I met Jen Kingwell at Quiltcon in February 2015 and was immediately drawn to her. Maybe it was the Aussie accent, which always feels like home. She was on the Moda stand giving out little prizes if you played a game. I think I won a tea towel…
Jen Kingwell is a quilt designer from Melbourne, Australia and the owner of Amitié Textiles. After leaving a career in nursing, she took up a different kind of needle and thread and now enjoys quilting as a designer, author and teacher.
Tell us about how you started quilting and how you found modern quilting.
I made my first quilt when I started my nursing training. Everyone in the nurses hostel were making EPP hexies, so I joined in and the rest is history. I had no idea what I was doing and used any and every type of fabric, stretch, corduroy, voiles etc. My best friends mother was a dressmaker so I just grabbed all her off its. I think this is where my love of an eclectic mix of fabric started. No one in my family were sewers so I bumbled along learning as I went along. Years later I did some classes and realised there were some “rules” and some great ideas and tools out there.
Were so lucky today with social media and the great online community Maybe all those years ago someone would have warned me that jumbo cord is hard to hand quilt!!!
What does it mean to you to be a modern quilter and a modern woman?
I’m never sure how to answer this question. I love that there is so much interest in this age old craft and know that it will be carried forward into the future in good hands. I guess the term “modern” is something all quilters have thought of themselves through the the ages. I give thanks to people like Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston who were forward thinkers and to all the women who have kept this art alive over the generations.
I’m proud to be part of today’s quilting world and love that we celebrate old and new.
Which quilt that you have made represents you and why?
I always say, you can tell what it’s like living I my head…..thousands of things going on. I love fabric, fabric and more fabric. Colour and print makes me happy. Soooo my favourite quilt??? I think is “glitter” or “steampunk” or “gypsy wife” They are like my girls, some days I like one better than the others ( can I say that???)
How do you connect with other modern quilters? What does it mean to you to have this sisterhood of modern women?
Nothing makes me happier than stitching with friends. It’s such a great leveller. It brings people together from many different walks of life. World problems are solved around the stitching table!
I have 3 daughters and thank heavens I realised no 3 was going to be a quilter or I would have had 15 or more. I love being with my girls and now that I’m past playing basketball with them I love that I get to stitch with Luce, and Meg is sewing a little also now. (Abby keeps our glasses topped up).
They all love my quilts and use them which I’m really happy about. My 3 nieces are also quilters, I feel I’ve done a good job!!
This year has been a busy one and I never seem to be around for guild but in the next year I’m going to pace myself a little better and take more time for me! I did belong to the quilt guild in Abu Dhabi and it was great for me when I first relocated and didn’t know anyone. I met some great women!!
Want to connect with Jen?
Let your fabrics inspire you to create your own lovely combinations! Quilt designer Jen Kingwell brings you fifteen amazing new quilt designs in “Quilt Lovely.” With nine gorgeous quilt projects that use a variety of techniques, including applique, hand sewing and hand quilting, and six fun pillow projects that can be expanded easily into quilts, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Full-size paper patterns make template creation quick and simple, and an easy-to-navigate reference section provides advice on quilting basics and finishing.