Longarm Machine Quilting
Wherever I go, I am asked about the exquisite machine quilting on my quilts. I’m happy to share with you that most of my quilts have been expertly quilted by the internationally award winning quilt artist, Birgit Schüller!
Birgit and I have been friends for many years and we have had a wonderful time collaborating. She has a unique and rare talent which shines through her quilting! Quite simply, my quilt designs wouldn’t sparkle and dazzle like they do without the addition of her thread artistry.
I am extremely grateful for her enduring support, encouragement, and her generosity as she has shared her talent by quilting my quilts as I continue to design and write books. She is an abundant blessing in my life!
Birgit discovered piecing patchwork and quilting by accident in 2001. With two very young children, she didn’t have time to take classes and thus taught herself the do’s and don’t’s from books and magazines. Also, she didn’t feel comfortable to have works-in-progress with lots of pins and needles laying around in her house, so she immediately started quilting her quilts on her domestic sewing machine. From the very beginning, she has tried to come up with her own twist to know patterns and as early as in February 2002, she was asked to teach classes at a friend’s quilt store.
Since these humble beginnings, Birgit has come a long way. She has been operating her successful longarm quilting business with an international customer base in Germany since 2005. Being located at the edge of the longarm quilting world, self-teaching continues to be her key strategy. Over the last five years, she has won numerous awards in major European and international shows (among others MQS, MQX, HMQS, MMQS, OEQC, FOQ, AQS Lancaster, Vermont Quilt Festival).
While she likes bold colors and high contrast in her piecing patterns, Birgit’s quilting style combines playful and elegant elements. She likes to take up a theme from the fabrics used in a top and to continue this theme in her quilting. Her goal is to enhance every top without overpowering the piecing.
Wherever possible, Birgit prefers freehand quilting which allows her to let her creative juices flow – and it shows!
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The following article was written for the Fairfield Corporation’s Designer of the Month Program for October, 2011
Kimberly met Birgit Schüller some years ago through their association and mutual membership in the Rheinland Pfalz Quilt Guild in Ramstein, Germany. This quilt guild is comprised of American military wives and German nationals who share a love for all things quilting.
When Kimberly and Birgit met, they hit it off right away and soon discovered they had much more in common than just quilting! Some years later in 2009, as Kimberly was in the process of writing her second book, Jelly Roll Quilts & More, (for the American Quilter’s Society – AQS), she invited two German friends (of which Birgit was one) and one Dutch friend to spend a weekend at her house near Stuttgart for a “quilt retreat” to road test her new patterns and work on quilt samples for the book.
They had a great time and managed to get a lot of quilting done – even though there was non-stop talking, laughing, eating, and very little time for sleeping! From that time they have kept in frequent contact with each other through almost daily emails and more recently, they have been using Skype to video chat and share quilts and other works in progress with each other. They love to discuss new ideas, potential designs, work through challenges and math hurdles, and talk about quilting options.
In fact, although Kimberly loves using different types of Fairfield batting for different quilts and projects (Fairfield’s bamboo batting is one of her personal favorites), it was Birgit who introduced Kimberly to the many outstanding qualities of Fairfield’s 100% wool batting.
“Birgit demonstrated that wool batting provides just the right amount of loft, is easy to quilt, and shows off quilting stitches beautifully,” says Kimberly.
“But the best thing is about using wool batting is that it doesn’t leave a crease – which is important when you are shipping quilts around the country and internationally. You want them to arrive at the publisher for photography or at the next quilt show so they unfold and hang beautifully with no ironing or relaxing needed.”
This past July (2011), Birgit, her husband and their two children traveled to the US and spent almost two weeks with Kimberly and her family in their home near Tampa, FL. While spending time there, the two families blended beautifully and they all enjoyed doing many traditionally American activities together – including introducing the Schüller family to the fun of a professional baseball game and the culinary delights of a Japanese steakhouse!
During that time, Kimberly and Birgit thoroughly enjoyed collaborating on several quilting projects including their newest joint effort, Jelly Roll Strip Starburst.
Kimberly designed this cheerful quilt to be made using just one Jelly Roll fabric bundle (or 40 – 2½” strips) plus one background fabric. After the top was constructed, Birgit took the quilt top, Fairfield’s wool batting, and backing fabric back to Germany in her luggage where she added the exquisite machine quilting using motifs inspired from the Plumeria blossoms blooming in Kimberly’s back yard.
If you love this fresh, new take on a traditional Lonestar pattern, be sure to check out Fairfield’s October Designer of the month project and Kimberly’s newest book, Jelly Roll Quilt Magic! (AQS)[/toggle]