Darlene Zimmerman is a noted quiltmaker and fabric designer. Read what keeps this designer quilting, and find tips for creating quilts in the '30s style in the May/June 2002 (#85) issue of Quiltmaker magazine.
Following are excerpts from a recent Quiltmaker interview.
How did you decide to make quiltmaking a career? What led you in that direction?
I really fell into it. I taught myself how to make quilts, and along the way discovered a need for a tool that cuts quarter-square triangles. I had my husband cut a tool out of Plexiglas that would cut those triangles from even size strips of fabric. After that it was relatively easy to find a company to market the tool (EZ Quilting), and they suggested I write a pattern book to accompany the tool. So, I jumped in with both feet and never looked back!
What inspires your work? How do new ideas come to you in quiltmaking?
I'm a traditionalist. I love to take traditional blocks and find ways to easily rotary cut the pieces as well as find new settings, new interpretations of old blocks. I'm inspired by the old quilts in my collection as well as the ones I see in books and at shows. When a quilt catches my interest, I ask myself why -- is it the color choices, the setting, the blocks, the borders? Train yourself to look at quilts in this way, analyze what pleases you and why, and use what you have learned in your own projects, in your own way. For example, if you see a vintage quilt that you just love -- possibly because it is in a red/brown color scheme -- collect similar fabrics, but choose a different pattern, a different setting that you have liked from other quilts but that will still suit the fabrics. If you mix together all the ingredients that you like, you should come up with something wonderful! If you aren't happy with the results as you are working, keep experimenting until you find just the right mix of color, pattern, and setting to make the quilt sing.