Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Finalist Julie Benefiel

    Julie Benefiel

McCall's Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Professional Category

Julie Benefiel
Shelbyville, IN







How long I've been quilting... I’ve been quilting since about 1986… 26 years! Wow! I’ve only gotten good at it within the last 10 years though.

I began quilting because... My mother in law decided that we needed a hobby. She picked up a quilting magazine at the grocery store and decided then and there that quilting would be our new hobby. We did EVERYTHING wrong!! We made templates from cereal boxes and they got smaller and smaller the more we traced around them. We traced our templates on to fabric with ink pens. I chose the Western Spy pattern that has 60 degree diamonds and knew NOTHING about bias edges. We used a sheet for our backing and the blocks had cotton, flannel, eyelet, polyester, basically any fabric we could get our hands on! Definitely a learning experience!

sewingMy quilting style is... I don’t know… I make what I like! I guess traditional with a twist. I like to take traditional patterns and use vibrant colors, or add or subtract a line to make the block into something new! I really enjoy working on 2 block quilts and playing around with the color placement to make secondary designs emerge.

Other quilt design contests I've entered... I entered a quilt that I made for my daughter, Jessica, in our county fair. It is a row by row that she and I designed together and she didn’t know that I had finished it, let alone entered it in the fair! You should have seen her face when we walked into the building and there was her quilt hanging for the entire world to see! I received 4 ribbons for the quilt; a Blue Ribbon for the best children’s quilt, a Champion Ribbon for the best quilt made by 1 person, a Reserve Grand Champion for all quilt categories and a Champion Ribbon for Viewer’s Choice.

People who inspired me... My mother-in-law, Jean and I started quilting together. I know she’s looking down at me from heaven and is amazed at how far I’ve come!

I draw my inspiration from... I LOVE COLOR!!! The brighter the better!!! 

My Favorite techniques... My favorite techniques are anything that makes quilting faster and easier. Received an AccuQuilt GO for Christmas and LOVE IT!! I would rather use a rotary cutter than templates. I enjoy paper-piecing. I keep making star blocks and I don’t know what to do with them all! Also received some Shiva Paintstiks for Christmas and have been having fun playing with those!

fabric choicesColors or fabrics I'm attracted to... BRIGHT, BRIGHT, BRIGHT! Lime green is my new favorite color! My husband has requested that I stop making quilts that “yell” at him! Not that he doesn’t enjoy my quilts… He would prefer they be a little less bright!

My fabric stash... BRIGHT, BRIGHT, BRIGHT! Many, many batiks in multiple patterns and colors. Lots of orange (my sister’s favorite color, someday I’ll make an orange quilt for her), lime green, aqua, purple, yellow, green, red and fuchsia. What I would say are “tropical” colors. Like every other quilter I have much more fabric than I will ever use, but can’t resist buying more. I guess you might consider me a “fabric hoarder”! After I purchase it I just can’t use it! It’s so pretty folded on the shelf! And it is EVERYWHERE!! In drawers, tubs, totes, closets, under the bed! I expect to come home someday and find my family has scheduled an intervention for me!

My quilting community... Started a guild at my local quilt shop… The Material Girls have only been around for a year, but we have a good time. I design the blocks for the monthly block lottery and I FINALLY won the blocks last month!! I follow Bonnie Hunter’s blog, Quiltville’s Quips and Snips, I LOVE her!! I have a group of gals that meet once a month to follow Bonnie’s principles. My friend, Nancy Mason, who owns the local quilt shop, The River’s Edge Fabric Company, needed a way to draw quilters into the shop even though money was tight. “Trash to Treasures” (aka Trashy Women) was the answer! The Trashy Women are encouraged to organize their stash and scraps so they can actually use them. We all have baskets, boxes and bags full of bits and pieces that we plan on using someday we just need a little push to get it organized. Well, someday is here! 

My other hobbies and interests... I have dabbled a little in jewelry making but decided that one addiction was enough!

AngelI entered Quilt Design Star™ 2012 because... I am a diabetic, I don’t like to talk about, but there it is. I wasn’t doing what I should’ve been doing and ended up with a terrible infection in my leg and had to spend a week in the hospital earlier this year. I decided I needed to straighten up and made a bucket list. One of the items on my list was to submit my quilt designs for publication. A friend, Karen LeBrun, had seen the Quilt Design Star™ information and encouraged me to enter so I could mark something off my bucket list! 

What you should know about me… I cannot stop buying quilt books and magazines! I have more books about quilting than our local library! I’m both proud and ashamed to admit that.

My publishing history... I’ve NEVER submitted anything to be published! But that’s on my bucket list so I will get around to it! I have designed several mystery quilts and block of the month quilts for The River’s Edge Fabric Company and have designed blocks for local shop hops.

I would also like to share... I’m an avid reader. Enjoy the Fern Michaels Sisterhood series and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books. I’m also a fan of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. And who wouldn’t love to spend a week at an Elm Creek Quilts Retreat!


Stargazing (below) is Julie's Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Professional Category entry quilt.

Stargazing by Julie Benefiel

Destin Compass (below) is Julie's Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Professional Category Challenge 1 quilt top.

Destin Compass by Julie Benefiel

Faerie Frolic (below) is Julie's Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Professional Category Challenge 2 quilt top, and was also the favorite in Challenge 2 - Professional Category!

Challenge 2 - Professional Category WINNER!

McCall's QDS™ 2012 Julie Benefield Faerie Frolic

Rainbow Bright (below) is Julie's Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Professional Category Challenge 3 quilt.

McCall's QDS™ 2012 Julie Benefield Rainbow Bright



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"Stargazing"-Is Amazing
This is a masterpiece of design. I know you've worked very hard on this, and it must be very personal, but I hope you don't mind if I ask if the pattern is available?


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