Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Member Feature - Mary Benz

Tell us a little about yourself.
My family includes my husband of 21 years and our 2 children. Our daughter will be attending Iowa State in the fall (engineering) and our son will be a sophomore at Huntley High School.  I was born in St. Louis, but have also lived in California and Kentucky. I consider myself a “Midwest” girl overall.
I attended Purdue University in W Lafayette IN for both my undergraduate degree (biology) and veterinary school – a total of 8 years! I have lived in the Chicago area since graduating from vet school and have been a full time practicing veterinarian since then. I currently own my own small animal hospital in Carpentersville. I am proud to say I will be attending my 25th vet school reunion this September!
My husband also went to Purdue although I did not know him there. His brother and parents also went to Purdue and he took me to meet his parents on our first date! I doubt either of our kids will go to Purdue.

How and when did you start quilting/sewing?
My mother made all of our clothes when I was a kid (I am the youngest of 5 kids) and she would always try to teach me to sew. I had NO interest as a child.  My mother was a quilter (or a fabric collector) for many years which probably sparked my interest more than garment sewing.
I bought my first sewing machine after my daughter was born and I wanted to make some things for her. I made my first quilt (an alphabet applique quilt) for her, but then didn’t do much for a few years (I was a little busy...). I probably became more interested about 10 years ago and started sewing more.

What are you most and least favorite parts of quilting?
My least favorite part of quilting is basting. I struggle with fabric selection but am getting more confident with experience.
I probably like piecing the best – but am now also enjoying quilting more that I have a HandiQuilter Sweet 16 (sit down long arm).

Favorite fabrics/designers/color palette?
I don’t tend to gravitate toward a specific designer – just depends on what I am in the mood for!

What quilt/s are you working on now?
I usually have a variety of projects going on… I have a stack of tops to be quilted (but need to be basted first…). I did start a “Dear Jane” this spring. (I know – not very modern! But I am doing it in all brights!) I expect that project to take a few years (at least!) as I work the blocks in and around other projects. I work with a variety of traditional trending towards more modern quilts – I am not too picky.

What is on your quilting "bucket list"?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific pattern or quilt I want to make on my bucket list – because the list is always changing! I do have an antique quilt top from my mother that needs to be quilted. I am trying to work up my level of expertise to be able to do it justice!

Where do you sew? How often/how long each week?
I have one of the bedrooms in our house dedicated to my sewing room. I enjoy spending time there even when I am not sewing as I am surrounded by my favorite things. Some weeks I sew 5-6 hours total, and others I don’t sew at all – depends on the week!
After my mother passed away in 2009, I was the recipient of all of her fabric, notions and patterns. My husband took TWO trips from Texas with a U-haul to bring all her things to our house. I had to switch rooms with my daughter because the original bedroom was too small for everything!

This is just a fraction of the fabric from my mom… and my sewing space is not too cluttered – right???

Do you tend to follow patterns or make your own designs?
I usually follow a pattern but will often find ways to make things easier. I have designed a couple of patterns myself, but they were pretty simple!

What kind of machine do you use?
My mother always said “buy the best machine you can”. I currently have 3 Berninas (one of them was my mother’s), a HandiQuilter Sweet 16, a featherweight and several other vintage machines – including my grandmother’s White treadle.

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

  1. I play the piano – took lessons starting in 1st grade through 12th grade. I still play – but not for other people!!!
  2. One of my brothers is an Episcopalian priest.
  3. My influence for becoming a veterinarian was my oldest sister – Peggy. She was 11 years older than me and I remember visiting her when she was in vet school and being enamored with the profession. Sadly, she passed away last June due to a very aggressive cancer.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would be to have all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted to do and not need sleep!

1 comment:

  1. So nice to know more about you, Mary! And I want your superpower, too!