This week on the blog, we are excited to introduce a dynamic quilting duo who have a unique history with quilting in addition to a beautiful friendship.
Let's get to know them!
Sew Special Sewing Spaces: Blair Currey & Jolene Morgan
Blair & Jolene
Blair was born in West TX, but got here as quickly as she could. Stopping in Dallas for a quick biology degree and lots of fun at SMU, she then joined the Dallas Fire Department. Her father, an Interior Designer and Museum Education/Art History professor (SMU/UNT) was initially horrified, but quickly saw Blair having the time of her life. She says, " I did some paintings and drawings, a little collage and logo design because I missed art!"
Working for 30 years on a front-line fire apparatus, Blair rose to the rank of Captain, and met the love of her life. A round of cancer and tearing all the tendons in her left, lower leg caused Blair to retire a little earlier than she intended, but Blair and her husband were ready. They have an amazing life on a farm, where the two of them raise cattle and hay.
Jolene has made a career working in retail, in some capacity in addition to having a long career in several non-profit organizations that were involved in teaching children and/or parents. Jolene's big heart kept her in this line of work for many years and you can quickly realize just how big her heart really is, by summing it up in this one quote of hers - "Whatever could make a better life for the children"
Blair vividly recalls meeting Jolene, this is how she recalls that meeting... "Jo and I met at church, and I adored her immediately (even if she’s from up North and is a very finicky eater.) Other than that, people think we are twins. She’s itty bitty tiny and can’t ever reach the stuff on my higher shelves. I enjoy keeping the M&M’s up on the top shelf just for the fun of watching her try to get them and she’s very resourceful."
How Long Have You Two Been Sewing Together?
Blair jokingly blames her new passion on Jolene saying, "It’s all her fault that I quilt—I was standing in Walmart 3-4 years ago, and they had a Sew Simple Singer sewing machine on sale for $99. I asked her if I bought it, would she please teach me to use it, and she said yes.
She came over and taught me to make a pillowcase. She told me to make a dozen or so, and we would move forward. Instead, I ordered a quilt kit for Amish with a Twist II, and started cutting away. As a former child development worker, she knew just how to handle me. She brought over her cutting mat and fancy cutter, and an extra sewing machine. We have been sewing together ever since.
Our tastes are wildly different in quilts—she prefers the calm beautiful Civil War prints, and is an avid Batik quilter, leaning toward the browns, tans, and greens. My choices tend to be ridiculously bold and bright—think ‘80’s disco. I’m kidding. But I do love more modern fabrics—Kaffe Fassett, Philip Jacobs, Alison Glass, Tula Pink. I also have a solids fettish—probably because of the Amish quilt I did first."
Jolene told us that even though they have only been sewing together for 3 or 4 years, it feels like so much longer. Jolene hardly even knew what she had gotten into when she agreed to teach Blair to sew. Jolene's side of the story makes us chuckle and it is clearly evident how quickly such a deep and lasting friendship was made.
"It also feels like just yesterday that she called me from Walmart and said, "if I buy a sewing machine would you teach me to sew?" I said, sure! I didn't realize that she meant as soon as she got home! But, I went over with miles of fabric for her to practice cutting and sewing. I had her making stacks of pillow cases. She was soon tired of that and we moved on to baby quilts. The next thing I know she has out graph paper and designing her own pattern!"
What Project Are You Most Proud Of?
Jolene told us that she is most proud of her two, paper piecing quilts and Blair has a couple of answers for us. Sometimes it really is too hard to choose!
"My second two quilts had no pattern. The first was all my favorite colors in simple stripes of varying widths and hues. It is still on our bed.
But probably the quilt I am the most pleased with is the one that introduced me to the women in Stitchin Heaven Quilt Shop. I came in the store and told them about this quilt we wanted to make for my husband, Danny’s mother for Christmas. All 36 of us in the family were going to make a block! Each person had complete freedom on their block, asking only that they make a bird that represented themselves. Mom just loves birds. I gave them a size, and turned them loose. I, as an experienced seamstress, having made one pillowcase and cut lots of tiny pieces, would put it all together by Christmas for her gift from her loving family.
The ladies at Stitchin' Heaven gave so much guidance and support!! I could see deep in their eyes that they thought I was mad, but they just smiled and tried to help me. They made recommendations, including getting a professional, but as they saw my determination, they showered me with knowledge and ideas.
It could not have been any more perfect. Oh, not the sewing!! But the GIFT. The blocks the littlest Curreys made were so unbelievably precious, and the adults’ birds were hilarious, and beautiful, and just like their person. Me? I was a big ruffled purple spotted hen. My husband was a snowy owl.
Who Is Your Sewing Idol, Or Person In Your Industry Who You Most Admire?
This is what Jolene told us: "The person I most admire is Linda Gibson Mathis. Her quilts are phenomenal AND she always compliments others on whatever they are working on. The other person would be my identical twin, Blair. She jumped right in and turns out beautiful quilts. And, she is very good at math! I don't math. My least favorite thing about making a quilt is cutting it out."
For Blaire: "As for favorite quilter—I don’t have one favorite. The peculiar thing about my taste is that right now, I love traditional sampler quilts done in Kaffe Fassett, bright solids, and white on white. My “Moby Dick” project is one involving a very (for him) muted larger floral print (Voluptuous—grey) with small print highlights of the pops of color that make Philip Jacobs such a favorite of mine. Think deep grey, lots of greens and purples with a pop of magenta and turquoise. I sometimes dream of the pattern it will be. Like most of my quilts, it will probably be a new creation. I have followed a pattern as written only twice so far. My next quilt will be another appliqué—using Kaffe, solids, and Tula. I can’t wait!!"
What Is Your Least Favorite Thing About Quilting?
Blair calls this her "Achilles Heel". Maybe after reading her answer, you can identify with this struggle of hers...
"I want to make blocks and create critters and design new things, but I am horrible at making myself sew on the sashing! When it comes time to complete a quilt from a kit? Pffft! I’m (ADHD) ready to move on and make something new!! I have one quilt that needs only binding. I have two quilts that need only to be put together with sashing. They need only my attention!
Jo and I were sewing yesterday, and I was lamenting being through with Tula’s City Blocks. I’m through 90 of them. I have loved this BOM so
Much!! But NOW—I have a MOXIE!!
The house has fallen into disarray. My dear husband comes up to the Sweat Shop just to catch a glimpse of me. The tall dog sometimes growls when I walk in.
But WOW! I am having a BLAST!!"
Getting to know them was an absolute treat, can you imagine how wonderful a day spent in the sewing room, laughing and creating would be?
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