Meet the Members–Mary P, President

June 29, 2010

1. Tell us about you
I grew up in San Jose, CA but have lived in Providence, RI and Boston, MA before coming to Chicago four years ago.  I am a software consultant at Heller Consulting for fundraising software that nonprofits use (Raiser’s Edge and Common Ground).  I also teach swing dance at Big City Swing (sometimes). I have a wonderful husband James and we live on Chicago’s north side.

2. When/How did you get into quilting? 
My mom “forced” me to learn when I was 10.  She was learning at the same time, from a family friend.  My (older) sister did a double Irish chain, where I did a simple four-patch.  I made a few quilts in high school, a few in college and the years afterward, but I really took off in the last two years. I think it has helped a lot that my machine is always out, so it is really easy for me to just sit down and sew. I’m moving to a new apartment next month, and I’ll have a whole room for sewing, which makes me very excited!

3. Show us a couple of your projects 
This is a baby quilt I made for my friend’s baby boy.  It was the first time I ever did anything “liberated” and it was really fun. It was nice to start with something small and relatively safe.
top view of P_K baby quilt

This was a large quilt I made for my friend’s wedding.  I don’t normally work in these colors, so it was a good stretch for me.  I really love how it turned out and it matches their home perfectly!
overhead of "block party" quilt
I had it professionally quilted, because there was no way I could get such perfect concentric circles!
Detail of "Block party" quilt

This was a quick baby quilt I made for a friend’s little girl.  I have been wanting to work more in solids–I feel like they are quite neglected in my fabric stash, so I really wanted to challenge myself here. I love how it turned out.
baby quilt finished
4. What (if any) other crafty activities do you enjoy? 

I don’t know if cooking counts, but I love to cook, and so does James, so we have a lot of fun with that. And, as I mentioned, we teach swing dance.  I find all of my hobbies to be very creative outlets.

5. What quilt or item you’ve made are you most proud of and why? This is a really hard one.  I have so many quilts I really love.  I’m going to say this one I made for my friend Sara.  It was a lot of pieces, but the quilting was the first time I had ever done anything so large that I did free motion.  It was quite a beast and I only did it a few months after my first free motion quilting project.

The back I completely free-pieced, which was really fun to figure out how to use up lots of small scraps.

6. Who inspires you most in your quilting?
Why, the folks from CMQG, of course!!! I get a lot of inspiration from our group.  There are so many talented members.  I follow a lot of blogs, and I really love Gwen Marston’s “Liberated Quiltmaking” books.  I’m planning to go to her retreat in early October with my mom, where I am sure I’ll get a ton of inspiration.  I also really love anything by the folks at FunQuilts (Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle). I’m hoping that we can bring them in for a workshop, seeing as they are in Oak Park and wouldn’t have to travel.

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Photo: Triangles quilt by Erika Mulvenna