Hi this is Designer/Radio show host Pat Sloan! I’m once again honored to be hosting the Aurifil Designer of the Month program. This year we selected a fresh clear palette of fabrics and I am so excited to see what each person does with them. I asked each designer to create a block for a woman who has inspired them. I’m looking forward to learning who sparks their creativity this year.
Our February Designer is Amy Gibson from Denver Colorado, her company name is Stitchery Dickory Dock. Amy is an incredible teacher. She hosted the first free Block of the Month for Craftsy and people fell in love with her. She has had several new workshops there, but her own patterns and sew alongs. I love Amy’s style and how thoughtful she is.
I have had the pleasure of having Amy on my radio show two times. July 8, 2013 and January 7, 2013. You can CLICK HERE and scroll back on the player to listen
We have a sew along with a MONTHLY thread BOX giveaway (seriously folks… you could win a box of my thread which is over $120.00 value.. for making a quilt block… you have to join in!).
And we have an added feature this year of a machine quilting tip from Natalia Bonner. Look for that at the end of each interview!
EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block from our 2014 designers and that random person receives a FULL BOX of my Aurifil thread as the prize! Winners are all contacted via Flickr email and posted at our FLICK GROUP HERE
Let’s get to it!
When was your FIRST quilt sighting?
I’m fairly certain that this moment was really my first moment with a quilt…receiving this hand-quilted Sun Bonnet Sue bed quilt from my grandmother on my 2nd birthday. I covered my bed from that day, until the day I left for college, 17 years later. Those sweet, vintage prints, fresh pretty colors tiny, careful stitches…I don’t doubt that they somehow carved a permanent spot in my heart.
Do you still have your first project you ever made?
Oh my…dare I share with you this ridiculously embarrassing old photo?! Well, since I stumbled upon it by chance just this week, I suppose it’s meant to be. And don’t we all have that one horrible haircut photo? My first quilt was this pink and blue fence rail I made when I was 12 years old. I had joined a local charity quilting group as part of a 4-H project. Two days a week in that old church basement, those gals taught me everything I needed to know about quilting…using the rotary cutter, strip piecing, interlocking my seams..even how to tie a quilters knot. Who knew this experience would change the course of my entire life?!?
We all have parts of the process we ‘prefer’ more than others. What part of quilt making do you ‘Prefer’ most and why? And which the least.. and why?
I definitely love choosing fabrics, piecing, and binding the best. For me, auditioning my fabric pairings feels like pulling out a fresh white piece of paper and an unopened box of crayons- the possibilities are endless. Stumbling upon awesome combos that I never thought to pair up before- it’s exciting.
That’s also why I organize my fabrics in color order, and not by line or designer. It helps me to think outside the box. And then piecing of course, is just exciting…the hum of my machine, like a little factory line, just cranking out patches one after another, and watching the quilt top grow before my very eyes- I love it.
And then there’s binding…ah, I love hand binding. I settle in with a great movie, snuggle up under my freshly trimmed quilt, and just sew…a rhythmic melody of invisible little stitches, up and down, in and out. It’s so relaxing for me, and satisfying to put that last bit of frosting on a quilt.
My least favorite steps? Mmm, I wouldn’t say I love cutting. That feels like one of the more exhausting steps, and I’m always losing track of how many pieces I’ve cut….190, 192, 194…what?! 100 more squares to go?!? ;)
Did you have a career prior to making art, and what was it?
I’ve always been creating things with my hands, for as long as I can remember. As I child, I spent hours between the stacks at the library, reading about crafts…pressed flowers, jewelry making, pottery, weaving, sewing, and of course quilting…nothing was out of the realm of what I wanted to create. Come Christmas, my dear family members received all sorts of crazy gifts- and always acted so thrilled (I’m eternally grateful that they fanned my creative flame, even when their dangly fringed earrings or crocheted mesh pool tote left a bit to be desired). I kept on crafting, but honestly it never occurred to me that what I made was “art” or that I could make a living doing it.
In college I majored in the next artsiest thing I could find- musical theater, which was awesome until I graduated and realized I actually needed money to survive. So I took a job as an Office Manager at a local talent agency. I learned the business, moved up the chain, and ended up spending 10 years there as the director of their commercial print division. It wasn’t until I left that job to stay home full time with my 2 (at the time) young children, that I was swept up into the online modern quilting movement. All of the sudden, it was like all of the past experiences of my life were converging into one great “Ah ha!” I knew I was home.
What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown?
I’m from Denver, Colorado (born & raised!), and one of my favorite local spots is an insanely fabulous craft shop on South Broadway called Fancy Tiger Crafts. I worked in the shop a couple of years ago briefly, and now teach quilting classes there. Truly, this place is a GEM…no matter where I travel, I’ve never visited a shop quite as innovative and inspiring as Fancy Tiger. If you’re ever in Denver, pop in for a visit and be sure to tell them that Amy sent you!
Do you have a tip or trick to make your quilt making easier?
I think my quilt making took on new life, and did feel much easier, once I came to grips with the reality that why I quilt is more important that what I quilt. Am I trying to fit into a trendy group? Am I focused on showing off designer fabrics? Or am I making the quilt because the process and the final product bring me joy, and because I want to share that joy?
When I really examine and refocus my intentions, my designs seem to soar. I’m able to put aside expectations and trends and pressures- the latest colors or piecing trends- and simply hone in on what I love about quilting in the first place- the expression, the beauty of the process, and the meaning behind the quilt. Suddenly I’m pairing colors and fabrics that really make me happy and designing quilts that I can’t stop looking at.
What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?
This is such a tough question, since one of the things I love best about Aurifil, is the gorgeous variety. 2021, 2605, and 2425 are three of my favorites though. The soft white, and medium grey match anything I could possibly dream of piecing, and this soft medium pink- well, it’s just about the perfect pink in my opinion.
What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it?
My studio, aahh, my studio. Mommy’s hideaway! I’m so thankful for my little upstairs sewing room. And I just cleaned it out actually, so you’ll be the first to see these pics.
What would I change? I would be great to have separate and larger surfaces for my cutting/pressing (right now a single small table serves both of these purposes),
but honestly, I can’t complain. It works just fine,
and I’m so thankful to have this dedicated space.
If you could train with, or work with, or follow one person for a day.. who would it be?
Oh my! What a tough question. Perhaps Anna Maria Horner, for several reasons. First, not only do I admire her work, but also because I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with her during her recent visit to our guild, and discovered that she is an absolute DELIGHT of a person. Her ability to mother a house full of children AND get so much done- it absolutely blows my mind. I think I could learn a ton not only from her creative process, but also from her time management skills!
Well, I just released a new class on Craftsy this month, and I’m really excited about it. It’s called “The Twisted Irish Chain”, and it’s all about taking the age-old chain style quilts, breathing fresh new life into them, and making them your own. What a delight to create these quilts, and film the class. Readers can find my recent blog post about the class here, and can read more details and sign up for the class here.
What woman Inspired your Quilt Block?
When I think back on the journey that has led me to where I am today- raising 4 beautiful children, married to my best friend for over a decade, and designing quilts for a living- truly fulfilling dreams I didn’t even know I had- my mind goes back to just one person- my mother. She’s the one who sat me on her lap and showed me how to sew…and how to fix the tension when all you want to do is throw your gathered skirt in the trash and toss that old machine out the window. She’s the one who volunteered to lead our 4-H group and encouraged me to sign up for any project my little heart desired. Without complaint, she drove me to pottery class, painting class, dance class, quilting group, play practice. She was always my audience, my editor, my cheerleader, my friend. She didn’t let me get lazy when I didn’t “feel” like finishing what I’d started, or was tempted to drop out of something I’d committed to. She taught me that hard work pays off, that details matter, and that anything worth doing, is worth doing all the way. I can’t begin to tell my mother how much she means to me, or how grateful I am for her endless love and support…but, I can quilt. And so, may this block be one small reminder to her, of just how very grateful I am. Love you, Mom!
“My block is called “Mother’s Day” because I think it looks like a pretty flower arrangement- just the kind of sweetness I want to send to my mom, both on Mother’s Day and every day, to let her know how much I appreciate her.”
And a few on the light side… (CLICK HERE for the star)
- Last Movie you Watched- Saving Mr. Banks (I cried like a baby!)
- Your current favorite Song- right now I love Safe & Sound by Capital Cities, and Counting Stars by One Republic
- The snack you crave- ice cream and popcorn
- The Color you have always LOVED- I feel like I’m cheating on all the other colors that I love as well, but I’m gonna have to say pink.
The very talented Natalia Bonner has a Machine Quilting tip for you each month. Natalia will be quilting the final top for the Aurifil Gallery in Milan Italy!
My block looks so yummy.. I’m super excited about it! CLICK HERE for a closer lookat my block and Block 1 together… my mind is whirling with ideas for a setting for this quilt
Are you on Facebook? I have a new group with the most incredible show and tell going on! You should see it! CLICK HERE to join me… I’d love to meet you!
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