Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Meet Cory Allender!

Cory Allender is quite an amazing quilter!
It was kind of a happy surprise meeting her. I had gone to Las Vegas to visit a local guild, and Cory had driven down from Utah to be part of it all.

I knew almost immediately that she had ideas of her own, and I was thrilled that she wanted to learn how my own Fast-Piece Applique methods could be used to help bring her own designs into being. Then as our time together continued she shared a bit of the long arm (award winning – mind you) quilts she had been working on. I knew right away that Cory would be the right person to work on quilt for the book….I even knew which one!  It was great to work with her on Aspen Dawning, and I am over the moon in love with the motifs and quality of her stitching.

In the two photos below are the detail and full size views of the piece Cory worked on in my class.

As with most of us, things change from year to year – sometimes from day to day, so I pleased to share here Cory’s own words about her quilt journey.

How did I find quilting? 
My mother-in-law taught me hand piecing and hand quilting around 25 years ago and is probably rolling over in her grave knowing what I do now.  My husband's family goes back generations up in the mountains of the northeast corner of West Virginia. The quilting tradition is strong there and she was a purist.  She was still alive the first time I quilted a hand pieced top on my domestic machine and spent the last week of her visit trying to convince me that wasn't quilting.

Was I always drawn to the quilting?
Absolutely, positively, yes.  I immediately think of quilting designs when I first draw a design or hold a pattern.  It was a shock to realize not all quilters did. I taught domestic quilting in Las Vegas for three years before I switched to longarming and would ask my classes "while piecing do you think about the quilting or your next project?".  The split was 50/50.  I view the top as a canvass to add an additional design element too.
P.S.  I got the longarm because I have man-sized hands and found my design choices limited.  12 years ago domestic weren't available with longer arms until the Juki came out three months after my long arm was delivered.

What is my favorite thing, has it changed and am I at a fork in the road?
It's a progression so my favorite thing is what it's always been...the absolute blessing of working with design, color and texture.  It's been enhanced and refined by everything I've learned in classes and from generous people who believe in passing knowledge to those coming up behind them.  The last dozen years have given me the creative and technical knowledge to define the directions (note the plural!) I am pursuing in this art.  The time has also allowed me to grow very comfortable in my own professional skin. 

Below are a couple of photos of Cory's personal work.


My directions/interests now are art, modern and applique quilts, not necessarily in that order.

My brain loves non-representational work and I think that's because it's not distracted by a subject and can focus on the interaction of color, value and lines.  Modern interests me, again in the use of value, but more importantly the place of quilting in the total design.  I've always viewed quilting as the final design element of the finished piece and knew I would never make it the major element.  Angela Walters perfectly demonstrates making quilting an equal, as opposed to major, design element in her work on modern quilts.  Applique is my dirty little secret...i love hand work. I also love trashing a traditional colorway, especially working with wool, and choosing a colorway that puts the work on steroids.

As of last spring I made a major decision to focus on my own work.
Below are two of Cory's latest:


In closing, I know that my answer to Cory's question --
While you are piecing, do you think about
the quilting or your next project?

YES, definitely yes.... How about you?

while piecing do you think about the quilting or your next project?". 


  1. So pleased to see Cory's work discussed. I am a big fan of both Cory and her design.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree! It was fun day when we met, and it has been a pleasure to work with Cory. I am looking forward to seeing more of her own work in the future.

  2. I love Cory's work. I didn't know who she was for a long time but I always admired her quilting. When I attended our local show, and loved the quilting, it was inevitably completed by Cory. She is an inspiration!

    1. Thanks for leaving your comment Mary -- I know Cory will love hearing your words!