Former "Flannel Queen" Linda Miller got her start making rag quilt patterns. Today, fabric companies call her when they need a quilt designed. Linda looks to fabric and family for design inspiration. Read more about Linda in this interview by Quiltmaker magazine.
How did you decide to make working with quilts a career? What led you in that direction?
I was in the medical profession for 32 years, working as a professional and as a medical educator. During that time I also taught all aspects of sewing and quiltmaking. In 2001 I started my own pattern business, Rags to Stitches, focusing on the popularity of "rag quilts." My patterns were sold in quilt stores across the United States. Fabric companies began contacting me to design quilts using their specific lines of flannel fabric. I became known as the "flannel queen." I was soon asked to design more detailed quilt patterns.
RJR Fabrics has been a great supporter of my work. I have designed quilts for them for several years. When they have a specific line of fabric that they want promoted, they will call and say "Linda, this fabric looks like you, we need a quilt!" It's always such a surprise to see the fabric that RJR thinks fits my personality. With the Sew Soft, Sew Sweet line that I used in the ABC Quilt, I think they saw the Mommy/Grammie in me––I have 5 children and 2 grandchildren.
What inspires your work? How do new ideas come to you in quiltmaking?
The fabrics being produced these days are so beautiful. When I look at the focus fabric and coordinating fabrics in a line, I can just feel what the quilt should look like, how the blocks should be placed, how the colors should blend and how the design should make you feel. It all works like a beautiful painting that produces a certain feeling. The quilt is truly a canvas that expresses what you want to say.
If you could offer one piece of advice for quiltmakers today, what would it be?
Express yourself, express your ideas, perfect your talents, and most of all, just be you. Your quilt should be all about you. Most importantly, share what you create with others. It's the best way to share yourself.
Linda Miller's ABC quilt is patterned in the July/August '07 (No. 116) issue of QUILTMAKER magazine.