MQG Member Spotlight: Erika Mulvenna

This is Erika, otherwise known as Miss Sews-it-all. Currently living in Chicago, she is one of our awesome individual member at the Modern Quilt Guild. Her talents are many as are her sewing machines! Read a little about Erika and what inspires her.

Erika Mulvenna

When did you become a MQG member? Do you belong to a guild or are you an individual member?

I joined the local MQG chapter a few years ago, the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild. The group has not decided if they will continue as an official chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild or focus on modern quilting after this year, so I joined the MQG as an individual in order to stay connected.

Little Landscape

Little Landscape – a small quilt I just finished, inspired by a photo of the sunrise over Austin from my hotel room at QuiltCon earlier this year!

When did you first find modern quilting?

When I heard the term “quilting” it always used to bring to mind images of traditional patterns made with those dusty country colors, and I was never interested. But, when I was at home with a new baby a few years ago I had LOTS of time to sew, and started looking online for inspiration. I found all kinds of bloggers sharing quilts made with bright colors, geometric patterns, and awesome fabrics. The modern quilters that I saw online inspired me to give quilting a try, and that’s when I made my first ever modern quilt

What is your favorite part of the quilt making process?

I really love the whole process, from designing to finding the right fabrics, cutting, sewing, pressing, and I yes, I even love binding!

Patchwork Aprons

Patchwork Aprons – I’ve been playing with making orphan blocks into aprons

How do you educate yourself on new techniques?

I learn a lot from other people, I ask lots of questions of my fellow guild members and friends. I love being able to pick up a book and check out a technique, a pattern, or look at photos for inspiration. I am also a huge fan of finding sewing and quilting resources online, and read lots of sewing, quilting and crafting blogs regularly.

Where do you find inspiration? 

Sometimes I get inspired from seeing what others are making. Sometimes inspiration comes from the stuff I’ve collected and surround myself with; all kinds of books both old and new, vintage patterns, old and new fabrics, toys, and knick knacks (my husband thinks I’m a bit of a pack-rat!). I keep a scrap book filled with images I love along with interesting bits of paper, and I also keep a sketch book where I keep track of ideas or sketch out things I want to make.

Yellow Blue Quilt

Yellow Blue Quilt – improvisational quilt I made this year.

What is your most used and favorite quilting tool?

My favorite quilting tool of all time has to be the sewing machine! I have lots of sewing machines both old and new, and I love to sew on them all. I even have an old hand-crank, and stitching on a people-powered machine really makes you slow down and appreciate every stitch! It is pretty amazing how computer technology has merged with the sewing machine, producing machines that let you control every aspect of the stitch, and that even cuts the threads for you. No doubt about it, I have a serious love affair with the sewing machine!

Sunrise Quilt

Sunrise Quilt – the quilt I had accepted into the QuiltCon quilt show.

What is the funniest mistake you’ve made while sewing?

There are many! This is how I learn best, by making mistakes, by seeing how things don’t work and how they do. I’ve made just about every mistake possible when quilting, from sewing fabric wrong sides together to setting in a block the wrong way and even totally screwing up binding.  My seam ripper never gets lonely.

• Show us your sewing space!

Sewing Room 1

Our current home is just a temporary living space, so my basement sewing room is kind of a make-do situation. There are lots of columns, supports, doors and funky equipment (think giant furnace and water heater) to work around! I do love the cutting table, the pegboard for organizing tools, and that I’m able to have several machines set up for sewing at the same time. I sew on the desk or on the industrial machine, and I quilt on a kitchen table set up at one end of the room.

Sewing Room 4

Sewing Room 3

What sewing machine do you sew on?

As I mentioned, I have quite a few machines and love to piece on all of them. I do have a BERNINA B580 sewing machine which I have been doing all of my quilting with, both with the walking foot and free-motion quilting. I love it!

Sewing Room 2

If you could take a class from anyone in the quilting world who would it be?

I would definitely take an improv piecing class with Denyse Schmidt if I had the chance! I’d also love to take a class from LUKE Haynes, I’m really amazed by his portrait quilts.

Scrappy Quilt

Scrappy Quilt – the first “modern” quilt I ever made for my daughter. I was lucky enough to have this quilt featured on QUILTY TV for the “This Is My Quilt!” You can check it out right here :

Thank you so much Erika for taking the time to share a little about yourself! Want to content and learn more about Erika? Check out the links below!





4 thoughts on “MQG Member Spotlight: Erika Mulvenna

  1. your sewing room is really amazing- it really has a ‘workshop’ feel to it, and i love that. I also cant believe its in the basement- it looks so light.

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