Design Star™ 2010 Finalist - Mary Kay Davis

About Mary Kay Davis...


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

I've been quilting for.. Well, if you don’t count the first quilt I made from scraps for a home-ec class in 1973 (see photo, below, and yes, I had clothing made from those scraps), I began quilting around 1996, so about 14 years ago.  Just like almost everyone else, I made doll clothes and clothes for myself growing up.

I began to quilt because.. After making clothes that didn’t seem to fit anymore, I wanted to try something new, so I stopped into our local quilt shop, The Granary, in Sunnyvale, CA.  Strangely enough, I now work there, who’d have thought it?


Mary Kay Davis' first quilt

My First Quilt

To learn to quilt, I.. took a “quilt-as-you-go” class that was really wonderful.  The instructor taught us “old school” using templates and scissors, as well as using rotary cutters and rulers.  We were also taught machine and hand applique.  The funniest part of the class was that I thought you had to have everything completed by the end of the multi-week session.  So I hand-quilted the whole thing in record time with stitches about a mile long.  But hey, at least it isn’t a UFO.

About my style.. I’m more of a traditionalist, but I like my quilts to have a contemporary appeal.

I'm inspired by.. I watched quite a few episodes of Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson.  Her guests were quite diverse and I’d always learn something new.  Nowadays, because I work in a quilt shop, I’m inspired by a lot of the people who come into the shop.

Inspiration comes from..
everywhere. I take a lot of photographs and find designs that almost always translate into some sort of quilting vision.  You never know where a garden gate, car fender, or antique door might take you.  I’ve also been inspired by a great piece of fabric.  Sometimes they just call to you and you have to make a quilt.

My favorite techniques.. I love piecing and putting the blocks together.  I enjoy learning new ways to make blocks.  For example, I could probably tell you 4 different ways to make a flying geese block.

I'm attracted to.. I’m told that I like bright colors, but I’ve made my share of neutral quilts.  You’ll almost always find blue or green in my quilts.  It’s interesting to me that I buy a lot of “conversational” prints, but don’t really seem to use them in my quilts, except possibly as borders or backs.  Sometimes, I’ll use them as the color palette for the quilt and then not include them in the quilt itself.

My stash is.. Huge!  I work in a quilt shop, hello... Half of my garage (see photo at right) is taken up by cabinets full of fabric. I have a very understanding husband who doesn’t believe a car actually has to live in the garage. The biggest sections are blues, greens, and tropical prints. My “holiday” collection can hold its own as well. I guess I’m a “cool” girl as yellows, pinks, and oranges, don’t seem to have much sway.

Only part of my stash is behind these closed doors in my garage.  Notice it is sunny in California.  See What you should know about me below...

Mary Kay Davis' quilt fabric stash

I belong to.. the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association.  It’s quite a large group in the South Bay Area that focuses a lot of it’s attention on philanthropic endeavors such as teaching quilting to the clients of Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence.  We teach them to quilt and at the end of the class they are given a sewing machine of their own to use.  I believe we also donated over 700 quilts in the past year to various organizations.  Of course, there are many wonderful classes and very high-caliber teachers to enjoy as well.

Burning Love Quilt by Mary Kay Davis

I entered Design Star™ because.. I love to enter contests.  You win a few, you lose a few, but  I’m a firm believer in “if you don’t enter, you can’t win.”  I  thought it could be great fun and a chance to share my quilting ideas.  Besides, who wouldn’t want to win a new Bernina sewing machine?

My Elvis Contest Entry at Big Horn Quilts – It took 2nd place...It’s Burning Love, get it???  Side note, while making this quilt, my oven actually caught on fire, no joke.


My non-quilting interests are.. It seems all of my other hobbies revolve around quilting.  I love to travel, so I’ve been all over the place to attend quilt shows.  I love to read and have over 600 quilt books.  Just recently I’ve become more interested in photography.  I probably have more pictures of other people’s quilts than anyone on the planet.

What you should know about me.. I’m a California girl through and through.  I don’t know what a “season” is, except sunny.  I have a husband and two wonderful teenage boys.    I love anything ancient Egyptian.  My dream someday is to go to Egypt and see the pyramids.

I love Halloween.  I have lost count of how many Halloween costumes I’ve made over the years for myself and my family.  Everything from Poison Ivy to the Bride of Einstein (yes, Einstein).

My “Scairdy Cats” quilt (see photo at right)  - an original design.  I guess I could have called it “Kittens on the Keys.”
Scairdy Cat Quilt by Mary Kay Davis

I don’t have a design wall.  I do not have an empty wall in my house so the foyer has become my design wall.  My husband, children, and dog have been trained to step around the quilt on the floor.  Someday I hope to see things from a different perspective.

Current Quilt by Mary Kay Davis Visit me at.. Threads on the Floor, my self-published pattern site.

            Shifting Focus (below) is Mary Kay's Design Star™ entry quilt.

Mary Kay Davis' quilt, Shifting Focus


      A Sprinkling of Stardust (below) is Mary Kay's Design Star™ winning Challenge 1 quilt.

A Sprinkling of Stardust


      A Tribute to Busby (below) is Mary Kay's Design Star™ winning Challenge 2 quilt.


A Tribute to Busby







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