Thursday 24 July 2014

Thursday Inspiration: Megan from Jaffa Quilts

Today I'm thrilled to welcome a fellow Kiwi quilter as my Thursday Inspiration interviewee.  Megan from Jaffa Quilts makes awesome modern quilts and I've loved watching her journey as a quilter.

Megan and I yet to meet in person, but we are planning a catch up some time when we're both in the same city.  In the meantime I'll keep enjoying her blog and her lovely quilts from a distance.  Here's Megan - as always, my questions are in bold and her answers are in normal text.


Does your family have a quilting or sewing history, or are you a first generation quilter? 
I'm a first generation quilter. Both my grandmothers were knitters and one was a spinner and weaver as well but I think sewing generally fell into the 'mending' category for my nanas. I talked mum into letting me go to a community college night class when I was still at school because I wanted to learn how to sew. Yep, I was the 15 year old in the class of mature women...

How did you start quilting, and how long have you been quilting for? 
I started quilting after I went into a patchwork shop to buy some fabric to finish a cross-stitch project. There was a quilt on display that I fell in love with and I signed up to a beginner's class on the spot. That was in 2011, so that makes this my fourth year of quilting.

How would you describe your quilting style? 
I don't think I have one. I like trying out different styles and techniques as the spirit moves me. I like the modern aesthetic but quite often I'm drawn to more traditional quilts. I like quilts that have a sense of depth or movement but I'm still trying to figure out how to achieve that.

Peaks - I think Megan playing around with equilateral triangles inspired my own equilateral obsession

Where do you find inspiration for your quilts? 
I have a number of favourite bloggers so often I'll see something of theirs that inspires me to try something, whether it be a pattern or a technique.

Do you like to follow patterns or create your own designs (or a bit of both)?
I quite like patterns because I'm really lazy when it comes to quilt maths. But invariably I mess around with a pattern and adapt it a little, sometimes unintentionally if I'm honest. I'd create my own designs more if I worked fewer hours and had a lovely designated sewing room with a huge design wall and a door that I could close *sigh.

Are you a member of a local guild? 
I belong to a fun little Auckland group we call Monday Modern. We meet once a month to oooh and aaah over each others' projects, make confessions about our fabric issues, laugh, and complete challenges or bees.


Have you ever met any of your online sewing friends in real life?
Yes! One day when I was bogged down in the final stages of writing my thesis, Liz (Shush, I'm Quilting) emailed me out of the blue to ask me how I was going with my thesis because I was on a blogging break. I was touched that a stranger (albeit a stranger that read my blog) had considered my real life, it was a lovely bright moment at a bit of a grey time. We started emailing and eventually we met and became friends in real life. I've not had online 'friends' before, so it makes me giggle to myself when I'm trying to explain how I met Liz to my non-quilty friends. I'm hoping to meet Rachel@woodenspoon, Deb and Julie at their next sew day, and disappointed not to meet you when you came along to Monday Modern. Hopefully another time?

How did you decide to start your blog?
Honestly, on a complete whim, and mostly to have a journal of my quilting adventures. I was very shy at first and wouldn't comment on blogs and thought no one would ever comment on mine so it was a bit of a solo endeavour for a while. I think Nicole (Mama Love Quilts) was one of my first few followers and kindly gave me some helpful tips.

Do people in your personal and professional life know about your quilting and blogging or do you keep it under wraps? 
I don't actively keep it a secret, but let's just say I may not talk about it all that much ;-)

AMH (I don't think regular readers will be surprised by my love for this quilt)

What is your favourite thing about the online quilting community? And what is one thing that you would change, if you could?
I like that it IS a community, so that if you have this quirky hobby and don't know anyone else who does it in your real life social group, you can connect with other quirky types :-) As far as changes go, that's probably best answered by talking about what I like. I love blog posts that narrate. I'm a reader, so I like some story and a discussion of process. I particularly like reading about how people make their design decisions. I would like to see us celebrating 'slow' a bit more and focusing more on process than end product. As Karyn (Milly Made It) likes to say "quilting is not a speed sport". I've also stopped following bloggers who are now predominantly advertisers. Probably enough said there!

Confession time - how many quilts do you have in your house right now?
A very modest five tee hee. I'm glad you didn't ask how many of my quilts live at my mother's house.

Do you do any crafts other than quilting?
I've done cross-stitch and tapestry on and off over the years. I used to do quite a bit of dress making but I haven't done that for ages.

Where do you see your quilting going - is it a career or a hobby for you and would you like to change that?
Haha, definitely a hobby only, it's the way I relax as a healthier alternative to wine drinking. Having said that, some of my academic research interests (I'm an education lecturer) are around alternative education spaces like online teaching and learning communities, and also around the complexity of relationships between capitalism and education spaces. So, while a big part of my involvement in the online quilting community is purely hobby based, quite often I find it helps me think in different ways about my work - maybe my quilting contributes to my career?!


Do you have any tips or tricks or things that have changed your quilting life that you'd like to share? 
Mmmm. Don't use your ruler upside down when cutting. Measure several times before cutting, especially when trying to simultaneously watch tv. Have a large dark drawer or cupboard for naughty projects that need time out. Oh, and try a Sewline pen at least once for basting hexes.

What is your favourite part of the quilting process (and what's your least favourite part)? 
I love trimming (I'm reliably informed this puts me in the 'weird' category). I also love hand stitching bindings. I struggle to enjoy alligator wrestling which is how I think of machine quilting.

If you could do a quilting class with anyone at all, who would you choose?
I think I'd really like to do a class with Gwen Marston. Or Robyn Croft, who is a New Zealand quilter whose work I admire. Or probably just about anyone who had a quilty skill they wanted to share and was enthusiastic about sharing it.

Baby plus quilt

Are there any quilting techniques you haven't tried yet but that you'd like to? 
I've been a bit coy (read terrified) about appliqué to date. It's right up there with FMQ, which is my ultimate Moriarty.

What's something about you that people might be surprised to know? 
I'm really really squeamish and inclined to faint at the sight of blood or needles. When I taught in schools I used to warn my students not to count on me if they injured themselves. It goes without saying I'm super careful with my rotary cutter.

Thanks so much to Megan for participating.  She's name-dropped a heap of awesome New Zealand quilt bloggers, so as well as checking out Megan's blog, Jaffa Quilts, you should really pop along and visit them too.

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Heather said...

Yay Megan - entertaining and analytical as usual!

Jeana said...

Hi Adrianne - Just wanted to say that I love this series! I've been reading eagerly each week. I really like finding new blogs to read and learning new things about the people behind blogs I already follow! The questions you ask are great, and I really appreciate all the thoughtful answers.

I also love your Caturday posts ;)

Keep up the good work!

Jeana said...

Oh and also I love Megan's quilts - I'm off to investigate her blog, it's a new one for me! :)

Elmosmate said...

Loved the interview! Lots of variation in quilts in Megan's past. I was lucky enough to do a class with Gwen Marston in Taupo last year, it was fab! Also new blogs to follow, thanks. Maybe we (Kiwi's) should plan a catch up at the Auckland Festival of quilts...

Megan said...

Oooh, feeling a little shy now, but thanks so much for asking me to join in this series - like many others I love the opportunity to visit some new-to-me blogs.

Megan said...

Now that is a fantastic idea!! We must make plans :-)

Little Island Quilting said...

I luffs Megan in a non-stalky way :-)

Leanne M said...

I especially love that last quilt. What a talented quilter. Thanks for introducing us to Megan's beautiful work.

Leeanne said...

interesting post. Nice to read about other NZ bloggers/quilters

Charlotte said...

what beautiful work! Thanks so much for introducing me to Megan :-)

Mel said...

Megan rocks! Her Peaks quilt is one of my fave quilts in the universe. Er, does that make me a bit stalkerish?

Hettie's Mum said...

Awesome to read about Megan's beautiful quilts. Great to have another NZ blog to follow. Thanks for the effort you put into these interviews! Really informative. 😊

Cille said...

Thank you for an inspiring peak at Megan's blog and beautiful quilts :)

DeborahGun said...

Thanks Megan. Its lovely getting to know you a little more :-)

Karyn said...

Go Megan! Love that you featured a NZ modern quilter, Adrianne.