Quilting Tips from Jen Kingwell, Author of 'Quilt Lovely'

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015

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Spring Fever Quilt


quilt lovely book
We are excited to feature a Q&A with celebrated quilter Jen Kingwell, whose recent book release is called "Quilt Lovely." Read on to hear what she has to say about choosing fabrics, hand vs. machine quilting and more!

CF: You are a master at picking fabrics. What are your tips for pairing fabric prints?

JK:  I love color and print. When I start a project, I choose some core fabrics first. It doesn't bother me if these don't coordinate. I then start adding others that play well and this makes the collection much more cohesive. I usually make one block at a time and I constantly add more to the mix. More is better in my world. I love mixing all genres of fabrics. I would have great difficulty if I was only allowed to just use one. My fingers would itch to rummage in my stash.

CF:  Where do you find inspiration for your quilt patterns?

JK:  A lot of my designs are based on traditional block patterns. I then just tweak them or set them however I think looks appealing. I really do love most styles of quilts, but I guess vintage quilts are my favorite.

CF:  How do you prioritize time in your life to quilt and create?

JK:  Mmmm, interesting question. If you spoke to my family, they would probably say "sometimes not very well." Family comes first, but I'm extremely lucky that I get to stitch almost every day. I have a husband who is supportive of me and is happy to cook and help me to get things done and still meet deadlines (I guess he also subscribes to the "happy wife, happy life" theory). Stitching just makes me happy. My girls encourage me to do what I'm passionate about also. Over the years, I have realized that there are only 24 hours in a day, so there are things that sometimes just have to give. I have weeds in my garden and my windows might need a clean. My sewing room is rarely tidy. 

I will add that I am also a last-minute princess! I work well under pressure.

Glitter Quilt
CF:  Can you talk about your love of hand quilting vs. machine quilting?

JK:  I have never enjoyed machine stitching when there is a large volume of fabric involved. I remember when I was trying to make curtains for our first home. Not something I look back on fondly! I just enjoy hand stitching in every way. It's therapeutic to me. I can feel stress drain from every pore in my body. 

When my daughters were smaller, I was working as a midwife. In the evenings I wanted to be present and listen to stories about their day. Hand stitching was the solution. I could be doing what I loved and be part of family life. My machine was always set up in another room and to machine stitch removed me from this.

I do machine piece, but in my perfect world I would hand stitch everything.
Jen Kingwell
Quilt Lovely by Jen Kingwell
Jen Kingwell is the author of "Quilt Lovely: 15 Vibrant Projects Using Piecing and Appliqué" (Fons & Porter/F+W; $26.99).

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