By: Margaret Bucklew
An epiphany happened to me about twenty years ago. There was a void in my life and I didn’t even know it was happening.
I think an inspiration is like a flash of light in your psyche just waiting for action, and I needed one.
On the wall in a fabric store hung a stunning Oregon Trail Jacket. I bought the pattern and soon realized, even though I had no quilting experience, it had to be very similar to making a quilt. There was piecing, thin batting, matching seams and so on. Whatever it was called, I was hooked.
Wearing the jacket was always a fun experience because strangers would stop me and ask about what I was wearing; there were always questions and compliments.
The jacket still looks as good as it did the day I completed it; wish I could say the same for myself.
First, I would only wear it on nice days. Second, I wore it into a shop and the lady was so enthralled with the jacket she couldn’t contain herself. She asked just about every question she could think of; how was it made, how much it cost to make, where I found the pattern and on and on. I finally completed the sale and was about the leave when she said, “Wait, Wait, I want Dorothy to come out and see your jacket, she just loves gaudy things like I do!”
The jacket was just the inspiration I needed to steer me into the quilting realm. I went on to make traditional quilts for each of my children and grandchildren; however, I soon branched out into portrait quilts. I find creating a realistic likeness of a loved one in patterned fabric to be very exciting and rewarding.
I create my own portrait/pictorial quilt patterns and the technique I use to complete the quilt is to simply zig zag the edges of each piece of fabric in a slightly non-traditional appliqué method.
After years of presenting lectures and workshops to guilds and being asked how I make the patterns, I developed an online class to help quilters enjoy the process. It really is quite easy and lots of fun to make patterns from favorite photos. Purchasing an appliqué pattern is nice, but creating your own is awesome! All you need is a computer, software (free software is available) and a photo. My next online class to learn how to make the patterns begins September 5, 2009.
I recently retired from my faculty position as coordinator of the graphic communication program at a college and I’m now spending my retirement enjoying the quilting world more fully. I design pantos and continuous line stitching patterns for blocks, appliqué patterns, kits, teach online classes, and share the “how to” of portrait and pictorial quilting to guilds through lectures and workshops.
Are you interesting in trying the non-traditional method of appliqué, which I call “appliquilt” using one of my kits? Enter to win a Riley kit, complete with fabric for the top and binding. Finished size is 13.5″ x 16″.
It’s as easy as leaving a comment below! It’s your chance to win! One random winner will be chosen next Thursday, July 9th.
UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Congratulations to #2 Betsy Lynn for winning Margaret’s Riley appliquilt kit.