We’ve worked with designer Sherri McConnell of a Quilting Life Designs for a number of years — this is her second time as an OLFA Creator. After reading Sherri’s interview, though, we realized there was a lot we didn’t know about her! Be sure to head over and check out Sherri’s Scrappy Strips Pillow project also!
O: How did you choose your business name?
SM: I started my quilting blog in 2008, and came up with the name for the blog at that time. I’ve been so happy with it — it just seems like a perfect representation of what I have: A Quilting Life! And it seemed just logical to also name my pattern company with the same name.
O: Where are you from?
SM: I’ve lived in Texas, Utah, California, and Nevada, but the majority of my time has been spent in southern Nevada. I live outside of the city now but Las Vegas is home to me–not the strip that people associate with the city but the town, it’s beautiful surrounding mountains, and recreational areas like Lake Mead.
O: You’re involved in lots of things! Where can readers find you?
SM: My website is the first place. (Link to: www.aquiltinglife.com) Look for me on Instagram (Link to: @aquiltinglife) Facebook (Link to: https://www.facebook.com/aquiltinglife ) and Pinterest (Link to: https://www.pinterest.com/aquiltinglife/ ). I post 3-4 times a week on my blog, providing tips, tutorials, and organizational ideas. My Saturday posts are filled with fun things for quilters — not just quilt-related, but lifestyle helps so we can all spend more time quilting.
O: Do you specialize in a specific look or technique?
SM: I love classic designs updated for today. I prefer machine piecing to any other technique; however, I do have a fondness for English Paper Piecing, handwork, and simple applique. I loved making my Mahalo pattern which is an update of a similar quilt made by my great-great grandmother in the 1930’s.
(My Mahalo pattern in Denyse Schmidt fabrics)
O: What other craft or hobbies do you do in addition to sewing?
SM: I sewed formal-wear, prom dresses, and wedding attire for many years before settling down to quilting. I’ve also done quite a bit of tole painting, counted cross stitch, and hardanger. I love gardening when it’s not too hot (October through April)!
O: How long have you been quilting?
SM: 25 years! But I’ve been using a sewing machine for 42 years and was doing hand-work before that.
O: How have your quilting and sewing tastes changed over time?
SM: I feel like I still love the same block designs that I did when I first started quilting, but my fabric choices are brighter now.
O: How many fabric collections have you designed. Was one your favorite?
SM: We are working on our 8th collection right now as I write! Our sixth collection, Clover Hollow, is in stores now, and Walkabout will be shipping in January 2019.
O: How do you organize your fabric?
SM: Mostly by color! But I do keep Christmas fabrics separate as well as my 4th of July stash. I make lots of quilts and projects for those holidays.
O: How does your typical day start? Do you have favorite breakfast food?
SM: On days I don’t teach (I teach English 101 and 102 part-time at a local community college) I like to take a walk outside in the morning. Then I will have a simple breakfast before getting to work. I try to do computer work in the morning so my afternoons are free for sewing.
O: Do you work at home or in a studio some place else.
SM: I have a home studio that I love! It’s not big, but the lighting is wonderful. I have terrific storage and a great cutting table/workspace. It’s small but just perfect. We have talked about taking down a wall between two of our other bedrooms to make a larger space for me, but I really do love my little room!
O: Do you have a favorite quilt block?
SM: I should probably say the nine-patch since that is the first block I ever made, and I still love it today. But really, star blocks are probably my favorites!
O: How do you spend your free time?
SM: I like to read, decorate, and clean! Oh, and Fixer Upper is probably my all-time favorite show. I also like sitting outside when the weather is nice. My favorite place to visit is the ocean — I love the Newport/Laguna area in southern California but have also recently fallen in love with the Oregon coast.
O: Besides OLFA, what are your go-to quilting tools?
SM: My Clover Seam Ripper, the Bloc Loc rulers for flying geese, and a pair of Kai scissors!
O: Please give us a quick tip.
SM: Always leave something in your sewing room that is ready to sew. That way you can always sew something each day if you get even a few minutes of free time.
O: Is there a certain season you love to sew for?
SM: I love 4th of July/Americana sewing and Christmas sewing. But fall is my favorite season, so I’ve been trying to work on more fall projects lately.
(In Minick & Simpson fabrics)
(My Maple Sky pattern in Fig Tree fabrics)
O: What have you dreamed of doing but haven’t yet?
SM: A podcast! I’ve recently started listening to quite a few and think it’s something I would really enjoy doing!