Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Finalist Kay Gentry

    Kay Gentry

McCall's Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Professional Category

Kay Gentry
Beavercreek Township, OH








How long I've been quilting... I started sewing at age 8, and have never stopped. From doll dresses to upholstery to wedding gowns I've tried most every type of sewing and needlework. Soon after graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in Textiles and Clothing in 1980, I began my quilting career with a double bed size brown sampler quilt, tracing cereal box cardboard templates with a red pen. I have concentrated on quilting for the last 22 or so years learning different techniques and timesaving shortcuts. I started Noble Needle Quilting and Sewing pattern company in 2003 and currently offer over 80 patterns and a book. I reside with my wonderful husband, Tom, in Beavercreek Township, Ohio where I work and teach quilting at Mason Jar Quilt Shoppe. See all my patterns and book designs at www.nobleneedle.com.

I began quilting because... Quilting started as a need to have a decorative covering for my bed. It satisfied a need to make something lasting. I still have my first quilt. I have the attitude now that it doesn't really matter if my quilts are still around 100 years from now; it's all about seeing a project move from an idea in my head to a finished quilt. Why do I keep quilting? Because of the people I've met along the journey.

My quilting style is... There is definitely a difference between the style of quilts I make for my personal enjoyment and quilts I design for my pattern business. The pattern quilts need to cover a variety of skill levels including beginner quilters. When I do have opportunity to make personal quilts I like to work on a project that I can learn a new technique or is a bit of a challenge.

Other quilt design contests I've entered... I've won a handful of blue ribbons for first place and best of show at local quilt guild challenge contests back in the 1990's.

People who inspired me... The quilt world is full of amazing talented designers and quilters. I've had opportunities to meet some of the "household" names of this industry and have enjoyed conversations that show quilters to be some of the nicest genuine people around.

I have recently started using Bonnie Hunter's "leaders and enders" technique instead of a folded scrap to start stitching. It has been thrilling to see how quickly I was able to piece a king size scrap quilt from 2 1/2" squares (that probably would have been tossed!) between sewing on my "real" project.

I also admire Lori Smith's intricate designs using hundreds of fabrics in a single quilt.

I draw my inspiration from... I believe God has gifted me with many talents and one is a great imagination. I hope I am an inspiration to other quilters; on each of my patterns is the verse from Proverbs 31: 29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

My Favorite techniques... My favorite quilts combine appliqué on a pieced background. I think the tools and equipment available make quilting so much easier. I've had a die cut system since 2003 and die cut as much of a project as possible. The accuracy of the shapes is great. For appliqué, an open toe foot and an automatic lifting presser foot are essential. I piece and quilt on a high speed straight stitch mechanical machine. I love to sew fast and get on to the next project!

Colors or fabrics I'm attracted to... I have gone through stages- I went through an Amish solids only period years ago and learned a lot about color. I can make a Civil War inspired quilt one week, then a bright intense quilt the next. I do like working with quality fabrics.

My fabric stash... When I started quilting we were an active duty Air Force family. Anything over the allowed weight was charged by the pound to move from base to base. I would purchase fabric for a quilt, finish the quilt and wonder what to do with the leftovers. Once I stopped moving around and started a pattern business the stash building seemed natural. We built our retirement home about 2 years ago and almost filled a semi moving truck with quilt related "necessities".  I have the entire basement of a ranch house with an elevator to go up and down.  My quilting studio measures about 20' x 28' and is honestly every quilters dream space. My "Resource Room" where all the stash is kept is 18' x 24'! It is lined with bookshelves with slightly disheveled piles of color separated cotton fabrics. I also have an extensive collection of Civil War reproduction fabrics that are kept separate from the rest. I'd love to show you pictures, but that would require straightening up- and I'd rather sew!

My quilting community... I belong to two online die cutting discussion and encouragement groups. We can all learn something from each other.

My other hobbies and interests... I love to read. While I sew I listen to books on CD. Mysteries are by far my favorite. I enjoy gruesome serial killers and twisted plot lines with great characters. I also occasionally crochet and tat.

I entered Quilt Design Star™ 2012 because... I received an email with information and was "ready" for a challenge. I have enjoyed the responses from friends who have been voting. I look forward to this next phase.

Links... www.nobleneedle.com

What you should know about me… A friend introduced me years ago to her husband, "This is Kay, she finishes quilts." I do have several UFO's and a tub of quilt tops that need quilting, but for the most part I finish what I start.

My publishing history... My Snuggle Rag Quilt with rag appliqué was featured in a Fons and Porter Easy Quilts magazine. I have also had four blocks in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks from today's top designers issues. I have had a quilt I made on the cover of Quilter's Home magazine and also one in American Quilter magazine.

I would also like to share... I don't do any hand work! With the rare exception of sewing on a label or the bottom of a sleeve, and I've figured out how to do even these two techniques by machine. I have painful arthritic hands, hips and back (hence the need for the elevator) and my most wonderful retired husband does all the laundry and dishes and we eat out most of the time. He is a huge support of my quilting and voluntarily wears a "I ♥ My Wife" button every day.


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

Wreath by Kay Gentry


Stormy the Sea Turtle (below) is Kay's Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Professional Category Challenge 1 quilt top, and was also the favorite in Challenge 1 - Professional Category!

Challenge 1 - Professional Category WINNER!

Stormy the Sea Turtle  by Kay Gentry

Mediterranean Summer (below) is Kay's Quilt Design Star™ 2012 Professional Category Challenge 2 quilt top.

McCall's QDS™ 2012 Kay Gentry Mediterranean Summer



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