Who is Jean Jones? to quote her web site “I want to share my passions with as many people as one lifetime allows, through my quilts, my patterns or my teaching. Hop on the wagon & join me for the ride!” Everyone put you hands together for Miss August!
1. Who taught you to sew and what age were you?
My mother would have been the one to get me started, but I know my grandma and probably some aunts were also involved. I don’t remember what age I would have been, but I think it was even before I started school. I remember hand-stitching a red felt knitting needle case and I learned to make lazy daisy stitches and French knots on pillow cases. And I learned to knit, on short needles my father crafted because I couldn’t handle the regular size.
2. Do you remember the moment when you realized you loved sewing and fabric?
I think I was born loving it! I can’t ever remember thinking, hey, I like this!
3. Have you passed on the addiction? Have you taught anyone else to sew?
Is there anyone especially who comes to mind? I’m hoping I have passed the bug on to my youngest daughter. She made her first quilt at eleven, and excelled at Home Ec in school. She started working at Fanny’s Fabrics at the age of fifteen. She was really into sewing both for herself and for gifts for a while, but then post-secondary schooling, working full time & living in small basement suites with roomies put an end to it. I’m hoping that when she settles down and starts a family she will find pleasure in it again.
4. You make quilts but there other creative things you do that involves thread and needles?
I’ve done just about all you can do with needle & thread! I’ve sewn everything from swimsuits & dancewear to tailored suits and coats to bridal gowns. I’ve done crewel work, embroidery, counted cross-stitch, beadwork, knitting … But quilting has help me captive longer than anything else.
5. When you’re not quilting (or using thread and needles) what other things do you do?
I love gourmet cooking, but don’t really have an appreciative family. When I lived in a house I spent many long hours gardening & landscaping but now I just tend herbs on my balcony. I enjoy photography and one time was very good at it. I started a walking program in the spring, so now I walk 3 times a week with a goal of walking a ½ marathon next year.
6. Where do you sew, is it in a studio, at a kitchen table?
My “studio” is, in theory, my large laundry room. But the reality is I can no longer see the table in there, so I sew on our dining table, design on one living room wall, and use the computer in the kitchen.
7. Do you listen to music, watch movies or do you just listen to you sewing machine hmmm as you sew along? If yes to music or movies, what were you listening to the last time you were working on a quilt?
Sometimes I listen to music, which varies with my mood – classical, jazz, classic rock, reggae, swing. Sometimes I listen to the birds outside, or the rain, or my refrigerator that sound like a helicopter.
8. When do you sew? Are you a daytime or nighttime quilter?
I much prefer sewing in the daytime, under natural light. I find nighttime sewing very hard on my eyes, but if I have a deadline I don’t notice!
9. Is there a certain quilting tool you couldn’t live without and think everyone else should have too?
That’s a tough one because I am a real gadget junky. I couldn’t live without my Clover seam ripper. And I really, really like my water-erasable blue marker. Steam-a-seam in the ¼-inch roll is also an amazing time-saver.
10. If you’re stuck on a colour choice or design while quilting who do you consult or bounce ideas off of?
I will bounce ideas off my husband, but he’s pretty good and telling me what I want him to say! My BQB (best quilting buddy) live quite a distance away so I really can’t ask her opinion much, except when we go shopping together.
11. Who is your favourite fabric designer? And why?
I don’t have a specific favourite designer, but Kaffe Fassett would rank among the top, along with Jane Sassaman, Lonni Rossi, and others who I can’t think of right now. Why? Because they are daring, not afraid to go big and bold. They have fabulous design and colour style, making the most unusual combinations play nice together.
12. Who is your favourite quilt designer? And why?
I don’t have a favourite quilt designer either. Carol Breyer Fallert, Karen Stone, Ricky Tims, Kaffe Fassett… There are so many whose work I admire.
13. Do you have a favourite quilting book or blog? If so please divulge?
My favourite quilting book is always the last one I purchased. My favourite quilt-related publication would have to be Quilting Arts magazine. No favourite blog but I really enjoy and am inspired by some of the ‘modern’ quilters out there.
14. Let’s talk about your fabric stash, seriously how big is it? (We won’t tell, promise!)
Now keep in mind please, that I have been seriously planning to quilt for about 20 years. I have been quilting that long too, but I have been planning a lot more that I’ve accomplished. I’ve also worked in fabric stores for most of that time, with staff benefits. And occasionally I even had money left from my pay cheque to buy groceries!
15. What is the colour palette you tend to use the most?
I love colour! To narrow it down to one palette is impossible. One project it might be ocean blues and greens, another it might be a fiery sunset. It could be tropical brights, or the earthy palette of autumn. But one thing that is fairly consistent is that the colours will have strength to them.
16. Is there a colour you find you tend not to use in your quilts?
I don’t use wimpy pastels easily, or the country palettes.
17. What was the last quilt you made that you were really proud of? What the last quilt you made that you were disappointed in and what did you learn from it?
While I am proud of most of my quilts, I guess the last one I made that I was really pleased with would be my first attempt at the modern style. It is primarily white with flying geese in soft pinks & greens, and is on the home page of my website. Sophisticat Fibre Art Studio I am disappointed with the very first quilt I attempted, 26 years ago, because it is still not finished and likely never will be. I knew nothing about quilting. I learned that it’s not a good idea to attempt to make a quilt during very hot weather, when you are 8 months pregnant and don’t know what you are doing, and thinking that two layers of polyester batting would make a quilt lovely and fluffy!
18. For many of us the ideas flow faster than our output. How many projects do you have in the works right now? And how many quilt projects do you have in the closet with plans of getting to one day?
This is a terrifying question to answer. From where I sit, I can see six projects in the works. In the next room there are at least double that. These are all things I plan to get to “soon.” Then there are maybe 40 or 50 projects started but neglected. And waiting in the wings for that first cut? I shudder to think!
19. Do you have a favourite quilting technique? Do you have a quilting technique you dislike?
Currently I am having a lot of fun experimenting with curved piecing and diamonds. These are the basis of classes I am offering this fall. I also like any technique that makes piecing fast – strip piecing, chain piecing. I don’t like paper-piecing, though it sometimes is the only way to get the effect wanted – in that case, I use a fabric foundation so I don’t have to remove it. And I really am not a fan of what I call cut-and-paste.
20. What are some new challenges you’d like to take on right now? For example, a new technique you’re itching to try, making a larger quilt than ever before or doing something in a quilt that takes you out of you comfort zone?
I really want to explore more with art quilts, mixed media, and surface embellishment. I’ve dabbled a bit but the possibilities are endless!
And! Plus one more question (The BIG question!)
21. What makes your quilts modern?
Ah, the loaded question! That all depends on how we define modern, doesn’t it? One definition is “Characterized by or using the most up-to-date techniques, ideas, or equipment.” Another definition is “Denoting a current or recent style or trend in art, architecture, or other cultural activity marked by a significant departure from traditional styles.” I was a modern quilter when I made a Thimbleberries quilt in the early 90’s. I was a modern quilter when I made a colourwash quilt, and when I did a bargello, and when I did a stack-n-whack, and when I did a kaleidoscope quilt. I was a modern quilter when I first used batiks, and when I put minky on the back of a baby quilt. I was a modern quilter when I bought EQ3 to design quilts, and when I upgraded to EQs 4, 5, 6, and 7. I was a modern quilter when I put bamboo batting in a quilt. And I’m still a modern quilter when I’m eager to try new fabrics, prints, colours, design styles, quilting styles, techniques, tools and gadgets.
Each month we’ll be featuring one of our members here and on the blog, and get to know them with a fun little questionnaire about what they love to sew, their favorite colours, fabrics and other quilty goodness they’d like to share. If you’d like to be on the list or would like to nominate a member to be featured, contact us and let us know.