Members spotlight – Coral part 1

Our next members spotlight is the talented and award winning Coral. Tell us a little bit about yourself! What got you interested in quilting? 

Hi, I’m Coral. I’m originally from Northern California, but have lived in Australia for nearly 10 years now and call it home.

Me with my quilt at the Under 35s Quilt Comp in Sydney earlier this year.
Me with my quilt at the Under 35s Quilt Comp in Sydney earlier this year.

I was first exposed to quilts by my Grandma, who took it up as a hobby after retiring. She made quilts for all her grandkids’ high school graduations. I made my first quilt in 2006 when I was living by myself in Las Vegas for a few months. I called my Grandma for help with the extreme basics, like what “WOF” stood for. It’s more than a bit crooked, but I still love it.

2. My First Quilt
A woven strip quilt from McCall’s QuickQuilts magazine.

After that I made a few small quilts and projects, but I really caught the bug in 2010, when I decided to make a wedding quilt for my best friend. I had found a simple nine patch pattern and went to my local quilt shop for a “your choice” class to get help. After that, I was hooked. I made a nearly king size quilt, and the process also helped me make it through some tough times at work. I knew then I was a quilter.

3. Promise of Spring
The Promise of Spring made in 2010

When did you first find modern quilting? And, do you do any other craft besides quilting?

I first found modern quilting when I started browsing some blogs. I LOVE quilt magazines, but in 2010, not many had caught the modern bug – especially in Australia. Through various blogs I found out about the Modern Quilt Guild. To be honest, the explanation of a modern quilt on the MQG site at the time turned me off – I like using regular blocks and I love prints. Nevertheless, I made my first “modern” style quilt in 2011 for a baby gift.

4. First Modern Style Quilt
The striped and flower fabrics were from my Grandma Mary Jean’s 80th birthday party

When I moved to Canberra and heard that a MQG was starting, I was more interested in checking out the group dynamic than adhering to a prescriptive style. I’ve found the group to be so welcoming. It adds a lot of joy to my quiltmaking to share it with people who understand and are passionate about the craft.

At the moment, I also do crochet (I love amigurumi), embroidery and cross-stitch. But quilting is definitely my creative passion and escape.

5. Amigurumi Elephant
Amigurumi Elephant I made this year for a co-worker’s new baby

How has your style changed over the years?

That’s a tough question. I’ve definitely evolved in the complexity of my piecing, as well as machine quilting. I suppose maybe my “taste” level has improved. I’m still pretty attracted to “twee” prints and themes. I’ve definitely started to be influenced by the more modern style of Canberra MQG members, but I think I will still remain a more “contemporary” style quilter.

My biggest accomplishment is my Star of India quilt. It’s a Jinny Beyer pattern I started at a class at Rosemont Patchwork in Tuggeranong. The star fabrics are almost all from my stash. It took me nine months to piece it and nine months to quilt it (with other projects in between of course). I felt like this was my “thesis” quilt to go from a beginning quilter to an intermediate. I’m very proud that it won 1st prize in Contemporary Quilts at the Royal Canberra Show and 2nd in Bed Quilts (Non-Professional) at the Canberra Quilters Exhibition. It will also be showing at the Australian Machine Quilters Association Show in Adelaide in October. It then goes on permanent display in my guest room, which is being designed around the quilt.

6. Star of India
Me with my quilt Star of India at the exhibition

What are you currently working on?

I just finished a quilt top with “hexagons” made up of 60 degree triangles. I was inspired by the bee fabric and I’m quite pleased by how it’s turned out, even though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting due to some maths errors. It’s off being quilted by Gone Aussie Quilting.

7. Bee's Knees Quilt
Bee’s Knees “hexagon” quilt

At the moment I’m working on a blue and white mini quilt for the Braidwood Quilt Event challenge. I was inspired by a buzzsaw block I found in a quilt magazine. I had a lovely 5” roll of various blues from PolkaDotTea fabrics on hand. I like using modern style fabrics on traditional blocks. I’m also keen to quilt some killer feathers. I love to quilt feathers!

8. Buzzsaw
Buzzsaw blocks

What is your favourite part about quilting? What is your least favourite?

My favorite is definitely the quilting. I’ve worked very hard over the last four years to become a strong machine quilter. I was so pleased to see this hard work rewarded with the award for Excellence in Machine Quilting (Domestic) for my Star of India quilt at the Canberra Quilters Exhibition.

9. Star of India Close Up
Close up of the feathered quilting on Star of India

My least favourite would have to be trimming the threads on the back of the quilt top before basting. It’s so tedious and you never can quite get them all. But it does prevent those nasty strays from showing through after quilting, so I always do it anyway.

Is there a technique on your list to learn this year? How do you like to learn new techniques?

I’m going to knuckle down and vanquish half square triangles. I can never get the darn points to match, but I’m going to figure it out. I have a UFO with Ocean Waves blocks. There are 32 HSTs in each block, so that should be good practice. I’ve also got my eye on some machine appliqué patterns and would like to work on my technique there.

10. Ocean Waves
Ocean Waves block

I’m a visual learner so I love tutorials and books with lots of images. Videos are great too. Nothing beats a class with a hands-on teacher though. I find I learn so much in classes – much more than merely the topic of the class.

Where can we find you?

I’m mainly on Twitter. I can be verbose (as exhibited here), so Twitter keeps me concise. I love the interactions on Twitter as well. I keep thinking I need to get on Instagram since it seems like EVERYONE is on it, but I haven’t made the jump just yet. I probably need to get it figured out before QuiltCon.

I also keep track of all my projects on Threadbias.

That’s the end of part one for Coral. Keep an eye out for the second part where we hear about Coral’s inspirations and see a fantastic halloween costume

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