Design Star™ 2010 Finalist - John Kubiniec

About John Kubineic...


Check out John's contest quilts at the bottom of this page.

I have been quilting for.. 10 Years

I began quilting because.. My mother never quilted but she did just about everything else - knitted, crocheted, cross stitched, sewed clothing, needlepoint, braided rugs, upholstered furniture, ceramics, tooled leather, and whatever was the trend in the 60’s and 70’s she did it! I usually found myself involved in most of these crafts - or I was in the basement with my father working with his saws and doing wood working projects.

So, growing up, I was always around people who were creating in some way in any number of mediums.  Quilting was one of the things I had wanted to learn how to do for a long time but had not managed to get to.

I purchased a sewing machine “on speculation” – that is – if I owned one I might learn how to sew and might learn to quilt. Well, it sat in the closet for over four years. I  had been doing ceramics, specializing in 17th Century Slipware, but couldn’t find the time to get to the ceramics studio – my day job was getting in the way. So I was looking for a new artistic outlet and quilting was at the top of the list.

I learned to quilt by.. I discovered The City Quilter  in New York City and picked up a brochure for classes. I signed up for a hand-piecing class (I figured I should start out the traditional way) and began my quilting experience - by the way – this quilt top is still not pieced together! I moved onto a machine piecing class and have continued to take classes.  I try to take two or three classes every year to learn new techniques and to learn from others in the class. I now have a longarm quilting machine (Handi Quilter 16 with a Pro-Stitcher) and have taken classes at the Handi Quilter facilities in Salt Lake City, with Debby Brown at The Quilt Basket in Wappinger’s Falls, NY, and also the MQX Conference.

Amish Quilt Top by John Kubiniec My style is.. I enjoy doing quilts which are more improvisational in nature, but I tend to keep coming back to traditional block patterns and try and find ways to “tweak” them a bit, either by color placements or redrafting the blocks to give them a new fresh look.

I've been inspired by.. I have learned a great deal from the many people I have had as teachers. Classes with Judy Doenias have made me look at traditional patterns in a different light,  Paula Nadelstern has challenged me to look at the patterning in fabric in a new way and Philippa Naylor has helped shake the fear of curved piecing in all its forms. My annual pilgrimage to Quilting by the Lake ( QBL) ( always challenges me in my own journey whether it is a class I am taking or the work others are doing. At QBL Rosalie Dace, Judi Warren Blaydon, and Elin Noble have taught me much about the use of color and line in quilting.

I draw inspiration from.. In New York City I am surrounded by a wealth of architectural details – the grid patterns of windows in the buildings, the ornamental details that grace the buildings as well as the patterns that are formed by the arrangements of bricks.  I am also bombarded by color – from the signs in Times Square (I live just a few blocks from there) to the colors of clothing that people wear.  I enjoy visiting the museums and seeing how artists throughout the ages have created designs, used color and texture in their creations. Mother Nature always amazes me in the color combinations that she provides – I look at flowers and plants and say – I never would have thought of doing that – but it works!  I draw inspiration from other quilters – seeing what they create always gives me material to ponder and consider in my work. And last and surely not the least – the Amish – they continually amaze me with their use of color and value.

My favorite techniques are.. I enjoy traditional forms machine piecing techniques as well as paper piecing. I like the preciseness that can be achieved with paper piecing. This year I plan on diving into the deep abyss of crazy quilting. (I think I finally have enough fabric, embroidery thread, and beads to begin the journey!)

I'm attracted to.. I tend towards brighter colors (Reds, Blues, Purples) for my own quilts – but I enjoy stepping out of my box and comfort zone and work with fabrics that are not in my normal color way.  If I am making a quilt for someone I think of them and their surroundings and design a quilt that works for them and their environment.
Summer Breeze by John Kubiniec

My stash is.. larger than a small New York City apartment can reasonably hold! I only felt that I could truly quilt after about four years of acquiring fabric had passed. I finally thought  I had enough fabric on hand so that I could actually design a quilt. My present stash consists almost totally of cottons (some silk) with a tendency towards reds, blues, purples, greens in the medium to dark range When I need fabric in the lighter range of the color wheel I buy it as needed. ) Red for me is a neutral and is the predominate color in my stash. I also enjoy hand-dyed fabrics – and have begun to build a stash of this (fabric that I have purchased and fabric I have dyed.)

Picnic Quilt (front) by John Kubiniec

Picnic Quilt (back) by John Kubiniec

I belong to..

Empire Quilters ( Empire Quilters is a local quilt guild in New York City with a membership of approximately 400. We meet the second Saturday of the Month from September to June at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Each month we have a quest speaker, focus groups, and show-and-tell. There is usually a workshop day that is given by our guest speaker the day after the guild meeting. We are preparing for our Bi-Annual Quilt show, Urban Inspirations 2011 which will take place at FIT, March 26-27, 2011.

Ninja Quilters
is a group of quilters that meets once or twice a month from September to June for lunch and some quilting.  We started meeting for lunch before a quilting class and continued to meet after the class completed. Since that time others have joined our merry band.  We were nameless until we attended a Ricky Tims seminar. We were devising a method where 2 or 3 of us would cause a diversion so that the remaining members would quietly and quickly abscond with some of the quilts that were on display. The name was born – the diversion never happened – the quilts were never stolen, we only have pictures of the quilts we coveted! We are presently finishing a quilt (Double Wedding Ring) for one of our founding members. Betty Lou passed away last year and we promised her that we would complete the quilt that she was making for her nephew. The top is almost completed and it will soon be on my longarm to quilt..

QuiltGuy is a Yahoo group for men who quilt. It is an online group for exchange of ideas and information as well as a place to post photos of our work

ManQuilter is an online group coordinated by Matt Sparrow for men who quilt. It is an online group for exchange of ideas and information as well as a place to post photos of our work.

Modern Quilt Guild
is an online group which also has periodic meetings. Its focus is to take traditional quilting and update it – by the use of contemporary fabrics, re-working the block and finding ways to “break the rules” and discover new ways of creating quilts. The quilt police are not allowed!

My non-quilting hobbies include.. I enjoy cooking, visiting museums, visiting historic homes, music, needlework (cross stitch, sashiko)

I entered Design Star™ because.. I am a “junkie” when it comes to shows like this on TV (Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, etc.) and often joked with friends there should be one for quilters. People have told me how much they love my quilts and what I do, so when I saw the advertisement for the contest - I thought - why not?

John Kubiniec Hand-Dyed Fabric (QBL 2010)

Visit me at..

    My Blog
    On Facebook: Big Rig Quilting
    YouTube: bigrigquilting

What you should know about me.. I have served as an organist and choir director in churches for my primary source of income.  I presently serve as organist at St. James Church in Springfield, NJ and coordinate the music for the Sunday Night Campus Ministry mass at the Lincoln Center Campus of Fordham University.  I also have a longarm quilting business, Big Rig Quilting which presently operates out of the living room of my New York City apartment.

        Zig Zag Log Cabin (below) is John's Design Star™ entry quilt.

John Kubiniec's quilt, Zig Zag Log Cabin


        Gameboard (below) is John's Design Star™ Challenge 1 quilt.



Window (below) is John's Design Star™ Challenge 2 quilt.
























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Beautiful Quilt
John you did a fantastic job, its a winner for sure
I was disappointed that you didn't win this challenge, John. I thought your quilt was exceptional in design, color and execution. RD
Awesone colors and depth
Beautiful work!
Fantastic JOB!
This quilt is amazing
John Kubiniec
Great quilt! A real winner!


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