Thursday 29 May 2014

Thursday Inspiration: Erica from Kitchen Table Quilting

One of my absolute favourite things about the quilting community is the amount of inspiration and encouragement I find here.  I find myself talking about myself and my quilts a lot when I blog, and I've decided it's time to talk about other people for a change and celebrate awesome things and the people who make them.  I'm planning a series of interviews with quilters and other artists I admire,  interspersed with the odd post on cool handmade things that have caught my attention.  Thursdays are now for inspiration!

I'm starting off with Erica from Kitchen Table Quilting.  I've been following Erica's blog since 2012, not too long after she started it, and I think her quilts are really beautiful.  I've been delighted to see her blog grow in popularity and Erica's quilts appearing in magazines.

Erica's Remixed Geese quilt is the first of her quilts that sticks out super clearly in my mind.  I loved the fun bright colours she used and the combination of careful precise piecing with a fairly improvisational layout, but more than that I was thrilled with the thoughtful and helpful response from Erica when I asked her a question about working with minky.  If you're thinking about working with minky yourself, you should check out her informative post on it here.

Erica's Remixed Geese Quilt
Here's my interview with Erica - my questions are in bold and her responses are in normal text:

Does your family have a quilting or sewing history, or are you a first generation quilter?
I am a first generation quilter. Apparently my great-grandmother was a quilter, but she died when I was really young and I never knew much about her quilts. My mother and grandmother actually both despise sewing and I grew up thinking that I despised it too. My mother-in-law is a quilter and has been very encouraging.

How did you start quilting, and how long have you been quilting for? 
I started quilting in 2010 when I was pregnant with my son. I bought a sewing machine to make a few simple baby things thinking that I had no interest in ever making a quilt, but the more I made the more I wanted to make and pretty soon I was hooked.

How would you describe your quilting style? 
I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I don’t think I really have one yet. It is something that I am working toward but I am still discovering who I am as quilter. It’s okay, I’m enjoying the journey!

Erica's Maple Leaf Rag Quilt - this must have been so much work and is just stunning!

Where do you find inspiration for your quilts?
My biggest inspiration really comes from fabric. I almost always choose fabrics before I choose a pattern and the fabrics I work with have a lot to do with what I do with the quilt. I have kind of a weird process where I pick a stack of fabric and put it on the counter in my sewing room and I just let it sit there until I decide what to do. It may sit there for a couple days or a couple months, but I spend that time just thinking about what I want to make, looking through magazines, and browsing flickr and blogs.

Erica's Sundown Quilt - her entry for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge

Your entry for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge was a personal favourite of mine. Could you share a little bit about the inspiration behind that quilt.
I live in San Diego, California, and there is a great view of the coast from a park a couple blocks from our house. At sunset there are all of these hot air balloons that go up and the view is magical. I had already picked the purples that I wanted to use and when I saw that my purples were a pretty good match to the purples in the sunset I added some more sunset-y colors and went from there.

Do you like to follow patterns or create your own designs (or a bit of both)?
I like to do a little of both, but even if I use a pattern I like being able to modify it a little here and there for my projects. While it is fun to try to make my own patterns, I think it is the most fun to try to do something different with a simple style or a pattern, which is what I did with my Pantone quilt which was just made using triangles.

Good things happen when Erica doesn't use a pattern - like this "just for fun" quilt!

Are you a member of a local guild?
I wish! When we moved to San Diego I was excited to join the Modern Quilt Guild here, but it meets at a time that is impossible for me. Hopefully one day their meeting time will change so that I can attend.

Have you ever met any of your online sewing friends in real life?
No I haven’t. I am a bit of a homebody in real life and because I have young kids and my husband has a really intense work schedule I haven’t been able to attend any events where I could meet people. I do actually have a couple of friends from before I started quilting and blogging who are also craft or quilt bloggers, but I haven’t met any of my new friends in real life. I need to change that! 

How did you decide to start your blog?
At the time I was taking an online class from Rachel at Stitched in Color and I wanted to be able to document my projects from the class. It was kind of an experiment to see if I wanted to blog and I really enjoyed blogging so I stuck with it. That was a little over 2 years ago.

I love how bright and crazy Erica's x and + quilt is - oh and the amazing texture from that quilting!

What is your favourite thing about the online quilting community? And what is one thing that you would change, if you could?
I love that everyone is supportive. If someone posts a question on their blog or Instagram, there are so many people out there who are willing to help. I don’t know if I would change anything, I have had a really positive experience so far!

Confession time - how many quilts do you have in your house right now?
Ha ha ha, uh oh. I just counted and I have 25. Which is way more than I need obviously, but there is at least one quilt on each bed, my kids have baby quilts, and we have 6 or 7 quilts that we kind of rotate around the house on beds and couches. The rest are unused baby or lap quilts that are in a stack in our guest room waiting to find a home.

Do you do any crafts other than quilting?
Not at all. I actually consider myself to be very un-crafty and people that I know in real life are usually really surprised that I am a quilter. I am pretty sure my Mom is really weirded out by my quilts because I was so against crafts and sewing when I was a teenager.

Erica's Rocky Mountain Puzzle Quilt - I really love the way she's used a traditional block and quite earthy colours but it still looks fresh and modern.

Where do you see your quilting going - is it a career or a hobby for you and would you like to change that?
It is a hobby. While it has been wonderful to have a few opportunities to make some money doing the occasional project and I would certainly do more projects like that again in the future, I think that by trying to make it a career I would start to hate it. Right now I love the freedom of choosing what I want to work on and I don’t see that changing.

I've seen you've been writing quite a few patterns for magazines lately which is so awesome! Is that something you've actively pursued or were you approached by the magazines?
I was approached. It was actually a pretty strange situation because I was approached by an editor who had me make a quilt for her magazine. Things went pretty well so she kept asking me to make more quilts when all of a sudden that magazine shut down before any of the quilts were ever published. Luckily the editor was completely amazing and helped me get the quilts picked up by other magazines. It was an amazing experience and if you are interested in having a quilt in a magazine I would definitely recommend submitting your idea!

Do you have any tips or tricks or things that have changed your quilting life that you'd like to share?
One thing that I have really noticed over the past few months is that the quilters whose work I love the most are very meticulous and thorough about producing their best work. While I do try to do my best on every project, I have been focusing on changing little things about my process to improve my quilts. I don’t have any particular tips or tricks that are going to change your lives, but if you have an area in which you are struggling, seek out a way to improve it. It has made me enjoy my process more and I am happier with my finished products.

Erica's Bangles Quilt.  I just love this quilt so much - it's what inspired me to start my own version (still in pieces!).

What is your favourite part of the quilting process (and what's your least favourite part)?
Isn’t everyone’s favorite part choosing fabric? That is definitely my favorite part. I also really enjoy just piecing blocks. There is really only one part of the process that I don’t like: piecing the last seam of the quilt top. I hate how bulky it is and I always poke myself with pins.

Are there any quilting techniques you haven't tried yet but that you'd like to?
I am interested in doing more appliqué. I haven’t been interested enough yet to actually try it, but it’s on my list of things to do.

Thank you so much to Erica for answering my many questions and providing such great insight into her quilting life!  Make sure you check out her blog, Kitchen Table Quilting to see more of her gorgeous quilts and follow her quilting journey.  I can't wait to see where it takes her!

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Unknown said...

Thanks so much for starting this series of interviews, I'm looking forward to seeing who your subjects are. It's great to get that insight into the person behind the blog. Maybe you could include an 'interview' with yourself some time!
I really like Erica Jackman's quilts, particularly the Rocky Mountain Puzzle one - that block reminds me of comic book 'Pow' and 'Shazzam' bursts (does that make sense? I don't know what they're called...). It looks so modern that I was surprised to find it's a traditional block. I was interested to find that Erica isn't part of any quilting guild or network other than online as that's where I'm at - gives me motivation to keep at it.

Anne said...

Wow, those are some beautiful quilts! Her Pantone quilt was one of my favorites as well. :) While Erica may not know what her style is, I love it whatever it is! :)

Anne said...

Also, I totally agree with Kate that you should interview yourself at some point. :) Or maybe I'll just go ahead and do it for you. lol

Jo Jo said...

Thanks for this; so interesting! I love Erica's work too.

Elmosmate said...

Great interview, i have admired Erica's quilts. Her Pantone challenge quilt was my favourite. Looking forward to next interview

Kris said...

I love Erica's work and I would like to see you on here too. Great start.

Little Island Quilting said...

Really interesting read and of course it helps I rather admire Erica too :-)

Kathleen said...

Thanks for this post and for the link back to the suggestions for using minky as a backing. Just today I asked another blogger some questions on doing this, and now, your link back has supplied the answers!

Erica said...

It was so weird to see myself in my blog feed today! Thanks so much for including me, I would definitely love to see you interview yourself!

Rebecca said...

Fun series! It's great to hear more about inspiring quilters. I love Erica's quilts.

Nat at Made in Home said...

Great to read, thanks for the inspiration!

Teresa S. said...

I really enjoyed reading this interview! I follow Erica's blog and it was nice hearing a little more about her. Great questions!

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