Sunday, August 28, 2016

Meet Your (quilt) Maker: Gretchen Stares

Have you ever looked through your stash and wondered who designed a fabric or what collection it belongs to? Whether it's too old to find in print anymore or just came out last season? We recommend asking Gretchen - she has an encyclopedic memory for these things. AND she's super crafty. This afternoon she'll be teaching us to make those clothesline baskets they're selling at local museums for upwards of $100. 

Meet Gretchen Stares:

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

I listen to a variety of music depending on my mood: country, pop, alternative, etc. I often put on a show on Netflix and listen.

What sewing skill are you most proud of?

My ability to make things work. I can work my way out of many of my mistakes. I get a lot of "Mommy can you make this" as well, like Lion and Backup Lion's super hero costumes I pulled together quickly from fleece (my son isn't original with stuffed animal names).

What skill are you itching to master?

 I really want to get better at needle turned appliqué. 

Do you sew for a living?

No, I'm a software designer for electronic health records. Between that and shuttling my son around, I squeeze in sewing when I can, but quilt gifts get finished just in the nick of time frequently.  The ones without deadlines sit for months and years.

What kind of fabric are you most attracted to?

I love vibrant modern fabrics and some specific designers.  I always pick up some Cotton + Steel, Heather Ross, Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, and Lizzy House when new lines come out. I've gotten better about knowing what I'll use from my stash versus just look at, I use non-directional tone on tone the most. 

Tell us about the quilt that means the most to you and why. This doesn’t have to be one that you made. And we’d love to see a picture!

My son and I have always loved Lego. He asked for a Lego quilt for his big kid bed and I spent some time figuring out the best way to go about it. I came up with a paper pieced head and a 24" block and it worked out so much easier than I thought.  I tried to calculate and ended up just going for it.  The final block only had two seams to match!

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?

I'm happy with my piecing skills but would love to be better at quilting.  Straight line and echo quilting are my stand by.

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?

I love picking out the perfect fabrics to go with a design/pattern. That may explain the fabric selections in waiting to become quilts in my closet!

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

I usually go work on another project and let it sit for a while.

What kind of other crafts are you into besides quilting?

I suffer from "I can make that myself".  I like making bags and clothing and knitting.  I have plans to make a putz house from our house blueprints as a winter decoration (and then a quilt too).  I'm about to refinish my first piece of furniture.  I'll give anything a try.

Where’s your fave place to eat in Cambridge?

I don't live in Cambridge but grab a bite to eat usually when I drive in for meetings. I love the tacos at Olecito and brunch at S&S.

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

I like Made Everyday in my blog feed.  Dana likes to keep things simple and fun. Her faux chenille quilt is a favorite. Many of those I follow on instagram are from my mini quilt swap summer.  I'm on instagram as gretchens42.  It's private, but if you have quilty/crafty photos I usually accept the follow requests.

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