This week, I continue to talk about those quilters who have greatly influenced and inspired me, I add Sandra Pearson to a prominent position on the list!
Sandra lives in York, England and we “met” in a FB free motion quilting (FMQ) group when I first began to attempt FMQ about 7 years ago. Over time, we both became admins for the group. Sandra was a natural choice for group admin as Sandra’s primary quilting love is whole cloth quilting and she is very accomplished. Why I was selected is still a mystery to me because at the time, my FMQ repertoire was severely limited. I could do consistent swirls, poppies and well that’s about it. A definite beginner.
Sandra, on the other hand, was FMQ’ing circles around me. Circles, paisley’s, feathers (miles of feathers), thread painting; creating lovely whole cloth stories in her work. Give Sandra a 30″ square of fabric, a few spools of thread and a day or two later you have a masterpiece!
Sandra’s creations are whimsical, fanciful, often delicate and feminine. She creates stories within a simple square of fabric with her quilting. She also designs much of her work! Every child born into her extended family has an heirloom quality baby quilt created by Sandra using her machine embroidery, design and FMQ skills.
At one point in my FMQ journey, I had an overwhelming fear of feathers. Not the birds, the FMQ kind. I gave them a few half-hearted attempts, but was horrified with the results. Ugh. And then I would go back to swirls, or try paisleys. But here is the thing about FMQ. It can only be learned and mastered by DOING. Not wishing, hoping or a lightening strike of genius. Just lots of doing and practice.
Which is how Sandra became so brilliant at FMQ. She loved it and practiced A LOT and now it just flows out of her. She has a wonderful YouTube video series called FMQ with Sandra or Sandra Pearson Free Motion Quilting that features a “how to” series for specific motifs, a sampler, border and sashing FMQ designs, and quilt block ideas. You can watch a detailed 30 min video or a quick 5 minute idea video. And all narrated with her calming, charmingly accented voice.
How has she inspired me? Well, she might have nagged a bit and pushed a bit when I was in my fear of feathers stage. She believed I could do it if I put my mind to it and got down to the business of really working on those dang feathers and, of course, she was right. I stumbled with the traditional “humpback” feathers and her videos showed me a better way to approach them.
Each year we pick one or two patterns and then each make our own version of the pattern. It could be a Sandra-designed thread painting, or a Lennea-designed log cabin holiday table topper. We have done paper pieced Christmas trees and paper pieced elephants. We have done table toppers, pillow tops, wall hangings and lap quilts. Esther Aliu patterns have featured in at least three of our partner sewing adventures. It is always fun to sew along and see the different interpretations. We use these sew alongs to encourage each other to learn new techniques, like applique and paper piecing, and to expand our quilting repertoire.
My absolute favorite Sandra piece! The pattern is from Jinny Beyer at https://jinnybeyer.com. The free pattern is enhanced by Sandra’s border design. ALL the color in this piece is thread painting. Not fabric or fabric paint. Thread.
If you have a sit down quilting machine like a Babylock Tiara or a HQ Sweet Sixteen, you can join Sandra and myself in the FB Babylock Tiara group. Or you can follow our work on the Sandra and Lennea Sew and Blog FB page.
Quilting with a talented friend that challenges you is a great way to be inspired!
Happy quilting all,