Leading up to the publication of our latest My Stars book, Optical Illusions: Innovative Designs for the Modern Quilter, we are conducting interviews with the 10 designers who appear in the book. The compilation effort will be out in September.
Today’s designer is Melissa Corry. Her optical illusion quilt, Old Dutch, was inspired by a field of windmills.
Old Dutch detail. Melissa was inspired to create her illusion by the dizzying effect of a field of windmills.
Melissa started quilting about 10 years ago. In the last few years, her hobby has turned into a passion. Starting a blog to share that passion seemed the natural thing to do. That led to creating her own designs, which she shares as tutorials, published works and her own patterns. Melissa loves designing and finds inspiration everywhere. She, her husband and their five little children live in Cedar City, Utah. To follow her daily quilting adventures, check out her blog, Happy Quilting.
How did you learn to quilt?
I learned to quilt from my mother. When I found out that we were moving across the country for my husband’s schooling, I figured I would have some quiet nights all on my own while he studied. So I asked my mother to teach me the basics of quilting so I would have a hobby to keep me busy on those quiet nights. I made a few quilts for friends and family and then, in 2010, I discovered the online quilting world and learned everything I could about quilting from fellow quilters, and soon hobby turned to passion.
How do you approach quilt design?
I always find I can design best when I am not trying to come up with a specific design. You know, when I am just staying open to the amazing design all around me. When I see something that inspires me, I normally grab a small scrap of paper or napkin, or whatever I can find handy, and scratch out a rough sketch. Then, after mulling the idea over, I turn to graph paper or EQ7, depending on the complexity of the design, to really start working out the details. Then once the design is finished, I am just itching to put it into fabric, and so I go looking for ways to make that happen, whether it is a tutorial, a pattern or a published quilt.
What’s your favorite color to work with?
I love purple! I sew in a purple sewing room with purple minis on the wall.
What’s the strangest inspiration you’ve had for a quilt?
My In Your Neighborhood pattern was actually inspired by two sort of strange things. The shape of the block was inspired by a lamp I saw at a friend’s house, and then the layout of the blocks was inspired by my kids playing with dominoes. I kept telling them that wasn’t the way to play dominoes, but they said trying to fit them all in a box was more fun. So I tried to fit a whole bunch of different size blocks in a box, and it indeed was fun.
In Your Neighborhood, by Melissa Corry
What drew you to modern quilting?
It mostly found me. Once I was willing to step outside my comfort zone and give it a try, I quickly found I loved it.
What was your first modern quilt?
Back in 2010, when I first discovered the online quilting world, a sweet friend was expecting her fourth child. I told her I would love to make her a quilt and if she had anything in mind to let me know. She brought me Anna Maria Horner’s book, Handmade Beginnings, and requested the quilt on the front cover. I was so scared! I had never made anything that didn’t tell you exactly what pieces to cut, improv was a whole new world to me. This quilt really forced me to work outside my comfort zone, and I loved it! I appreciate that friend for giving me my first steps into modern quilting.
How many UFOs do you have right now? (Be honest!)
Well, if you are counting projects that I have started and not finished, I have six, I believe, three waiting to be quilted, and three in some process of piecing. If you are including projects that I have planned in my head to get started on, quite a few more.
What’s the next quilt you plan to make?
There are actually five or six nexts. I have two upcoming tutorials planned, two baby quilts, a boy and girl version, for a magazine that the fabric is on its way for, and two designs that I would love to make into patterns, if I can squeeze them in.
Our next Optical Illusions Q&A: Jessica Toye, Sept. 3.