I have been living in Houston, Texas since 1975. Before that I lived In Tucson, Arizona; I was born in Iowa and spent the first 12 years of my life in rural Iowa on a farm. I still make baby quilts to give away and couch quilts (roughly 45 x 72) for me, but mainly to give as gifts. Most of my art quilt stuff is made for me. I do sometimes make a 5 x 7 art quilt to use as a birthday card.
I am lucky to belong to a group called "Kindred Spirits;" there are around 20 of us, but it's rare that everyone shows up every week. The energy in our group is amazing. If you have lost your muse, just being around us can bring it back. We are a very diverse group in the type of quilts we create; some creations are not quilts, but knitted and then felted bowls, the bead stringers that make jewelry (we also have a bead artist in our group), and some that like to knit socks. It's nice to have friends that can help when you are stuck with colors or whatever. If you need something "now," someone probably has it and will share, from supplies, to chemicals used for fabric dyeing, and so much more.
I have been working on a "red" quilt -- funky pieced -- that will go on my wall above the couch. I asked for red fabric scraps and the response was fantastic. In fact, the "girl" that started our group now lives in another state and mailed a box full of red fabric scraps and chunks!
We also have long-arm quilters in our group that we can hire. The long also quilt the quilts we make for each other (in times of illness).
Now that I have told you a little bit about the ladies that inspire me and led me into more and more artistic areas, guess I should say more about me. Around 20 years ago, I quit work due to an illness (I am fine now); my husband was happy to have me at home, so I never went back to work. Around 16 years ago, I took the basic quilting class (several weeks) at a local quilt shop. I was happy doing traditional things, until the Kindred Spirits group was started!
I got into fabric dyeing, improved my hand applique skills, and learned to play with stamps and paint on fabric. I also learned that it was fun to outline applique pieces on art quilts with seed beads; that of course, led to adding bigger beads and buttons and other things as embellishment. Recently, they again led me astray with getting into using roving; I use a hand tool to work the roving into a quilt.
I had always loved hand quilting very small wall quilts and found out that hand quilting on art quilts was even more fun, as I could use pearl cotton and do a "big stitch" for texture. I also like to do simple embroidery stitches on quilts, sometimes with a few strands of embroidery thread, sometimes with pearl cotton. I have used a simple stem stitch in lieu of quilting on a quilt, and added a seed bead every "X" number of stitches for more texture.
My husband passed away unexpectedly 4 years ago. I still miss him, but now I can spread my stuff all over the house! I can leave projects sitting on the kitchen table or the coffee table and no one cares. However, cats do get into beads that are in a bowl and often sleep on quilts in work.
Husband and I used to put in large veggie gardens each spring. Now that's it's just me, I still replenish the herb bed each year and keep flowers all over the place.
After husband died, a "techie" friend helped me build a computer; then I had two computers: a store bought and a home built. Since then, I have built two more computers, by myself.
I am very serious about my quilting and don't consider it hobby, but a job (even though I don't sell my work). However, I also find that it's so much fun to play with fabric and fun to create fabric using dye, rust, and discharge dyeing!