Friday, September 21, 2012

Member Spotlight: Mary Bakija

This is a new Q & A series to get to know our members. Today, Mary Bakija talks to us about her experience as a quilter.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been in our guild?

I live in the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, where I write about my area, and a few others. By chance, I found out about the very first guild meeting the night before it was held, and so I showed up then, and haven't stopped.

Have you always been crafty? What other things do you make?

Yes, always. It goes way back to things like crocheting scarves for stuffed animals, but since "adulthood" I most notably spent good, expensive college credits on a puppetry class (where I made the "cat burglar" pictured). After college I was living in Northampton, MA, where I found knitting--it's impossible not to find it there. I also got back into crocheting, and then a few years ago I picked up quilting.

Where do you sew?

I'm lucky to have a second bedroom which is big enough to sew in, but not quite big enough to baste a quilt larger than about twin-size.

What is your favorite type of project?
I like to make quilts that are repetitive and useful. If someone is going to be able to nap under it, and possibly be lulled to sleep by its hypnotizing pattern, I'm satisfied.

What’s your favorite quilting tool?

I do a lot of hand-quilting, and after trying out easily a dozen different kinds of thimbles, I settled on the Nimble Thimble. But it's definitely settling. While they're the best I've found for me, I don't like the fingernail hole because I don't have nails and the needle often sticks me through it, and they wear out too quickly--I might go through two while quilting a full-size quilt. So I waited until they were on sale someplace and bought about a dozen. Since I work slowly, those should last a while.

What type of fabrics do you use most often?

Solids, because I'm not good at making decisions, and trying to choose between a billion patterned fabrics could give me an aneurysm.

Who or what inspires you most in quilting?

My fellow quilt guild members, both in this group and in the Quilters' Guild of Brooklyn. You guys are unbelievable--creative, varied, and endlessly inventive.

What are you working on now?

Too many things. First and most importantly, the very next thing I need to make is a block that is overdue to a fellow guild member (sorry Andrea!). I've got some amazing blocks from a quilting bee that I need to assemble, I've got some small green shoe fly blocks that I need to make more of, and so on. But I'm going to have to put those things aside because I've got some friends who are having a baby soon, and some others who are getting married in the spring, and they need gifts!

What kind of projects would you like to tackle in the coming year?

If I can finish the baby and wedding quilts before 2014, I can't tell you how excited I'll be.

Do you have a blog, flickr, pinterest, or other place on the web you’d like to share?
You can find pics of works in progress (and if I'm lucky, ones that are finished) on Flickr, where there are also lots of pictures of the cats and dogs I stalk in my neighborhood.
Thanks Mary!!  I've missed you~  can't wait to see you next month!
If you would like to be featured in the member spotlight, please email your survey and photos to jessunderquilts (at) yahoo (dot) com


  1. Mary! Your bee block quilt looks tremendous! Great finish. Ox

    1. I realized I never posted it, and was glad to have this chance! Though it did make a sly appearance on the blog already, when it was on the road :) I love how it turned out, thanks for helping make it!

  2. You finished your bee quilt! I like the way you added little bits to the blocks we made. It looks like a party. Speaking of....I think I am wanting to make your Spicy Pumpkin Soup again. Mmmmmmmmmm

    1. Totally a party, best way to think about it! Thanks for being a part of it!

      And every party needs soup!! Thank goodness it's fall, I'm ready for some myself.

  3. Ok, yes! What about cooking! Girl makes a fabulous soup!! And I was in Northampton, MA on Wednesday... How cute is that town? I hit the vintage stores then over to east to the wool felting store... Very cool. You are fabulous mary. Love your quilts, your food! Your pictures! And sense of humor! Glad you stuck through it with us from day one with the modern guild!

    1. And thank YOU for being a great guild leader and hostess, inspiration and friend! Looking forward to another great year :)

  4. Love this interview and of course, love you Mary!!
    ....and haha...I totally agree with you about repetitive quilts and people "lulled to sleep by its hypnotizing pattern." Well said.
    I LOVE your bee quilt too!!
    Hope to see you in October....

    1. Another big thanks for helping on that quilt! Might not be so repetitive, but still very nap-worthy.

      See you soon!

  5. I too am awed by all you've done and do.... and don't worry, you'll get all the "gifts" done...If the recipient is worthy, she'll wait! I love your bee block quilt...surprising how patterned those solids become! Will miss seeing it in person in October, but look forward to seeing you all in December.

    1. As long as the baby's still a baby and the married couple is still together, a gift quilt is never really late, right?

      Thanks Jody! Will miss you at the meeting, but see you in December!

  6. Mary, you are always funny & so multi talented! Love the two quilts posted here! Looking forward to seeing you soon!


Thanks for visiting the NYC Metro Modern Quilters Guild blog! We appreciate your comments.