The story behind the quilt – Urban Oasis

July 3, 2018

When we saw the pictures of Kathy Plumley’s “Urban Oasis” One-Block Wonder, we fell in love with the colors, quilting and creative design choices. We decided to give Kathy a call to learn more about the quilt and her process of creating it.

Kathy lives in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania and quilts on an APQS George machine that she bought just about a year ago.

Tell us about how you got into quilting.

I started quilting in the early 1980s after having watched lots of TV programs about it. My professional background is engineering drafting, and I found that quilting was a way for me to incorporate what I did on the drafting board with fabric on the sewing machine. There’s a lot of math that’s involved in laying out patterns, so there were a lot of similarities to what I was doing at work.

How did you make the transition to longarm machine quilting?

I had always done my quilting myself on a sit-down sewing machine, but I was constantly struggling with handling the bulk of the quilt and dealing with skipped stitches and thread breaks. I kept dreaming of a longarm quilting machine, but I didn’t have room in my home to accommodate one. One day I went to an APQS Road Show, and that’s where I discovered George. As a sit-down quilting machine, George was perfect for me. I love it!

How has George changed the way you quilt?

It’s done so much for me. The minute I sat down and tried the machine at the Road Show I realized it was a totally different ball game than a sewing machine. There is so much more space and power. With my sewing machine I had so many mechanical issues that were holding me back – and that is not fun. George has made quilting so much more fun for me.

Tell us about “Urban Oasis.”

I had never done a One-Block Wonder quilt and didn’t even know what it was. I stumbled across Bruce Seed’s work and was blown away. I started doing a ton of online research about One-Block Wonder quilts, watching YouTube videos and reading articles.

I decided to make one and ended up using an online app called “Design Helper” to find the perfect fabric. The app lets you preview what the quilt could look like. I started previewing what every single fabric would look like – I spent hours doing that.

When I stumbled across “Skyline” from Hoffman Fabrics I knew I had found “the one.”

As I began cutting the fabric and putting the hexagons on the design board, I ended up with all the light colors in one spot and realized that it started to look like a gazing pool. From there I built out the colors from the center. That’s the magic of the One-Block Wonder – it’s not until you make the hexagons that things start to take shape.

What type of quilting did you choose for the quilt?

I immediately knew that I wanted to do spiral quilting for the center “pool.” I think it really accentuates the “pool” concept. From there I transitioned into continuous curves and eventually straight lines in the border.

Are there more One-Block Wonder quilts in your future?

The quilt is going to hang in the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild show later this year, and I’m going to do a little demo for visitors during the event. So, there will be at least one more…but I’m not the type of quilter who does the same thing over and over again. I like to try new things.

What advice do you have for quilters who may be considering a sit down quilting machine?

Don’t be afraid to make the leap – it’s been a god send for me. It has made me enjoy my hobby so much more.