Simplifying the quilting process is Kaye Wood's specialty. She shares her passion for quilting through her television show, Kaye's Quilting Friends, her line of tools and her lectures and classes around the world. Read more about Kaye in this interview from Quiltmaker magazine.
What do you see as the most significant development in quiltmaking over the past 20 years?
The acceptance of all types of quiltmaking techniques, as long as they are well done. This has increased the number of quilters. I also like to think that quilting on TV has opened up the art to many more people. We hear from people who have never taken a class for many reasons, or are too far from quilt shops. Because of TV, they gain enough confidence to begin. They tell me that after seeing my show, they know they can do it!
What is your most important role in today's quilting community?
I see myself as a "quilt engineer." I try to simplify the entire quiltmaking process, from the cutting to the sewing. If I hear a quilter say she made a particular quilt once, but never again, I see this as a challenge to make the cutting and sewing easier. I frequently break the "quilting rules" in order to accomplish this.
For instance, my technique for cutting and sewing hexagons eliminates the "slow downs." Any size hexagon can be cut, and the sewing includes anchoring some of the seams so the inside points are always perfect. I never mark seamlines, and I never start or stop sewing 1/4" from the edge of the fabric. My perfect matching techniques, many without pins, are included in my book "Everyone Can Quilt." My technique for perfect Y-seams makes perfect seams without having to remove one or more stitches, or add one or more stitches.
I do lectures and demos internationally on my techniques for sewing and cutting. My books and patterns only include those designs where I have been able to make changes to traditional cutting and piecing. If I can't simplify it, I don't make that quilt.
Also, because of my TV show and now our online videos, I have been able to help a lot of new quilt designers, which makes me feel good.
How has quilting enriched your life?
The best part has been the people. The people in the quilting industry have been so willing to help me; I try to do the same. The more new designers and TV shows there are, the better for all of us. And there are so many who have used quilting to get through tough times. The letters I get from cancer patients really touch my heart, especially since my youngest son died from melanoma. They tell me that they could not have gotten through chemo without having a TV quilt show to take their mind off the pain. It gave them half an hour to not think about cancer. Being able to make a difference for these people has been wonderful.
Quilting has also allowed me to take quilters on cruises once or twice a year. Just being waited on for my every need and being with quilters makes it perfect.
If you could have a perfect day, what would that look like?
Teaching quilting and seeing the lights go on for my students as I take them through the steps to make quilting faster and more fun. I enjoy their comments: "Why didn't I think of that?" "How can it be so easy?" "I've been working too hard." Another perfect day would be swimming and snorkeling in the Caribbean, especially if my whole family is there. We try to do a cruise together every other year. And they swim like fishes.
Kaye Wood, the designer of Just Picked, appears in the March/April '08 (No. 120) issue of QUILTMAKER magazine.