Friday, 10 January 2014

Quilt Improv Blog Hop: Interview with Lucie Summers

I have followed Lu’s work for some time from seeing her screen printed fabric on  Etsy, to her first fabric range, ‘Summerville’ for  Moda, to meeting her and taking part in her  fabulous Portholes class at the first Fat Quarterly Retreat so it is a pleasure to be interviewing her for this blog hop.

The book is stunning Lu, such beautiful photographs and I love the sketchbook style layout.  Did you have a strong idea of how you wanted the book to look when you set out to write it?

I didn't really have any idea that the finished book would be so close to the ideas pages I took to the initial meeting - I knew I wanted the instructional pages to be very visual because it's the way I personally work best, but I didn't think the editorial team would be quite so enthusiastic about it! I think that it was quite a departure for them in terms of style, but I'm so glad they took the risk because I think it's turned out brilliantly. The photography is amazing in the book - Mark, the photographer, was really easy to work with, everything he did worked so well. The book is more than I expected and at the same time everything I hoped it might be.

Do you still keep a sketchbook to record your inspiration and ideas?

Even at art school I was terrible at keeping a sketchbook - all those blank pages were so scary! I'm more of a 'scribble it down on the back of an envelope' type. I'm not terribly organised, but I try to keep sketches together if I can - I find pinboards a really useful tool - I've got two massive boards in my studio for keeping ideas in one place.


Who taught you to sew and when did you first get into quilt making?  What were your early quilts like?

My mum taught me to sew, but I was a very impatient pupil so I didn't really make anything properly until my GCSEs. During my A level Textile course I discovered Amish Quilts which coincided with my mum learning to quilt. I was fascinated by the process but not so excited by the twee fabrics associated with quitting in the early 1990s - the Amish quilts appealed because of their unfussy fabric choices. My first proper quilt was made for my then boyfriend (now husband) for his 19th birthday in plains and plaids in blues. I tied it rather than quilted it and it's much more conventional than my quilts now. We've still got it and use it for picnics, it's looking a bit pathetic these days!

You cover a lot of techniques in the book, I particularly like the bagging out method for the mini quilts, they look brilliant!  What would be your top tip for creating the improv look?


If you're a conventional quilter and the thought of improv is rather frightening, than my top tip for loosening up would be to pop some scraps from a previous project into a paper bag and shake it up. Sit at your sewing machine and pull out two pieces (without looking!) and stitch them together. Keep pulling out scraps, one at a time and stitch mindlessly and randomly - don't try and make anything in particular, it's just an exercise in loosening up! Using fabric scraps from similar colour groups will always make things look more cohesive, even with improv.

You make quilts, design and print fabric, teach and write for books and magazines- describe how you spend a typical working day.

I rarely schedule work that clashes because I don't enjoy working flat out on lots of different things. I prefer to finish one big job before beginning another, even if in reality that doesn't always happen! My typical day includes leaving the house at 8am to take the boys to school then I'm home just after 9am to I answer emails, package up any Etsy orders then work on designing/printing/writing/sewing until 3pm when I leave to pick the boys up.

You often mention how your family and home informs your work.  How does your creative activity fit into your family life and space?


Because my husband works on the farm, I'm very lucky with how involved he is in looking after the boys. He has never complained when a deadline means he's got to be around more. Sometimes it's just not possible and my mum and dad help out, but it's not such a problem these days as the boys are older and able to amuse themselves. When the boys were tiny, my husband always did the bedtime routine so that I could work into the evening. My studio is just off the boy's playroom so they know where I am if they need me and I can see them playing in the garden during the summer. I try to keep my sewing stuff in the studio, but it does tend to overflow a bit…

Can you describe your sewing space at home and the new Turkey Shed studio?

My studio in the house was the old kitchen. We live in the farmhouse that my husband was brought up in, and I've lots of fond memories of my late mother in law cooking and baking in what's now my studio. My print and sewing table is where the dining table was, I've painted the wooden kitchen cabinets a pale blue. The walls are white and I've got a blue floor. I've got a large storage room where the old pantry was and I've got light from 2 big windows and a half glazed door. It's a lovely space to work in - it seems slightly removed from the rest of the house, but in reality it's just a room away! The Turkey Shed studio houses my mum's long-arm quilting machine and lots of new tables for the workshops. It's got a cute little kitchen area at the bottom end with a blue wall and a loo just off it. It's a great space with large wall areas for pinning up work. I haven't personally hosted any workshops in it yet, but my friend does a monthly creative textile class in it and the space works really well!


Thankyou Lu!  The next stop on the tour is Justine at Sew Justine Sew.
 and here’s a recap on all the stops and a giveaway coming up.  If you want your info all in one place, go to Stitch, Craft, Create
Wed 18th – The Long Thread
Thur 19th – A Stitch In Dye
Fri 20th – Fresh Modern Quilts
JANUARY:

Mon 6th – Diary of a Quilter
Wed 8th – Blueberry Park
Thur 9th –  Sew Take a Hike
Fri 10th – Very Kerry Berry
Mon 13th – Sew Justine Sew
Wed 15th – Lily’s Quilts
Thur 16th – Cut To Pieces 
Fri 17th – Happy Zombie
Mon 20th – Freshly Pieced
Tue 21st – Fresh Lemons Quilts
Wed 22nd – Crazy Mom Quilts
Thur 23rd – Gen X Quilters
Fri 24th – Handmade by Alissa
Mon 27th – Don’t Call Me Betsy
Tue 28th – I’m a Ginger Monkey
Wed 29th – Sew Mama Sew
TBC – Ryan Walsh Quilts 

There are giveaways along the way, including here!  A copy of Lucie’s book ‘Quilt Improv’ is waiting at David and Charles publishers here in Devon, ready to be sent to anywhere in the world.  

To enter the giveaway: leave a comment about your favourite motif on fabric.  

- for example, I like fruit prints, especially apples. Make sure your email address is included in your profile or as part of your comment e.g your name (at) gmail (dot) com otherwise I won't be able to notify you if you win.  Giveaway open until Wed 15th Jan.  Good luck!
sib blog

66 comments:

  1. I like dachshunds. I know that's different but I have two little doxie girls and so I just love anything with cute dachshunds!
    lisamcgriff (at) Hotmail (dot) com

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  2. Hmmm... I love all kind of maps, on paper and definitely also on fabric! Lu Summers design of houses, just like a neighbourhood is also a fav of mine!

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  3. I'm fond of anything simple and fairly geometric - if it includes a flower or animal then I'm very happy indeed! I have the book on my wishlist and would love to win it!

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  4. Probably my favorite motif is simple geometric shapes...more modern...like Summerville or Lotta Jansdotter prints.

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  5. I like food themed fabric:)

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  6. I really enjoyed this interview, especially learning about the house and how Lu works there. I like rabbits on my fabric and feathers too. Thanks for a great giveaway. xx
    ks(dot)eyles(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk

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  7. A motif I like is the simple square. Basic but very versatile. I also like a simple stylized flower or sprig :) Great giveaway - have a great weekend! amycav at hotmail dot com

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  8. I use a lot of flowers as they're so versatile, but I always look out for fabric featuring bunnies!

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  9. I love birds on fabric, and animals, and flowers, and.....no I'll stick with the birds or the list could get very long!

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  10. I like the paisley swirl - it can be used plain or patterned and in a variety of sizes.

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  11. My favorite motif are butterflies (well, I don't use it often in my quilts, but I hoard such fabrics:))).

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  12. Very difficult to choose just one motif but I do like foxes!

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  13. I love stripes. Any combination of stripes. But I do have a yard of fabric with the most beautiful, happy limes! Lets be honest my favorite motif depends on the day and the fabric & color in front of me.

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  14. Great interview!
    I like bird motifs!

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  15. I love birds and especially what my grandaughter calls 'mingoes' jennylarking at gmail dot com

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  16. I don't know if I have any special motif that I look for, but I do like dots of many sorts. Thank you so much -- I'd be so excited to get a copy of the book!

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  17. My favorite moifs would be anything baby related! I love making baby items from bibs, burp cloths to baby quilts. So much fun! This looks like a brilliant book and I would love to win a copy! Thanks for the chance!:)

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  18. I would have a hard time narrowing down my "favorite" motif. Right now I'm mad about dots, but I love flowers, too. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  19. I'm a sucker for birds and butterflies.

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  20. I'm smitten with swirls and curliques.

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  21. I love cute, little birds. Thanks for the sweet giveaway!

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  22. That's a hard question! (But I'd love to win the book). I think I like vines & swirly motifs best.

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  23. I'm addicted to dots - the more random the pattern the better!

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  24. Anything that looks geometric including circles.

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  25. I've always loved leaves of different shapes and sizes on fabric.

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  26. Love fabric full stop, but if I had to choose at the moment it would be retro

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  27. I don't usually buy novelty fabrics. I'm probably more into geometrics- crisp or hand drawn.

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  28. I always feel drawn to circular motifs - polka dots, of course, but more particularly the hand-drawn type circular motifs: Japanese fabrics ('nani iro' and similar) and sketch style circular motifs.

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  29. I truly love all kitcheny related prints, and that includes food prints. Thanks for the chance, Kerry! x

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  30. I really like stars on fabric and there are so many different styles of stars!

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  31. I love owls and mushroom. Joeycraftworkz (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  32. I like representative style images from the sea ... mermaids, fish, shells, coral, waves, seaweed, sand dollars, sea horses, whales ... and yet I'm a land-locked prairie girl and I'm not crazy about being out on the water if I can't see shore. Weird.

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  33. I like dots - all sorts, sizes and random ones.

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  34. I love elephants - always elephants!!

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  35. Great interview. And I like elephants :-)

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  36. Love the interview, and the idea behind the sketch book layout of the book! Glad to know I'm not the only one who's intimidated with big empty notebooks and will seize anything else instead lol

    Thanks for the chance to win :o)

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  37. I love bird prints....but it has to be the right kind, not just any old novelty print!

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  38. I love bright flowers...
    cjpike (at) indiana (dot) edu

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  39. I like birds, especially cardinals.

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  40. I love anything with text, script or maps.

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  41. I like wavy sorts of patterns.

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  42. I so love tone on tone with small prints.

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  43. I LOVE a polka dot and I am continually collecting them! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  44. Ooh that's a hard one but I do love a tree print, big or small! Thanks for the chance!

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  45. I actually really like apples as well I'm slowly building my stash of apple dots!

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  46. Lately there's been lots of cute cat prints and I love cats! and of course, dots ~ lots of dots!

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  47. I love swirls and circles in ton-sur-ton colours. I think I'd learn a lot from Lucie's book; thanks for the chance of a give-away.

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  48. I always seem to look out for leaf shapes in fabric. Great interview by the way!

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  49. Dogs... but especially bassets - and those are really hard to find!

    tgallop@mts.net
    www.willcookforshoes.ca

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  50. I like small things on my fabric. Small dots, flowers, or strips just nothing large.

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  51. I LOVE cat prints. I fact I'm slightly obsessed with them, and just can't resist buying any I see! I prefer the cartoony, cute type, but generally seem to love them all! Guess it's the crazy cat lady in me. ;-) Lol!

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  52. I love flowers, geometric shapes and cat prints... This looks like a great book too! I will be asking for it for my birthday!
    Happy Quilting
    Dawn
    array-dawn at cox dot net

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  53. I'm partial to text and fish, together would be even better. Also anatomical drawings.

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  54. I love text and birds! This is a great giveaway! Thanks!

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  55. I love the 30's children's prints. Reminds me of being a kid at my grandmothers. Although not from the 30's she had little jammies for us with that style of print

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  56. At the moment I can't resist tape measures! I don't think I'm the only one though!

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  57. It has to be motorcycles

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  58. I have a piece of fabric with clocks, I have used pieces of it in a bunch of quilts but then I buy another piece. I love it. Thanks.

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  59. I love birds of any kind. Thanks for the fun! This looks likes a gorgeous and inspiring book!

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  60. I like circles...help this traditional quilter become IMPROV. Happy New Year from Oklahoma, USA. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

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  61. I like dots, lots of dots. :)
    craftyccain@gmail.com

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  62. I like dots, especially the random dots.

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