Have you seen this year’s International Quilt Festival’s raffle quilt? It was designed by an EQ user, Kimmy Brunner! She told me all about it in our interview below!
EQ: Congratulations on making the 2015 Raffle Quilt for the International Quilt Festival in Houston! Tell us about the process of being chosen for this and how it felt!
Kimmy: I was simply thrilled. This is an honor that I *never* expected would be bestowed on me and I am grateful beyond words. The Board of the International Quilt Association (IQA) decides who will be asked and they approach the artist several years in advance. The artist has the choice of working with a partner, or making the quilt themselves. I chose to make mine a solo quilt.
An original design must be submitted for approval to the Board two years before the raffle date (I simply saved my [EQ7] design as a jpeg and submitted that. It was a snap!), and the completed quilt must be delivered one year before it is to be raffled. During that last year, the quilt tours the country and appears at Quilt Market events to promote ticket sales. All proceeds from ticket sales support the IQA’s charitable and educational endeavors. Finally, the quilt is displayed at the International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston where more tickets are sold and, on the last day of Festival, the winner’s name is drawn. The whole process is super fun and exciting!
EQ: Before we discuss the quilt details and your design techniques, tell us about yourself!
Kimmy: I was taught to quilt by my grandmother, who also taught me to knit, crochet, embroider, and sew. I loved to sit with her in the evenings, with the sounds of the farm drifting in through the windows, doing our handwork together. As I grew older, I moved away from the other skills and concentrated on quilting, which is truly my passion. In the late 1990s I bought a longarm quilting machine, began to win awards, and took up teaching. After winning Machine Quilting Teacher of the Year several times I was offered a position as Ambassador for the wonderful Handi Quilter company and now I travel all over the world, sharing my love for quilting with others.
EQ: So what inspired your design for the Harvest quilt? How did you choose the theme, fabrics etc.?
Kimmy: The quilting industry has given me SO much. More than I ever dreamed of and more than I would ever have believed possible. I feel like I am reaping an amazing harvest of blessings from the generous and creative people with whom my path has crossed and I wanted my quilt to reflect that feeling of rich abundance.
In Minnesota, where I live, harvest time comes in a wave of gorgeous saturated colors; golds, oranges, reds, browns, rusts and purples, with the clear blue lakes and skies providing a crisp counterpoint to the autumnal tones. This was the palette that I chose for my project. My dear friends, Bruce and Diane Magidson of Sew Batik, generously offered to donate the fabrics for the quilt and I had a ball choosing colors from their various lines of rich batik textiles. Fil-Tec donated the Glide threads in colors to match, and Quilter’s Dream provided the yummy thick batting.
EQ: Why did you use EQ7 to design this quilt?
Kimmy: I wanted to design something incredible; something difficult and challenging, with a gazillion tricky points. I knew that the only way I’d be able to accomplish this goal would be to choose a design tool that would work seamlessly with me and do the ‘heavy lifting’ while I was free to dream big. I needed a partner that would enable my design to be completely accurate, but that didn’t require a degree in Advanced Rocket Science to learn. There is simply no other tool that even comes close to EQ7 when it comes to doing all of the tasks that I would require my partner to perform. Choosing this software was a no-brainer; I needed a miracle worker and EQ7 was it!
EQ: How did you first find out about EQ quilt design software and what made you decide to try it?
Kimmy: I’d been hearing rave reviews about the program from my friends for years. Everyone loves its flexibility and precision, as well as its ease of use. It seemed like every time I’d go to a quilt retreat and see someone working on an interesting new original quilt, the answer to my “Which pattern is that?” question was always the same; “I designed it myself in EQ!” After seeing the fantastic things that other quilters were doing with this software, I knew I had to try it for myself.
EQ: Did you teach yourself to use the program or did you use tutorials, lessons etc.?
Kimmy: I taught myself with the assistance of the User Manual. It really wasn’t difficult at all; if you are patient and are willing to take your time, read through the manual, and do a little trial and error, you can easily learn this program. However, now that I’ve gotten a glimpse of the cool stuff that can be done with EQ7 I would definitely like to take a class to see the more advanced tasks that can be accomplished. I would love to get every single bit of functionality out of this software and see how far I can take it!
EQ: How has the program changed your designing ability?
Kimmy: I am no longer afraid at all to design tricky patterns. If you can dream it up, the program will help you accurately stitch it up. Harvest has over 1100 pieces in the borders alone, with more points than I care to count, and EQ7 made it so much easier to assemble those pieces accurately. The sharp points that used to intimidate me are no match for the program’s tools, and resizing a quilt is as easy as clicking a few buttons. I used to moan and groan if my pattern’s layout needed to be adjusted, new elements needed to be added, or the size needed to be scaled up or down. Now, I know that I can quickly and easily make changes on the fly so I am much more willing to take risks and try new things during the design process. That newfound confidence has led me to create much cooler quilts than ever before.
EQ: After attaining such a great accomplishment, what advice do you have for others who are looking to reach similar achievements?
Kimmy: Believe in yourself. The quilting world has room for everyone and that means you! Experiment with colors, with different media, with new layouts until you find your voice. Don’t just make copies of other people’s quilts. Make YOUR quilts. Share your work, and your knowledge, with others via social media. Let your light shine brightly and then stand back and watch the magic happen!
A special thanks to Kimmy Brunner for doing this interview with me. Be sure to visit Kimmy’s website, Kimmyquilt.com, and check out her Craftsy class, Machine Quilting With Templates! She’s also on Facebook!
If you’d like to enter to win the Harvest quilt, tickets are available by contacting the IQA office at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be purchased during International Quilt Festival at the IQA Booth. The drawing will be Sunday, November 1, 2015, and you do not have to be present to win. Ticket prices are $1 each, 6 for $5, and 25 for $20.