Saturday, May 14, 2016

Meet Your (quilt) Maker

Welcome to our inaugural Meet Your (quilt) Maker post, a monthly introduction to one of our Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild members!

Maritza Soto is an artist, and if you've ever taken a class from her you know that she's that rare combination of highly skilled and totally approachable. She will be giving us tips on how to quilt using unconventional fabrics at our meeting on May 29th. But here's your introduction:

What’s your favorite podcast/music/audiobook genre to listen to when you quilt?

I'm not really into podcasts, but sometimes I listen to TEDtalks. I mainly listen to music when I quilt - anything upbeat, from 80s freestyle to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Foster the People to cheesy hair band metal. Today's playlist included Wu Tang, Foxy Brown, and Iron Maiden. Lately, my son has gotten really into Vivaldi, so there's been some of that on heavy rotation, too.

"Kelly Quilt," 2014 - Ellsworth Kelly has been a huge influence and source of inspiration. I try to employ the methodology behind some of his paintings & collages in quilting because his approach to these works so easily lends itself to the medium.

What sewing skill are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of mastering curves. I was so intimidated by the very idea of curves when I first started sewing.

What skill are you itching to master?

I want to rock at long arm quilting.

"Stripped Stripes No. 2 - Colors," 2013 - More fun with stripping.

Do you sew for a living?

Kind of. I teach quilting and sewing at Gather Here and sew samples for Robert Kaufman. I have put together a few patterns, available for sale on my etsy shop, and have more in the works. I also sell the quilts and pillows I make. So I guess the answer is really yes.

What kind of fabric are you most attracted to?

All the fabric! I like bold, juicy, jewel tones and candy colors. I'm mostly drawn to solids. Cloud 9 Cirrus Solids are my dream come true. I love that stuff! I'm also a fan of fun, graphic prints. Cloud 9 and Cotton + Steel have several lines that I totally adore.

Tell us about the quilt that means the most to you and why. 

This is a tough question because there are so many quilts by other people that mean so much to me. If I were to think in terms of my own quilts, I'd have to say my Modern Drunkard's Path for two reasons. First, the process behind it finally crystallized for me the connection between quilting and graphic design. Second, I made it for my son. He loves it so much, and seeing him use all the time it fills my heart with joy.

Drunkard's Path Remix - "Modern Drunkards Path," 2011 - Based on a graphic I saw on a design blog, this really crystalized the connection between graphic design and quilting for me. Made for my son when he transitioned to a toddler bed, he still uses it and loves it.

You can spend the rest of your life practicing and becoming close to perfect at one of the following: piecing or quilting. Which do you choose?

Quilting. Piecing is fun and can be flexible. Quilting requires a little bit more work, for me at least. I want to be able to quilt my tops in a thoughtful, deliberate way that highlights the elements of the tops and really becomes an integral part of the design itself.

"Floating Squares No. 2" - I made this one during a week long class with Sherri Lynn Wood,
one of my quilting heroes. It made it into QuiltCon 2016. It's my first large hand-quilted quilt.

From designing and picking fabrics to watching a recipient’s face when they see your quilt for the first time, what is your favorite part of the whole process?

All of it. No, seriously, all of it. When I'm working out a design, I think, "Oh, I love this part of the process! It's my favorite!" When I'm picking out my fabrics, same thing - "Oh, I love this part of the process! It's my favorite!" The piecing, the pressing, the quilting, the binding - all of it! The only exception is basting. Basting a quilt sandwich is the only part of the process I don't love.

"Stripes and Diamonds," 2015 - This quilt takes a traditional way of making quilts,
stripping, and applies it to achieve a modern aesthetic.

What do you do get over a hump when you get stuck on a quilt?

I start another quilt. Or I make a bag or a skirt for my daughter to cleanse the palate.

What other crafts are you into besides quilting?

I knit, crochet, and sew bags, clothes, and plush toys. I got a loom for Xmas and have only dabbled with it a little. I want to play with that a lot more. I also used to embroider when I was younger. I used to incorporate some light embroidery in my artwork when I was in college. I'd love to do more embroidery. I have a bunch of ideas for embroidery projects!

Where’s your fave place to eat in Cambridge?

For a fancy dinner - EVOO. 
For something to grab and go - it's a tie between Olecito and Punjabi Dhaba.
For brunch - Area Four. 
For coffee - Hi-Rise Bakery on Mass Ave.

Do you have any favorite blogs/insta accounts we should know about? And where can we find you on the internet?

A couple of my favorite Instagram accounts are @tarafaughnan and @completelycauchy.
You can find me on Instagram, too, @sotosewn.
I used to blog at I'd like to ease back into it but for now I'm pretty active on Instagram

A la Girard, 2015 - For the MQG Darlene Zimmerman template challenge, I made a small quilt
(approx. 30 x 40 inches) based on a screen by designer and illustrator Alexander Girard.

Anything else you want us to know about you?

I have a crazy tri-colored Sheltie named Toby, and I like to ride my bicycle.

Thanks Maritza! We look forward to seeing everyone at our meeting on May 29th.


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