Emily Bailey's beautiful designs prove that scrappy and modern quilts do go together. We, along with all quilters, love to see creative uses for fabric stashes, especially when we're all amidst organizing our spaces and looking forward to upcycling and recycling materials. There's a history told through scrappy quilts and as Emily put it, "hold hidden quilts". We were so excited to feature her work in our gallery and happy that we could virtually chat about her quilting journey. Watch the video to see her exhibit and read below for a one on one interview.
AccuQuilt: We’re so excited to feature your work in our gallery! How did you choose the pieces to send? Is there anything we should know or think when we view your gallery?Emily Bailey: When you see my quilts I would like others to think of the possibilities for their future quilts. All my quilts are scrap quilts. Most quilters have a few scraps hanging around. Those scraps hold hidden quilts. I hope you will look at them with new eyes and see what you can discover.
AQ: How did you find quilting?EB: I really got into quilting after the birth of my third son. Before that I liked to sew clothes. Since boys are boring to sew for, turned to quilting.
AQ: Tell us a little about your first quilt.EB: I made my first quilt in Jr. High for what my dad called my hopeless chest. It was a simple log cabin, large pieces and only one time around. My mom helped me. I still have it. Though it is falling apart.
AQ: What are you working on now?EB: I'm working on getting a few virtual scrap quilting classes going. Plus a new sew along for my newsletter readers.
AQ: From where do you draw inspiration most often?
EB: My two big inspirations are experiences with my family and nature. A lot of my quilts have a family story behind them.
AQ: You have an amazing approach to using up scraps. How do you choose how to use up your scrap fabrics and which fabrics to pair together?EB: A lot of my scrap quilts came to be because a certain color bin became full. When that happens I design a quilt around that scrap bin. I don't limit myself to that bin, but try to incorporate a lot of it. At least enough to be able to get the lid back on. This may sound crazy but color combinations come really easily for me. I don't even consciously think about it. I just start pulling fabrics from different bins and let them play together. They seldom disappoint. I like to say my scraps just know how to play nice together.
AQ: You play around with so many scrappy styles and techniques. What leads you to choose your next technique or style?EB: Like I said before I often base quilts on what bin is full. The style or method is often determined by the size scraps I have. Smaller bits become crumb quilts, or something like that. Larger scraps can be cut into traditional blocks and used that way. I like to let the scraps dictate what kind of quilt they will find a home in.
I think what I like most about scrap quilts are all the colors and fabrics they contain. There is just so much interest to be found in them. Plus it's a fun walk down memory lane as you create a scrap quilt. Remembering the previous quilt/quilts the fabric has been in makes me happy.
AQ: Where are some of your favorite places that quilting has taken you?EB: It's hard to pick a favorite place that quilting has taken me. What I love most about my quilting journey is the many wonderful quilters I've met along the way. I never worry about teaching where I know no one. I know that quilters are kind, inclusive and generous. I know that I will have instant friends wherever I go.
AQ: Who or what influences your art most?EB: My mom is an artist and has been a major influence in my life. The designers I admire most and gain a lot of inspiration from are; Victoria Findlay Wolf and Jen Kingwell. Both have a free scrappy style that speaks to my heart.
AQ: What are you most excited to be working on in the next year or two?EB: I've missed teaching during Covid. I'm looking forward to creating virtual courses. So I can connect once more with other quilters and share my love of scrap quilting. I find great joy in teaching and then watching my students turn what they've learned into their own creation. I also have a book coming out later this year that I'm very excited about.
AQ: If people want to follow your work, where should they go?EB: People can find me on my website, https://auntemsquilts.com/, on Facebook at Aunt Em's Quilts, or on Instagram @emsscrapbag. I also have a YouTube channel: Aunt Em's Quilts.
AQ: Is there anything we missed that you want the world to know?EB: I want quilters to know that their quilts don't need to be perfect to be beautiful. Mine are full of what some would call mistakes. I like to say, "my quilts are like my husband, perfect with lots and lots of character." Embrace where you are right now in the journey. This is supposed to be fun. Enjoy the process.
Favorite project you've worked on: My favorite project is my double wedding ring quilt. I didn't think I could do it. Thanks to encouragement from Victoria I tried and I'm so happy I did. Not only was it not as hard as I thought buy it's my favorite quilt now.
Favorite time to work: After lunch.
Favorite quilting snack: Chocolate with nuts. Mmmm!
Favorite thing to listen to when quilting: I have a very eclectic taste in music. I put on a good mix and turn it up.
Favorite way to unwind: My favorite way to unwind is to mindlessly sew with my scraps. No plan just start sewing things together.
Favorite hobby outside of quilting: Reading! I especially like historical fiction.