An enthusiastic advocate for quilting with a walking foot, quilt designer, author and teacher Melissa Marginet makes quilting accessible by showing students how to use the basic sewing machine accessory. She enjoys the process as well as the satisfaction of having her hand in every step from design to completion. Melissa’s work reflects the planning that goes into balanced geometric designs.
How did you start quilting? What did you do BQ (before quilting)?
I have always been creative, and from a young age I knew how to use a sewing machine. One day I noticed an ad in our local Recreation Commission newsletter to learn how to make a log cabin quilt. I had fabric left over from some home dec projects that I wanted to “get rid of” so I signed up for the class. The addiction began and now my fabric stash is more than I could ever use in a lifetime.
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What inspires you to create?
I don’t think there is anything that doesn’t inspire me to create. I see potential everywhere. A tiny thing can lead me into a spiral of many ideas.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
My signature in my work is the quilting itself. I aim to create unique designs that can be done with a Walking Foot and go edge-to-edge to minimize stopping and starting and having to bury threads.
What is the most important takeaway you want readers to gain from your books, Walking Foot Quilting Designs and Edge-to-Edge Walking Foot Quilting Designs?
You can quilt your own quilts yourself and you are not limited to just a crosshatch or straight lines all in one direction.
When it comes to creating, are you more of a planner or an improviser?
I am a planner and I usually have many options before I embark on that one that really speaks to me.
Do you focus on one piece exclusively from start to finish or work actively on more than one project at a time?
I prefer to finish one piece before going on to the next, and up till the pandemic hit, I was successful at it. Now I have several quilt tops that I need to quilt and finish.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
My dedicated space for creating is the former rec room in the basement of the house. I have a lot of space, but it contains a lot of stuff. I have three stashes to go along with my three aesthetics: Used clothing, sheets and other items that I can make into quilts, a vintage fabric collection and those new irresistible fabrics from the quilt shops.
What are the indispensable tools and materials in your studio? How do they improve your work?
I could not do without my open toe walking foot. Accuracy in walking foot quilting is dependent on the open toe.
Do you use a sketchbook or journal? How does that help your work develop?
I move back and forth between sketchbooks and designing on the computer. Whether I start with a design on paper or computer, I do all the final designing on Affinity Designer. It’s another great tool I wouldn’t want to be without.
If you could interview a creative person (past or present), who would that person be? What is it about that person that intrigues you?
I would love to speak with Grandma. I grew up next door to her and credit my creativity to her. When you are younger you don’t ask all those questions that you would like to know the answers to as you get older, and then it’s too late because the person is no longer with us. She is the most creative and resourceful person I have ever known.
Do you think that creativity comes naturally to people, or do you think creativity is a skill that people can learn?
Many people say they are not creative, but we were all creative as children. Some of us continue our creative journey while some move on to other things, but you can restart that creative journey at any time.
Tell us about your website. What do you hope people will gain by visiting?
My website www.melissamarginet.ca is full of inspiration. I show recent work as well as work going back many years. I feel it’s important to show past work alongside new work because it shows growth and lets others see that I didn’t start where I am today. Of course, you will find links to purchase my books and patterns and best of all you will find a few freebies.
Do you lecture or teach workshops? How can students/organizers get in touch with you to schedule an event?
I have been quilting for over 20 years teaching quilting for over 15 years. The last year and a half has been all online. Classes and lectures are listed on my website as well as contact information
Interview posted December 2021
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