Q & A with Carrie


I would like to introduce you to Carrie, another local quilter who works at a quilt shop and has some advice for us shoppers! I’ve known Carrie ever since she and her husband moved up here 9 years ago. They live about 4 miles northeast of us as the crow flies on her husband’s home place. She is a hardworking, down to earth, tell it like it is and always willing to help you out person. She also is a creative quilter and works at a quilt shop, so I was eager to “get the scoop” on the sales and deals there, us quilter’s are always looking for sale, am I right? So let’s hear from Carrie and see what she is up to these days.

Tell me about yourself?
“I live on the home farm with my husband, and our daughter and we have two adult children. I have a General Studies degree from Ellsworth and also attended University of Northern Iowa. I work on our farm and at Red Roxy quilt shop in Decorah, Iowa. On our farm we have hogs, a pet cow and goats. For my hobbies I like sewing and gardening in my raised beds my husband made for me. I also like to raise goats because they are fun to watch and they help with the mowing. We have Fred, Ethel, Bo, Billy, who likes to be scratched, and a few others. Fred is the most demanding of my attention, he is funny and has a big personality.”

When did you begin quilting and what are your favorite projects?
“About seven years ago when our daughter was one. I was looking for a relaxing and flexible hobby. With sewing you can work on it for a while and then come back to it, it’s not like you have to complete it all at once. I like to piece quilts with blocks that are 2 1/5 inch or larger. I also like the Elizabeth Hartman animals as I have just finished Sleepy Sloth and have done Dwight the Deer and Hazel the Hedgehog. There is a lot of cutting and pressing involved, but they are more creative, cute and fun. At work I teach our block of the month classes, Bow Diddley, the Foot of the Month club.”

Do you do other handiwork and tell me about the Element quilt you made?
“I have had a Bernina 440 for 3-4 years now, you can do quilt piecing and it has the embroidery attachment and I like to do both. I did cross stitch for many years. I have tried crochet but never really got the hang of it. The Periodic Table of the Elements quilt was a Christmas gift for Kurt a couple years ago. It’s a king size quilt made of 285 blocks. They were machine embroidered then sewn together and quilted.”I could not get Carrie’s photo of her Elements quilt to load here, but you must check it out on my FB page, I bet you have never seen anything like it!

What projects are you working on now and do you have any projects on your bucket list?
“Right now I am putting together 4 different Sleepy Sloth’s to make a throw. Someday I would like to make a log cabin piano quilt.”

Tell about this current project?
“The fabric is the Stonehenge line by Northcott fabrics that I purchased from Quilter’s Window in New Hampton. I was asked to make a quilt for a friend who drives truck and this will be his sleeper quilt in his semi. The pattern is a log cabin pattern that I designed myself. My husband often helps me with color balance and placements of blocks. If I am not sure of a layout, I just have to let the blocks set and he will then move them around to create a design, this helps me because then I just have to sew them together. On this quilt you can see the white blocks are the center of the log cabin block, I like the contrast of the light and dark colors and how it turned out.”Carrie chose the green thread and the Plush pantograph for her quilt.

Based on your experience of working at the quilt shop, give us customers three tips that we should consider before going in to a shop?
“Many times people will come in looking for more fabric for a quilt project they are working on and they don’t bring along any of the fabric they want to match. So if this happens to you, please bring in some of the fabric you have so we can help you pick out more. Since we are talking about matching fabric, when you come in to our shop, please know we may not be able to “match” your fabric. Be open to other possibilities as we can most likely find you something that will work. The last suggestions I will give is when you pick out fabric and ask for help it is a process, I will not tell you which one you should buy. I will offer suggestions and help you through the process, but you will need to decide, remember you are not going to hurt the fabric’s feelings if you don’t choose that one!”

What should others look for in a longarm quilter?
“A longarm quilter should have experience, be knowledgeable in quilting, have the ability to do custom and help the quilt owner bring creativity to their quilt. ”

Tell us your words of advice for new quilters walking through Red Roxy’s door for the first time?
” When you think about it, for a first time quilter a quilt store is overwhelming. The shop is filled with fabric bolts, fat quarters, finished quilts, patterns, machines, notions and a variety of other items. So my first suggestions would be to not get overwhelmed and breathe. Ask us for help and take a beginner sewing class. A good place to start is to find out what color they like and then go from there.”

Final thoughts Carrie?
“Any hobby should be fun. Quilting has the bonus of being useful and long lasting! Have fun with it. Be creative, be you! Oh, and shop local!!”

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