Quilter's Bucket List: Cheryl Arkison

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Hi All! Heather here, back with another interview in our Quilter's Bucket List series. I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Cheryl Arkison, author of Sunday Morning Quilts , A Month of Sundays, and, most recently, You Inspire Me To Quilt . I must admit, I've been a fan of Cheryl's for a while, and have been know to binge on her blog for hours at a time. Reading her books, reading her blog, you feel like you're in a conversation with a good friend—talking about life, kids, ups, downs, and, of course, quilts.

Cheryl and I got to meet at QuiltCon in February. She's just as lovely in person as in print.

Cheryl, thanks so much for chatting with me. First question:

What are you working on now?

It depends on the day! I have about 40 quilts that I consider Under Construction. In any given week I may only work on one of them or half a dozen. So, this week:

• Machine quilting a queen-sized Sasquatch quilt (based on Elizabeth Hartman's Legendary pattern)

• Machine quilting a potential new book quilt

• Finishing up my improv appliqué experiment quilt top and basting it

• Ongoing hand appliqué with Carolyn Friedlander's Park pattern

• Designing a baby quilt

• Developing a collaborative quilt design for a published pattern

All that is aside from any writing or other design work.

Forty sounds like a good amount! I appreciate that you do a goal check-in on your blog every few months. Your honest goal setting is very refreshing .

Do you have a favorite quilt you've made?

Well, no one admits who their favorite child is, do they? That being said, I have a few favorite quilts... Crossword from A Month of Sundays, the first Sunday Morning from Sunday Morning Quilts , and my Oh Canada quilt. So much of quilting is process for me, so I am generally head over heels while making a quilt. And I still love the quilt when I finish, but the true joy was in the making. Those quilts, however, mean something to me and seeing them gets me excited all over again.

Do you have a favorite quilt you own (not made by you?)

It is a thrill when someone gives you a quilt. I never got that until a few years ago—despite having given away at least half of what I've made! My kids have baby quilts that others gave them and even that made me teary.

Truly, though, the quilts I treasure that I did not make are the two wallhangings I purchased in Gee's Bend in 2015. That trip was inspiring, eye-opening, and changed me forever. I was lucky to have the budget to get them and even luckier to have shared some stories with a few women there. I will treasure those quilts for their history and for what that trip taught me about the world.

What's on your Quilter's Bucket List?

You know how people say they could make quilts every day for the rest of their lives and never run out of fabric? That's probably true for me, but more accurately, I don't think I could run out of ideas!

As far as a bucket list goes, one thing I would love to tackle is an updated Baltimore Album quilt. I'm quite addicted to hand appliqué. The traditional patterns, while stunning in their own right, don't make me want to make them. I'd love to try my hand at a modern version—both designing and making.

I also want to make a portrait quilt of my Baba (grandmother, in Ukrainian). But I have a very specific technique in mind. Just need a lot of time for this one.

I also envision making a series of quilts that are inspired by my Alberta landscapes. These won't be art quilts, but improvised and functional. So far I've only made one ( Mountain Meadows) and tested the concept for another.

Living in Baltimore, I've always thought a  modern Baltimore Album quilt would be so fun! Then I remember that I don't really appliqué. I'd be on board if you designed one though!

Anything non-quilt related on your bucket list?

To make? Do? See?

To make: I just want to keep making, playing, experimenting, trying new things.

Do: mountain climbing, because it scares the crap out of me.

See: Japan, Petra, the Pyramids in Egypt.

And just for fun, here's some lightning round questions about how you quilt:

Barefoot or shoes?

Always barefoot.

Quiet or music/movie/tv/podcast?

Music or podcasts.

Salty or sweet?

Sweet—cookies and chocolate.

Self taught or schooled?

Mostly self taught, but I still like to take courses here and there to try something new or see how someone else approaches a technique.

Planned or scrappy?

Ninety percent of the time, improvised. Planned when designing for publication.

Perfect or done?

Nothing is perfect. And I have a lot undone.

Cheryl, thanks for taking the time for our interview. It's been such a delight for me. Can't wait to see what you're up to next!

Heather Kojan is a quilt teacher, lecturer, and author living in Baltimore, MD. She's the founder of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild and a contributing author to Classic Modern Quilts. You can read more about her quilting life on her blog www.heatherkojan.com.

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  • Cheryl Arkison
  • Quilter's Bucket List
  • Sunday Morning Quilts
  • You Inspire Me to Quilt
  • A Month of Sundays
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