Member Spotlight-Sue Chase

DAM Girl Sue Chase is an officer of the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild.


How long have you been quilting?

I have been quilting for 28 years. I debated between a class for quilting or basket making, but it was instant love for quilting. Although I did eventually try basket making. I also knit and spin yarn.

Who introduced you to quilting or how did you start quilting?

My first class was thru Community Ed, there are no other quilters in my family history that I’m aware of, although my Mom gave me a love of sewing. She made garments and I did too, from hand-stitched Barbie clothes when I was really little, up to very pretty clothing in junior high and high school, up til I became a hippie and wore only torn jeans!

Do you remember your first quilt? Describe it for us.

My first quilt was a baby quilt for my sister’s first baby. It was a log cabin and the colors were rose, pink and cream.  My community ed teacher sent us to Guildcrafters, as at that time they would cut the fabrics FOR you by the inch into strips for the log cabin, as us spanking new beginners didn’t have rotary cutters & rulers just yet. Jo (Nanci’s Mom) said she didn’t like those ‘scrappy quilts’, and all I needed for my log cabin was THREE prints. Yipes! Now I hardly every work with less than thirty different fabrics and often way more.

When or how did you first find modern quilting?

I became aware of modern quilting as a movement maybe 4 years ago when I saw an article in AQS magazine, and then also saw Modern Quilt Studio’s booth at AQS Grand Rapids. I was VP setting up programs for GLHQ around that time & wanted to add some of it my program. One of my friends and I really wanted to see a chapter of MQG in our area & even thought about starting one, but were saved from that by Amy at Guildcrafters. I love the energy in the modern quilting movement!

What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

The beginning! I love fabric selection and piecing. I love BLOCKS. Once things get bigger & I can see what they will look like, I kind of want to move on to the next project!

Where do you find inspiration?

Quilting inspiration is EVERYWHERE! My guilds:  I have been in a traditional guild for 23 years and in a small stitching group for about 20 yrs. My small group (The Chickens) is a very talented group of women. My DAM girls are very important to me & highly inspirational; I love what I see from all of you every time we are together & every time I see your posts on Instagram! It’s wonderful to be around people who share your aesthetic, so thank you for joining this guild & inspiring me! Guilds are a fantastic resource. Also Facebook, Instagram, quilt shows, books—-you name it, it inspires me!  I’m pretty highly charged with quilting right now.

What is your most used or favorite quilting tool? 

Probably my most loved quilting tool would be my sewing machine.  Fortunately I don’t have to choose, I can love all the wonderful tools our industry has to offer—rotary cutter, design walls, ott lamps, the list goes on and on….

What brand/type of machine do you quilt on?

I have a been a Bernina girl for a long time now, have two, plus a white Singer Featherweight with a beautiful green case!  I started sewing on a used Kenmore that I bought from someone for $50, and now sew primarily on a Bernina 820, with 12 wonderful inches to the right of the needle.

If you could take a class from anyone who would it be?

Hmmmm, that’s a tough one! I’ve taken many, many classes with some of the most awesome teachers in the industry. Things I am excited about change very frequently and I get fired up about the next thing.  I guess right now, the teacher I am most looking forward to is Carolyn Friedlander. I am currently really enjoying handwork, whereas before I didn’t care for it too much. I like Carolyn’s slow, thoughtful approach, her hand applique and her beautiful shapes & organic designs.

What advice would you have given yourself as a newbie when you started quilting?

Advice to myself as a newbie? Hang on, because this is going to TOTALLY CHANGE THE PATH OF YOUR LIFE!! Advice to other newbies? Don’t make your first quilt a King-Size, start small!!

What is your favorite quilt pattern or design?

I don’t think I have one favorite designer, but appreciate many.

Do you quilt your own quilts?

Yes, I quilt my own quilts. I can count on one hand the quilts I’ve had quilted by others.

Do you design your own quilts?

Design my own? I’m not sure how to answer this. I have a traditional background, so I generally start with a block I like & then go from there to put it together as a quilt, making decisions about setting etc along the way. Twice have I drawn something out on graph paper beforehand and knew exactly what the top would be before I stitched a single piece. I occasionally use patterns for quilts.

What is your current obsession? (Fabric, tool, technique, etc.)

My current obsessions are the Chuck Nohara QAL on Instagram, based on a huge book of 2001 designs by a Japanese quilter, printed by Quiltmania, half in French & half in English. Patterns are a variety of techniques. I thank Vicky for getting us on Instagram—that way, if your friends don’t share your obsession, you can find others world-wide who do. My other current obsession is the La Passacaglia by Willyne Hammerstein, another Quiltmania author, which is an English paper-pieced (EPP) millefiori. That one I’m just stalking right now, but haven’t actually started one. But I do have a very obsessive personality!

Do you have a quilt related business?


Do you prefer to work on and complete a project before starting another or do you have multiple projects going at one time?

I like to have a variety of projects, at different stages, so that I can do whatever technique I currently feel like doing. I always need some piecing! But I do have a LOT of UFOs right now, and I am OK with that.

Quick answer:

Pre-wash? Yes or No Heck no!

Pins or spray baste? Spray baste

Quilt in – silence, to music or TV? Music, TV or DVDs

Steam or no steam?  Steam!

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