August Monthly Member Spotlight: Rachael

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No matter how long you’ve been in the quilting community, you know that no two quilters creative spaces are the same.  We all have our own organized chaos, ideas, and systems that we know work best for us. But get us in another quilters sewing space and we WILL go wild with curiosity.

This month, Rachael shares with us her sewing space + quilts in our Monthly Member Spotlight!

Name: Rachael Arnold

Instagram Name: @raevenfea

When did you join VTMQG? Almost at the very beginning! (~August 2014, just as we were deciding whether to become an official MQG or not.)

What brought you to VTMQG? I’d moved here a year before and really missed being involved in a guild. When I heard about a new group meeting up at Nido, I was eager to join! I was a member of a big, traditional guild elsewhere, and a group of us had tried getting a MQG going in that town but interest fizzled. It was great to find a group of other quilters who shared a similar aesthetic and eagerness to learn and grow as quilters like our members have.

When did you start quilting? 2010 (but I’ve been sewing since I was tall enough to reach the foot pedal and still see my fabric feeding through the machine). My first finished quilt was for my childhood best friend’s baby, using a free pattern I found online and very poor fabric choices that included eyelet, silk, and flannel mixed with box-store quilting cotton. I was completely hooked, and haven’t stopped since, although I mostly stick to quality cotton and linen these days.

Why do you quilt? I love having a creative outlet to come home to that has both a practical and artistic application. I used to think that it was a way to use a completely different skill set than I use every day at work, but actually, the problem solving I do when creating quilts I’ve designed is often similar to solving coding problems. I’ve found myself coming up with a better solution to a work problem while quilting, or vice versa, many times!

What was your most recent fabric purchase? A few yards of my favorite gray ever—Cloud9’s Cirrus Ash—just to have it in my stash.

What is on your “to make list”? I love the look of whole cloth quilts, and someday hope to make a bed-sized one. I haven’t yet come up with the right design ideas for one, but it’s always in the back of my mind.

What is something you struggle with? Finishing things if I hit a road block. Some projects I fly through, but if I lose momentum, run into a problem, or get distracted by a different project, I am terrible about going back and working on the project. I’ve spent the last year or two trying to finish at least one old project for every new on I’ve started. I still have a handful to get through, though!

What do you do when you aren’t quilting? Beyond working full time as a Web developer and spending time with my spouse and our spoiled dog (who thinks every quilt I make should be his), I spend my time teaching women how to code websites (and organizing other classes and events for that organization) and practicing martial arts. I try to find a good balance with still getting in plenty of sewing time, which means my poor sewing blog never gets updated anymore.

What kind of machine do you sew on? A Husqvarna Viking Ruby, which also has embroidery functionality that I use sometimes (rarely on quilts), but I love that it has a very deep throat, which is helpful for quilting larger projects.

Describe your sewing space in three words? Hidden By Door

Where do you sew the most often? My sewing space is our master bedroom closet (luckily, our clothes all fit in the coat closet!). After using a corner of the living room in our first apartment together, my husband said that all future living spaces had to have a door he can close on my mess (and likewise for his hobby stuff). It’s small, but the only time I need work in other parts of our apartment are when I baste and trim quilts (and very rarely, when cutting out clothing to sew).  

What is your most useful (or least useful) notion? I have a pair of tweezers with a tapered point that are invaluable as a stiletto, point turner, and numerous other things, and I am pretty sure I couldn’t live without them.

Anything else you’d like to say? Don’t be afraid to try new things, and share them. I love that our guild members all seem to love to learn and share what they do. It often seems like there are as many different ways to do certain things as there are people doing them, and I know it’s made me a better quilter that I try different methods now and then, even if I love the one I know well. 

Show us some photos of your sewing space!

A view into the closet, including my on-door ironing board

My cutting table and stash book case

My sewing table and storage for works in progress and other odds and ends

What the room looks like when I haven’t had time to sew lately and start using every flat surface as a dumping ground, lest you think it’s always organized!

And that’s a wrap for August’s Monthly Member Spotlight.Thanks Rachael for sharing with us! See you next month with a whole new member and a whole new sewing space!