Kim Diehl found a sampler quilt pattern she loved, bought the supplies and made her first quilt. She’s never looked back. Kim is a self-taught quilter who has developed her own unique technique described in her patterns and books. And, she designs fabrics for Henry Glass Fabrics.
How long have you been quilting and designing? How did you get started?
I think of myself as an accidental quilter. While at a sidewalk sale in the late 1990’s I chanced upon a sampler quilt pattern that I fell in love with. I bought it and all of the supplies I needed, and set about to make my first quilt without knowing one thing about quilting. I figured out each new step as I came to it, and by the end of my project, I was hooked!
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
Being a self-taught quilter means that I didn’t have any preconceived idea about the “right” or “wrong” way of doing things. Because of this, some of my practices are a bit unconventional.
I take a bit of a different approach to stitch-and-fold triangles, use a “chubby” binding method, and created my own easy technique for invisible machine appliqué. Each of these topics are covered in my books, and I love sharing them with people.
What is the most important takeaway you want readers to gain from your new book, Simple Double-Dipped Quilts?
My inspiration for Simple Double-Dipped Quilts came when I realized that there are so many choices and possibilities for variations and tweaks for any given block, color combination, or setting. Change just one thing, and you can create an entirely different look, block, or quilt!
I’m hoping to inspire people to think of each block as a jumping-off point and look beyond what they see, think about new possibilities, and imagine what else it could become.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
When I first began quilting, I pressed and cut on the kitchen counter, sewed at the kitchen table, and everything had to be cleared away each night for dinner. I could actually press patchwork while stirring sauce on the stove – not the most ideal situation!
I now have a dedicated sewing space, but nothing like the grand studios in which many quilt designers work. My work area began as a small spare room and is tiny enough that I can stand in the middle and reach pretty much everything. It’s cozy, and I love it!
How often do you start a new project? Do you work actively on more than one project at a time?
I almost always have a project going and like stitching each one from start to finish, with very few UFO’s hanging around.
When it comes to design, though, there will be days when the ideas are coming faster than I can keep up with them. When this happens I commit everything to paper just as fast as I can – I once designed projects for an entire book in less than a weekend because everything was clicking!
When I’m not in that creative zone I don’t worry about it, I just go with the flow and change my focus to sewing.
Which part of the design process is your favorite? Which part is a challenge for you?
I love designing quilts and developing appliqué shapes, and I usually begin with a loose plan. I’ve tried to be “spontaneous” a few times and design a quilt as I go along, but then I end up thinking about the next step at 3 am instead of sleeping.
When an idea hits I usually begin with graph paper to plan my spacing and block placement, and then I input everything to my Electric Quilt program to be able to experiment with color. The beauty of this is that it eliminates the need for me to lay out my blocks on the carpeting of my hallway landing and crawl around to shuffle them for the right balance – because my sewing area isn’t big enough for a design wall!
Honestly, my least favorite thing is the math stuff, such as calculating yardages, but it comes with the territory!
What is your favorite accomplishment?
The fact that I’ve been able to turn a hobby into a career completely amazes me. In the 25 years that I’ve been quilting I’ve been fortunate to have more than 30 quilts appear in magazines, author more than 20 quilting books, and design more than 50 fabric collections and 14 Simple Whatnots Club project collections for Henry Glass Fabrics. For a girl who wondered if she had what it took to make a single quilt, this has been a blessing!