Last summer, Jessica walked into our shop in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, with a fabulous flag quilt that she had made. We thought you’d enjoy learning a little bit about this enthusiastic young gal and her newfound quilting passion, so we posed a few questions and asked her to send along pictures of her projects and herself.
Jessica’s quilting bio: I started quilting with remnants from my late grandmother’s collection, creating a quilt using basic squares. I made a few quilts during college as gifts, but it wasn’t until this past year that I truly fell in love with the craft. Now I see the creative potential in a swatch of fabric, become excited about manipulating patterns for desired effects, and find endless joy in creating something so special for a particular person. Be it a commission or a quilt for an old friend, I’m so grateful to have found a hobby that provides such endless joy.
Keepsake Quilting: What motivated you to start quilting again this past year?
Jessica: This past year I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to create quilts as commissions—from friends who want a quilt for personal use or to give as a gift—which has allowed me to approach the craft from a more considerate angle. I now look for fabric that speaks to a particular person or occasion, which makes creating the quilt feel so much more personable and special. The whole experience of choosing fabric, color scheme, and a pattern to represent the recipient, the countless hours devoted to a single project, and the faith my product will be used and loved for years to come brings me such incredible joy.
KQ: Do you give most of your quilts away, or do you keep some?
Jessica: I like making quilts with a person in mind, and for that reason I don’t keep any of my quilts. My most recent quilt was for a good friend who’s going to be a grandmother for the first time this coming October. Her grandson will be brought up in Hawaii, so I chose fabric with vibrant hues and a nautical flare, using a pattern that is playful and showcases these beautiful fabrics.
KQ: Have you taken quilting classes, or are you self-taught?
Jessica: Although I haven’t taken any quilting courses, I had some initial guidance from my mother while I made my first quilt. Since then, I’ve expanded on her lessons and had a lot of fun playing with new patterns and methods of construction. That’s the beauty of quilting: you’re always going to improve and grow with the craft, finding your own voice through practice.
KQ: Do you do all machine work, or do you do handwork, as well?
Jessica: I use my machine to piece the quilt together. A few quilts have been sent away to be top quilted, but I typically use the tying method for the sake of being involved in every step of the project. I recently ordered a free-motion foot for my machine, so hopefully in the near future I’ll be doing my own quilting
KQ: Does your family get involved in your hobby?
Jessica: Since I started quilting with vigor, I think my mother has been inspired to start quilting again. She took a long hiatus after her mother died (also an extreme quilter), and the memory of the hobby hurt too much to practice. Now we’re able to share projects and ideas; some of my favorite memories include visiting Boston and taking a day trip up for Keepsake to fabric shop with her! It’s beyond wonderful to be able to share this passion with her.
KQ: What kind of a sewing space (or room) do you have, or is your space just your kitchen table?
Jessica: My sewing space is somewhat of a joke. I have a tiny collapsible table that my machine sits on, and my projects are ironed on a tiny board that could fit inside a backpack. My limited space makes quilting comical at times, so hopefully someday in the future I’ll be in a space where I don’t have to be constantly manipulating my projects. But it goes to show you don’t need a lot of space to assemble and tie a king sized quilt! Although space, I’m sure, would make it infinitely easier.
KQ: Have you started a fabric stash, or do you just purchase fabrics for one project at a time?
Jessica: I have an intense obsession with fabric. I’ve accumulated so much fabric over this past year from traveling between Colorado and Massachusetts, and now from my new home in Los Angeles. That’s the problem with moving around too much: you never know if you’ll come across that particular print again, so you simply must purchase it and add it to your stock! That being said, despite my intense collection, I always find a use for all of my fabric as it’s typically purchased with a function in mind.
KQ: Tell us anything else that may interest our readers.
Jessica: I’m so grateful to have a hobby that not only brings me peace but also allows me to create meaningful products for others to use. I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t have a warm story or memory associated with a quilt, and I find it so fantastic that I have a part in creating similar experiences for the recipients of my quilts.
Jessica is just one of the multitude of wonderful customers that we meet at the shop, over the phone or online every year. We’ll be spotlighting some of these great gals (and guys) from time to time. If you’d like to be featured on our blog, please send a brief bio and a quilt picture or two to firstname.lastname@example.org.