Charity Quilts

3.08.2012

March Member Spotlight - Jessica Pierre'auguste

Jessica has been a been a member of the Austin Modern Quilt Guild since February 2011. She currently serves as special events coordinator for the guild, a position she took on in June 2011. You can read her blog at http://splendidcalm.blogspot.com/

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself – where you are from, etc.
I was born in New Mexico but have been in Central Texas since I was two years old. I graduated high school in Pflugerville and received a graphic design degree from Texas State in San Marcos in 2004. I am currently a full time nanny taking care of 18 month old twins. It is reallynice to be able to sew or work on my blog and Etsy shop during their nap time.
I am the oldest of three children and I have a huge extended family. My mom has seven siblings, there are 21 first cousins, and a bunch of little first cousins once removed. My family gets together often and we always have lots of fun playing games and eating yummy food. We have instituted a quarterly Cousin's Day; all the first cousins get together to go bowling, go to an Aggie football game, or hang out at Zilker Park all day.


2. Tell us about your quilting history – how/when you got started, who introduced you to quilting, what was your first quilt, etc.
When I was in college I got a Brother sewing machine from my mom. My step daughter and I made pajama pants, pillows, a couple of dresses, things like that. Then I didn't sew much for a few years because there was not much room in my apartment to set up a sewing area. In early 2009 I separated from my (now ex-) husband and found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I lost a lot of friends over the ten year relationship due to my ex-husbands controlling personality, most of my belongings were in storage and I was renting a room from the people I was working for at the time. So I got my sewing machine out of storage, set it up on the floor of the bedroom and sewed a baby blanket from a kit for my friend's new baby. After that I decided to make a quilt for the baby's big sister. My aunt and grandmother on my dad's side of the family both quilt, and my maternal grandma in Rockne is a quilter. I made my first quilt in the fall of 2009 in Fort Worth with my aunt and grandmother. They taught me a lot about construction, fabric, layout and all the steps involved in making a quilt and I haven't been able to stop sewing and quilting ever since! Recently I wrote a post on my blog about this quilt, you can read about it here
.

3. What is your favorite thing about quilting? What is your least favorite?
I really love piecing and seeing quilt tops come together, I enjoy hand binding, I really like sketching and d
esigning quilt tops and shopping for fabric. I like working with color a lot, color theory in college was one of my favorite classes. Before I started quilting on the long arm machine, basting and quilting on my Brother machine was my least favorite. I just wanted it to instantly be a finished quilt without safety pins all over it. Now the least fun part for me is prepping the fabric for a new project. Washing and ironing the fabric and cutting out all the pieces takes a while. I am always eager to get started sewing and begin to see the project come together.

4. Is there a technique on your list to learn this year?
I would really love to learn to paper piece. I have seen some intricate and beautiful work that is being done with paper piecing and everyone says it is not a difficult technique. I think it is something I could do and enjoy, I just need to find the time to sit down and try it out. I also want to practice sewing curves, and learn to sew in a zipper so I can make use of a book I got for my birthday, Bags: the Modern Classics
by Sue Kim.

5. Do you like to have multiple projects going at once or do you usually finish one before starting another?
I always have several projects in progress at the same time. I have a table in my studio that I stack works in progress on and there are a few things that have been there for (*gulp!) several months. I am planning to replace that table with a larger one that can hold my cutting mat so I either need to find a new place for works in progress or finish them all up soon!

6. Do you have a stash? If so, any big plans for it?
I do have a large fabric stash. Recently I decided to wash all the fabric and I am still in the process of ironing and folding the fabrics and putting them away. I have two vintage suitcases that I am storing the folded fabric in but it looks like some of it will have to be housed on a shelf in my studio. I also have one basket of fabric scraps, I made a rule that my small scraps can not exceed what fits in that basket. Recently I read about this scrap buster
and I love it! I made one block and I plan to make several more. Maybe enough for an entire quilt. I have lots of fabric that was cut on the bias for projects other than quilting and this is a great way to use those without running in to issues.

7. What was the best thing you brought into your sewing room/studio to help you organize it?
I am in the process of organizing my studio now and moving some things around. I bought a simple plastic set of drawers to house all my notions and that helped to clear up the space around my sewing machine. The suitcases and baskets that hold fabric have been a big help, they allow me to see all of my fabric at once so it is easy to pick out coordinating pieces for new projects. I am also really excited about a table that my cousin is making for me. Right now I have my cutting mat on my kitchen counter which is large and sturdy and great for cutting fabric, but I am excited to move that mat in to my studio and reclaim the living area of my apartment.

8. What is your current fabric obsession (color, line, style, etc.)?
I am obsessed with fabrics with a food theme. I can't seem to resist vegetables and fruits printed on fabrics. The most recent one I bought is Maude Asbury's Kitchy Kitchen line; I made some pot holders with that. And I love the Ghastlies
by Alexander Henry. I bought several yards from that line, but haven't decided what to do with it yet.

9. What tool could you not live without?
I have a small pair of Gingher scissors that I use to trim threads and I use them when hand sewing binding down. Once or twice I have misplaced them and that is when I realize that I rely on them quite a bit. I use those scissors everyday and trying to trim threads and clean up my projects is difficult with larger scissors.

10. How many sewing machines do you have?
I have two. The Brother is from Wal-Mart and is about eight years old. I don't use it unless my new machine is in the shop, but it has sentimental value and I am not ready to get rid of it yet. I collected Christmas and birthday money at the end of 2010 and bought a Janome 3160 QDC. I love it! It has tons of embroidery stitches, a table extender, an automatic thread cutter, and lots of other great features.

11. Do you do any other sewing besides quilting?
I like to make lots of different things and I sell them at First Thursday each month at Guero's Taco Bar on South Congress. I sell at other local art shows and on Etsy, my shop is Splendid Calm Textiles. I like making purses and bags, I hand sew flowers and add alligator clips that can be worn in the hair or as a brooch. I applique on to kid clothing for easy, hand made gifts for friends and family. I quilt smaller things too like pot holders, table toppers, and picnic blankets. I have made a few fiber wall hangings
that I've displayed at coffee shops around Austin and in a few local art galleries.

12. What are you currently working on?
Right now my cousin (Robin Field) and I are working together to make a queen size quilt for her brother, he is in the Navy and currently stationed in Afghanistan. She and I are also making a donation quilt for this year's Relay for Life silent auction event. I am making a hounds tooth quilt for my sister using two blue Kona solids, the pattern is from V and Co
. I am making plans and deciding on fabrics for several wedding gifts, so far I have three cousins that are getting married this year. My brother is a member of the Singing Cadets at Texas A&M and I am making an Aggie inspired quilt to donate to the silent auction that is a part of their winter tour. I am also appliqueing team T-shirts for my family's Relay for Life team, sewing a table topper that will be a Christmas gift for my sister, creating inventory for art shows, and making a king size quilt for myself. I have two T-shirt quilt orders that I will start soon and I have been sketching out a design so that I can enter a piece in to the Minimalist Design category at QuiltCon next year.

13. What else do you want us to know about you?

Learning to sew and quilt has been such a rewarding and uplifting experience, I learned to quilt during a very difficult time in my life, and I am so grateful to have made so many new friends that share a passion for this creative outlet. I really enjoy being a member of the Austin Modern Quilt Guild, I learn so much and am inspired by the work of the other members. I know that both my grandma and my grandmother are proud that I have learned to quilt and can continue this craft (although they don't always agree with my modern quilting decisions.) I am so glad that Robin and I share this passion for quilting, we talk about it with each other almost every day. We were close as children and have rekindled our close friendship ever since I taught her to quilt in the summer of 2010. I feel extremely blessed to have a such a wonderful and supportive family and also a wonderful friend in Robin.



5 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, Jessica! I love that you and Robin are cousins that quilt together!

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    2. Thanks, Bobbi, we always have fun sewing together, and it is really a learning experience when we collaborate on a quilt.

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  2. That guitar quilt is amazing! Is that applique? I can't believe you have only been quilting a couple years! Totally going to keep an eye out for Hoodie fabric for you, she always has the coolest food prints.

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    1. Thanks, Gina. The guitar and the black piano keys are all appliqued. I pieced the blue piano keys together on the machine.
      I'm going to look up Hoodie right now!

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