Thursday, 15 November 2012

Janet Barker

There is little doubt that Janet Barker is a very busy quilter. 

Tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Calgary with my husband Greg and our dog, Copper.  We are truly empty nesters, having just put our newly graduated daughter on a plane to take a job in Toronto.  Our son has been working in Silicon Valley for about a year now.  Whew!  Both of them off the university payroll and gainfully employed; we are proud parents, indeed.  My husband complains that I am filling our empty nest with quilting paraphernalia as fast as it gets emptied!  I have long since taken over our son's room and have designs on our daughter's room next.  

Other hobbies include hiking, biking, skiing and snow shoeing.  Living next door to the Rockies provides an awesome outdoor playground and gets me away from the sewing machine and computer.
Sunflower Power

What got you into quilting?
In the year 2000 my millennium project was to get rid of all of my excess fabric, mostly from sewing kids' clothing that my kids would no longer be caught dead in.  I decided to make gift bags.  That year I made over 50 gift bags - for friends, relatives, teachers, my Girl Guides.  I wanted to decorate some of the bags and decided on applique.  Well, the applique books are in the quilting section of the library, and I was soon hooked.  Now, of course, I own more fabric than ever!  Ironically, applique is my least favourite method of quilting.  I far prefer the geometry of piecing.

I soon joined a charitable quilting group at our church.  The fabric is donated but we supply the thread, machines, expertise and time.  I learned so much from the wonderful ladies in this group without spending a fortune on fabric.  My first half square triangle quilt was interesting - so much bulk in the seams!  In fact, pressing instructions have become one of my biggest complaints about a lot of patterns that I see.
Falling Leaves

I also learned a lot about colour and value in scrappy quilts since we never had enough of any one fabric to make a whole top.  Before I retired in 2006 I was a geophysicist for 30 years.  In this profession we use pattern recognition to try to decide where to drill for oil and gas.  Colour plays a huge part in this, especially with the 3D visualization used nowadays.  I guess I honed my colour skills on the job and transferred them to quilting. I have been told so many times that I have an eye for colour that I am actually starting to believe it!

I joined a 30 member guild in about 2004 and immediately attended their retreat without really knowing anyone.  What a great way to get started!  My guild has been, and continues to be a huge source of inspiration, education and friendship for me.  When I started publishing patterns a year ago, the ladies in the guild tested quite a few in a very short time.

You can see her patterns made up in different colourways at her etsy shop.
Dancing Maples

 What are some of your favourite things about quilting
Over the past decade I have discovered that I really like designing, and actually making the quilts is just a necessary component of the design process.  I am a much better starter than finisher and have a plethora of UFO's tucked away in closets and drawers.  I think that I am like a cat - I need staff.

 What is your next quilt related goal?
My next quilting goal is to get more teaching experience.  Oh, and I have to make a wedding quilt for my son before next July.  Hmm, and I want to get my latest six designs pattern tested and published.  What can I say, I am a multi-tasker.

What is your favourite food to eat while quilting?
 And last but not least - chocolate, anywhere, any time.

Garden Maze
You can also follow Janet on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks you for introducing another Canadian quilter to us Jackie. If you don't mind, please pass on to Janet that I think her Garden Maze quilt is stunning. I got a closer look and the machine quilting on it was well thought out and stunningly executed.