about me

I’m Janice Ryan and I live in Los Angeles with my husband, 2 children and 4 cats (I’m not sure who creates more havoc when I try to sew—the children or the cats). Despite the Cali address and Irish name, I swear that I am genuine Pennsylvania Dutch (and, no, that is not the same as Amish—feel free to ask me about this!). I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember (some of my early memories are of my mom and I designing and sewing clothing for my dolls). In my former life (that would be pre-kids), I lived the vagabond life of a costume designer for regional theater, got my MFA in Costume Design from Carnegie Mellon, and then rode off into the sunset to become a costumer for TV and film in sunny California. Although I’ve had a long-time love affair with my sewing machine (I love it enough that my detour into the dark world of bridal alterations didn’t sway me), I didn’t catch the quilting bug until I was pregnant with my son, 4 years ago. In all my free time (ha!) I also enjoy fixing up our 1927 English Tudor home, unapologetically indulging in chick-lit, and exploring my family tree.

Thanks for checking out my blog!  Be sure to leave a comment, so that I can stop by your blog!

13 Responses to about me

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed you Over the Rainbow mini quilt and checked out your blog. Of course, I subscribed because I love your work! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Michelle Grable

    I LOVE your scrappy lone star quilt – I was readig in your blog of part 2 that said you were going to post on how to increaase the size of this quilt. Have you ever posted that? I am new to your site and have started trying to find more information. Also love the full star in the quilt you were going to teach a class on. Any chance you have that pattern available if we are not able to attend the class? Thanks for any help! Your quilts are amazing!

  3. Hi Janice, I’m actually not here to add my name to the growing list of people wanting to win your quilting book, but just wanted to say that I’m pleased I found you through the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway and I really love your blog name. I’ll be following you through Bloglovin’, and I’m looking forward to reading your blog updates. Your introduction is very intriguing, it sounds like you lead a very interesting life.

  4. Hi Janine
    Nice blog! I am about to buy a new sewing machine – any recommendations?
    Currently I have a part share in a Bernina 1010 together with my sister – but too often we both have projects to work on, so I am trying to find an alternative. I can’t afford a Bernina, so recommendations are really welcome.
    Thanks, Marie Helene

    • Janice@Better Off Thread

      Hi Marie! That somewhat depends on your budget. I really love Janome machines and they come in a variety of price points. The best thing to do is to go to a Janome dealer and tell them your budget and they can show you what is in your range. I do not suggest a machine from Target/Walmart (like a Brother or Singer). It would be better to buy a used Janome, Bernina, or Pfaff than to buy a cheaper machine. You also do not need a fancy computerized machine for sewing. It just needs to be strong and sturdy and sew a few stitches (straight, zig-zag and button-holes). Good luck!

  5. Hi! I just learned about you from Amy’s Creative Side. Your quilts are amazing! I didn’t catch the quilting bug until this past fall and I can only hope to create things as beautiful as yours. In my former life I was an Equity stage manager with an MFA in technical design & production (University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music) so I definitely know my way around a costume shop which has definitely helped my new creative endeavor. I opted for NYC instead of LA and was fortunate to work over 10 years in my chosen profession. I plan on following you through bloglovin’ and look forward to seeing what you create next!

  6. Our quilting association is looking for speakers / teachers. We are located in the San Fernando Valley.
    Do you teach workshops / give lectures?
    I love your patterns & would like to submit your name for consideration
    Pat Rosemary

  7. Michele D'Amore Designs, L.L.C.

    hi janice,
    my name is michele d’amore and i am a textile designer, also from penna.
    i wanted to tell you that i just love your quilts and your “modern” aesthetic.
    will you be at quilt market in may? would love to meet you in person and say “hi”.
    also, would it be o.k. to send you some images of my collections?
    i look forward to hearing from you. e-mail is best.
    best regards,
    michele d’amore

  8. hello Janice, I am wondering where you get your inspiration from, I am doing a project in my GCSE art class and the topic I have picked is vintage I typed in on google ‘vintage artists’ and you came up I am hoping to use you as one of my artists I will look at in my project
    thank you

  9. Hi, Janice…can I ask you questions on the Kite Flight quilt here? Rather than wait for a reply, I’ll just ask and you may email if you are willing. I’ve got all the panels of strips put together and the next step is to “Cut strip sets vertically at 10-1/2 ” intervals to create 4 squares.” My strip sets come out at about 9-3/4″ so after making the vertical cuts, the results will not be square (9-3/4″ x 10-1/2″). Is that okay? The next sentence of the instructions says “Then cut each rectangle diagonally…” So I have to ask should I end up with 10-1/2″ x 9-3/4″ rectangles or 9-3/4″ squares?

    Thank you for you help,

  10. Love your site….I was wondering if there was a pattern for your potholders ?? The hexie one ??
    Love to make some gifts for my quilting friends


  11. Hi Janice,
    I am making the Storm at Sea from the kit. Would it come out okay if I did not paper piece the blocks? Not a fan of paper piecing!

    The quilt is gorgeous, and I can’t wait until mine is finished!

    Thanks, Lisa

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