A Little Quilty

Hey! What’s that thing hanging from the tree in my front yard? Could it be … a quilt top? Why, yes. Yes, it is. And I made it.

I made it! I made it! I literally wrapped it around me and danced around the living room when I finished it. Because I’m kinda nutty like that sometimes. (Like you couldn’t figure that out!)

It was such a big deal to me, that I told pretty much no one that I was making a quilt. Seriously, if it hadn’t turned out, no one would ever know I had even tried. It did, though, so now I’m going to be a total show off. Tee hee!

We’re all friends here, right? So you’re going to be nice and sweet and completely ignore my goof ups (which I’m not going to detail myself). I think it’s not half bad for my first attempt at making a quilt. I used my favorite beautiful Sugar Snap fabrics (with the exception of one print, which we could not find anywhere in the shop that day).

The pattern I chose because I thought it would be well suited for my temperament (i.e., lack of patience). It’s called Piece of Cake and it’s by Thimble Blossoms. Really met my expectations, in a good way. I think I did all the cutting one day and the sewing the next evening while watching TV. It probably came together in maybe three hours. That’s my kind of project! LOL!

I now totally get what everyone was telling me about quilting being addictive. I seriously can’t wait to start my next one and have a stack of patterns picked out for probably my next six quilts. No idea when I’m going to sew them because I can’t even come close to keeping up with my current sewing to-do list as it is.

I’m not sure about doing the actual quilting part of it. It’s part equipment, part skill and part time. Fortunately, there are plenty of folks who are willing to do that part for me, although I think I may do the binding myself, just because I love sticking myself in the finger repeatedly with a needle. OK, not really. But I do want to have that closure of finishing it. At least my first quilt.

Going to the Farmer’s Market

I know y’all must get tired of me falling in love with the things I sew, but I’ve done it again. I was lucky enough to be a tester for a pattern and used some Farmer’s Market and Park Slope fabrics to make this darling peasant-style dress with apron.

Love!

And I’m a bit bummed, too, because I only have enough for one — and it’s in my Etsy shop. I messed up when cutting out the dress so instead of having one for the bitsy and one to sell, I only have this one. Is it wrong that I hope no one buys it so I can sneak it into her closet?

The dress is part of another Trendy Textiles launch, so be sure to show my buddies some love and see all the great things they’ve made. The theme is “Mommy Took Me to the Farmer’s Market” and features lots of great things for girls and moms.

Spotlight: Erin McMorris

This is the first profile in an occasional series spotlighting interesting crafters, artists and designers.

For someone who spends a large percentage of her time around fabric, Erin McMorris admits she’s little more than a recreational sew-er.
“I sew but I sort of sew organically,” she says via phone from her Portland, Ore., home. “I don’t know how to read patterns. Quilts, I don’t like precision so I do a lot of blocks but they don’t line up. I feel like I know how to sew for me; to show anybody else is just terrifying.”
That means a lot of pillows and skirts created by pinning them on her body before stitching them up. “It’s all for me,” she says with a laugh.
McMorris may be a relatively new name in the world of fabric design but it’s hardly new territory for her. The graphic designer and illustrator grew up literally surrounded by fabric and the quilting industry, thanks to her mother, Penny McMorris of Electric Quilt.
“I’ve been around (the industry) my entire life,” she says. “When I was growing up, I always knew I would do something with design. … But I never even knew about textile design.”
Instead, she studied graphic design, a path that “very much fit me.” It wasn’t until a friend was taking a textile design course that McMorris realized it was the work she was meant to do.
“I knew right away it was the right thing for me,” she says.
Much of her career has been spent selling her work for use by other companies. Jo-Ann Stores, Lands’ End, The Land of Nod and Target are just a few of the major retailers who’ve bought her designs for use on their products. She admits there’s a certain excitement that accompanies seeing her work when she’s out shopping.
“It never gets old. I just love it!” she says.
Her enjoyment extends to the creations made by others with the two fabric lines she’s created for FreeSpirit Fabric (part of Westminster Fibres), Urban Gardens (2007) and Park Slope, which has recently hit stores.
“It’s such fun for me because … you don’t have any expectation what people are going to do with it,” she says. “I get really excited about that.”
While some of the shapes in Park Slope are somewhat evocative of her previous line, the range has a completely different feel from her first consumer fabrics.
“I went a little conservative,” she says of Urban Gardens. “I hadn’t done this before. With Urban Gardens, I was trying to do something not really true to myself.”
It’s a stark contrast to her feelings about Park Slope.
“I really feel like the line is very me,” she says. “I try to do things different each time to keep myself interested, as well.”
The foundation piece for Park Slope is the Poppy Dot Floral, a print McMorris actually lived with before expanding the line.
“I had printed it on fabric myself and made some things,” she says. “People were looking at it and commenting, asking if they could buy it. When it was time to do my second line, I knew where the other shapes — the organic feeling — was going to come from.”
For McMorris, that means starting with a hand-drawn sketch that is then scanned into the computer and expanded upon, using Adobe Photoshop and her Wacom tablet. She admits it’s a slow process.
“It takes me forever!” she says. “I don’t work on it continuously; sort of bits and pieces here and there.”
In the interim, she works on other designs for sale and licensing. All told, she estimates it can take her six months to complete the design work for a fabric line. “I swear, I don’t know how people do all these lines,” she says with a laugh.
She’s already hard at work on her next line for Free Spirit, although “I’m afraid to say what it looks like right now,” she says. “I’m still liking what I see. It’s a little retro but the colors are brighter this time as well.”

Copyright 2008 by Mary Abreu. All rights reserved. Please do not copy without permission.