Welcome to the second part where we learn more about Danielle. Is there a technique on your list to learn this year? How do you like to learn new techniques?
I would love to do more foundation paper piecing. I have done a few blocks here and there (all bee blocks, I think!) but would love to do something of my choosing and for me. I like to learn by just jumping in, perhaps reading a tutorial or two and maybe having a friend to sew the same thing with so we can help each other and laugh at our mistakes instead of despairing alone. Another technique I’d like to try is top-down or open seam piecing. Sarah Fielke’s quilt In the Night Garden is made using this technique and it’s a stunner!
Where do you find your inspiration?
One of the things I really love about quilting is how there is inspiration everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a pattern on a floor, or a wall, in a building, even on packaging, and thought, that could make a quilt! I love going to friends’ houses who have older style bathrooms because very often there will be an amazing tessellated tile pattern on the floor or walls. I’d love to say that every time I see an object in this way that I rush home and whip up a quilt, or at least draw the pattern and save it for later, but sadly that’s not where my headspace is right now – I’m hoping that in years to come when life is not so crazy that I will have a lot more time to reflect on design and nature and turn my ideas into all the things!
Of course in the meantime there is inspiration non-stop if you choose to engage in social media – sometimes I think there is too much! I’m constantly astounded by how many people just like me there are all over the world, with the same motivation to make beautiful things. It has been wonderful to connect with people long distances away in an instant, and I’ve made some very close friendships with lovely people I’ve met online (and have been lucky enough to meet some of them in real life too, while on holidays in the UK and US).
Who are your quilt idols?
It is hard to narrow my quilt idols to one or two. I’ll start with fabric – my absolute favourite designer would have to be Anna Maria Horner. Her colour palette is my idea of perfection, pretty much anything she brings out I love. First and foremost it’s about the colour, or the combination of colours, but secondly it’s the drawings – Anna is an artist above anything else, and I love that she shares her work and her inspiration on her blog and on Instagram. I also love Denyse Schmidt – I love how she borrows from vintage fabrics and re-interprets them with a modern style and colour palette. And the simplicity and crispness of her quilts make them a stand out for me. Recently I’ve fallen in love with Carolyn Friedlander’s fabrics – Carolyn has a background in architecture and her fabric designs (and quilt designs) very much reflect this; they are very geometric and line-based, in soft but contrasting colours.
Sarah Fielke, an Australian quilter and designer, has been a big influence on me. I love her use of colour, and am a big fan of appliqué and hand quilting, both of which Sarah employs by the bucketload. One of my favourite quilts I’ve ever made is her Millefiori pattern, all hand quilted and appliquéd.
Jen Kingwell, another Aussie, is a big favourite too. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m part-way through making her Green Tea and Sweet Beans pattern, and have several other of her patterns lined up for next year (and beyond). Again I admire her use of colour and envy her ability to throw such eclectic mixes of fabrics together as if they always belonged that way.
What five things or people are inspiring you right now?
1. Antique quilts – People have been making quilts forever – I feel it connects us with the past and I see my quilts as part of my legacy. I love looking at antique quilts in books and online (there is a great catalogue on the Victoria and Albert Museum website), and one day I would like to tackle a reproduction of an epic antique quilt. I’m thinking I might start with the 1718 Coverlet, which is an English quilt, pieced and appliquéd, and recently reproduced and published with its own book.
2. Blue Elephant Stitches – I love Jolene’s quilts – they’re not fancy, they’re just simple, and beautiful.
3. Flossie Teacakes – Florence makes the most beautiful things, she always has some EPP on the go and invariably it involves Liberty. I also love the way she writes – I hope she’ll come out with a book one day! And she has a very cute puppy.
4. Make Something – I’ve followed Karen in Toronto since I rediscovered sewing a few years ago. She makes fabulous clothing (something I would love to do more!) as well as the occasional quilt.
5. Japanese modern quilters – they have a style that is all their own. I’ve recently discovered Patchwork Tsushin magazine, which is a treasure trove of incredible quilts (primarily what we would describe as modern). Unfortunately the magazine is only available in Japanese, but the photography is wonderful and the patterns have clear diagrams and measurements included. Japanese fabric designers are also worth seeking out for their modern fabrics – some of my favourites are Suzuko Koseki (who specialises in modernising retro motifs), Kumiko Fujita, Kei and Keiko Goke.