Tell us a bit about how you began quilting:
It was the spring of 1994 when a friend asked if I would join her in taking a beginner sampler quilting class. I had just resigned from my job at IBM to stay home with my two young sons and thought I could use a few nights out. I had been sewing since I was a kid and enjoyed all kinds of different needle arts, so I agreed to take the class. Little did I know how that decision would change my life!
Where does your inspiration come from for your designs?
Inspiration comes from all over. When I discovered papercut appliqué - a technique that is similar to making paper snowflakes - I found great inspiration in the names of patchwork blocks. The Bear Paw block inspired teddy bear snowflakes; Lady of the Lake suggested a series of cottage-themed snowflakes; the Card Trick block led me to design snowflakes of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades. Designing snowflake-style blocks led to the publication of my first book called Sewflakes: Papercut Appliqué Quilts with C&T Publishing.
I am also inspired by verses and passages in the Bible. The 23rd Psalm was the basis for the quilt The Lord is my Shepherd; Psalm 150 inspired Instruments of Praise; and my most recent quilt Flourish on the Vine depicts the words of John 15:5.
Do you have a favourite technique? Any tips you can share with others?
My favourite technique is probably needle-turn appliqué. It is relaxing, portable, and produces beautiful results. My tip is to mark the appliqué design on the background fabric as well as on the patches themselves. This ensures that all the appliqué patches are accurately positioned.
A close second would have to be machine quilting and I am currently sharing my ideas and tips on my blog at http://www.kathykwylie.com/blog/category/machine-quilting-2
You also travel and teach, what classes are your favourite?
That’s a tough question, actually. I love teaching my Sewflakes: Papercut Appliqué technique - it is so fun to see students design their own one-of-a-kind snowflakes and turn them into quilt blocks! I also really enjoy teaching EQ7 quilt design software - I guess I still have an affinity for anything “techie”, back from my IBM days.
I see you have patterns and books for sale on your website, is there anything else that you are planning?
Two new patterns are in the works, for the award-winning quilts Instruments of Praise - which now resides at the National Quilt Museum as part of their permanent collection - and Flourish on the Vine, winner of the IQA Founders’ Award. I am planning to develop a new lecture on The Art of Appliqué as well as some new workshops to go along with the patterns as well.
Tell us how it felt to win the big award in Houston?
It was amazing!! Quilts that are accepted into the IQA show are judged months in advance and the winners are notified. I knew that Flourish on the Vine was going to win an award, but not which one. I also knew that it would be in the top eight because part of my prize was the trip to Houston! The awards ceremony was held on the Tuesday night before the show, beautifully set up in one of the ballrooms at the convention centre. I waited and waited as each award was announced, right up until there were only two prizes left. It was such an honour to receive the Founders Award and to have my quilt chosen for the cover of the April/May 2012 issue of Quilters Newsletter!
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