Terri Ahrens

Aussie Quilt Stars – Terri Ahrens

How did you get started quilting?Fresh out of uni, my soon-to-be-hubby and I moved to Newcastle from Brisbane. It was there that accidentally found Anne’s Glory Box, the first time I had ever seen a patchwork shop! I instantly fell in love with the gorgeous fabrics and beautiful quilts and decided that I was going to learn how to make beautiful quilts too! I had been dressmaking for as long as I can remember but had never come across patchwork so this was an exciting adventure for me!
How old were you when you made your first quilt?Early twenties. I really only started machine quilting about 5 years ago…before that I was really just a “topper” and sent my quilts to be quilted.
Who taught you to quilt? I signed up for a course at an adult learning centre. The project was a hand-pieced, hand-quilted sampler quilt. I quickly decided that hand work was not for me and began to explore how to do it all by machine. I learnt any way I could – from books, magazines, videos and as many classes I could attend wherever I could find them. I am still learning every opportunity I can get. PS. I did finish that quilt top by hand, but it took me several years! Would you believe I still have the plastic templates that we had to draw up from scratch?
What do you like best about quilting? I love the way quilting can transform a quilt. I really enjoy the process of thinking through how to quilt a quilt – the creativity and the artistry. I still regard myself as a “newbie” to quilting and love learning a new design or pattern.
How do you decide what pattern to quilt? I think the quilt tells you how to quilt it…I try to use my quilting to complement the style of the quilt and the fabrics used, so that the story of the quilt design and the quilting works together.
Do you have any quilt tips you could share?Practice, practice, practice! Be brave, have a go, and don’t look too closely…step back from the quilt and look at the big picture, and you will be pleasantly surprised how it all works together.
How many quilts have you made and for whom have you made quilts? Hmm, completed quilts, not as many as I would like! Unfinished quilts, too many to count! Raising a large busy family and juggling a professional career didn’t leave much time for quilting. Now the family have grown, and I changed careers and became a shop owner, I still don’t get many quilts finished. Most of my traditional quilts these days are shop and class samples, although I have started venturing into fabric collage quilts in the last couple of years, which I absolutely love. These I make for myself.
Where do you quilt and on what HQ machine? I began quilting customer’s quilts at the shop on our HQ Avante with Pro-Stitcher, which I have recently upgraded to the HQ Amara. At home, I quilt on my Sweet 16, but I have recently added a HQ Amara to my “home studio” so I’m hoping to get more of my own quilts finished now!
How much time do you quilt every week, day? Most of my quilting is done in-store on customer’s quilts. I quilt most work days of the week, in between classes and customers, or after hours, so probably 15 hours per week. It depends on the number of quilts in the queue and whether they are custom quilted or all-over quilted using Pro-Stitcher.
What advice do you wish someone had told you when you started quilting?Be kind to yourself and don’t expect perfection…nobody’s perfect. Don’t let fear of being less than perfect stop you from “having a go” and getting a quilt top quilted.
Do you have blog or Instagram to follow: Do you have blog or Instagram to follow:
I’m on Instagram: sewpatchquilt
and Facebook: @SewPatchNQuilt