Modern Quilting Modern Woman

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blogger and Sewvivor contestant TwoLittleAussieBirds is doing something really cool right now that I'm very excited about. It's a series called Modern Quilting, Modern Women:
This series on Modern Quilting, Modern Women celebrates what makes us who we are. How our craft defines us and gives us a creative outlet which pays respect to our mothers and their mothers before them. I see many different women coming together as a tribe of quilters. Woven together by their craft. Modern quilters are as diverse as modern women.
I'm normally not big on the whole meme/quiz blog post shtick, but these four simple questions are so 
insightful. They really got me thinking about things that I never considered before, which is surprising because I'm a very introspective person. With that said, here's my story!

My Wing It Quilt for Patty's Quilt Market booth

1. Tell us about how you started quilting and how you found modern quilting.

I've been sewing in some capacity since I was a kid, but I first started getting really into it when I was in college. After I graduated and moved back to Houston, I hadn't touched my machine in months. 

I got a job as an in-house graphic designer and one of my co-workers just happened to be Patty Sloniger, a licensed designer for Michael Miller Fabrics. The more we talked, the more I learned about the world of designer fabric. Up until then, I didn't even know this industry existed. My knowledge of fabric was limited to what I could buy at Jo-Ann's and a few Japanese prints I purchased on Etsy.

I was captivated by all the amazing designs and wanted to buy everything! I wasn't sure what I would do with all the fabric though. All I really had sewed was zippy pouches and fleece hats. I knew Patty made quilts, so I started asking her about it, slowly easing myself into the idea.

I asked my brother to buy me a rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat for Christmas in 2013. I spent the following days eagerly cutting squares. Then, I made my first quilt during a two-day holiday: January 1st & 2nd, 2014 using Amy Smart's tutorial series. It just took off after that and I haven't stopped.

2. What does it mean to you to be a modern quilter and a modern woman?

I think we modern quilters are a product of our era. We're living in a world where information can be shared and discovered via the internet both easily and rapidly. We're more global. As a result, we're more open and accepting of new and different ideas. 

My wall of minis

I think with traditional quilters, there are so many "rules" because that is what those quilters were taught. They learned one way and that was the right way. They couldn't Google "how to make a half-square triangle" and see all the different methods people use. 

Quilting isn't just being handed down through families anymore either. I would guess most older traditional quilters were taught by a family member. Now, we're looking to new sources of learning because so many of us come from non-quilting families. We're looking up tutorials online that were written by complete strangers from who knows where. 

The more concise answer would be that we are not learning from one direct source anymore. It's coming from hundreds, if not thousands of sources. Furthermore, we're not just learning one way to do something. I have probably read at least 20 different HST tutorials and I use lots of them to suit my mood. 

I was never taught the "rules" so I don't even see them. I do the research and cherry-pick the information I like, or just make it up. 

I think that is also indicative of what it means to be a modern woman. We're not interested in the straight, paved path for our life journey. We're kinda bush-whacking our way through the jungle any way we please. We do what works for us and ignore what doesn't.

3. Which quilt that you have made represents you and why?

That's an easy choice. It's not so much one quilt, but my series of Scatterbrain Quilts that represents me best.

Scatterbrain Quilt No. 4

I have ADHD. When I was diagnosed, I finally understood so many aspects of myself that I had wrestled with for years. I've always been artistic but I was constantly jumping from one pursuit the next (like photography, painting, writing, etc). That made me feel like a jack of all trades, master of none. It made me feel like I wasn't good enough at any one thing to be successful, and that gave way to feelings of hopelessness. 

When I started quilting, I was deeply afraid that it would be the same old story. But it wasn't. There are so many different things to do within the realm of quilting that I never get bored. However, I do find that I can't do one-block quilts or anything super repetitive.

I started making Scatterbrain Quilts because I was tired of trying to stick to one idea when I have hundreds of them swirling in my head like cows in a twister. I never before had an outlet where I was free to just unleash my internal chaos in a constructive way.

Scatterbrain Quilts are the perfect representation of what it's like for me living with ADHD. It can be chaotic, but it can also be beautiful.

4. How do you connect with other modern quilters?

Joining the Houston Modern Quilt Guild was of the best things I could have done to connect with other like-minded quilters. I'm a complete internet dork, but even I, Ms. Hermit Crab herself, understand the value of getting together with "my people" in person. There is just no substitute. 

With that being said, I'm hooked on Instagram. I've "met" people on IG that I then got to meet at Quilt Market, which was a blast. I probably would have missed out if I hadn't been a virtual friend/follower first. 

I read lots of blogs (thank God for Bloglovin' to keep them all organized) and listen to the Modern Sewciety podcast religiously. Stephanie has exposed me to so many amazing people in this industry that I would have never known about otherwise. 

Patty, Kim Kight, Tammy, and myself at the Cotton + Steel booth at Market
Well, that's that! If these questions got you thinking, be sure to check out the link up over at TwoLittleAussieBirds!


  1. I love your scatterbrain quilts. Also when you said "We're kinda bush-whacking our way through the jungle" I totally pictured you trekking through the jungle hacking away at plants with a machete lol

  2. This was a fun post to read!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It was awesome to meet you at market, too. :)

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I had so much fun chatting with you at market! Hopefully I'll see you in your home state for spring. :)

  3. I absolutely love your Scatterbrain Quilts! And thank you so much for sharing how you feel about being a modern quilter and woman.