Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Designer Interviews - Janice Pope

Meet Janice Pope of Anything But Boring
Janice and I are members of the Creative Passion to Profit Mastermind with Morna McEver Golletz of the International Association of Professional Quilters. We met in person earlier this year at our 2-day Group Retreat in Baltimore. I find it interesting to learn how my peers started their businesses.

Janice is the designer of the wildly popular Two Hour Tulip Purse.

When did you start quilting and how did that happen?

I had been making my own clothes since taking Home Economics Class in High School. I had accumulated lots of fabric scraps. I was 22 when I verbally asked my grandmother, “Mawmaw, how do you make a quilt?” 

She said, “A nine patch is a good quilt for a beginner.”

I asked, “What’s that?”

This was her reply. “Take a bunch of scraps. Cut them all the same size. Sew them together in 3 rows of 3 each. That is a nine patch block. Make a bunch of these. Buy one fabric and cut it into strips. Sew the strips between the blocks to make rows. Sew the strips between the rows. A good way to finish for a beginner is to tie the quilt. For the edges, just pull the back to the front and tack it down.”

So I said to myself, ok, I have scraps. I tried cutting out the squares but I was afraid they weren’t the same size so I cut out a cardboard template. Unfortunately, (this is 1977 before rotary cutters and mats) I didn’t measure the cardboard to see if indeed it was square. I have an eye problem called astigmatism. I didn’t wear my glasses much back then. After cutting up all my scraps into little squares, I discovered my template wasn’t square. It was actually 3-1/4 inches by 3-1/2 inches. So you can guess my squares looked a little like a Gees Bend product! I choose a red fabric for the sashing (because red is neutral, right?) and a plaid red, white and black flannel for the backing. I didn’t know what to do with all the fabric and batting left at the bottom of the quilt. It never occurred to me to cut it off. That would be a waste. (I was raised by a mom who was born during the depression.) So I just folded it up a few times to make kind of like a pillow at the end of the quilt. It was close to queen size and I just put that at the end of the bed and used it on my bed during the winter for the next 20 years. Other issues occurred as I used the only cotton batting I could find and it was not scrimmed. It became very lumpy with washing.

I would like to say it did get a face lift after I learned a lot more about quilting! And that roll of fabric and batting at the end? It became a nice border! It received new scrimmed cotton batting and a proper bias binding!

How did you come up with your company name?
I was sewing curtains for friends during the early 1990’s when swags and jabots were in style. That was the name I choose as that time.

How did you get started with making purses?
I had made my own purses for some time but they were the traditional rectangle. They kept tipping over in the car (I am sure it had NOTHING to do with my driving!) and all the contents falling out. The Two Hour Tulip purse is square on the bottom so it doesn’t tip over. One of my friends wanted me to make it into a pattern so she could make one. That is how the pattern business got started. (Here is a link to all the patterns: http://anythingbutboring.com/patterns/)

What other jobs have you had in the quilting industry?
For about 10 years I repaired quilts, mostly by hand. Many of those quilts needed new binding, but more about that later. I also worked at a quilt store, and managed the same quilt store. That has helped me to know what quilt stores are looking for in patterns, as well as fabrics.

How would you describe your style?
Anything But Boring, of course!!

I love color, and I love pattern. I like to mix things in unexpected ways. I truly love the old antique quilts that have lots of white in them. I like using black as a background instead so the colors stand out!

What inspires you to create a new design?
Fabric! Fabric is always the start of inspiration for me. I love to use fabrics that are large print and many of my patterns take advantage of that by having large setting blocks so the prints are shown off. I like to use large, medium and small prints as well as different values to make the quilt interesting. I like for the quilting to be another element of design as well.

Do you use technology when you develop new designs? If so, how?
No, I am old school. I may use EQ when trying to do something specific, but I have already developed the idea using graph paper and pencil and color pencil where necessary.

Do you participate in other activities related to quilting?
I enjoy teaching, writing, blogging, going to bee (I am member of several bees, but am limited as to how often I get to go recently.)

What are some of your interests outside the quilting world?
I enjoy reading, traveling and spending time with my grandchildren. We love to bird watch and it thrills me to teach my grandsons to recognize the birds in our backyard.

Anything else you would like people to know about you?
I am currently working as a fabric representative for Blank Quilting. I have always been drawn to Blank fabrics as they fit my style of large prints and bold colors. I enjoy traveling so I don’t mind getting in the car to drive for hours to call on stores around my state of North Carolina, as well as parts of Virginia, West Virginia and South Carolina. I have the dual joy of getting to share my patterns with shops and assisting them to be successful.

I also have a ruler out with Creative Grids to help anyone who has trouble with binding a quilt. (http://creativegridsusa.com/products.cfm?item_num=CGRABB1&ref=c)

The video which is available right on the ruler, as well as the Creative Grids website and my website (www.anythingbutboring.com) explains how fabric is made and when to use straight of grain binding and when to use bias binding and why. It also shows how to cut it using a rectangle instead of a square so there is no waste of fabric, as well as how to sew it onto the quilt, how to turn the corners and how to sew the final seam together. I am rather passionate about binding! 
Thanks so much for answering the interview questions, Janice. You are one BUSY LADY!!
Would you like to learn more about another quilting professional?  Leave me a comment  and I'll see what I can do.



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