Interview With Faith Jones of Modern Quilts By Fresh Lemons and a Give-a-Way

Before I began my blog, I read a lot of quilt blogs, and several stood out. introduced me to modern quilting, (which I now love), provides lots of useful quilting information, and is fun to read.

Faith Jones is a talented quilter, designer, blogger, and one of the three authors of a book to be released in December, Vintage Quilt Revival, which I can’t wait to see.

Below is my favorite Quilt by Faith, called This Way, That Way. It is featured on the front page of the Modern Quilt Guild, How cool is that?

And here is our interview;

Tell us how you began quilting?  Were there other quilters/sewers in your family? 
I have been around sewing and sewing myself as long as I can remember.  My mom made a lot of our clothes when I was younger and she has been a quilter my entire life.  However, I wasn’t interested in quilting myself until after I had my kids.  When I was pregnant with my son, I ended up going on bedrest for the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy.  My mom came to stay with us for a bit of time, to help out with my daughter.  She brought her sewing machine and taught me to make a simple, quilted bib.  A few months after my son was born, I used that knowledge to make my first quilt.
 How did you come up with the name “Fresh Lemons” for your blog/business?  
I started blogging without a super clear plan as to what my blog would become.  I knew I wanted to document my sewing journey.  I knew I wanted to my blog to be a light, fresh, happy and positive presence.  “Fresh Lemons” just popped into my head and luckily, Fresh Lemons Quilts was an available blog name. 🙂
I know you have a strong background in Computer Programming/Web Design. How did you get into quilt design?  
I think designing quilts really just came naturally to me from my graphics and math background.  I enjoy math (gasp!) and breaking down problems (or quilt tops and blocks) into smaller pieces to figure them out.  I also have experience in technical writing which helps when explaining tutorials and patterns.
What you would recommend to those who want to learn how to design fabrics and quilts?
Start sketching.  This can be done in a regular sketchbook.  It can be done online, using tools like Threadbias, GIMP, EQ7, Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.  But take the time to sit down and be creative.  I often don’t have a plan or vision when I sit down.  I start sketching, drawing lines this way and that.  Combining components (half square triangles, rectangles, flying geese, etc).  And a plan eventually forms.
How would you describe the difference between Modern Quilts and Vintage Modern Quilts?
If you ask 100 quilters this question you will probably get 100 different answers.  When I think of “Modern Quilting” with a capital M, I think of something maybe improvisational, minimalistic design, bold color choices.  This isn’t always the case, but it’s what first pops into my mind.  
When I think of Vintage Modern Quilts, or Modern Traditionalism as I refer to it, I think of taking a historic or traditional block/design and using it in an unexpected way.  It could be a sampler, a medallion layout, a traditional block such as a Sawtooth Star, a color scheme like Red and White quilts.  Take those components and apply modern ideals by changing colors, making it wonky, or perhaps using negative space creatively.  The possibilities are really endless.
Tell us what inspires you in general, as well as, for those quilters/designers who have been quilting for several years, and want to take their quilting/designing to the next level?
I am inspired by all sorts of things.  I see patterns everywhere as I’m going about my day – catalogs, buildings, brick pavers, fashion, home design photos, even landscaping.  I also love reference books and have a shelf full of books with historic block listings.  There are also super talented bloggers out there on Flickr and Instagram.
What inspired you to come up with the designs for your new book, Vintage Quilt Revival, that will be released in December, 2013?
In November 2011, my coauthors Katie Blakesley, Lee Heinrich and I decided to write a book proposal based on the concept of Modern Traditionalism.  We took 20 historic blocks and designed a set of patterns to use these blocks in new and interesting ways – through changes in size, color, and layout.  While working on the projects, we were inspired to research and share information about various historical aspects of quilting.  From medallion quilts to mail order pattern catalogs, we included what we learned in sidebars in each chapter.  Our goal is to share modern designs while honoring the past.
What is your favorite part, and least favorite part of the quilting process?
Favorite – Pulling fabric!  I could pull fabrics for quilts all day long.
Least Favorite – Making and sewing on binding.  By that point, I just want to be done.
You have a family of 4, including 2 children, and have a thriving business. How do you juggle it all?
I am a mom and wife first and everything else second.  My kids are still relatively young (1st grade and preschool), so I’m trying to enjoy time with them while they still think I’m cool. 😉  I tend to do my sewing in the mornings when they are at school.  The afternoons are generally reserved for snacks, homework, Girl Scouts, soccer, t-ball, playdates, making dinner…well I’m sure a lot of you can relate!  
If I don’t get a chance to sew for a week, that’s ok.  I’ve learned to say “no” to things this year and not feel guilty.  There are a lot of great opportunities out there, and although it’s hard, I’m finding that balance.  I’m actually quite horrible at answering my emails in a timely fashion though.  I try to sit down once every couple of weeks because I don’t have a dedicated time each day to go through them all, research the questions and type up the answers.
When I was working on the book, my husband was great at managing the kids and giving me quiet time to work.  He’s a wonderful dad!
Quilters love fabric.  What are some of your favorites and why?
I have a special place in my heart for solids.  I love them!  My favorites are Moda’s Bella Solids, Art Gallery Pure Elements, and FreeSpirit Fabrics Designer Solids.  I like to keep my color cards handy so I can pick and match my solids.
As far as designers go, I love almost everything put out by Anna Maria Horner, Denyse Schmidt and Heather Ross.  Embarrassingly, I even have fabric tubs dedicated to them!  
I love text prints, especially if they have a cream background with black text.  I also lean toward buying prints that are monochromatic / tone-on-tone fabrics.
Lastly, tell us more about your community giving effort, and how quilters can participate?
The Community Giving page on my blog is relatively new.  There are a lot of quilt and block drives out there and I often get emails about spreading the word.  Whether it be a natural disaster, an accident or something more malicious, or an ongoing need, I’ve found that quilters are generous people and always want to help.  I decided to set up a special page where people can go if they want to help out in anyway.  If you have a quilt drive you would like me to include, just email me and I can add it to my page!
Thank you so much, Faith, for your time. This was a fun and informative interview with lots of inspiration. 
Additionally, Faith has generously offered a give-a-way, which are three free patterns from her shop.

Leave a comment in the comments box telling us either, what your favorite pattern is in Faith’s online shop, or a new quilting technique you want to learn in the next few months.
We’ll pick and announce the winner on the morning of Monday, October 23. Please don’t forget to leave an e-mail address or a way to get in touch.
Happy Quilting !!