Where do you live?
Livingston, New Jersey
What do you do in your non-quilting life?
I'm a stay-at-home-mom to Eli, 4, and Miles, 2 (pictured above). I sew when they are asleep, but if I have any free time, I read fiction (I just finished True Believers by Kurt Andersen), practice yoga and write essays. In other phases of my life, I have been a marketing trade journalist, a ballet teacher, a copywriter and an advice columnist.
my first quilt
When did you start quilting? How did you learn?
I took a sewing class in October 2011 at Rock Paper Scissors and have been quilting non stop ever since. I started by asking lots of questions of Beth and studying patterns and tutorials online. I jumped in and made a 36x36 mini quilt, making lots of mistakes along the way. But that's the best way for me to learn.
How would you describe your quilts?
I like to walk the line of elegant simplicity and interest. When things are too simple or perfect, they are often times not interesting (at least to me). I try to find those one or two elements that really give a quilt character. I definitely find crazy quilts interesting, but my style is naturally a little bit more understated. I don't have any signatures to my quilts yet-- I'm new enough that I'm trying new techniques with each quilt.
What inspires you?
It's very random, and I almost never see inspiration coming. Sometimes shapes and patterns just pop out of a piece of art or some bathroom tile. Right now there is a brick pattern on a wall that I see every day that I'm dying to try to replicate in a quilt. I've been getting a lot of inspiration from interior design lately.
Do you have a favorite quilt, or one that you are most proud of?
Definitely my skyline quilt. It was the first quilt that I designed that didn't feature just squares or rectangles. And besides loving the fabric and the results, it had a meaningful connection to the recipient. It was made for my only sister, who shares my love of New York, and her newborn daughter. It sounds ridiculously cheesy, but quilts take on a whole new level of magic when they're made with love.
What are your favorite fabrics to work with? (This can be designers, colors, fibers)
I really like to work with what I call "in between" colors-- shades that are hard to describe. I love deep greenish blues, brownish yellows and every shade of purple. I would have never considered yellow one of my favorite colors, but it keeps pulling me in and sneaking into a lot of my favorite quilts. I use quilting cotton almost exclusively, but I really enjoyed adding linen to one of my quilts.
Where do you sew? What is your workspace like? What kind of machine do you use?
I just moved into a new house, and feel so lucky to have a devoted sewing space (in our old house I used the dining room and had to pack everything up after each sewing session). I use a table that was used in the kitchen of the old house for my fairly standard Kenmore machine. I use a tabletop ironing board and store my stash in plastic bins. I'm hoping to set up a design wall so that I don't have to lay things out on the floor, but that 's still just a plan in my head right now.
What is your favorite part of the quilting process? What is your least favorite?
I adore the planning process and picking out fabrics, but I can't stand cutting and piecing. When I'm cutting I always think, "why am I chopping this up just to sew it back together again?" And piecing can take so long that it's easy to get frustrated. But when a top comes together, I get motivated again, and enjoy basting, quilting and binding. I've really enjoyed free motion quilting lately, which I learned by obsessively watching videos on YouTube. For me, there's nothing like the satisfaction of hours of work coming together to make something beautiful. I've actually had trouble falling asleep after a free motion quilting session because I get such a rush of happiness and pride.
What are your favorite quilt-related websites? Books?
I have a major quilter's crush on Elizabeth Hartman. She blogs at www.ohfransson.com and wrote two great books, both of which I've read cover to cover. Her work is so modern and fun. She has so many beautiful quilts on her site, but the Space Invaders one really won over my geeky side. When I was starting out, I also learned a lot from cluckclucksew.com. I bought her Off Track pattern and studied it to understand the basics. Her tutorials are also really helpful.
Do you have a blog or online photo album of your work?
I post pictures of all of my quilts on my Flickr account and blog about each one (though not as much since the move) at melintheattic.wordpress.com
What are you working on right now?
I'm making a quilt with only solids, which is definitely out of my comfort zone. It's one of Elizabeth Hartman's patterns from Modern Patchwork-- Glam Garlands. I'm also finishing up a patchwork chevron quilt for Miles (above) and planning a throw to give to my mom for Christmas. It feels like a lot, but it's good to have quilts in different phases so that I can bounce around depending on the mood I'm in.
Would you like to take the questionnaire? Ask some more questions of your own? Suggest questions you'd like to see answered by our members? Send Melanie an email: melintheattic AT gmail DOT com.