FriYAY Friends

FriYAY Friends: Jen Greer, aka "Quiltin' Jenny"

Spider Web quilt under the needle-- that we're hoping gets accepted to the East Cobb Quilter's Guild Show! 

Spider Web quilt under the needle-- that we're hoping gets accepted to the East Cobb Quilter's Guild Show! 

FriYAY has come!

I must admit, though, from where I write at 9pm Thursday evening, there's not much YAY in my FriYAY. I officially have the flu (and feel like a truck hit me), and a big storm is threatening to knock out our power. Honestly, I'm mostly just tired. I'd like for the pollen to clear, for all of us to get healthy, and for there to be some routine again. It will come, I know. In the meanwhile, I'll enjoy the fact that I'm on strict near-bedrest for tomorrow and under orders to binge on Netflix while Hubster does all the work. So far that mostly means working on my computer, but it is still a slower pace, and that is nice. When I get blogs written and my inbox cleaned up, I plan to make some lists, drink ginger ale, EPP, and, indeed, binge on Netflix. 

Today, I have a lovely interview to share. Jen was one of the first of my online quilty friends that I met in person. I'm pretty sure she hugged me before she told me her name, and I love her for it. She also lives here in the Atlanta area, and she is also part of the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop. 

Quiltin' Jenny (right) with another quiltin' Jenny, Jenny Doan!

Quiltin' Jenny (right) with another quiltin' Jenny, Jenny Doan!

1) Tell us a little about yourself-- your family, creative background, other interests, etc. I didn’t have any quilters in my family, but we had lots of women on my mom’s side who sewed. My maternal grandmother made ladies’ lingerie in a New York sweat shop. Whenever we’d go shopping, she would look at the finishing on a garment and tsk tsk at any sloppy seams or poorly matched prints. She had no tolerance for shoddy work, no matter what a bargain it might be. When she sewed, she sewed fast! Her old Singer machine scared me sometimes, but it was never quite fast enough for her after all those years of being paid by the piece and sewing on a commercial machine. She also did beautiful handwork, and an embroidered pillow she made me is one of my treasures.

My mom sewed garments when we were younger, and also knits and crochets. I think we all did cross stitch and embroidery. It wasn’t until I had my oldest son that Mom and I both took up quilting around the same time. I took a beginner class at a local shop, and Mom was taught by some friends in a quilting bee in her neighborhood. We ended up making our first quilts together not long after; she made one for my second son and I made one for my best friend’s baby. We made the same quilt but with different fabrics, and we still love shopping for fabric and working on quilts together. Even though we got a later start than some families, I love sharing this with my mom.

Block swap from an online quilting group, several members of which met up at QuiltCon

Block swap from an online quilting group, several members of which met up at QuiltCon

2) What did you find most inspiring at QuiltCon and why? I wrote a little bit about this on my blog, but what I found most inspiring at QuiltCon was the use of light and space in the quilts and in the show floor itself.  I also loved meeting so many social media friends in person and getting to have conversations that weren’t limited to 140 characters! (Jen also wrote an AMAZING blog post about QuiltCon-- check it out HERE)

Jen and Christa Watson, co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Jen and Christa Watson, co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

3) What are you most looking forward to about the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop and what are you hoping to take away from it? I hope the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop will get me out of my comfort zone and give me the opportunity to try quilting designs that I might not normally use. I tend to use the same ones over and over, and don’t want to risk “messing up” a quilt with a design that I haven’t practiced as much. I need to remember what Frances’s friend, Annie Smith, says about how each quilt is practice for the next one. I also can’t wait to see what everyone else does with each chapter’s group of designs.

Look at this sweet Creative Maker Supply Case that Jen made!

Look at this sweet Creative Maker Supply Case that Jen made!

4) How is creative community important to your work? I find that creative community is critical to my process. When I am regularly attending guild meetings, getting together with my bee group, and keeping up with my crafty friends on social media, the ideas flow freely. In the times when my machine goes untouched for long periods or my ideas feel stale, invariably it turns out to be during a time when other areas of my life are taking up that time and stealing that creative energy. Creativity feeds on itself, and grows when it is shared and discussed.

Paper and Pen is a great way to practice FMQ

Paper and Pen is a great way to practice FMQ

5) What advice do you you have for other creatives along their journey?  To other creatives who feel that they don’t have time for themselves or their work I say be patient and remember that life has seasons. There have been times when I haven’t had a moment to sew or draw or even think about anything other than getting through the day. There have been times when it felt like I would never be able to use the bathroom alone, much less go on a quilt retreat. There have been times when school and sports schedules practically required an air traffic controller, and the idea of spending time on a weekend to sew was completely out of the question. They are seasons. Now I have time in the evenings and on weekends to quilt. My youngest child can drive and barely needs me for anything anymore. I can sit in my sewing space uninterrupted for hours. But I also have moments when I see a mother with a baby or hear young kids playing outside and I can go back to those memories in an instant. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Your season when you can quilt all day will come. For now, be patient with yourself, take the creative times when you can, and remember that no season lasts forever.

Secondary design in the Spiderweb Quilt

Secondary design in the Spiderweb Quilt

Thank you for sharing with us, Jen! We're looking forward to seeing your stitches for the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop! 

Y'all can find Jen's blog at Quiltin' Jenny, and you can find her on Instagram @QuiltinJenny. You can also find me on Instagram @stringandstory. 

I'm going to sit back with some ginger ale. I hope y'all are all healthy and that you have lots of creative time this weekend! 

XO,

HollyAnne

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