Thursday, May 14, 2015

Quilter of the Month: May 2015: Molly Isenbarger

For May's installment of "Quilter of the Month", we have a somewhat new member to our group, Molly Isenbarger! Also, not only is she a new member of our guild, but she also works for the Modern Quilt Guild! So let's get on with the interview. :)

Name:  Molly Isenbarger   
Instagram: lane33andahalf
Hometown:  Greybull, Wyoming. I’ve also lived overseas, East Coast, and West Coast!
Current Location: Fishers, IN

What sewing machine do you use? Does it have a name? Do you like it?
I sew on a Janome 3160. It was a college graduation gift and I love it for its portability (I move a lot!) and sentimental value. I’ll probably upgrade one day while keeping this one for traveling!

Where do you sew? What’s your space look like?
My husband and I just bought our first home (we’ve always been renters) and I couldn’t be more excited about my sewing space. On our second floor, we have a giant “bonus room” built above the garage. We repainted it all white so that we maximize the light and neutral background. It feels like a sunny sanctuary when I can climb the stairs and settle in among fabric and thread. I’m almost always accompanied by my boxer, Gideon.

What makes you a modern quilter?
I feel like my aesthetic is modern with an influence and reverence for some of the classics (like Amish quilting, solid fabrics, hand-quilting, and recycled fabrics). I love simple designs, contrasting colors, and am exploring more about modern composition. In the last few months, I’ve actually used some patterns from designers I like just to explore their style as I try to find more of my own.

Tell me about your first quilting experience.
When I was in college, my roommate and I would shop a lot at thrift stores. In the basement of one in our town, I found an upholstery sampler. I loved the way the fabrics in the collection all worked together and decided the best use for all these pre-cut squares would be a quilt.
I made the whole thing on our dorm room floor with a borrowed sewing machine, since my desk was too tiny and covered in school work. I didn’t even know what binding was at the time, so I simply sewed it around the edges, flipped right side out, and whip-stitched the final edge!

What’s your dream machine?
In the last few months, I’ve been exploring free motion quilting. I’ve basically “rigged” my machine now to work for this, but I’m enjoying it quite a bit so I’d love to have my next machine be more “free motion friendly”.

What is your favorite part of making a quilt?
I love hand-quilting and hand work in general. It is slow, but there is something so satisfying about taking the quilt off the machine after piecing and just focusing on the manual control of thread and needle. I usually take the quilt out of my sewing area for this part and sit looking out a window or watching a movie on the couch.

What is your most dreaded part of making a quilt?
Ironing! I do it (with my horrible cheap iron) but I have to think calm thoughts to get through lots of small pieces!

Do you have any great tips and tricks you want to share?
I recommend that everyone try working with solids one at least one project this year. Without patterns, you are forced to really focus deeply on color relationships and block design.

Where are your favorite brick and mortar quilt shops?
I live up near Noblesville, so I was so pleased to find Always in Stitches when I first moved to Indiana. Their staff is great, I love the “sit and stay a while” attitude, and it’s nice to have yarn there as well since I also knit!

What are your favorite online fabric shops?
I almost ALWAYS try to buy my fabric in person. I find it to be a very tactile experience and like to stack things up in a store and look at them together before I buy. I’m not a “stash” person, so I really only buy materials together for specific projects and then try to use scraps as I can later.

What time of day do you usually sew? Do you listen to music, or watch TV?
Mostly, I sew in the early evenings to unwind from the day. Often while I’m working during the day I am thinking about my projects and so it’s nice to close my computer and go straight to my sewing. I listen to a lot of podcasts and love to watch TV crime or historical dramas.

Do you have any sewing or quilting injuries?
I feel like saying “no” is bad luck. Knock on wood!

What are your favorite crafty blogs and/or Etsy shops?
Oh boy. I have a lot! A few are While She Naps, Folk Fibers, Nathalie Bearden, Meg Callahan, and I also avidly follow lots of others on Instagram. Definitely my social media outlet of choice.

What's your favorite Kona Cotton color?
Maybe persimmon? Blues are my long-time favorites, but I always seem to gravitate towards yellows and oranges to complement these.

What do you love most about IMQG?
After sewing in “isolation” a lot of the time when I lived in Massachusetts, I was thrilled to meet the IMQG group. It is so refreshing to be around other people who understand the nuances, vocabulary, and funny parts of quilting!

Do you sew/make other things besides quilts?
Yes! I do calligraphy, knit, make clothes, and dabble in all kinds of things. Most notably, in the last year, I’ve taught myself how to make miniature felt animals. I made one from a book and then immediately decided that I needed to design my own. I love the way that I can infuse a personality into a small figurine with tiny features.

What's your favorite project you've completed?
My favorite projects are the ones I make as gifts. I’ve made quilts for weddings, graduations, and holidays for some of the people I love most in my life. These are and always will be my favorite.

 Thanks again Molly for being our featured Quilter of the Month!!

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