I recently had the opportunity to interview Shannon. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I did!
Tell us a little about you, your family and home life and how these are exhibited in your designs or process?
I grew up in a family of quilters and have many fond memories of hand quilting on the large Bee-style frames with my mother and grandmothers. We did a lot of traditional and whole-cloth quilts. When I married, my husband came from a family of patchwork quilters. The family often commented that the “Lone star” was the family block. As our married life continued we added three boys, followed by a little girl to our family. I felt that quilts were a portable hug from Mom and started sewing for my little children who love snuggling with a colorful quilt. One night we checked on my third son to discovery he was quite flushed in bed. We woke him to see if he was ill, and he wasn’t. He was simply over-heated as he was sleeping under six quilts—he couldn’t choose which one he wanted. That was when it became obvious that I needed another outlet for my quilting and started designing and running a machine quilting business.
My husband and children’s’ love of bright colors influence the palette of colors I use for design. They love bright and bold colors as the quilts appear very “happy” when completed. Since the quilts I make are an expression of love for the person I create them for, their favorite colors are the dominant colors in the scheme of the quilt. I choose to use traditional blocks in a modern color scheme to honor my quilting heritage of both my family and my spouse’s family in my designs.
How did you get started designing? What was your first design?
I started designing quilts in 2005 for my family. The first design ever created used good old graph paper and pencil. The quilt was for my then three-year-old son who was obsessed with Pirates. It was a simple sashed-block quilt with paper-pieced sail boats.
How has your designing over the years evolved since your first pattern design?
My designs have evolved to use solid colors in place where traditionally muslin would be expected and now incorporate the use of pre-cut fabrics such as 10 inch stacks, 5 inch stacks and fat quarters.
What type of patterns do you enjoy designing or do you have a specific design/style profile you enjoy most?
I enjoy rotary cut patterns with applique high-lights. Finding a way to subtly add applique is enticing.
What inspires you and your designs?
The inspiration for my designs comes from many places. I am a Biologist and enjoy spending time in nature and sketching plants from nature. When I design a quilt using applique, the florals are from field sketches.
What developments or trends in quilting are you excited about?
I love the pre-cut fabric trend. With care, there is little to no waste fabric in these quilts. Most of my recent designs use pre-cut fabrics.
What is your favorite…
…quilting technique to use?
My favorite quilting technique to use depends on my mood. I love the way needle-turn applique looks but get caught up with the amount of time required to do it. I also enjoy doing red-work style hand embroidery.
…quilting tool that you could not live without?
I can’t live without my rotary cutter and my seam ripper.
My favorite quilting style changes with what I want to accomplish with the quilt being worked on. Currently I am following a lot of the modern quilts trend. These quilts don’t use traditional blocks in their designs and make them fresh and interesting to look at.
I love red and white quilts.
When I know I’m going to have a busy quilting day, I throw dinner together in the crock-pot. If the family is happily fed, then I can quilt longer!
Do you have a personal motto you try to live by?
My life’s philosophy is that we can choose how we react to situations in our life. We can choose to let life’s ups and downs get the better of us—or we can get the better of any situation by simply choosing to be happy.
Do you have any advice for new quilters?
Jump right in and shake off those new jitters. You can do it!
What would surprise us most about you?
Oh, probably the fact that my bachelor’s degree is in Biology and that I worked doing DNA analysis for a local bio-tech firm as a molecular biologist and biochemist prior to starting a family. I love my children and gave up the bio-tech life to raise my children. Life has a lot of serendipity in it. My quilting evolved out of the love of my family. The saying is true, “When one door closes, another one opens.”
You can also stay in touch with Shannon on her blog – Modern Tradition Quilts.