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Quilting Comics: By The Yard

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

Featured Writer: Jen Lopez

 

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What happens when a Quilting Nerd and Train Geek get together? A fun comic strip called By the Yard® is born! Jen Lopez started By the Yard for the love of all things crafty: quilting, knitting, sewing, rug hooking, stained glass, miniatures, card making and more. She is into more crafts than you can shake a pair of scissors or a glue gun at. Throw in the chaos created by a scratch-built model train enthusiast and you’ve got non-stop comic material.


A longtime fan of comics, Jen started drawing comics in college for VooDoo Magazine, the MIT journal of humor. Jen graduated from MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and joined a startup making video games and educational games for the PC. Presciently, the second educational title that Jen completed was called “Quilts”. It helped K-2 kids learn pre-math skills via pattern matching by building repeating quilt blocks. Little did Jen know how much of a role quilts (of the fabric kind) would come to play in her life.

As Jen climbed up the high-tech ranks of Corporate America to Director of Engineering at a Fortune Top 20 company, her comics took on more business flair in the form of BizToons, a satire on the cubicle life. BizToons ran in alternative newspaper Worcester Magazine and other newspaper across the U.S. for three years and culminated in her first book “You Can’t Fire Me, I Still have Business Cards Left!”.


Jen later earned an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and while still working a day job, she started a sewing pattern design company called Sew Fun® initially designing sewing patterns for babies and moms, then branching out into fun bags and quilts. After meeting a lovable Train Guy on a quasi-reputable dating site, Jen found they shared many things in common such as: buying more hobby supplies than could be consumed in a lifetime and forever starting a new project before the prior one was even finished. No horizontal surface in either of their houses was safe from the spread of hobby stuff. Quilt Girl Jen and Train Guy merged their collective hobby spaces and soon after Jen launched By the Yard® in 2018 to chronical their creative adventures together.

The 2020 global pandemic put a hard pause to Jen’s corporate life and suffering a stroke in 2021 put an end to it altogether. However, being the plucky “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” New Englander that she is, Jen re-tooled to focus fulltime to the best of her ability on her entrepreneurial efforts: By the Yard and Sew Fun.


By the Yard now appears monthly in The Country Register, an old-style newspaper published in 44 states in the U.S. and Canada, and bi-weekly on the blog for C&T Publishing, a premier publisher of books for the quilting and sewing industry. Model Railroader magazine, the preeminent publication for ferroequinologists, picked up the train flavored By the Yard comics in 2021 for a recurring monthly feature. The annual By the Yard Calendar for Quilters, a line of By the Yard greeting cards and the Sew Fun patterns are sold in quilt shops all over the world and available through all the top quilt shop distributors.

Quilters, model railroaders and makers of all types are enjoying seeing themselves in the By the Yard comic, whether it be hoarding craft supplies before a snowstorm or trying to hide their latest purchases from their significant others. Jen is delighted with the positive reception By the Yard has received and is taking that as tacit approval to buy more fabric.


You can read a new episode of By the Yard weekly at www.bytheyardcomics.com, and on Instagram and Facebook @bytheyardcomics.


 

Coffee Chat with Jen Lopez!

We talk about how she began quilting, her inspiration for her comics and quilt patterns, vintage sewing machines, and more!


 

Links:

By the Yard weekly at www.bytheyardcomics.com


To see more from our Featured Writers, subscribe to my monthly newsletter, here.

 

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