Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Designer Spotlight: Martha Walker of Wagons West Designs

We are pleased to introduce you to one of our newest designers, Martha Walker of Wagons West Designs. We chatted with her recently and we welcome her to the Henry Glass blog.

HG: Welcome, Martha! What is the name of your company?

HG: How long have you been in business and how are you involved in the quilting industry? 

MW: I launched Wagons West Designs in 2007 with my first book, Vintage Christmas. I have since authored Be Merry: Quilts and Projects for Your Holiday Home for Kansas City Star Books, and independently, Annie's Scrapbag. I also have published individual patterns for quilts, wool appliqué and punch needle, as well as quilts and needlework projects for many magazines.

HG: Where do you live?

MW: Phoenix, Arizona.

hg: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family. 

MW: I have been married for almost 27 years to Thom, and we have two wonderful boys, Andrew and Nicholas, who are 25 and 21 respectively, and a daughter-in-law, Katie, Andrew's wife. We also have one very needy, I mean sociable, cat named Tabitha.

HG: Are you a quilter?

MW: Yes!

HG: Who taught you how to quilt?

MW: I was inspired to begin quilting because I loved the quilts my Grandmother made, but I actually taught myself how to quilt. I began piecing by machine, but later in my early twenties took a class where I learned how to hand piece, so it's great to know how to do both! I taught myself how to quilt by hand, and in the late 90's I took a few classes to learn how to machine quilt. I've also learned SO many things from books and magazines!

HG: How long have you been quilting?

MW: I made my first quilt, a big four patch bedspread, when I was a teenager, which was over 40 years ago. My mom had a big box of scraps, which I almost emptied after cutting 4 1/2" squares for that double bedspread. With the leftover smaller scraps, I started my second quilt, a Grandmother's Flower Garden, when I was a sophomore in high school, and finally finished it my senior year in college. Then it was on to a postage stamp quilt to use up the rest of the scraps for a triple Irish chain wall hanging. Luckily by then, quilting fabrics and quilt shops began to appear, so I could start rebuilding my stash!

HG: Favorite technique?

MW: I like variety, so it's fun for me to switch from hand appliqué, to hand piecing, to machine piecing, to wool appliqué, etc, etc. When making a quilt, I try to use as many different fabrics as I can in a single quilt, "scrappy" if you like. I think the bigger the assortment of fabrics, the more interesting and lively the quilt.

HG: What is your style? Country? Modern? etc.?

MW: I would say a mix of traditional/ folk art/ primitive. I am so inspired by quilts from the nineteenth century, and try to emulate the sense of spontaneity so oftentimes found in those quilts. 

HG: Do you design on paper, computer, other?

MW: My designs almost always start as drawings on paper, which I later transfer to the computer for patterning or to be placed within a combination appliqué/pieced design. I use both Adobe Illustrator and EQ7 for design and drafting.

HG: Thanks for visiting with us Martha. Your new line is fabulous. Meanwhile for our fans, you can catch a sneak peak of Martha's new line Sentimental Stitches on our website. The line will be in quilt shops in October.


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