Sewist Meets Quilter by Kathy Mack ~ Pink Chalk Studio

on February 19 | in Sewing Inspiration | by | with 59 Comments

Quilting can be intimidating. It takes a leap of faith to mix fabrics, to sandwich it all together in your own style and to find just the right balance of pattern and improvisation. Once you make the jump, patchwork and quilting can easily take over your sewing life. At the very least a love of quilting can imbue your sewing with warmth, unique visual texture and give you new way to look at your sewing process. Kathy Mack’s work embodies this magical mixture and so we were eager to learn more about her shift from sewing to quilting. These three hot pads below are quilted and hang as art between uses on Kathy’s kitchen wall; they illustrate her unique and beautiful approach to mixing quilting and sewing. Don’t miss Kathy’s introduction, and enjoy her Sewist Meets Quilter article below.

My love affair with sewing began at the age of 6, my grandmother’s patient heart and talented hands always at the ready. The passion developed and matured as my sewing life evolved: Barbie doll clothes, hip college fashions, pillows, slipcovers, curtains, purses, maternity clothes, baby blankets, and Halloween costumes.

Fast forward to 2005, I attend my first quilting class. I had a single goal: make a quilt from a set of unfinished blocks left by Grandma. Nothing more, nothing less. I had no interest in making quilts. Grandma’s passion was embroidery and appliqué, it didn’t surprise me that she’d never finished those pieced blocks! I considered myself a sewist, not a quilter. The plan was to learn just enough to do something with the blocks. I had no time or desire to learn a new language, buy a whole set of tools and, for goodness sakes, absolutely no interest in joining any clubs.

Much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the class. Like ‘head over heels in love’ enjoyed the class. A glimpse into the land of piecing, color, and endless design combinations was downright thrilling. I was giddy with the possibilities.

I obsessed over arranging and re-arranging the blocks on that first quilt. Amazed at how each setting revealed a wonderfully unique color personality. Amazed at how the 3” and 4 ½” border blocks surrounded the 9” center blocks, mathematical beauty at its finest. Amazed at how FUN it was. Amazed that I was enjoying something I had discounted as being ‘not my thing’ for so many years. How could I have so severely misjudged this thing they called quilting?


Table Runner for Marci by Kathy, inspired by a 1920’s table, Brooklyn
and Jay’s Chrysler Building dress from Project Runway.
Learn more about the piece at Pink Chalk Studio.

I no longer see quilting as separate from the world of sewing. It has happily overlapped and become part of my textile universe. Each skill has made the other blossom in magical ways. Patchwork seems to make its way into just about everything I make. Mixing textures, colors, and fabrics have given my projects an artful twist, a creative boost that I thank the art of quilting for giving me.

And no, I still haven’t pieced together those blocks. I no longer see them as a bed quilt though. I’m thinking pillows, one for each of my sisters and my mom. I think Grandma would be proud.

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59 Responses to Sewist Meets Quilter by Kathy Mack ~ Pink Chalk Studio

  1. Glaucia says:

    Kathy’s works are gorgeous. Love the way she plays with colors, forms and textures, and all that beautiful quilting on the table runner.

  2. Dawn says:

    Great article!!!! I love hearing what leads people into quilting. I also especially love the table runner quilt above. It’s gorgeous!

  3. Deb says:

    Beautiful table runner!

  4. RobinE says:

    Thank you for sharing this article. It has definitely helped feed my creative spirit. 🙂

  5. mithrilsea says:

    isn’t quilting fun? beautiful table runner!

  6. Lil' d says:

    What talent.

  7. Mary says:

    I’m still in a quandry about whether I really want to jump from sewing to quilting. However, I am interested by your table runner….I’m thinking maybe a patchwork cushion cover for my window seat. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Gina says:

    That table runner is gorgeous. I love the inside info–learning why people make what they make. Thanks for a great month of beautiful quilts.

  9. ainhoa says:

    Good article.

  10. I have found that some of the best quilters/designers I know have a true love for both math and color. Your table runner is fantastic! Thanks for the article.

  11. Kerry says:

    The table runner is magnificent! And Kathy’s blog, and her patterns, are great. Thanks for featuring her!

  12. mj says:

    What a great story

  13. Kate says:

    What an inspiring story! It makes me want to start on a new quilt right this second! But I wish ssssssssoooooooooooooo…….sososososo much I had the knowledge and everything to get started on it! It just drives me crazy that I can’t get everything done that I want to, ya know what I mean? (Sorry for the pastic outburst! :D)

  14. Katie says:

    That table runner looks like a lot of hard work! I like it.

  15. I love my table runner! It’s on my table right now!!!

  16. mary says:

    the quilting on that table runner is amazing!

  17. Michele C says:

    I wish I could get downstairs and start sewing! So far, just reading up everyday.

  18. Kieny says:

    I absolutely love that table runner, it’s wonderful1

  19. Christine says:

    What a wonderful table runner.

  20. Sam VanDerPuy says:

    I’ve been reading Kathy’s blog for a while now and love it! A fellow northwesterner! What an interesting and accidental transition into quilting, something she is so clearly amazing at! I love her ability to combine fabrics and patterns in totally logical and beautiful ways!

  21. Kristine says:

    That table runner is my favorite of all your creations. Is there any chance that you might publish a pattern for it? It’s way beyond my sewing skills but I can dream, can’t I?

  22. Becca says:

    What a beautiful story! Love your work!

  23. Kristin says:

    Very nice article. I didn’t realize Kathy started quilting just in 2005! Great work, Kathy!

  24. Carol says:

    Oh that tablerunner is fab! From the fabric choices, to the layout, to the divine quilting! I love it.

  25. Alissa says:

    Oh what a wonderful thought to share the blocks with your whole family! Wonderful article. The table runner is astonishingly lovely.

    Thank you sew mama sew for all you’ve done for quilting month! I will be sad when February is over.

  26. Dana says:

    lovely and inspiring. thanks for sharing.

  27. Irene says:

    Thank you, Sew Mama Sew, for your quilt month theme in your blog. It really has been awe-

    Kathy Mack’s table runner is so lovely. I have her blog in my favorites and she was one of the quilters who I looked to when making the Hop, Skip and Jump quilt. Looking forward to the rest
    of the quilts this month.

  28. jackie says:

    that is the prettiest table runner ever. i would definately love to make something that beautiful for my table. love love love the colors.

  29. terri says:

    one word comes to mind…stunning…thank you for sharing!

  30. Carrie says:

    That table runner is making me crazy–in a good way!

  31. Georgia says:

    Kathy’s quilting is amazing. I can’t belive she has only been doing it for such a short time – that’s very inspiring!

  32. NIKOLE says:

    a-maz-ing! that runner is too gorgeous. My favorite colors too! The stitching is so unique too, love the pattern!

  33. Cassie Ogle says:

    Oh wow, that table runner is so beautiful!

  34. Stunning!!!

    With friendship,

  35. Michelle says:

    Very interesting! Thank you!

  36. Char says:

    I just remembered another reason I love Kathy’s blog: her way with words… easy-going, elegant, inspiring… I find it easy to relate. Thank you for sending out the love and creative vibes!

  37. Shelley says:

    That table runner is a piece of art. Gorgeous!

  38. Gretchen says:

    wow! she is so talented!

  39. Andrea Elizabeth Johnson says:

    Wonderful in very way possible!

  40. Tabitha says:

    very inspiring…and the hot pads are gorgeous.

  41. Sam says:

    I have to stop reading this week, or I’m going to have 15 new quilting projects in the works! Kathy, this runner is really inspired. Thanks for sharing!

  42. Megan says:

    Great to see your story! Thanks for sharing!

  43. Allison says:

    I love that table runner, it’s absolutely stunning! The quilting adds movement, amazing, gorgeous!

  44. Sarah says:

    Such a great story! And I *love* that table runner, it’s fantastic.

  45. Kelli says:

    The table runner is just gorgeous!

  46. Carrie says:

    I am a “sewer” who is just learning quilting myself, and I too am falling in love with it! Kathy’s work is just beautiful and very inspirational…maybe someday I can be quilting things on her level too!

  47. Trish says:

    I am so inspired to make some art styled potholders, what a great idea! That table runner is beyond fabulous!

  48. Rose L says:

    Wow – what a nice story. Now I’m totally curious about what those blocks look like!

  49. Amanda says:

    The table runner is absolutely gorgeous! I always wonder when I look at quilting: Does it really take as long as it looks like it would? I would really love to learn how to quilt well, and Kathy’s work and story is very inspiring! I think I’m just hesitant because, first of all, I don’t have nearly enough materials, and certainly not enough money to purchase them. Second of all, it looks so difficult and time consuming. But the end results, I’m sure would be something I could be very proud of! I know I would be proud of my quilting if it looked like Kathy’s here! 😀

  50. My Grandmother inspired me to make quilts also. I have a couple of unfinished quilt tops that she started making. Great story!

  51. Marcia says:

    I so love your work! You have a sense of color and dimension that pulls fabric and shape together in such a wonderful way! And the way you talk about sewing and quilting you are sure to encourage others who think it isn’t for them to try it (and also fall in love with it!)

  52. Julia D says:

    Beautiful fabric, beautiful quilts, beautiful story! I also dismissed sewing for years because it was my mom’s thing, not mine! Silly me.

  53. Darby says:

    Beautiful, beautiful runner! Love her blog too.

  54. Amy says:

    I love that quilt! Especially how the fabrics change at the overlaps.

  55. Mellissa says:

    Inspiring, thanks for sharing your story.

  56. Mama Urchin says:

    I am a huge fan of Kathy and her gorgeous work. She really has an eye for combining colors and patterns. A real inspiration.

  57. Michele says:

    The table runner is beautiful!

  58. Christina says:

    I love the idea of making your grandma’s blocks into pillows, Kathy!

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