And, y'all, there is no way to introduce this other than: OHMYGOSHANGELAWALTERSISONMYBLOG!!! I wish I could tell you that's the end of my fan girl-ing, but it's not. Why? Because in the Summer of 2015, when I first thought about maybe dipping my toe into quilting, I checked out every.single.book my library had by Angela Walters (which I'm pretty sure was all of the books she'd published up to that point). I traced my fingers over her stitches, I read the little blurb about Grandpa, and I thought, "WOWWWW." That's what led to me piecing My First Quilt, the tan and purple number that's been popping up on my Instagram. I drew out how I wanted to quilt it, even marked parts of the quilt itself with a chalk pencil that I'd dug from my mama's sewing supplies, and stitched in the ditch (poorly) in the center blog, then froze. Only now am I returning to that little quilt and actually stitching it down. I'm using a mix of straight lines and paisleys, and I think maybe Angela would approve of the unlikely combination.
Fast forward to QuiltCon 2017. There was only one scheduled thing that I was dead-set on attending: Christa and Angela's book signing of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. Christa and I had met online, and I was over the moon to actually hug her and chat. Then, Christa introduced me to Angela and even mentioned that she'd been on my blog. In true fan girl style, I put Angela on the spot and asked her right then for this interview. Bless her, like Christa, she is a very generous and kind human, and she said YES! HUZZAH! The fact that I've been able to be emailing with both Christa and Angela as we prepare for the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop next month-- well, I'm one happy gal!
So, without further ado, the lovely Angela Walters!
1) Tell us a little about yourself-- your family, your creative background, your hobbies, etc.
I love all things related to quilting! I started my quilting career over 14 years ago at the side of my husband’s grandpa. He patiently taught me the art of quilting by helping me make my first quilt, a 9 patch quilt that is still on my bed today. I can’t believe how much has changed since that first quilt! I am still a quilter, of course, but now I can add Author, Quilting Teacher, and Quilt Shop Owner to my resume. I am still so amazed by that! I have written several books, including “Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters”, “In the Studio with Angela Walters”, “Free-motion Quilting Workbook” "Get Quilting with Angela and Cloe", "Shape by Shape" "Shape by Shape 2" and I have co-authored several books with friends, including Tula Pink and Christa Watson. If there is one thing that I love as much as quilting, it’s talking about quilting. I love to give lectures and teach quilting classes. I also have classes online with Craftsy with the most recent addition being the Midnight Quilt Show which is so fun! And, since I don’t think I am quite busy enough, I also write patterns. I have also quilted for several books, magazines and publications, and I feel that I am so fortunate to have the best customers! But, no matter what accomplishments I list on my bio, it pales in comparison to the titles I hold in my personal life: Mother to three adorable children, Wife to my awesome husband for over 15 years, and confirmed coffee addict. And of course, Grandpa’s Girl.
2) My background is in painting, and the best comparison I have for quilting is the it creates the peaks and valleys of brushstrokes. Quilting adds another layer to the quilt. How do you decide what motifs to use, and how do you picture the movement and effect on the whole quilt?
When deciding how I want to quilt, I try to first decide what do I want to stand out on the quilt top. Do I want the pattern, the fabric, or the quilting to show up the most? That helps me choose how I want the quilt to be textured when I finish. For instance, If the pattern is the most striking feature, I try to really play that up by stitching in the ditch around the blocks in order for them to really "pop"! I love to look at the quilt top before I even load it on my machine to really let it marinate for a while before I get started. Taking pictures of the quilt and then using a drawing app on my phone has been a really fun way to audition designs. That way I can see how different designs will affect the movement and overall design without actually starting on the quilt top.
3) What is your funniest, not-often-told quilting-gone-wrong story?
Oh goodness, when I think of quilting gone wrong...it is almost never funny, even though I love to laugh!! The most recent example was last night when I was teaching a class on needles, tension and thread. I was showing examples of how to work with tension, and accidentally put the bobbin in wrong and it broke the needle on the longarm which caused everyone to jump! The students asked what caused that and when I realized it was user error, it was so embarrassing!!
4) How has creative community influenced and been important to your work?
There are so many quilters that have influenced my work by their talent and encouragement. People like Karen McTavish and Linda Taylor really inspired me with their great work. The people who take my classes are my greatest source of encouragement. They always leave me feeling so encouraged and inspired!
5) What advice do you have for other creatives on their journey?
Enjoy the process!!
Thank you so much, Angela, for taking the time to be on the blog! I think I've made my fan girl status obvious, but I know I'm not the only one. Thank you for being a generous, joyful part of the quilting community!
Y'all can find Angela on Instagram @angelafmq, the source of these gorgeous images, to keep up with her many adventures. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook @stringandstory. I started my #the100dayproject this week which I'm calling #100daysofstringandstory. Yesterday I posted a video of me quilting some paisleys, and there was a bit of interest in a video showing more breakdown of the design, so I uploaded a video of that to Facebook last night. Please let me know if you enjoy it and if you'd like more little step out videos in the future!
Today's #100daysofstringandstory prompt is "Ode to Quilting." You won't want to miss this, so be sure to follow me on Instagram!
I have sweet friends coming into town tonight, so I'll do a little sewing during nap time, then be back to work in earnest tomorrow night. Have a wonderful weekend, and happy stitching!!