Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meet the Members--Mary P, President

1. Tell us about you
I grew up in San Jose, CA but have lived in Providence, RI and Boston, MA before coming to Chicago four years ago.  I am a software consultant at Heller Consulting for fundraising software that nonprofits use (Raiser's Edge and Common Ground).  I also teach swing dance at Big City Swing (sometimes). I have a wonderful husband James and we live on Chicago's north side.

2. When/How did you get into quilting? 

My mom "forced" me to learn when I was 10.  She was learning at the same time, from a family friend.  My (older) sister did a double Irish chain, where I did a simple four-patch.  I made a few quilts in high school, a few in college and the years afterward, but I really took off in the last two years. I think it has helped a lot that my machine is always out, so it is really easy for me to just sit down and sew. I'm moving to a new apartment next month, and I'll have a whole room for sewing, which makes me very excited!

3. Show us a couple of your projects 

This is a baby quilt I made for my friend's baby boy.  It was the first time I ever did anything "liberated" and it was really fun. It was nice to start with something small and relatively safe.
top view of P_K baby quilt

This was a large quilt I made for my friend's wedding.  I don't normally work in these colors, so it was a good stretch for me.  I really love how it turned out and it matches their home perfectly!
overhead of "block party" quilt
I had it professionally quilted, because there was no way I could get such perfect concentric circles!
Detail of "Block party" quilt

This was a quick baby quilt I made for a friend's little girl.  I have been wanting to work more in solids--I feel like they are quite neglected in my fabric stash, so I really wanted to challenge myself here. I love how it turned out.
baby quilt finished
4. What (if any) other crafty activities do you enjoy? 

I don't know if cooking counts, but I love to cook, and so does James, so we have a lot of fun with that. And, as I mentioned, we teach swing dance.  I find all of my hobbies to be very creative outlets.

5. What quilt or item you've made are you most proud of and why? This is a really hard one.  I have so many quilts I really love.  I'm going to say this one I made for my friend Sara.  It was a lot of pieces, but the quilting was the first time I had ever done anything so large that I did free motion.  It was quite a beast and I only did it a few months after my first free motion quilting project.

The back I completely free-pieced, which was really fun to figure out how to use up lots of small scraps.

6. Who inspires you most in your quilting?
Why, the folks from CMQG, of course!!! I get a lot of inspiration from our group.  There are so many talented members.  I follow a lot of blogs, and I really love Gwen Marston's "Liberated Quiltmaking" books.  I'm planning to go to her retreat in early October with my mom, where I am sure I'll get a ton of inspiration.  I also really love anything by the folks at FunQuilts (Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle). I'm hoping that we can bring them in for a workshop, seeing as they are in Oak Park and wouldn't have to travel.


  1. To Whom it May Concern:

    I’m looking for some guidance in finding some quilters who are able to make custom pieces. I’m looking to have one made after my September 2010 wedding after guests sign swatches of fabric. I’d also like to possibly incorporate photos from the day as well as notes from family members if possible.

    Since I’m not a quilter, I have no idea what kind of fabric to buy or pens to use, etc. So I’m hoping I can find an experienced quilter who can guide me in the right direction so their job is much easier.

    Any help is appreciated.


    Katie Willeke

  2. Hey Mary P,
    Did you listen to the interview with Weeks Ringle on the podcast Craftsanity #41 available on iTunes or craftsanity.com? Its about how she got started & what they do. Its from a couple years ago.