Recently, a fabulous creature called Velvet van Pelt came knocking on our door and, in a drawl as delicious as hot chocolate, asked if she conduct her own online “chat show” for Modern Makers. You don’t turn down a woman like Velvet van Pelt, so we sent her off to charm the equally fabulous Moira Carvalho from Quilt Talking (@quilttalking), also known as CraftyMa.
When you read this, you must imagine them both with martinis in hand!
Velvet van Pelt: Darling, when did you start quilting and pattern designing?
Moira: I started quilting about five years ago, but quickly realised that I love the creative design aspect most of all. I was brought up in a family who worked in the printing business and my mother also fostered my creativity by encouraging me to make my own clothes, as I am tall and had trouble finding clothes to suit. When I left school, I studied dress making, thus consolidating my fabric handling skills and providing an outlet for creative design.
Velvet van Pelt: Now honey, what drew you to pattern designing?
Moira: I have always been interested in creative pursuits and spent several years immersed in the world of digital scrapbooking. That changed to quilting when my daughter was expecting her first baby and asked me to help her decorate the nursery. We went and bought fabrics for curtains and other nursery items. It was then that I looked at the leftover fabrics and thought “I could make a quilt out of those!” And so I did. This first quilt was a success, but truth be told, it isn’t piecing that rings my bell…it is quilt design and fabric combining that is my joy. I have never taken a quilting class, but am well versed in the use of design and imaging software such as Photoshop and EQ7, so this has been my focus. I love to see what I draw on Photoshop come to life!
Velvet van Pelt: I don’t like to pry, but do tell me of your short and long term goals?
Moira: Well, currently I work full time with a commute of over 3 hours per day, and being so busy I don’t have any direct plans other than to continue with my current pattern design focus. That said, I do sometimes dream of being able to teach schoolkids how to quilt, as I feel it has so much to offer.
Velvet van Pelt:Can you describe your finest moment, sugar? You know, that time your heart went pitty pitty pat?
Moira: My first magazine feature was a wonderful moment for me, but two recent achievements have been really exciting. The first was being asked to make a quilt by Pat Bravo for her Heartland collection. The second occurred at the recent quilt market, when April Rhodes approached me to remake a treasured pineapple block quilt, made by her grandmother, in April’s own fabrics! I was blown away by the request, and of April’s expression of trust and confidence in me. April plans to showcase this quilt, in due course, in a magazine feature.
Velvet van Pelt: Do you find yourself hankering after a particular designers fabrics?
Moira: It is rare for me to design with florals. I gravitate to big, bold prints and colours such as those in Lotta Jansdotter’s Zen Chic and Katerina Rochella’s fabrics. April Rhodes’ Aztec inspired prints are also definitely my thing!
Velvet van Pelt: Do you have any tips for creating fresh fabric palettes to complement your patterns?
Moira: I am very fussy and difficult to please when selecting fabrics to coordinate into a complete quilt design. Near enough is not good enough for me! Individual hues and tones must accurately match. I often find it easier to use a whole fabric collection as a starting point for a fresh new design. You will never find me settling for a scrappy look! I very much like to use white as a counterpoint to prints and find it a simple way to make those prints and colours pop.
Velvet van Pelt:We are all just dying to know what is in your sewing basket at the moment….
Moira: At the moment, I just can’t wait to get stuck into April’s pineapple quilt! I find seeing new fabric lines very inspiring. I invariably design with new fabric swatches in hand, as the fabric will tell me where I should go design-wise!
Velvet van Pelt: And finally, honey, can you pass on to we mere mortals, your most precious quilting advice?
Moira: Go with the flow of the fabric. Try a block style you haven’t made before and see where it leads you!
Velvet van Pelt: Well it’s been a real pleasure, sugar! A real pleasure!