Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Hottie Hotseat Flames Up with Designer/Author/Teacher Triple Threat Anne Wiens!

The purpose of the Hottie Hotseat is really just to get to know the quilt professionals featured in a more personal way. Each featured hottie is given a list of 20 questions and asked to choose five to answer.  
Please join me in welcoming the February 2014 Hotseater, Anne Wiens, Owner of Sweetgrass Creative Designs! 

Anne is also the author of "The Thrifty Quilter," a must for every scrap quilter, and was a member of the 2013 Quiltmaker Magazine Scrap Squad. But she's certainly about way more than scraps. Enjoy!

 Location: Shelby, Montana

# Years in Business: 8

Current Quilt project: I'm working on the prototype for my annual WorldWide Quilters Day retreat. This will be the 15th annual 1-day event, and each year I design a twin-size quilt. If the ladies come with their material cut, they can complete the quilt top in under 8 hours. We have breakfast and lunch catered, and there's a bowl of M&M's on each table, so the only thing that slows us down is the occasional empty bobbin. (Pictured on left.)

 Question 1:What is the furthest shop you have ever visited from your home?
Answer: That would probably be The Great American Quilt Factory in Denver. Now, I started quilting in 1973, and back then you  never heard of a whole fabric shop just for quilters, so this place became something of a "holy city", and I knew that someday I must make the pilgrimage. It happened on a shop hop during the first  McCall's Quilt Symposium, and it was like quilter's heaven and quilter's hell all at once. If you can imagine...they loaded 45 quilters on a bus, dropped us off at the front door, and said "Be back on the bus in 45 minutes." A feeding frenzy is the only way to describe it. Would you go back? We did go back during another Symposium, and they did give us more time. Sadly, the store closed a few years ago.

Question 2: What is the nerdiest thing about you?
Anne's idea of a perfect afternoon?
Answer: I love puzzles..and I use that word in it's broadest sense. Crosswords, sudoku, jigsaw, I love them all. Rubic's Cube? I spent days solving it...then I took it apart to see just how it worked.  My mother knits, and if her yarn became tangled, I was the kid who would sit for an hour and untangle it. I was also the kid who had to take every broken gadget or appliance apart to see how it worked. (Mom's only can fix it, but you will not plug it in!") I recently purchased a totally trashed Singer Featherweight sewing machine for a song because I want to rebuild it. Don't tell Mom. The puzzle is part of what I love best about quilting.  I love looking at a quilt and figuring out how it was put together.

Question 3: How many UFOs are in your pile? How many do you honestly believe you might finish someday?
Answer: Too many. I stopped counting at 24. A lot of my UFO's are class samples and sometimes it's easier to pack those around as tops rather than completed quilts. A lot of my UFO's are projects from the classes I take. Often, I'm not crazy about the project itself, but I'm there to learn the process...again, it's the puzzle.

Question 3A: How many completed quilts are there in your home?
Answer: I was just asking myself that a couple of nights ago. The answer is, I don't know. But it was a bitterly cold night and I live in a very old house, so when it's -24, it can be a challenge to keep the place comfortable. Anyway, I was tucked in bed, under the one quilt I actually use, but I just could not get warm. Finally, it occurred to me..."I'm a quilt designer for pity's sake. Those samples in the other room are quilts." I went and grabbed one, put it on the bed and slept toasty warm, dreaming of the obituary headline I had narrowly escaped: "Local Quilt Designer Freezes to Death. Stack of Unused Quilts Found Nearby."
 Question 4: What is the ugliest fabric in your stash?
I think it's the pink background that makes it weird.
Proof that any fabric can make a nice quilt!
Answer: Okay, first of all, I'm expanding the definition of "my stash" to include all of the fabrics I know to be in stock at my local quilt shops. Occasionally, there will be a bolt that just makes me lie awake at night wondering what was the designer thinking?  It taunts me every time I walk in the shop until I just have to use it. (There's that puzzle thing again.) Here is one case in point: a Martha Negley print.  Meaning no offense to Martha, this is as close to "ugly" as a fabric can get.  I finally decided that the only way to deal with a print this "loud" was to "shout it down" with something even louder, in this case, the combination of burgundy, orange and lime green. The pattern is my "Right Angles". Link:

Question 5:  Three things on your quilting bucket list
Answer:  This one was a lot harder than I thought it would be!
1.To publish another book
2. To teach at a "big time" event like Road to California or Quilt Colorado.
3. To attend the International Quilt Festival in Houston and Quilt Week in Paducah.

 And one last quilt we want to share, designed by Anne for this year's SuperSew Sunday at her local shop. 

"On Super Bowl Sunday, my local shop, the Creative Needle, hosts a special event called "Super Sew Sunday". We demo new tools and techniques. This year my demonstration was on Marti Michell's new "Sashing Star Set" of rotary cutting templates. I designed the green and orange quilt to show the four stars the tool makes. I had planned to do a scrap quilt, but couldn't resist using the navy and orange of the Denver Broncos and the navy and lime of the Seattle Seahawks. It's probably too much to ask that in the future, all SuperBowl contenders have team colors that coordinate."

 Yes, sadly, that probably isn't something we quilters can control, but I for one love what Anne was able to do with the team colors this year!

Thank you, Anne, for bravely risking the flames and taking a turn in the hotseat! 


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Very enjoyable read; I laughed out loud at the headline! Thank you for sharing, Anne~

Robin Waggoner, Quilter and Designer said...

Beth: haven't communicated much of late but this has really caught my interest. What a fun idea and well done. Keep up the great work.

Jeneta said...

I LOVE the Broncos/Seahawks quilt! I also had quite the chuckle when I read the answer to Q3A!

Mary R. said...

Great interview! I love the "Super Sew Sunday" idea and the quilt that came out of it. I don't think color coordination among teams is too much to ask.

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