Sunday, April 23, 2017

Meet Your (quilt) Maker: Laurie Bock

Have you finished your challenge quilt for our show at Gather Here next month as part of Cambridge Open Studios? Not to worry if you aren't done yet - Laurie Bock is fielding the final flurry of questions ("you said 'bind with a bright color,' is white considered a bright color?"). As 2017's Cambridge MQG VP she's taken on the daunting task of issuing guild challenges, organizing the big show, and picking up slack wherever and whenever needed. So we thought it was time you knew a little more about the lady who's keeping us/it all together this month!

Meet Laurie Bock:



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

I actually binge watch TV shows and movies as I sew.  You know when you are flipping through Netflix and say to yourself, "That show looks ridiculous. Who would watch that?" Well the answer is, unfortunately, me. I generally look for shows that are silly and easy to follow especially since my iron and sewing machine are in different rooms and so I end up missing many important plot points of more serious shows. I also tend to be very focused on what I'm doing while sewing and the TV is more background noise rather than actually holding my attention. I also re-watch some of my favorite series such as How I Met Your Mother, Psych, and New Girl since I already know what happens. 

What sewing skill are you most proud of?

I think I am most proud of my paper piecing skills. The only exposure I've had to actually being taught how to paper piece was a quilting sampler class where the block itself was pretty simple shapes. Paper piecing is one of my favorite techniques in quilting, mostly because the perfectionist in me just loves how easy it is to get perfect corners. I think I'm pretty proud of how far I've come paper piecing wise, from that initial lesson 10ish years ago, and paper piecing makes its way into most of my quilts. 

This was a paper pieced wall hanging that I made for my parent's family room.
I have since made another for myself in blacks, whites, and blues.

What skill are you itching to master?

I looking to master free motion quilting. Before this guild, I would finish quilts only using stitch in the ditch quilting techniques and now I've expanded a bit more to getting out of the ditch but still quilting with my walking foot. I'm a bit afraid of learning to quilt with my free motion foot but it's something that I would like to master and hope I can learn and continue to be inspired by all of our CMQG members. 

Do you sew for a living?

By day I am a chemical engineer working at a really small start up called Genometry, Inc. We do gene expression profiling and are located in the heart of Kendall Square. I am attempting to start selling small quilts and knitted projects as a side job on Etsy but I haven't really expanded that out too much yet. 

This is a quilt that I gave to my dad for Christmas.
The pattern is Elephant Abstractions by Violet Craft.

What kind of fabric are you most attracted to?

I'm really into bright low volume fabrics, basically fabrics that read as a single color. Also I absolutely love batiks and I love mixing them with prints! 

Tell us about the quilt that means the most to you and why. This doesn’t have to be one that you made. 

I'm going to interpret this question as 'what's the piece you are most proud of and why,' if that's okay because all of my quilts are from me and were just fun to make. The piece I am most proud of is a dress that I made completely out of comics from the Sunday issue of the paper for a recycling challenge my senior year in high school. It was extremely delicate to handle and held together with duct tape as well as thread, but I was really proud of how it came out.  The skirt was made out of three layers to give it the poof, and each sheet of newspaper was sewn to the next so that there were not any gaps in the dress. 



How/When did you start quilting?

I've basically been sewing all my life, from when I was old enough to hold a needle. Both my mother and grandmother were big sewers and crafters and so it was just something we did growing up. Between knitting and sewing my grandmother would make us all sorts of things but the most memorable was the matching pajama pants she would make every year for the whole family. My mom went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and absolutely loves sewing apparel. To name a few things, she made her own prom dresses, which I later used for dress up, made my First Holy Communion gown, and made all of our Halloween costumes. When I was in 5th or 6th grade we went to a nearby sewing store and my mom and I picked out a sewing/embroidery machine for me to use. Up until this point I had been sharing my mom's. The store we bought the machine at offered a Saturday sampler quilting class where you would learn to make one block a month and by the end of the year you had a quilt top. From that class I learned so many different techniques and styles of blocks and that's when I really got into quilting. 

This quilt is made up of the first block that I learned to paper piece - Snail's Trail


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?

Hmmm so that's a tricky one. Those of you who know me, know that I really dislike finishing quilts. The sandwiching, quilting, binding aspect is my least favorite part so I haven't completely finished too many quilts. I do however have a bunch of completed tops and I would say my favorite part is piecing and watching all the fabrics I picked twist and dance into their designed positions to make something quite beautiful.  

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

I usually start a new project and come back to it later. I tend to have many projects happening at once. If I'm really over a project, I try to give myself a deadline and that usually forces me to work on it. 

This was a bit of selfish sewing from the retreat. I found this quilt kit on Craftsy and
really loved the gradation of colors so I bought it and hopefully will back it soon. 

What kind of other crafts are you into besides quilting?

I love all types of crafts. If you can imagine it, I've probably tried it, or want to. The other crafts that I put a lot of time into would have to be cross stitching and knitting. I am always knitting. Currently I've been trying to make a bunch of mermaid blankets in order to start an Etsy shop but that's still a work in progress.  

Where’s your fave place to eat in Cambridge?

Most of my favorite spots are technically in Somerville like Posto and Saloon, so I think my favorite spot to eat in Cambridge would have to be Christopher's over by Porter Square. The breakfast nachos at Christopher's are amazing! However if we are talking dessert, the froyo at Berryline is excellent!

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

I've really been into @misterdomestic 's and @keatonquilts 's feed lately. @misterdomestic has a great amount of fun project photos and tutorials while @keatonquilts has a ton of liberty project photos and giveaways, as well as the perfect amount of pictures of his dog Diane Keaton. My instagram name is @thequirkycrafter and I tend to post about my ongoing and finished crafty projects!

We look forward to seeing Laurie, you, and your brightly bound minis at our meeting next week!

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