Monday 19 March 2012

My Modern Muse - Susan at Canadian Abroad

We`re half way through the My Modern Muse series and I am so thrilled to have Susan of Canadian Abroad with me - we have known each other since our followers were just family members and it`s been great fun to see our blogs grow up together and now they get to have a play date! Many of you follow Susan and may have participated in her fabulous Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap or the Mouthy Stitches swap she co-hosted as a fabulous trio with Cindy and you will already know she is kind while having a waspish sense of humour, gives in shovel-loads and is a prolific and talented quilter.

Over a lovely lunch, Susan explained to me what she loves about quilting and what inspires her.

The Beldi Country Club, Marrakech
Annabella  What inspired you to take up quilting?
Susan Pregnant friends. No, seriously. I had started doing crafts to have something for myself having spent the first three years of being a SAHM quietly losing my identity. I tried card making. Not for me. Then I tried making things with exquisite glass beads. The beads were more exquisite than what I made. So I decided to try sewing and got a cheap (very, very cheap) Singer. Shorty thereafter half the mums I knew decided to have another baby. I started making quilts.

One of Susan`s baby quilts
Annabella For those who don`t know you, how would you describe your style? 
Susan Haphazard! I have rarely used a pattern, but am fairly adept at working the maths out for myself when I do see a quilt I like. I often make things up as I go along and hope for the best. I love colour. I love bold design. I love watching a quilt top evolve as I work on it. 

Annabella Which blog do you find a constant source of inspiration?
Susan Hard question! There are a huge number of quilting blogs that provide a constant source of inspiration so I am going to name a non-quilting blog. For colour inspiration and gorgeous photographs that make me want to have a house like hers - not all pretty in a show home sort of way but gorgeous in a 'I would be so comfortable living there' home sort of way - I would say that Lucy at Attic 24 is huge source of inspiration.

Annabella When you are offline, what things in life inspire you to create your beautiful quilts?
Susan Sadly, I am not a very artistically minded person. Most of my quilts have just popped into my brain. I see a fabric and think how I would like to show it off to the best. Or I see someone else's quilt and think about how I would change it to fit what I want to make.
Annabella You know I love my quilting books. Which one is your favourite? 
Susan My Farmer's Wife book. Because I won it from you. It taught me to look beyond the obvious - old fashioned blocks made with old fashioned fabrics - and see the possibilities if I opened my eyes to them. Yeah, well seeing what everyone was making on Flickr helped there too!

Annabella Choose a quilt from your archives and tell me a bit about it and what inspired you to make it.  Why is it special?
Susan Those who know me are used to me always referring to my Wonky Stars quilt. So this time I won't. I am going to say the first Sherbet Pips quilt I made. 

Susan`s Sherbet Pips quilt
I am choosing this for several reasons. (a) Sherbet Pips was the first fabric I fell in love with and came into my life just after I started blogging last winter. It marks a time when I found a 'community' that I felt I belonged to. (b) I had never completely made up a pattern in my mind before and in actual fact just worked out each block as I went along. (c) I had never used a solid before and if someone had told me just weeks earlier that I would happily be using grey as a solid I would have laughed at them in disbelief. (d) The quilt still makes me happy and I have not been able to give it away because it marks a point of change and growing confidence in my quilting that is important to me.

It was while making the first Pips quilt that I envisioned the next one and managed to translate what was in my head into my runaway pinwheel in my Spin Me Round Round quilt. One quilt leads into another for me. Like most quilters I am always thinking of the 'next' quilt.

Susan`s Spin Me Round quilt
Annabella Apart from your immediate family, who has been your greatest creative inspiration in your life and why?
Susan My mother doesn't have a crafty bone in her body - it most certainly was not her! (She would laugh and agree if she read this.) When I was very little, one of our neighbours taught me to embroider and would give me little samplers to do. From a very young age I always loved handmade things, whether it was wood work, sewing, pottery or freshly baked bread. It always intrigued me. I can remember as a teenager being on a sleepover at a friend's house and ending up in the dining room talking to her mother because she had a quilting frame in there and was hand quilting a huge appliqué quilt. She let me do some stitching (and most probably pulled it out again after I left, but I did appreciate her letting me try). So I suppose my inspiration came from observing what others accomplished and wanting to do something similar. 

Annabella I know you pin Susan? Where can people find you?
Susan I am a very new pinner, but can be found here. I've not pinned much but the quilting inspiration I have pinned is very nice, I promise.

Annabella Is there something (a design, technique)you haven`t tried yet that you would love to do?
Susan I suppose I would have to say paper piecing, but it is about to descend upon my life. Stitch Tease is going to knock me into shape.

Annabella Do you find there is a colour palette you come back to again and again?
Susan Over all bright colour seems to be a favourite of mine. As my confidence has grown so has my belief in my ability to mix and match fabrics and just go for it.

Susan`s Wonky Star quilt
Annabella Who is a creative inspiration you would most love to have 30 minutes of their time and why?
Susan This was another tough question for me but I have decided to say Anna Maria Horner because she sounds like such a delightful person as well being so creative. But she still seems to have a great balance in her life with her family. And I would like to know how she maintains her sanity with all those kids! Two have me on the brink of insanity constantly.  

Who is your favorite designer?
Susan Finally, an easy question. Heather Ross. Love her fabrics as would be obvious to anyone who reads my blog. I have been on a mission to get hold of whatever scraps I could over the past few months. Now I just have to psych myself up to using it. (I can always start an all new collection again, can't I?)

Heather Ross pincushion
Annabella  Why do you think quilting has become so popular again?
Susan  Because it has evolved to suit modern tastes, not stagnated. Blocks designs, fabrics and attitudes have all taken a huge leap forward. At the same time the Internet has evolved. We can now see what people are making all over the world with the click of a button. Order fabric at a whim - budget allowing. Find a supportive community that might not exist in the limited environs that we quilt in ourselves. I am so happy I joined the band wagon and could be a small part of this phenomena. 

I`m so glad too Susan - thanks for joining me today.  It`s been a blast.

Do pop over and say `hi` to Susan - you`ll find some eye candy and a warm welcome and perhaps a friend too!


Karen said...

I'm loving this series -its so interesting to hear about everyone's quilty journey! Thanks for all your hardwork putting it together!

Nicky said...

Great post Susan and Annabella - I am enjoying finding out that little bit more...

Canadian Abroad said...

Thanks for featuring me, Annabella. And thanks for taking me to that restaurant. The food was fantastic!

Judith, Belfast said...

Great feature on our Susie! Well done A! Jxo

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Susan is a delight both online and in person! Great interview!

Isisjem said...

Another great post! And it doesn't surprise me at all her visit including food... ;-)

Cindy said...

This is such a great interview, A. S, it was lovely getting to know you better!

Unknown said...

Lovely interview with 2 of my besties! xxx

Sheila said...

Lovely interview, thanks both.x

Rhonda the Rambler said...

I love learning more about Susan...thanks!

Archie The Wonder Dog said...

I felt like I was at the table with you!! Great interview!

Catherine said...

Another fabulous get together! Thanks for the great reading

Katy Cameron said...

Hi twinnie, nice to see you here :o)

Mrs Flying Blind... said...

I knew she would end up in a restaurant!

Kelly said...

Great interview! I love Susans blog :)

Lucy | Charm About You said...

Fantastic interview! I love Susan and it was nice to read a bit more :)

Shocking Hocking said...

great interview - enjoyed reading it and seeing all those lovely quilts again

Jenelle said...

I am excited to check out Susan's blog. :) Thanks for sharing her interview! said...

Lovely interview with our friend, Susan