1. Tell us about you
Hi! My name is Beth. I spend my days working with middle school students, teachers and families as an administrator. I love working with data and curriculum and am able to do a lot of that kind of work for my district in addition to working with kids. I think the combination of detail work and creativity are things that appeal to me in both my work and in quilting. I’ve been married for 14 years to my wonderful husband and we have two dogs, Milo and Quincy.
2. When/How did you get into quilting?
I come from a family of quilters. My great-grandmother, Mama Pat, was known for her quilts. She made one for each of her 15 children as well as her grandchildren. That’s a lot of quilts! They weren’t fancy quilts, but they were made with care and were meant to be loved and used. I am fortunate to have received one and my mom now has several others in addition to the one that was made for her. Mine is a bow tie pattern. The others include a maple leaf and a grandmother’s flower garden, which was on my bed when I was little. I spent hours looking at all the fabrics and can picture them now when I close my eyes. I plan on wrestling my sister for them if I have to when my mom is ready to pass them on.
My grandmother quilted, too, although she was more of a “fancy quilter” than Mama Pat. My mom wasn’t a huge quilter, but she made my sister and me Christmas quilts one year, personalized with our names.
I started quilting when I was preparing to leave for college. My mom helped me select a pattern and we went off to Ohio’s Amish country, near where we lived, to pick fabrics. We cut rectangle after rectangle, then pieced. Mom cleared out the dining room and we set up my grandmother’s quilting frame and called everyone in to help. My two grandmothers, my best friend, my mom and I, and even my sister, who was in 6th grade at the time, helped hand quilt my college quilt. I started another queen sized quilt in my sophomore year, but didn’t finish it until just a couple of years ago: 3 states and 4 moves later. I really started quilting again when my friends started having babies, following my mom’s and great grandmother’s tradition of gifting a new baby with a quilt. Now that we’re done with the first and second rounds for most of them, I’m trying to focus more on quilts I actually get to keep, as well as a seasonal series for my mom – autumn and winter already done – and charity quilts for Shriners’ Hospital, Project Linus, and other charity projects here and there.
3. Show us a couple of your projects
One of my favorite baby quilts – Jack and the Beanstalk. My husband drew the pattern for me full size based on some children’s books and other reference I gave him. I then hand appliquéd and embroidered the top. This was our second quilt we designed together – the first was the Princess and the Pea – and the third fairy tale/nursery rhyme themed quilt.
This was a baby quilt from the Modern Quilt Workshop for a friend’s granddaughter. I started out with a totally different color scheme in mind. It’s a reminder to be flexible and if the fabrics aren’t working, switch it up and try something else. Once I changed to these bright batiks, everything fell into place and I loved it.
The last one was selected by my husband, LBK, who wanted a quilt for his chair. He selected both the pattern, Jelly Roll Diamonds by Fig Tree Quilts and the jelly roll. I should have set some criteria first, because those diamonds were challenging! Definitely a labor of love. Eventually, I finished it and quilted it lightly by hand. Machine quilting seemed to heavy for it.
4. What (if any) other crafty activites do you enjoy?
I like to try new things and new techniques, sewing and otherwise. I’m currently trying to track down some transfer sheets for a thermofax to try some screenprinting. I use my scrapbooking supplies more for decorating presents and the like than actually scrapbooking, although I have completed a few mini-books. I am trying to get back into apparel sewing but find it challenging. Quilts, like purses and shoes, always fit well. I garden some.
Most significantly, I like to cook, bake, drink and eat. I spend time on several food forums ( egullet.org and lthforum.com for two) reading about food and restaurants. In food as in crafting, I am always up for something new – whether it’s a recipe, an ingredient or technique. I’ve taken to keeping a kitchen journal because I can never remember where I find things and if I don’t keep track, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to find it again! I have two large bookcases full of cookbooks, a huge excel file of recipes to try, and more baking pans than you can shake a stick at. My if-I-win-the-lottery dream is to quit my job, attend the French Pastry School, blow out the side of our house to expand our tiny kitchen into a larger one, and build a wood burning bread and pizza oven in the back yard.
5. What quilt or item you’ve made are you most proud of and why?
My sister and I played softball for many years, and my mom started hand piecing a queen sized grandmothers fan for their bedroom while sitting at countless softball games.
We moved, they re-decorated their room, and the quilt was shelved. I secretly rescued it a few years ago and made her a lap quilt with some of her completed blocks. I used a few for a charity quilt, and used the unsewn triangles for my wonky log cabin that I have yet to finish. I have several original pieced blocks remaining to make a quilt for my niece. I’m proud to have given her old project new life in so many ways.
6. Who inspires you most in your quilting?
I think, like most of us, I draw inspiration from many places, mostly blogs and the quilting community online. I tend to like traditional things done with a modern twist and spend as much or more time contemplating what I want to do than actually doing it sometimes! I rarely make something just to make it, which means I am one of those odd quilters who doesn’t have a huge stash. I want each quilt to have meaning and relevance and I look to the person it is for to give me inspiration. When making baby quilts, I try to be inspired by the parents’ plan for the nursery décor as well as their personalities.