Meet Jill -- A Portland Modern Quilter

(If you are looking for August meeting information, it's HERE.)


Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Jill, and I’m 34 years old. I’m married to a great guy, and the Mom of two adorable yet challenging kiddos, and a sweet furry dog. I have 2 degrees in Architecture – a field I have since decided I have no interest in working in. I’ve worked in a few different Architecture offices and I now realize that I’m not cut out for a fast-paced business life. I like to think about things before I do them, and I don’t like to do things that I don’t agree with. Right now I stay at home with my kids and pick up contract drafting/design work when I can. We live in a beautiful old craftsman style home that was built in 1904, and has been in my husband’s family since 1919. I have a lot of pent up creative energy since leaving work and have found sewing to help me release that.

How long have you been quilting/how did you get started?
I’ve really only been quilting for about a year, and not consistently. I have been sewing for awhile though. I learned in middle school, and have dabbled in it at different times in my life. I started a quilt that I never finished about 10 years ago, and finished my first quilt for a friend’s son about a year ago. Since then I have made a quilt for each of my 2 kids, and a couple more as well. I’ve also made several quilted pillows. I still feel like I’m just learning about the whole process. I have made a lot of handbags also, that was what got me back into sewing a few years ago. I also have a big obsession with fabric, and quilting is a great use for all those pieces of fabric that I just can’t pass up!

Why do you quilt?
I think quilting is a good use of my creative side. I get to design something, then make it, and I end up with a useful object. It’s therapeutic for me as well, it’s something that I can work on, then let sit and pick right back up where I left off. It doesn’t whine at me, tug at my pant legs, or keep me up at night. I can do it with my mind racing or resting, and either way it helps me to find a balance. I always feel relaxed and even keeled after a sewing session.

What is your favorite and/or least favorite part of making a quilt?
I really love designing and visualizing a quilt. I often draft quilt patterns out in AutoCAD. Picking out fabric and laying it out in different groupings, I can do this all day. I’d have to say cutting and ironing are my least favorite parts, and basting isn’t all that fun for me considering I have to move furniture and roll up a rug, then vacuum to do it. The actually sewing part is very fun and relaxing for me. Opening up the pieces and laying them flat after each seam is so gratifying, and I love that first time I get to flip the binding over to the back and see what the quilt will look like finished.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by a lot of things. Certain fabric can sometimes just call out to me and tell me what it needs to be made into. I’m inspired by color, geometry, and architecture. I see patterns in a lot of things. I do get inspired by other quilters work, and sometimes like to try my hand at other designer’s patterns – but not knowing how to really use a pattern, I usually draw a similar one up for myself with AutoCAD so I can really understand it. (This is where those free online patterns come in handy!) I’ve also been known to make acrylic rotary cutting templates/rulers for any shape I need to cut more than 1 of – this helps my dislike of cutting immensely.

What are you working on right now?
I’m now finishing up binding on a wall hanging / doll quilt for my daughter’s room. I made the pattern for this one based on the painting we did on her walls. I also made a diamond template to cut with. I have a pattern designed and fabric picked out for a couch quilt for each of my kiddos to work on next, along with a bag for a good friend. Then onto Christmas presents. Yikes!

Jill, Thank you so much for sharing a little bit about yourself and your very inspiring work!

For better views of Jill's lovely quilts, visit her flickr photostream: