FriYAY Friends

FriYAY Friends: An Interview with Vicki Holloway

All the improv!

All the improv!

Happy FriYAY!

I'm jumping straight into this because I'm very excited! Today, I'm introducing you to one of my BQFs, Vicki Holloway. Vicki has gorgeous skin, a wicked sense of humor, and the soothing voice of a quilting Bob Ross. She and I share loves of improv and saturated colors. Enjoy this interview, then be sure to check out her podcast and Facebook group, My Creative Corner 3. 

Vicki and her cutie husband. They have too much fun

Vicki and her cutie husband. They have too much fun

1) Tell us a little about yourself, your family, your creative background, your other interests, etc.
I grew up in rural Michigan the oldest of 3. We did tons of creative things because we didn't have many other forms of entertainment- we did crafts, sewed, put on plays, sang and at age 9, I started to take violin lessons. My best friend was taking lessons and I was given my great grandmother's violin so I could take lessons, too. Music was very much my life during my formative years. In band I played flute; no orchestra was in this little school.  I I have terrible allergies, and flute was a challenge.

As I approached middle school, I noticed our band had no tuba.  However, the school had a big string bass. I thought, I can't breathe to play the flute but the Bass is just a bigger violin. So,  I taught myself how to play it. Bass was my passion through school and through college when I played in Bands, Orchestras and Jazz bands. I stopped 20 years agobecause my hands could not continue. I still play violin at home. I continue tolive in Michigan, after about a decade of living in several states due to my husbands Military enlistment and jobs. I am married, and now my 2 children who are adults. I have 3 grandchildren. I also work full time in healthcare. I long-arm quilt for other quilters, too. I find myself always busy making and doing. 

This lesson of teaching myself what I want to pursue has transferred to many areas of creative life as well as in my job. I see things and I want to learn how to do it or make it. I saw a quilt, had tons of library books available to me so I studied them. I did have a friend show me how to make one block and how to hand quilt.I started making simple quilts with my mother as a little girl because we made quilts (tied with yarn) as all of my cousins were born because that is what my great grandmother did. Yes, the same great grandma that played the violin-I never met her but I did have 3 other great-grandmas I grew up with! When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to continue the tradition. By this time, I had taught myself to crochet, knit, tat, macrame, and do all types of crafty things. My quilting journey had begun with my pregnancy using a hand me down sewing machine, a scrap box of fabric from my mother and a burning desire to make a quilt. 

 8 years ago I was very ill and had a long recouperation. I had been finishing my quilts by hand and is was too painful . My mom and I had paid a long armer to finish a few quilts for special occasions. My parents decided to buy a long arm and looking back I think much of it was for my rehabilitation as it was for my Mom to learn to longarm. Mom and I taught ourselves how to quilt after minimal instruction on how to thread it . I spent hours watching videos and thus my long arm quilting began.  Mom retired and moved, so the quilting machine lives at my house currently. I am very passionate about quilting, however, I balance it these days with crocheting amigurumis, knit simple items, tat small book marks, and I spend lots of time doing Zentangle drawings for relaxation as well a way to draw out fmq ideas. I do color, too, when I need something very simple to do because I am tired or worn out. 

Vicki's long-arming

Vicki's long-arming

2) What are you hoping to learn/gain from the Machine Quilting Blog Hop?
I am hoping to learn how to make decisions on what to quilt. A blank unquilted top can be overwhelming! I sometimes have to think for days or weeks before I can quilt it! I also want to improve my stitches especially straight lines. Ruler work is super hard because I am very left handed and the start/stop button on the long arm is on the right. I feel all backwards! I have never marked a quilt and want to learn how to do that to help me in my free motion quilting. Lastly, I want to engage with other quilters who are learning to fmq so I can help them on their journey! I love to share what I know and maybe we can learn from each other. 

Vicki with her quilt at AQS Grand Rapids in 2013 (this photo is from her son's instagram and was taken the weekend he went to college. Isn't that darling??)

Vicki with her quilt at AQS Grand Rapids in 2013 (this photo is from her son's instagram and was taken the weekend he went to college. Isn't that darling??)

3) What dreams and plans for your quilting journey are you most excited about in the next 5 years? 
I have lots of dreams and plans. I hope to grow my podcast. I want to teach quilting. I want to publish the quilt designs that I have in my head as well as on my computer. I really would like to see the Creative Prompt Challenge grow to help others get a jump start to their creativity daily- a Facebook group I moderate to help the members keep creativity going! 

"Michigan, My Michigan"

"Michigan, My Michigan"

4) How is creative community important to your work?

 Very important. I do all types of creative things to keep fresh and share with others both locally and on line. I kick ideas around with my community on making things, design choices, and share ideas on how to's. I find that I like all types of creative communities because they inspire me on my own creative journey. Being part of a creative community is great. It is even better when we can come together and do something larger that what we could do on our own such as make quilts for a charity or a specific person quickly. Many hands and hearts can accomplish so much! 

Vicki's amazing doodles

Vicki's amazing doodles

5) What advice would you give to other makers along their creative journeys?

It take lots of practice to master any skill. It took me a year of lessons to play a scale on the violin. I stitched millions of stitches, most of them a stipple,  on the long arm before I felt like I had some confidence about what I was doing. I tied many knots learning to tat. Practice.... and that means daily for me. I cannot progress without regular investment of time. 

The opposite of creativity is perfectionism. It is paralyzing and will stifle any creative process. So let go of any preconceived notions about what you should be producing!

Don't be afraid to try something new, take a risk! Put colors together you never thought you would. Try a quilt that will test your skills and patience. Creative people need to create .... make it a priority and manage your time so you can devote it to your endeavors. We all have busy times in our lives, jobs, family or kids that will need our attention. However, even with only 15 to 30 minutes devoted every day for a month or so ... you could make a quilt!!! Or what ever your heart desires. 

Improv Flowers

Improv Flowers

Thanks, Vicki! I love our antics, and I love that you will also be part of the Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting Blog Hop! Yay! 

Y'all can find Vicki on Facebook and Instagram, and don't forget to check out her blog and podcast, too. Seriously, her voice is so soothing. 

You can find me on Facebook and Instagram as well, and I would love to connect with you!

Keep Calm and Make On, 

HollyAnne

 

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday: So Much for Ever Having Less Than ALL THE THINGS

Hey Friends!

I have this vague memory of saying something about whittling down my works in progress... Yeah, nope. 

Modern Birds in the Air Pattern Testing (Pic at top): I started cutting tonight! This is my first all-solids quilt, one of the few times I've followed a pattern, and only the second quilt I've done with a significant amount of white. I'm all kinds of out of my element! But, you know what, that's exactly why I said yes to testing this pattern-- because it's healthy to be pushed out of one's comfort zone. Also if you missed Monday's post about Frances, the author of of this pattern, be sure to check it out!

Tshirt Quilts: I sent out a pair of baby clothes quilts early this week. They are made from the same little boy's clothes as keepsake quilts for his mama and nana. So sweet! Tonight, I started cutting for my next tshirt quilt. This one will be 30 shirts, so almost as big as the one last week. 

#OperationSmiley: I finished the first quilt tonight! Two more will be dropped off at Red Hen tomorrow to get quilted by students. This was the first time I've done custom quilting, I enjoyed the process and practice, and I'm pleased with the results. 

En Provence: I have about a third laid out on the design wall, and I'm in loooove. I simplified the sashing a bit to incorporate more turquoises. I'm pretty eager to get more sewn together. Bonnie Hunter (!!) commented on my close up of my first block on Instagram yesterday and said, "Yowza!" 

Florida: I add a hexie or two each day. It's slow but steady. Oh, and I basted the Georgia quilt on Sunday. I hope to start quilting it this week. 

Look at that-- it's a long but finite list. What's going on in your sewing room? 

I'll be back soon with more bloggy-ness. In the meanwhile, catch me over on Instagram @stringandstory!

XO,

HollyAnne

 

Weekly Reading

Weekly Reading: QuiltFiction.com by Frances O'Roark Dowell

I couldn't resist making a "Persimmon Moon" of fabric after reading Frances's story. Sign up for her newsletter to receive a free copy of this Kindle Short! 

I couldn't resist making a "Persimmon Moon" of fabric after reading Frances's story. Sign up for her newsletter to receive a free copy of this Kindle Short! 

Hello Monday!

Did y'all have a good weekend? Did you celebrate #WorldQuiltingDay? Dear Hubster gave me lots of sewing time this weekend, so I'm almost done quilting the first #OperationSmiley quilt (just need to do the borders), and I got a good chunk of En Provence up on the design wall. I'm using very fresh colors, and I simplified the sashing a bit, and I love it! Seeing so much of it laid out is giving me good motivation to get the top pieced so that I can quilt is as part of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop (there are pictures already on Instagram, and they'll also show up for WIP Wednesday). 

(Above: Frances, me, and Quiltin' Jenny last fall and then again at QuiltCon. Frances claimed the role of the brunette on Instagram last week, so I guess that makes me the red head. WIN!)

Speaking of which, I'm still spending a lot of time with The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, so I thought I'd share some quilty fiction with y'all today. You may recognize the name Frances O'Roark Dowell because she's one of my BQFs or because I interviewed her for FriYAY Friends last fall or because she is the author of Birds in the Air or because she's the lovely hostess of The Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast. 

Frances with Modern Birds in the Air at QuiltCon 2017. I'm also pattern testing this quilt for her right now. woohoo!

Frances with Modern Birds in the Air at QuiltCon 2017. I'm also pattern testing this quilt for her right now. woohoo!

What you may not know, is that Frances has launched a fabulous website called QuiltFiction.com where she blogs about stories that feature quilts and writes her own as well. It's lovely! In fact, maybe the "About Page" says it best:

"Quiltfiction.com is the place for quilters who love to read, and especially love quilt stories. Whether you’re in the mood for a short story or making a list for your next library trip, you’ll find everything you need right here: original fiction, book lists and interviews with your favorite authors. Have your own story to tell? We’ll keep you posted on upcoming writing contests. Stay current by signing up for our newsletter!"

Photo by "The Man" Dowell

Photo by "The Man" Dowell

If you somehow haven't read Birds in the Air yet, go buy a copy immediately. It's charming, well written, and will make an excellent gift for your quilting friends. 

You can also find Frances on Instagram @theoffkilterquilt, and you can find me there @stringandstory

Now, go pour a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and enjoy some QuiltFiction. 

XO,

HollyAnne