Kimmy Brunner teaches the brand new online Craftsy class, Machine Quilting with Templates: Creating Design Perfection. In that class, she demonstrates and explains a number of techniques and tricks for creating precise quilt designs and patterns by using different templates as you use your machine to quilt your projects. Kimmy is a fantastic teacher, and has a wonderful personality. So we were excited to talk to her more about quilting in general so we could get to know her. We think you’ll enjoy getting to know her, too, when you watch this free video, where she talks about the person who got her started crafting as a youngster, and why quilting has become such an important part of her life now. Watch the free video below, and get a 25% discount on Machine Quilting with Templates: Creating Design Perfection.
I’m Kimmy Brunner, I’m a machine quilter. I’ve been quilting for years. I absolutely love it. And it’s pretty much taken over my life at this point.
When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time at my grandma’s farm. We spent basically all our school vacations there, and grandma was really into handcrafts of all kinds. She’d grown up with a mother who was hugely into sewing and quilting. Grandma taught me how to quilt, knit, crochet, do hand embroidery, do tatting. Basically, if you could do it with your hands, then grandma taught me how to do it.
When I was a brand new quilter, I would go to quilt shows, and I would look in magazines. I would see these really cool quilts that were so elaborately quilted, and I just loved them and I wanted to be able to do them. But I could never figure out how that quilter had decided what her quilting design scheme was going to be, and how she was going to go from an unquilted top to this masterpiece that was hanging in front of me. And I thought, you know what? I’m never going to get there. I’m just never going to be able to do that in a million years. I will never forget the day that I finally had that breakthrough moment where I could look at that quilt hanging there and I could see where she had started and how she had worked out her design plans so she would know what to do in her blocks, and what to do her in her borders. And once I figured that out, once I knew how to break a quilt down into little bitty steps, and come up with designs that would work for every step and create a quilt that looked tied together and finished when it was done. It was like the light bulb went on and there was no stopping me after that. And I love being able to share that with my students; to just say, you know what? Here’s how you do it: let’s go.
When I’m quilting, I’m just kind of in my own world, in my studio. When I do my piecing, I sit in my kitchen at a really old trundle machine upon which I’ve got sitting a 1941 Singer Featherweight. And that’s what I do all my piecing on: this super-old machine that sews the best stitches I’ve ever seen. So I make my quilts on the old machine, looking at the window, enjoying every minute of it.
I have this group of quilting friends that I hang out with twice a year. We go on these retreats. It reminds me a lot of the quilting bees from the olden days when women would get together. There’s no guys there, we can really be ourselves, we can talk to each other about the things that matter to women. We can talk about our kids, our joys, our triumphs, the things that we’re afraid of, the things we’re grieving over. We can really be ourselves and bond with other women in a way that we just can’t do without quilting. If we weren’t quilters, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to do this. So I totally love quilting just for the joy that it brings me, and the connection that it brings me with friends.
In traveling all over the world, I’ve met quilters from everywhere, from every walk of life, old and young, modern quilters, traditional quilters. And I think the thing that ties us all together is we’re all just like a bunch of kids on the first day of kindergarten: we open up that box of brand new Crayolas, and we just see all these colors, and you just start quivering with the excitement of the possibilities for all you can do with all these colors and textures. And you know it’s like we’re all just addicted to one thing, and that is: we like to buy perfectly good fabric, chop it up into little pieces, and sew it all back together again. And it just makes us all so happy, and it really makes me realize, we’re all just the same. It doesn’t matter where we’re from. We’re all exactly the same: we like to quilt.