Meet Kristen -- a Portland Modern Quilter

Welcome to the first installment in an ongoing series,
Meet a Portland Modern Quilter:

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Kristen, and I'm 27 years old. I live with a roommate, and my cat Fritz. I work as a Print Production Artist for a small graphic design firm. I like going to the movies, playing video games with my friends, and of course, quilting.
How long have you been quilting/how did you get started? 
I haven't been quilting all that long, I started in 2008 after I graduated from the Visual Communications Program at Chemeketa Community College. I was unemployed for awhile, and I was bored. I'd always wanted to try quilting, so I got a quilting magazine and went from there. I picked a pattern that had colors that I liked, and didn't really pay attention to difficulty levels. It turns out that the pattern was considered advanced, but it was totally possible to just follow the directions and make it work. It was a real testament to whoever wrote that pattern that it worked out as well as it did, because I didn't know anything about quilts, or quilting. Or even sewing really. I had to watch a youtube video to figure out how to thread my mom's old sewing machine.

I didn't want to take a class, or let anyone know that I was making a quilt. I don't like being a beginner, or having basic things explained to me, I like to figure it out myself for the most part. I even bought all the fabric at Wal-mart because I was sure no one would ask any questions about what I was making or why. For some reason I was nervous that someone would tell me that I couldn't do it. I don't know why I thought so, everyone I've met through quilting is super nice, and very supportive.
Why do you quilt?
I quilt because it's a great creative outlet. It's interesting to me that quilting is the creative outlet that stuck most with me. I've dabbled in a lot of creative type things, like painting, drawing, piano etc., but I never really pursued them outside of a class. I enjoyed making art that way when a teacher would look at and evaluate my work, but it wasn't something I did in my free time. Quilting, however, I do all the time. I'm always thinking of a new quilt idea, or working through a quilt. I find it very satisfying. It helps that my roommate plays a lot of video games and ties up our TV. It leads me to find other ways to fill my time. :)
What is your favorite and/or least favorite part of making a quilt?
I always have this fantasy that I'll become a famous quilter, and have studio assistants to do all the things I don't like in quilting. I usually have this fantasy when I'm doing something I don't particularly love, like winding bobbins, or ironing a million seams, or doing bindings. Then I imagine it would be nice to have someone do the cutting for me, and maybe the pinning too. I don't really mind these things that much though, as they make up almost all of quilting. The one thing I would love to have done for me though, is making the quilt sandwich. It's hands down my least favorite part of the quilting process.

My favorite part of the quilting process is the seeing the progression of the quilt. I like doing things where you can physically see the progress of what you are making. Quilting is wonderful that way. Each set of tasks you complete is as important as the last, and each one brings you closer to a cool finished project.
What inspires you?
The question should be what doesn't inspire me! I see quilts everywhere. The worst is when I see something inspiring when I'm driving and I have to try and keep my eyes on the road while jotting down whatever has struck my fancy.  I love working with solid colors. I struggle with prints. It's not that I don't like them, or find them beautiful, because I really, really do. I like seeing quilts that other people make with prints very much, but I just have trouble using prints that other people have created. They've already done the fun part! My creative outlet is in creating new shapes and colors through the quilt.
What are you working on right now?
I just finished a quilt inspired by the Dear Jane quilt, and feel pretty good about it. It all happened so quickly, and I finished the top in about month and a half. My job was going through a slow point, so I was sewing all the time. It was a very intense period of creativity for me, both in physically sewing it all together, as well as drafting all the blocks, and researching possible blocks. I'm very happy with how it turned out. The Portland Modern Quilt Guild has been very good for me in that respect, as it gives me timelines to complete work if I want to show it off.
 Thank you, Kristen!  Your enthusiasm and can-do attitude are very inspiring!