Quilt Design Star 2011 Finalist - Marlene Oddie
I've been quilting since… My 1st and only quilt was made circa 1978, until 2001.
I began quilting because… That first quilt was created because my neighbor, Mrs. Judson, felt I needed to learn how to make a quilt as a young girl. I hand appliquéd with a black blanket stitch, sun bonnet sues and boys using fabric my clothes had been made from onto muslin. (See photo at right.)
In 2001, my local church in San Francisco, CA decided to begin a quilting class as an outreach program to our members, community, and friends. I quickly became the one who would substitute teach this class when the regular teacher wasn't available. After a move to Washington in 2003 and my job kept me on the road, my stash increased as I visited local quilt shops all over the U.S., but I wasn't getting many projects done. My job travel slowed down and I joined a local guild, took a long-arm class and was hooked. In 2009, I got married, my job was eliminated and my husband got a new job which provided an opportunity for me to consider quilting full-time. I purchased a Gammill Optimum-Plus later in the year while at Market and Festival in Houston.
I learned to quilt… As a child my mother taught me how to sew, mostly for garment construction. Switching to a 1/4″ seam, wasn't that hard. The basics were first learned at the church, then I started designing with EQ5 and enjoyed the ease of quickly designing something and getting a good visual of how it might turn out without doing much work. Most of my self-designed quilts have first been designed in EQ (Electric Quilt). Besides the key experiences described above, I had the good fortune to be at Jinny Beyer's last Hilton Head Retreat in 2009 with my mother, two weeks before I got married. I also took many long-arm classes in Houston in the Fall of 2009 (which coincided with my husband's new job training in Houston) from great teachers, including Linda V. Taylor, Sue Patten, Karen McTavish, and Pam Clarke. I subscribe to several quilting magazines and find tips online. I also use my engineering background to just figure it out on my own and devise more efficient ways of doing things.
My quilting style is… Keeping it Simple and Stunning. I don't enjoy hand work and want to be as efficient as possible with piecing. Color placement and creating secondary designs is also exciting.
A person who inspired me… My long-arm quilting was originally inspired by Suzanne Young, our local long-armer who has been a wonderful mentor and cheerleader. From the quilt design perspective, I’ve gathered bits from many and have incorporated key ideas learned from Jinny Beyer.
My imagination is sparked by… For me, each quilt has its own journey, whether it is designed for an event or recipient, a particular room or use, challenged to use only certain fabrics, or trying a new technique. I enjoy using the colors of a nature scene to assemble the palette for the quilt and considering design concepts seen in nature for the dimensions in the quilt.
My favorite techniques… For piecing: Strip piecing, using gridded interfacing, and square in a square using strips instead of triangles. For quilting: free motion, letting the fabric speak to me.
Colors or fabrics I'm attracted to... Jewel tones and ombres (i.e. fabric that goes from a light to a dark).
My fabric stash... While working for the local university I collected a lot of fabrics that were their school colors. I'd love to just kit up some designs with these colors and sell them to their alumni! Green and orange are hard colors to work with, but I've done several quilts now that are really fun. Add a neutral like beige to brown; or white and black and it can work.
Some of these include fabrics that represent the agriculture in our valley. All I needed to add was some 'grape(s)' and I could create an entirely new theme. So, I have fabrics that represent the wine industry as well as onions (Walla Walla Sweets) and the annual balloon stampede. Just these fabrics make up an entire wall of cubbies sorted by style of fabric and organized within color groups i.e. dots, geometric, nature, nursery, food, batiks, stars, gold accents, old fashioned, reproductions, large pieces for backs, wheat, grape leaves, grape vines/wood grain, grapes, onions, hot air balloons, and oranges for accents.
The rest of my stash is mostly projects that I have collected fabrics for that I hope to someday do something with them. They are sorted by project (an eclectic grouping for sure of various ideas) in a second wall of cubbies (my husband built both walls of cubbies just before our wedding--he needed space to move in with me! Awesome to have such a supportive hubby!).
Two large bins hold a huge flower collection and hearts collection. When I finish the project, the leftovers are sorted by color and I have 12 plastic bin drawers ranging from white to black where they are stashed. This organization is helpful when I want to do a block lotto at quilt guild or whip up some hearts and flower blocks for one of our guild’s outreach programs. I also have a sack on the floor of small scraps next to my sewing machine and cutting table which I'll probably give to somebody at some point. I'm not sure I want to sit and piece all of them together.
My quilting community… My local quilt guild--Walla Walla Valley Quilt Guild.
A small group from our guild meets monthly at my home this year, we're going through 'Fearless Design' learning how to constructively critique our designs and basic elements of design.
I recently participated in the Supernova Quilt Along at Freshly Pieced by Lee Heinrich --this was a great experience and I would do more in this format. Seeing photos of each quilter's progress in the flickr group as we went along was very motivating and inspiring. http://freshlypieced.blogspot.com/
In 2009 at Market I joined the International Association of Professional Quilters — figured I might as well learn as much as I can about doing this as a business. Last year I joined Inland Northwest Machine Quilters but have been unable to attend any meetings. I also joined Association of Pacific West Quilters for the upcoming show in August. I’ve also ‘liked’ many Facebook Pages and follow some blogs of various quilters I have found online. What a fun community!
My additional hobbies/interests… I enjoy photography and have found myself wanting to do a pixilated quilt based on a photo, but the quilt would probably be huge in order to get enough pixels to make it look like the photo. I've seen some small ones of this type and you have to really squint or stand a long ways back to ‘see’ it.
Maybe I can make a ‘stamp’ quilt someday to go along with my stamp collection.
In my spare time, to relax I like to do O’Ekaki –a paint by numbers logic puzzle where the solution is an image.
I entered Quilt Design Star™ 2011 because... As a newbie to this industry, Quilt Design Star is an opportunity to be seen on a bigger stage. I enjoy the format of a challenge to design something. I hope to inspire many and enjoy the journey. Doors have opened in miraculous ways for me to be in this industry… I look forward to the opportunities ahead.
What you should know about me… I took engineering in school and worked internationally as a project manager before helping non-profits to create effective systems. I now find myself managing quilt projects. My greatest joy is helping someone create a treasure for themselves or as a gift they are giving to someone else. I have found my creative passion.
Royal Peacock Jewels (below) is Marlene's Quilt Design Star™ 2011 entry quilt.
1892 Rondure (below) is Marlene's Quilt Design Star™ 2011 Challenge 1 quilt.
Pulsed Illumination (below) is Marlene's Quilt Design Star™ 2011 Challenge 2 quilt.
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