We’re excited to be back with another installment of our Meet the Quilters series, where we highlight the work of the talented artists who elevate quilt tops to new heights of creativity.  Today, we’re getting to know Angela Walters, a prolific quilter who quilted 43 (!!!) quilts that were on display at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City last week.  Angela also recently announced some very exciting news … click through to leave her a note of congratulations!

So sit back and join us in getting to know Angela a bit better …

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Hi! I am Angela Walters, from quiltingismytherapy.com. I live in Kansas City, MO and longarm quilting has been my therapy for 7 years.

How did you get interested in long-arm quilting?

My husband’s grandfather taught me how to make quilt tops. On day, on a whim, he suggested that I get a quilting machine. He helped me talk (coerce) my husband into letting me buy one. Before my machine was delivered, I had never even seen a longarm. I soon found out that I liked the quilting part better than the piecing!

What part of the quilting process do you love most?

I have 2 favorite parts! I love deciding how I am going to quilt the quilt. I lay out the quilt top and let the quilt “talk” to me. At that stage, the possibilities are endless!

My second favorite part is putting the last stitches in the quilt. The feeling of completing something is one of the best feelings in the world.

What’s your favorite quilting style?

I love all different kinds of quilting styles, from modern to traditional. However, if I am left to my own discretion, I love lots of quilting. I don’t think you can have too much quilting on a quilt (if it’s done right!).

What inspires you?

I am inspired by so many things…….fabric, other quilts, the designs I see in nature. My husband knows not to even ask me why I am taking a picture of the tiles in a restaurant!

How do you come up with your quilting designs?

The designs in the fabric and the layout of the quilt are two of the first places I look to get ideas for the quilting. Usually there is something within the quilt that I can play off of. If I am really stumped, I like to try to fall asleep thinking of the quilt top. As crazy as it sounds, I usually figure something out while I am sleeping.

Is your longarm machine computerized?

One of the biggest misconceptions of longarm quilting is that all the machines are computerized. While some machines are computerized, mine is not. All my quilting is “freehand”, which means I control the machine and designs that it makes.

What is your favorite (or some of your favorite) quilts that you’ve completed?

There are so many! But if I had to pick a few……

The Cartwheels quilt (quilt designed and pieced by Tula pink) was one of my first collaboration with Tula Pink.

The Alphabet quit (designed and pieced by Tula Pink) is a a favorite because I think it proves that you can have feathers in a modern quilt!

The Paintfalls quilt. I made this quilt especially for the quilting, so it has a special place in my heart.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as someone who quilts others’ items?

No matter how many customers’ quilts I quilt, I always get nervous the first time I quilt for anyone. Quilting, like any other art, is subjective. I can quilt the best feather on a quilt, but if the customer doesn’t like feathers, then I am in trouble! I try to have a lot of communication with my customers so that I know what they like and don’t like.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue this as a business?

The business kinda pursued me. When I bought my machine, I planned on just quilting my own quilts. But, I soon realized that I liked machine quilting more than the piecing. I couldn’t make quilts fast enough, so I started quilting my friends quilts. Before I knew it, I was in business and I have loved every minute of it.

Do you ever sew your own quilt tops, or other items?

I love to sew, but I don’t do it very often. I try to allow myself time to work on my own stuff so that I don’t burn out, but my first love is machine quilting! I figure I will have plenty of time to make my own quilt tops when I am done running a business.

How long does it take to quilt a quilt?

That is the number one question I get asked! The answer is short and sweet…….it depends on the quilt. The size of the quilt and the complexity of the design affect the length of time. The Cartwheels quilt, for instance, took me over 30 hours to complete. On the other hand, a small quilt with an easy allover design might only take 45 minutes to an hour.

What quilting trends or new items or fabrics are exciting you at the moment?

I love that more and more people are paying attention to the quilting, instead of just being an afterthought. The quilting is another layer of art on the quilt can add so much to a quilt top.

What tips or advice do you have for sewists who are considering working with a long-arm quilter?

Communication is the most important thing! I love it when my customers tell me what they like. But even if they are leaving the quilting designs up to me, I ask them to point me in a general direction. So don’t be afraid to tell your quilter what you like and what you don’t.