Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 4 - Jackie Marks

Hi everyone!  I'm Jackie Marks.  I'm a mom to three girls, and a military wife of almost ten years.  We just moved from Honolulu to Northern Minnesota, which is just as big of a change as it sounds!  As a quilter it was especially interesting to come from the land of big Hawaiian hand-appliqued floral quilts to the Midwest, where traditional American quilting is a Big.  Deal.  

I started quilting only four years ago, when my youngest daughter outgrew her first clothes.  I knew I wasn't having any more babies but I wanted to keep the clothes, so, on a whim, I went to my local Hancock Fabrics in Biloxi, MS and paid $80 for a sewing machine.  I read the manual.  I consulted Pinterest and YouTube, and I was quilting.  In the timeline of quilting, of course, teaching yourself online is a very new thing.  I didn't learn "the rules;" I wasn't taught by my grandmother with a hand needle and spool of thread; I just jumped in.  

I made this blanket:

And I was addicted.  I discovered precuts, designers, rotary cutters, and wonder clips in such a short span of time, and I made quilt after quilt, each one a little better than the last.  I taught myself primarily with Amy Smart's beginner series on Diary of a Quilter, and then moved onto Amy Gibson's Craftsy Class, the Block of the Month 2012.  You can find her at Stitchery Dickory Dock.

I quickly got bored of straight-line quilting but didn't want to hire a longarmer.  I like doing every step of my quilts from start to finish, so I learned to free-motion-quilt from the likes of Leah Day and Krista Withers (she's actually a longarmer but I love her work - she's @lolablueocean on Instagram).  My little beginner machine couldn't keep up with me anymore so I upgraded slightly.  It's still a small-scale, inexpensive machine but it does what I need it to do. 

It's amazing that we can just jump on the computer and learn from the best! I've never had a class in person, but I'm teaching them now, to people who think they can't do it, people who think they need to know the rules and don't think they can learn from a video online.  My hope is to show them that they can do ANYTHING, and that there are no rules.   

This is my current favorite quilt that I've made:

It's hanging in my grandmother's house.  The pattern is Tilt-a-Whirl by Amy Gibson and it's all paper-pieced.

With Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Forest and Jen Kingwell's My Small World on my short list, I know I'll be having some new favorites very shortly.

As for my "style," it's constantly evolving.  I used to just cut up some fabric to see what I could put together, but lately I've been following more and more patterns.  If it makes me happy, I want to make it.  I like bright happy colors and prints, bright white or deep gray backgrounds, and interesting piecework.  I like a little structured improv every now and then too - with no templates or measuring, but still a basic plan in mind.  About half the time I start with a fabric I love, and the other half I start with a pattern I love.  It's a balance.

I was lucky enough to find a home here about three blocks from the cutest little quilt shop in the world, and when I walked in that first day for a charm pack, I walked out with a job.  I teach classes, sew samples, and do the retail thing part-time.    If you're in East Grand Forks, just north of Fargo, you can't miss Quilter's Eden!

I'm thrilled to be posting here this week.  It's been really fun to follow 52 Quilters and really get a feel for how diverse we are.

For more, you can find me on instagram @heartsonmyfoot

Post by Jackie:
Jackie is a stay at home mom and military wife. She currently lives in Northern Minnesota but has lived many places including Germany and Hawaii. She loves all things quilty, fabric-related, and nerdy. Visit her on instagram.


  1. Way to go Jackie! Your quilting journey will be a fun one to follow. You are a natural born quilter. I love your "no fear" approach. Marilynn

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. You have been an amazing inspiration to your new quilting community!!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.