Friday, January 20, 2017

Meet Your (quilt) Maker - Allison Coe

It's hard to believe that the Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild started less than a year ago. We accomplished a lot in 2016, and our plans for 2017 are just as ambitious. Leading us through our fledgling months (How do you become tax exempt? How can we get to know each other and design a logo in the same meeting?) was our original conceiver, our fearless leader and our democratically-elected-again president, Allison Coe. 

Hey Allison!

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

I typically like to watch (semi-watch) Netflix, Comcast On Demand, or Amazon Prime shows.  I'm big into binge watching series.

What sewing skill are you most proud of?

Hmmm.... I guess liking to work with small pieces and mostly even-spaced pixel quilts... which I'm getting better at every time I make one. 
Pixelated Hello Kitty (pattern by Amy Newbold)

What skill are you itching to master?

Screen printing, but I'm looking for low mess, low to no odors, and chemical free or greener chemicals... so this might not be for me after all.  Maybe I should try designing fabric instead on my odorless computer and then outsource the printing.

Do you sew for a living?

No, I run a lab at MIT and torture microscopic marine bacteria for a living... for the greater good of course.  I don't think I could sew for a living without eventually disliking it, but I'd love to just sew all day for fun without the pressure of $.  Darn that $!

What kind of fabric are you most attracted to?

Well in general I'm like a magnet to cute little animals with beady eyes... so Japanese prints usually lure me in.  I'm a big fan of Lizzy House and Carolyn Friedlander and just solids in general.  Oh and I can't forget Liberty!  Surprisingly I LOVE the classic floral prints (even though I'm not the soft girly kind of girl) and of course the whimsical prints with animals, etc.

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!

I don't have one quilt that I really put above the rest.  I have many quilts that my mom made me when I was younger... some are literally falling apart, but I could never toss them.  And I have a piece of a quilt my great great grandmother made, framed and on the wall.  And of course my video game quilts are special to me... because I love retro video games.
A poor quality photo of a framed section of
my great-grandmother's quilt (hand sewn, of course)
Donkey Kong Quilt (pattern by Carolina Patchworks)

How/When did you start quilting?

My first dog passed in January 2008.  I went through a rough patch of emotions.  I got him right out of college so he was with me through a lot of challenging life moments and I took his passing pretty hard. But what got me out of the rut was the random decision one day to buy a sewing machine and make a Q*bert (retro video game) quilt that I saw online.  It was the best decision!  It was my therapy then and continues to be now.  Oddly enough, that quilt was "gifted" or rather "claimed" by the puppy I got six months later, who I also named Q*bert.   A very fitting name for a spazzy, energetic (loves to jump), and loving dog.  

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?

Making a quilt for someone can be tricky.  You want to make sure it's the right style, color(s), and overall aesthetic and that's kind of stressful (or it is for me). So when I'm proud of the workmanship and I see that it's used, then I'm happy about the process.  In my opinion, quilts are meant to be used and loved... even by dirty pets and sticky children.

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

Leave it and then come back to it.  I have a little ADD when it comes to my projects so I typically have way too many things going on at once.  Dropping it into the "figure it out later" pile is pretty common for me. 

Dig Dug Quilt (pattern by me)

What kind of other crafts are you into besides quilting?

Well, right now I exclusively sew, but in the past I did a lot of crafts including embroidery, needle felting, and metalsmithing.  I used to TA metalsmithing classes and sell my goods at craft markets/fairs, but I'm not a good salesperson and decided that wasn't for me.  And you can only make so many pieces of jewelry for yourself... so I'm on a little break, but I do miss it and I'll toot my horn a little by saying I'm pretty decent at it.  One day when I strike it rich I'll have my own studio building and have separate floors for each hobby. 

Where’s your fave place to eat in Cambridge?

When I lived in Inman Square, I frequented EVOO a lot (before they moved and I moved).  I also ate/drank at Highland Kitchen and Lord Hobo often.  With a 3 year old now,  I'm lucky if I go out to eat a handful of times a year.  Love my kid, but I'm definitely falling way behind on the foodie scene around Boston.  

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

I'm on Instagram (alibear167) and I follow many people.  Too many to list, but you can access my followers through my IG account if you are really curious.  

Anything else you want us to know about you?

I'm a scrap fabric enthusiast and will "dumpster" dive for modern fabrics... especially for Liberty, Lizzy House, solids, and Carolyn Friedlander.  I've been known to lightly and jokingly scold people for tossing scraps and I have no shame about checking trash bins at retreats or sew-ins for treasures.  My idea of a toss-able scrap is anything less than an inch.  Needless to say, I make lots of scrap quilts and contribute to Do.good stitches and other charitable activities with the two guilds (also a member of Seacoast MQG) that I am a member of. 

Look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on January 29th!