In the first members spotlight, I would like to introduce Gemma, or as you might know her – Pretty Bobbins. Gemma has just returned to Canberra and we are thrilled that she has become a member of the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself Gemma!
I’m a long term Canberra resident who has spent more time away from the Nation’s Capital than in it! I grew up in Victoria and have lived in Queensland, Indonesia, China and New Caledonia. I have always had a thing for textiles; costumes, rugs, fabric, clothes and weaving. I came to quilting quite late and used my dress making skills and an old 1970s Better Homes and Gardens book to teach myself to quilt. Convinced that there had to be a better way I took a beginners class and a few years later discovered modern quilting and got hooked!
What got you interested in quilting? When did you first find modern quilting?
I discovered blogging first and shared my creative journey sewing gifts and kids clothes. I had made a couple of quilts and the more fabric I bought online the more quilts I came across. Eventually I bought a few Modern Quilting books and followed a pattern or two. After a particularly difficult period and whilst recovering from pneumonia I hooked into the modern quilting movement online and realised that quilting was more than just following a pattern and making a blanket. Once my quilting addiction hit I couldn’t stop and haven’t looked back!
The quilt on left is the first Gemma made and the quilt on right is the first modern quilt she made following a pattern called “Kitchen Windows” in Elizabeth Hartman’s first book.
- How has your style changed over the years?
My first four quilts (with large gaps between the first and second and third) were all made following patterns. These days I am all about improv, designing my own quilts, using bold colours and making the quilting a large feature of the quilt. My first two quilts I quilted in the ditch, these days I go crazy free motion quilting everything I can get my hands on. It’s been a little while since I finished a quilt, but I have lots of quilts waiting for binding…
- What are you currently working on?
Too many projects to count! Probably the most exciting for me are a quilt for my bed, designing my own medallion quilt (I’m still figuring out how to make a double orange peel block for the centre – it’s half the fun!) and making a few new wall quilts for our house (we moved recently).
No doubt inspired by the beautiful colours of the South Pacific!
- Where do you find your inspiration? Who are your quilt idols?
Inspiration is everywhere! I tend to be inspired by the palette around me. The vivid colours of the Pacific definitely made their way into my quilts and now in Canberra I find myself drawn to more rustic tones. IG is probably my favourite place to be inspired by other quilters, artists and designers. My quilting idols are Angela Walters, Latifah Saafir and Krista of Lola Blue Ocean. Elizabeth Hartman was someone who inspired me early on and I found her blog and first book to be incredibly helpful as a new quilter.
- What is your favourite part about quilting? What is your least favourite?
Binding is my least favourite part! I’m a machine binder through and through or I never finish a quilt! I love every other aspect equally and am often torn between selecting new palettes, designing a new layout, piecing and quilting! There’s not enough time!!!
- Is there a technique on your list to learn this year? How do you like to learn new techniques?
This year I need to learn time management so I can quilt more! Precise curves is something that I’m focussing on right now. In terms of quilting I’m enjoying learning about ruler work on the longarm.
A beautiful studio in Gemma’s new home, where she runs her long arm quilting business.
- Show us your sewing space! What’s the best thing you ever bought into it?
My longarm is my favourite thing in my sewing room, before that it was my Bernina. I have just discovered Matilda’s Own rulers which I LOVE, oh, and I have to mention Sewline chalk pacer pens. ESSENTIAL!
- Do you do any other craft besides quilting?
At the moment I don’t do any craft, quilting is more art or meditation rather than craft for me and I just don’t have time for any other ‘me-time’ activities at the moment. I do love rearranging my house and hunting down mid-century modern furniture, does that count as craft?
- Where else can we find you?
You can find me everywhere! I’m @prettybobbins on twitter, Instagram, flicker and facebook. My blog is www.prettybobbins.com and my longarm site is www.prettybobbinsquilting.com
Gemma will be back next week, sharing five things that are inspiring her right now.
Show and tell is one of our favourite parts of our Canberra Modern Quilt Guild meetings – and February’s meeting was another shining example.
There were dozens of quilts on show, and this montage features four of them.
The first quilt was made by Jen, one of our new members. Jen says she loves colour and this quilt just pops with colour!!
The second quilt is by Clair, using a range of the fabric she designed. Her blog is http://beeandlotus.blogspot.com.au/
Next is a quilt by our guest speaker Judy. She was in New York a couple of years ago and was inspired by an exhibition of red and white quilts she saw.
And next is Julie’s quilt, part of our Riley Blake fabric challenge. Julie added blues and greens hoping for an antidote to the heatwave that most of Australia just experienced.
Our guest speaker on Thursday night, Judy, brought along boxes and boxes of her dyed fabric, equipment, books and other fabric for destashing. She was so generous. The guild now has a fledgling library and also dyeing powders and equipment. Here’s a sample of her fabric, all cut into strips and ready for use. Thank you Judy!!
Judy also mentioned fibre artist Melody Johnson on the night. Here’s a link to her website. Super stunning quilts! http://www.wowmelody.com/
Our next meeting is this Thursday – 7.30pm civic library.
We’re having a guest speaker this time – Judy – who has been dyeing fabric for years and is coming along to give us an introduction.
She is also destashing and bringing along boxes of fabric to give away. I’m not sure how much – but she’s asked for help getting up the stairs…!
And there are two more big ticket items on Thursday.
- We’ll be signing up for the next Modern Quilt Guild challenge – for Michael Miller fabric. It’s another of the Guild’s fabric give aways. There are 12 on the list already, let us know asap if you want to be part of this challenge, by emailing email@example.com
- Plus a group of us will be bringing along the quilts we made in the last challenge, which used Riley Blake fabric. Watch this space for great group photos of our quilts.
Quite a few emails so far – to sign-up for the Modern Quilt Guild’s fabric challenge from the Canberra group. Here’s a photo of the fabric you’ll be receiving (yes, free fabric) – so get your skates on and let us know if you’d like to join in!! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you ready?
It’s time for another fabric challenge!
The Modern Quilt Guild has today announced that Michael Miller Fabrics is the next sponsor of the 4th annual MQG members fabric challenge.
The fabric we will be using is a brand new collection called Petal Pinwheels. A fun graphic collection that will cut up so well.
Note that our next meeting is 27 February and the cut-off to sign up to this challenge is 28 February. It’s open to members of the Modern Quilt Guild world wide, so if you’re a member let us know as soon as possible if you’d like to sign up to the challenge – email@example.com. This could also be your opportunity to join the guild…
• The challenge runs from March 2014-June 23, 2014.
• Winners announced July 8, 2014.
• Members may make anything they want as long as it is quilted!
• Add in any solid or Michael Miller printed fabric.
• You do not need to use all the fabrics given to you.
• Upload and share your photos to the Fabric Challenge Forum on the Community site here.
• MQGs can create guild specific challenges, as long as the other guidelines are upheld.
• Don’t forget to use the #mqgfabricchallenge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
• Fabric sign ups end Feb 28th, 2014.
• If you belong to a guild you DO NOT need to fill out the form your guild leaders will do that for you.
A note from Michael Miller:
This year we will pick 3 winners. Each one will receive a posting on our blog and “A year of Free Fabric”. Every month for a year we will send you a “Goody Box” filled with fabric from our newest collections.
Okay read that one again. A whole year of fabric! How fantastic is that!
We cannot wait to see what you make!
Check out the last Michael Miller fabric challenge winners here.
One of the joys of being in the Canberra Modern Quilt Group is the international fabric give aways! The first one we’ve been involved in – which closes today – was the Riley Blake challenge. Along with thousands of other quilters world wide, we received packs of fabric to make something quilted. This is Sylvia’s quilt. We’ll be bringing our challenge quilts along to the next meeting – 27 February 7.30 at the civic library.