Thursday, September 24, 2015

Member Feature - Stephanie Bunch

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am 30 years old, and spent the first 22 years of my life in Tennessee. Since I escaped, I've been living in McHenry. I live with my fiancee, (Trisha's son!), his daughter, my dog and two cats. I've got a pretty awesome family. I completed my Masters degree in social work last year, and work at a non-for-profit agency serving adults with severe and persistent mental illness in the community. I love my job :)

How and when did you start quilting/sewing?
I've always been crafty. My mom taught me to cross stitch when I was very young, and I taught myself to knit about 12 years ago and was primarily a lace knitter. But I always drooled over the beautiful quilts that Trish made. But really, I never thought I could do it. And then, about a year and a half ago, I had pet rats (okay, they were terribly cute and not at all gross so don't make that face!), and I wanted to sew some hammocks and tubes for them. I asked Trish if she thought I could get a cheap-o sewing machine from Wal-Mart to do it, and she looked aghast. ;) She loaned me a sewing machine, taught me to sew a straight line (well.. she TRIED to teach me, I still haven't gotten that one down), and off I went. I was addicted to sewing by the time I finished the first hammock, and went back to Trish for quilting lessons.

What are you most and least favorite parts of quilting?
My least favorite is basting. Luckily, we usually throw a family basting party and all get in on the action. My favorite is probably choosing colors and fabrics for a new project... that's why I have so many un-started projects (USO's?).

Favorite fabrics/designers/color palette? Where do you get inspirations for your quilting projects?
Half my stash is probably teal and fuschia. I can't resist it. I love love love Cotton + Steel, Tula Pink, and Carolyn Friedlander fabrics. For inspiration, I usually spend some time thinking about the person I'm making the quilt for. What will they love, and how can I make something that both they love and I love?

What quilt/s are you working on now?
I've got quite a few projects on the go. I'm doing two blocks of the month.. the Gravity Quilt (Jaybird Quilts) and a Carolyn Friedlander appliquéd quilt. I'm also working on a machine paper pieced quilt in all blue batiks, an English paper pieced Tula Pink quilt, a machine appliquéd floral Irish chain for my mom, and a Tiffany-lamp inspired quilt in Kona Solids for a co-worker. And those are only the projects that I have out. And that list didn't seem nearly as bad in my head..

What is on your quilting "bucket list"?
Google "la passacaglia." It's a crazy and beautiful English Paper Pieced Quilt. It basically comprises the whole of my bucket list right now, but I don't want to start it until I finish my Tula Pink EPP quilt in oh.. 5 years or so.

Where do you sew? How often/how long each week?
I have converted my living room into a sewing room in order to make room for my sewing desk, large cutting table, fabric cabinet, and ironing board. There are built-in stairs leading up to an attic that we never use, and I've got the stairs lined with those plastic shoe bins of projects and scraps. As for how often/how long, I generally sew every day for a couple of hours after work - often face-timing with my mom who also quilts. Occasionally on the weekend, we'll channel our younger selves and stay up 'til midnight or later sewing and chatting. Then we both wake up feeling hung-over the next day and kind of hate everything, but then do it again that night.

My mom and I recently went to a quilting retreat at MSQC and had a blast. We have another retreat planned for next year with Pink Castle Fabrics, and I can't wait!

Do you tend to follow patterns or make your own designs?
I tend to follow patterns. I've played around with some improv work, or tweaking patterns to make them my own. I've played around with graph paper ones and designed a silly, pieced quilt back for one of my quilts. But in general, after a long day of problem-solving, I'm ready to just follow someone else's directions.

What kind of machine do you use?
A Janome New Home 7700. I love it, and it's got more bells and whistles than I will ever need, but I woudn't trade the long throat for the world since I quilt on my domestic. My dream machine is the Bernina Long Arm... which I will get um.. as soon as I make it big in social work ;). Or when some long lost family member dies and leaves me a big inheritance. Whichever happens first.

Are you a fabric or scrap hoarder? Do you finish a project before starting another or have multiple WIPs/UFOs?
I keep any scrap that is over 1.5" in width, but I'm actually not a big fan of scraps. They keep growing, take up space, want me to organize them, etc. A few months ago, I got mad at them and decided to show them who's boss. Pulled out my rotary cutter and cut all my scraps down to about 2" strips, sorted them by low/high value, and started a scrappy log cabin quilt. Yeah... I've got about 5 6' blocks done, and the scraps just keep growing. I think people who finish one project before starting another are amazing, but I'm definitely not one of them.

Tell us three things about yourself that other CLMQG members probably don't know.
  • I roast my own coffee.
  • I dream of having a therapy animal to use with work/volunteering. When I got my last cat, I chose the friendliest of the litter. And she is such a silly cuddle bug, but NOT a lap cat at all. Oh, and my favorite scent in the world is puppy breath.
  • I'm kind of a dork. My favorite things other than quilting and animals are reading, playing videogames, and anything with zombies. The Walking Dead is basically my favorite thing ever.

What is your "motto" or favorite "life quote"?
I only pull out my handy, dandy life quotes in tough times. I've got two: "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming." courtesy of Dory from Finding Nemo. I used that one a lot when I was trying to finish up undergrad. And "This too shall pass" for when things really suck and Dory just isn't cutting it anymore.

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous feature Stephanie! It's nice to have a fellow zombie hunter in the group:)