Right Sides Together is proud to feature profiles of modern quilters and sewists on a regular basis. We do this to bolster our belief that quilting and sewing are community-based practices, and that we are all stronger artists individually when we support and promote each other.
This is Amy.
Amy is a modern quilter from Arvada, Colorado. She and Lauren met last year, and we became fast friends at the MQG Sewdown in Portland this last February. She owns Amy Wade Originals, an independent long-arm quilting business. We’re thrilled to have her here to share her quilting story!
How did you get started in quilting?
I know exactly the first time a quilt made me stop in my tracks. I was in 6th grade and my best friend’s mother was hand piecing a quilt that she had set up on a huge loom structure in their living room. I was stunned; probably 2,000 tiny diamonds went into that quilt. That next summer that best friend and I took a week long sewing class from a dear older woman and I have been sewing things ever since.
Quilting, though, completely intimidated me. My Great Aunt Muriel was a perfectionist and an amazing quilter. She had a way of examining other peoples work that scared me right out of learning how to quilt. One of her favorite descriptions of someone’s quilting, “Her stitches are so long you could catch your toenail in one.” She was vocal about her perfectionism. I wish, now, that I had learned to quilt from her or my grandmother. It would have meant a lot to me. I have several of their quilts, but it just isn’t the same.
Fast forward a decade or two or three and I rented time on a long arm machine. That sealed the deal for where I wanted to spend my time. I enjoy the entire process of designing and piecing a quilt, but the actual quilting of the project is my true passion. I own a Gammill Statler Stitcher long arm machine that I use for personal and professional purposes. I love the challenge of a fresh new quilt top.
What is your quilting style? Where do you find your inspiration?
I have found my true style in the Modern Quilting movement. I’m the happiest when I am sewing one, viewing one, quilting one, shopping for one, or just thinking about one. Since I quilt for other people I get to see a lot of beautiful quilts up close.
My inspiration really comes from fabric. I have been known to buy fabric for a particular project and then completely change my mind and use it for a very different unplanned project. I’ve learned to just go with the flow and let the fabric come to life through the design process. That being said, I love blogs, magazines, art galleries, flickr, instagram and Pinterest. Browsing through these collections can motivate me to try a new technique and for me, continually learning is what keeps it all interesting.
Who do you admire most?
I admire so many quilters it is hard to pick just one. I quilt alongside quilters of every single generation out there. One particular group is very interesting; they have been quilting together since the 1960‘s and have supported me from the beginning, sharing so many little secrets of the trade. They are not “modern” quilters, but have been open to me bringing in my projects. I cannot convince them to not include borders or sashing in their quilts and that endears me to them even more. After I went to the MQG Portland Sewdown, I brought several books and patterns to their meeting. They were intrigued and I have even gotten a couple of them to purchase some modern fabrics.
I also admire Angela Walters‘ style and personality. I met her this spring and am looking forward to taking a class or two from her because she approaches the process with the freedom and creativity I want to emulate. I have several projects in progress but I am always proud of any that I get completely finished. Angela’s approach of “just start quilting” has pushed my creativity and definitely helped me get over worrying about perfectionism. When it is done, it is perfect!
We’re also happy to announce that Amy will be a regular contributor to Right Sides Together as our “resident long-armer.” Her column, “Quilty by Association,” will be appearing soon and will offer special tips and resources from a long-arming perspective. Welcome, Amy!