So…I’ve been writing this blog for a long time now. At first, I was on Blogspot. I published my weekly blog there for probably five or six years before moving to WordPress a couple of years ago. That’s at least seven years’ worth of writing and during this time, I’ve received quite a few private messages, emails, and comments. I’ve replied back to most of those individually. But since there are a few questions I receive repeatedly, I thought that this week’s blog would clear up those questions as well as let you get to know me a little better—which is one of my goals this year.
How long have you had Sam and where did you get him?
By far, the most questions I receive are about Sam. I’ve had Sam (whose full name is Samuel L. Clemmons Fields) for about 15 years. Sam is actually the fourth cat I’ve had in my lifetime. The others were Angel, Scooter, and Garfield, all who lived to be old kitties, but not as old as Sam. Sam is a full-time indoor, neutered kitty, which contributes a lot to his old age. He is fed quality cat food and filtered water, which also contributes a great deal to his health. He also has all his teeth, which according to my vet, is a good thing for cats.
Sam, as well as the other cats in my life, is a rescue cat. They’re the best. He’s also my schedule secretary. If I’m not up by 6:30, he’s meowing at my bedroom door to wake me up. He will also hunt me down if I’m not in the kitchen doling out his treats by 4 p.m. He waits at the front door for me on Tuesday nights – the night I have Sit and Sew. At 9:30 p.m. he comes into my quilt studio (if he’s not already in there supervising me) and meows until I get up, turn off the lights, and join him on the couch to watch TV and cuddle before bed. However, he doesn’t sleep with me, unlike my other cats who did. He prefers to have the couch to himself until morning.
Have you had a dog, and do you like them?
Of course, I like dogs! I have four grand dogs and one doggie niece. We’ve had black labs at several points in our lives and a boxer. All of the dogs were great, but I’m a cat person.
You talk a lot about the importance of local quilt shops. What is your favorite LQS?
Local quilt shops are extremely important, and I still feel very strongly about their survival. Since Dragonfly shuttered its brick and mortar store a few years ago, my favorite LQS is now Pineapple Fabrics. The folks that run that fabric warehouse are simply the best. Pineapple didn’t start out to be an LQS. Initially they cut and packaged the precuts for Missouri Star – which they still do. But every three months they open their warehouse for four-day sales that are simply to die for. The fabric prices just simply can’t be beat and it’s worth the drive if you live anywhere in the vicinity.
If you can’t get to Archdale, North Carolina for the open warehouse sale, these folks have an awesome website that you can order from. Sign up for their email blasts. They run daily specials that are great.
And Pineapple recently purchased Keepsake Quilting, too.
What is your favorite fabric designer and pattern designer?
If I could only use one fabric for the rest of my life it would be Fig Tree. I love the colors. They make me happy. And all of them seem to pair up easily with any neutral – white, gray, or ecru. Fig Tree is closely followed by
Henry Glass Fabrics. I love their lines just as much as I do Fig Tree’s. Both houses produce quality fabrics in beautiful colors.
Let me also throw this in here: I’ve really never met a batik I didn’t like, either. Those fabrics are just so versatile.
As far as designers go, I’m much more apt to choose an applique quilt pattern over just about any other. I love McKenna Ryan’s patterns and just about any of the Mountain Mist applique patterns from the 1930’s. If I’m paper piecing, it’s a toss up. I do tend to gravitate towards Judy Neimyer (although I can only do one of her patterns every couple of years), Sue Garman, and Laurie Aaron Hird. I know that Laurie’s patterns aren’t strictly paper piecing, but they can be converted into that technique. I just love her spin on the blocks.
Have you sewed all of your life?
No. As a matter of fact, I about bombed out of that home economic class in high school, but I blame the sewing machines. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I do. The school I attended purchased cheap sewing machines and we were constantly having tension and bobbin case issues. Towards the end, I just wanted to get through with my projects and call it a year. It also put a real dislike in my soul for sewing.
Fast forward a few years until I had my own children and wanted to learn to sew – starting in 1986. I’ve seldom been away from the art since then.
Do you think you’ll ever write a book or do a video?
I would really like to, but you have to remember at this point, I still work full time in my husband’s business. Books and videos are huge commitments. And while I do think I could handle a book on my own, I would have to have help with videos and right now I don’t have those resources in my sights. Ideally, I would love to have some video tutorials on my web page in the future.
Is there a quilt pattern you would make over and over?
As far as piecing goes, I love both of the Farmer’s Wife Sampler patterns by Laurie Aaron Hird. I also love the patterns in The Big Book of Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth with Charlene Thode and Miss Rosie’s Farm House Favorites by Carrie Nelson. While all of these quilts are inherently scrappy, you can fine tune them to look less scrappy if desired.
As far as applique goes, I could literally have a list as long as my arm of designers that I would use again and again: Kim Diehl. Mimi Dietrich. Sue Garman. Jeanne Sullivan. McKenna Ryan. Those are just a few. Honestly, since applique is my favorite quilting technique, the list goes on for miles and miles.
I also am an Electronic Quilt fan. I use EQ8 at least once or twice a week to change a pattern up.
You talk quite a bit about your great-grandmother’s quilt and how that inspired you to learn how to quilt. Does anyone else in your family quilt?
Actively quilt, no. I’m the only one I know of that quilts regularly. My mom has made a few quilts, but she’s still teaching stained glass art classes, and that’s where her passion lies. From what I understand, my maternal grandmother quilted.
However, let me say at this point, I come from a long line of women that handled needles. My paternal grandmother could sew like nobody’s business. And my mother sewed all of my clothes as I was growing up. As a matter of fact, Mom sewed for the public for many years. Little Nana (my paternal grandmother), did most of Mom’s hand-set hems. And when my dad’s mom went to South Carolina to visit her sisters, she helped her older sister, my great-aunt Aunt Em — who also sewed for the public.
One of my fondest memories from my childhood is remembering the hum of the sewing machine in the background of everything.
Do you teach quilting?
On occasion. I taught more classes in the past than I do right now. For many, many years, I taught quilting at Hancock Fabric’s in Greensboro. As I’ve said before, with so many LQS’s shuttering, and classrooms disappearing, it’s really hard to find anywhere to have a quilting class anymore.
And before I taught quilting, I taught French Heirloom Sewing and smocking.
Is there any quilting technique or quilt that you want to learn how to do that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
I want to learn to make a stained-glass quilt, partly because of my mother’s influence and partly because I think they’re simply beautiful. I understand the technique but haven’t executed it yet.
As far as quilts go, Through the Year with Sunbonnet Sue is at the top of my list. It’s one of those quilts I’ve steadily purchased fabric for and saved special scraps for the little dresses. I hope to start it after the first of the year.
How do you handle your blog?
As I stated earlier, I’ve had a weekly blog for years. In the past, I’d write about whatever quilting I was working on that week. For the last three years I’ve worked hard to fine tune it a little more. I write daily, at least 500 to 1,000 words, Mondays through Fridays. I write in the mornings before I go to work, as that seems to be the most creative time for me for anything. I (usually) publish on Wednesdays. I try to have at least three blogs in draft form ready to be published (complete with graphics and pictures), so if something happens and I can’t write for a week, I still can keep to my publishing schedule.
After I write three blogs, then I work on the graphics or take the photographs for those blogs. And despite the fact that my husband is a wonderful photographer, I take my own pictures, as his schedule is hectic.
A few years ago, I discovered that a yearly theme really helped me hone my writing. I have themes planned for the next couple of years. Currently I have enough blogs in draft form to carry me through the end of July.
There. Those are the top questions I get asked quite a bit. I figured some of you may have wondered the same thing, but just didn’t get around to asking. Always feel free to comment or send me a PM. I answer them all.
Until Next Week, Quilt with Passion!
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam