Pellon: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Elizabeth: I find inspiration everywhere. From tile patterns at the airport to shoji screens at Ikea, I see quilt patterns everywhere. I always carry a sketchbook to jot down things I see and color combinations that I find striking.
P: What does your creative process entail?
E: I tend to sketch things out first in my sketchbook or on graph paper when inspiration strikes. I often will then digitize a design in Illustrator and manipulate it – maybe rotate subunits of a quilt block, for instance, or turn things on point, to find the design that really grabs me. Once I’m happy with what I see, I start to think about colors or fabrics I might want to use. Sometimes the reverse happens, and I start with fabrics that I want to play with and then I try to design something around the fabrics. I very rarely cut into fabric without doing some serious math, though, and I often make a test block with scraps just to double-check my math. I then plow through piecing the quilt top and back so I can get to my favorite part -free motion quilting.
P: Why do you enjoy sewing/crafting/quilting?
E: Quilting and sewing is my escape, my solace. It’s my sanity saver,especially now that my preschooler has reached the why phase and my days are riddled with why questions. I would never have guessed when I started,but I also really kind of enjoy the math side of quilting. It’s great to exercise those math muscles that have been sitting dormant since college!
P: What tips or tricks learned through experience can you share?
E: My best tip or trick is a very simple one: slow down! Read through the entire tutorial or pattern before you get started on a project. Don’t skim it, really read it, so you understand the steps you’re going to follow. Also, when it comes to quilting, double-check your work. It is no fun to have to rip seams when you realize you’ve pieced a row upside down. Ask me how I know;). Slowing down is the best way to avoid making mistakes that cause you to curse like a sailor!
P: When and why did you start sewing/quilting/crafting?
E: I started quilting when my son was nearing his second birthday. A friend with a sewing machine helped me make a simple Yo Gabba Gabba inspired flannel blanket for my son’s birthday and I was hooked. Within a week, I went to Jo-Ann’s and bought my first sewing machine. I had no idea what I was doing, but I worked my way through Diana Rupp’s awesome Sew Everything Workshop and then I decided to try quilting. I had a difficult time when I got started; I got frustrated easily and took shortcuts at every opportunity, even buying pre-made binding for my first quilt because I didn’t feel like making my own, but by the time I got to my third quilt, it dawned on me that I really enjoyed making quilts. Haven’t looked back since:).