Wednesday, May 27, 2015

RI Modern Quilt Guild Member Interview

Let's Get to Know Denise.....

I'm Denise Lamb of Sterling, CT    I am strictly a hobbyist, (but who knows?)

I’m a wife, mother of 6 children (1 biological, 5 adopted (1-Korean, 4 Chinese) – with a 12 year old and special needs 20 year old still at home).  I’m a semi-retired professional organizer, and happy, happy sewist/quilter.
  1. How did you learn to quilt and how old were you?
I began sewing when I was 7 years old, and remained primarily a ‘sewist’ for most of my life.  If it can be made of fabric and thread, then I have probably made it.   This fascination led me to a degree in Textile Science from URI.   In the 90’s I learned English Smocking and French Sewing and got really good at that.   I had dabbled in quilting here and there, but only since joining RIMQG have I decided to seriously pursue quilting as a hobby.
  1. What was your first machine and do you still have it?
I got my very own sewing machine (a Brother) when I was about 12 because my mother couldn’t STAND the mess I made of her sewing room.   In 1980 I bought my first Bernina 830, so that I could make my wedding gown.   I’m  really happy to say that the machine remains in the family!  My sister-in-law in Oregon bought it from me when I decided to upgrade.  It still sews like a dream.  I have owned 4 Bernina’s over the years and now sew on the B710;  Mary Ann Koblentz named her “Big Bertha”.
  1. Can you tell us about a favorite personal quilt?
A favorite quilt?  That’s like asking “Who is your favorite child?”.  Hmmmmm, maybe I’ll bring up three favorites?   My mother had started a simple quilt in the early ‘60’s made of 3” squares, all corduroy.  I finished that in the early 80’s, but God knows where that is now.  Another quilt was a design of concentric half-square triangles cut by cardboard template that my husband helped put together – just to prove he could!  And another that I dearly love, is one I made from all the scraps from my oldest daughter’s handmade childhood dresses.  It’s a Drunkard’s Path with center appliqué.  You can see it in the photo behind my longarm – it’s on the far left.  A neighbor hand quilted it for me (for $20!!!) in 1984.

  1. If you were to do this quilt over, would you do anything differently?
Nothing…it’s charming and full of sentiment.  I think my best quilts are those made with sentiment and love.  When each of my children flee the nest, they get a ‘love quilt’ from me – to take all of Mama’s love to their new home.
  1. What is your favorite quilting technique?
A month ago I would have said “piecing”, but now , being the proud new owner of a Nolting longarm, I can’t wait to get a top done to practice machine quilting.
  1. Do you follow a Modern Quilter/Blog/Fabric House?  Why do you like them?
I don’t follow any blogs, not really sure what’s out there.  I do admit to being a Pinterest Addict.
  1. What tips would you give a new quilter?
Be Organized!!!   There’s a difference between creative chaos and an  uncontrolled mess.    I can’t think clearly if I can’t find my tools. I am by NO means a ‘neat sewist’ -  My sewing room can get to look pretty disastrous when I’m in the middle of a project.   But, that said,  I won’t start a new project until I have completely cleaned up my space.  Everything in the room has a  ‘home’,   so when I get the urge to tidy up, I can do so very  quickly. (like when Jodi asked me to  send pictures of my sewing room!)   I have a large shelf under my cutting table, that works like a junk drawer – and that gets cleaned up at least once a month.
My last daughter moved out last year freeing up the largest bedroom  (13’ x 20’) for my new sewing room. It’s a storage heaven, with  two large fully shelved closets and  a built-in bureau with 8 deep drawers.   My sweet hubby, (who fully supports my all- consuming hobby), not only re-designed my cutting table, and perfected the mechanics of my longarm, he has also installed 4 banks of track lighting with a total 13,000 lumens of LED daylight bulbs – did I say it’s well lit?   There’s also a table and sewing machine available for when a friend wants to come over and sew.  I’ve always had a sewing room, but this new space is absolutely incredible. Sometimes I just go up there and sit and stare.  It was worth the 35 year wait.  
  1. What does modern quilting mean to you?
Modern Quilting, to me, means “Challenge”.  I’m thrilled to the core when I explore this new area of sewing, designing and quilting.  It forces me to work and think outside of my “box”, really stretching me and challenging me to grow.
  1. Please show us some pictures of your sewing area.




  1. What is something you love about Rhode Island?
What’s not to love about RI?  Family, first and foremost – I am fortunate enough to still have my happy, healthy 86 year old parents living in Warwick.   Also, two of my brothers are moving back to the area.  Food!  Yeah – RI has some of the greatest restaurants on the planet.  And, living in RI allows you to be within 90 minutes of 3 major cities; within 3 hours of the white mountains, not to mention that the beach is in your backyard!
Thank You Denise!




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