug!) and some treats... if you would like to bring a snack to share with the group, you are welcome to do so.

Our regular meeting is also coming up next Tuesday evening. If you'd like to view the agenda in advance, you can find it here. Please remember that if you have signed up for the Libs Elliott workshop, you need to bring your fee to either the Sew-In this Saturday or the regular meeting next Tuesday to confirm your spot. If for some reason you cannot make it to either meeting, please send us an email so we can find a solution. There is a lot of demand for this workshop and I want to make sure we can accommodate as many participants as possible, while still giving everyone enough time to decide on their fabrics and do the pre-work.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Vitrine sur la Courtepointe Moderne / A Window into Modern Quilting

Our much anticipated showcase of modern quilts is finally on display at the Maison de la Culture Marie-Uguay in Montreal. The vernissage was this past Sunday afternoon, and it completely surpassed our expectations. The quilts look fantastic, the gallery staff did a great job hanging and lighting them and the gallery space was packed with visitors who spent the afternoon enjoying the works and chatting with the quilters. To cap things off, our founding members Cinzia and Josee gave a presentation on the distinguishing characteristics of modern quilting, and walked the audience through the categories that we had explored for this show.

If you weren't able to make it to our vernissage, don't worry... the show is up for the entire month of February so you still have plenty of time to drop by and check it out (admission is free)!