Friday, July 5, 2013

July Member Feature - Jill Smalley

This is our second member feature for 2013. Meet Jill - our guild Secretary...

Tell us a little about yourself. My name is Jill Smalley. My husband is a social studies teacher and coach (football and formerly basketball) at a local high school. We have three amazing children: two teens and a pre-teen. I taught 2nd grade before our first child was born and then I was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years. I went back to teaching a few years ago. When my teaching job was eliminated in 2011 due to a decline in enrollment, I started helping with technology at my school. I have lived in Illinois my entire life, with the past 22 years in Crystal Lake.

How and when did you start quilting/sewing? My mom and maternal grandmother did a lot of sewing, and Grandma made a quilt for each of her 5 children and 19 grand-children. That’s me holding the orange and yellow quilt (it matched the 1970’s Holly Hobby wallpaper in my bedroom). I started sewing when I was in junior high. I made my first quilt, a Christmas wall-hanging, about two years after I got married, when I saw a quilt pattern in a JoAnn Fabrics sales flyer. Once I made that, I was hooked.

What are you most and least favorite parts of quilting? I love going to the quilt shop and picking out fabrics. I enjoy the cutting and piecing, but I hate basting the three layers together! I also love hand-sewing the binding on and seeing the finished product.

Favorite fabrics/designers/color palette? Red is my absolute favorite color. It’s hard for me to make a quilt without some red in it. I also have a slight obsession with Christmas fabrics.

What quilt/s are you working on now? I like to have a variety of projects in progress. Right now I’m working on a patriotic stars quilt for my family room, two Christmas quilts (gifts), a patriotic English Paper Pieced hexie quilt for Quilts of Valor, and my Paris Improv Log Cabin quilt (from Paige’s workshop). Oh, and I also have a crazy quilt that I sometimes work on embroidering while I’m watching TV with my 16-year-old daughter.

What is on your quilting "bucket list"? Actually finishing all the UFOs that are sitting in my armoire!!!

Where do you sew? How often/how long each week? I’m lucky to have a “studio” in my house. It was the laundry room when we bought the house, but it’s an inconvenient place for doing laundry, so when we remodeled the house, we moved the laundry room next to the kitchen and I claimed the old spot for my sewing and scrapbooking room. During the school year, I usually only manage to get in a few hours of sewing a week. Since I have summers off work, I usually sew one to three hours a day in June, July, and August.

Do you tend to follow patterns or make your own designs? It totally depends. Sometimes I follow a pattern, other times I’m inspired to do my own thing.

What kind of machine do you use? My in-laws gave me a used Viking a year after I got married. I think it’s from the late 60’s or early 70’s. It still works great for piecing, but it has a timing problem so it doesn’t FMQ well. Since it’s so old, the machine repairman can’t get replacement parts, so I have another Viking that’s about a year newer than that one, which I use for FMQ.

Tell us three things about yourself that other CLMQG members probably don't know. 

1. My husband and I have traveled to Europe four times as chaperones on educational trips with students from his high school.

2. I started running when I was 39 and since then, I’ve run two half-marathons and two sprint-distance triathlons, plus numerous 5Ks.

3. I love Jane Austen and Harry Potter.

What is your most treasured/sentimental possession? I don’t know if they’re my most treasured possessions, but my husband and kids know that if there’s a house fire, they grab the scrapbooks and run out to the street.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be? The ability to clean my entire house with the flick of my wrist. With all these quilt projects, who has time to clean?!?!



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