One of my favorite parts of working with modern quilters is learning their stories. Each quilter comes from a different place, designs with a unique perspective, and specializes in their own special way. Several years ago, a quilter who used a lot of curved piecing, Heather Black aka @Quiltachusetts, came on my radar.
Heather’s quilts are bold, graphic, and beautifully designed. Although I first referred to her as the Queen of Curves I’ve come to appreciate her ability to work on – and off – the curved grid, with lots of angles, amazingly straight lines, and fun intersections of color and line.
Meet Heather Black
I caught up with Heather recently. Here’s a portion of our conversation, complete with an exciting announcement at the end of our interview. What a talented and fun modern quilter!
Vivika: I love the name of your blog and IG handle…Quilt-achusetts… can you tell our readers how it came to be?
Heather: I get asked often if I’m from Massachusetts because of my blog name and the answer is no. My late husband, Stephen, used to call my sewing room and quilting activities Quiltachusetts. He was from Pennsylvania and many times he’d end words with -achusetts. When I decided to start a blog I knew instantly I wanted to title it Quiltachusetts. I’ve recently found out that I do have an ancestral tie to the state. I’m a direct descendant of Nathaniel Ball who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1635 and his son is the original owner of The Wayside (now the Minute Man National Park) in Concord, and was once home to Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Louisa May Alcott.
Vivika: Wow, that is so cool! We are all connected in interesting ways. Our office isn’t that far from there.
Your quilts are more modern than the traditional ones that would have covered the beds in that Concord home. Ever since I saw the first quilt you published in Modern Patchwork I have been watching your growth as a pattern designer and quilter expand. Your work is striking and unique. Where does your inspiration come from?
Heather: I like to find inspiration from moments in my life that stick with me. It doesn’t mean that those moments are significant, they just have to be something that makes an impression. My quilt Tectonic Shift is inspired by pictures of the 1964 Alaskan earthquake I saw when I was a child while Urban Trek was inspired by common city vignettes seen every day. As I grew as I designer I found it helpful to take mental notes of my likes and dislikes and I believe this is what formed my own creative style.
Vivika: I know you say you are a relatively new quilter, but you are also very successful and prolific. To what do you attribute your success?
Heather: Being a single mom can make finding quilting time difficult but fortunately my daughter has grown to be very imaginative, independent and she loves to play on her own. That being said, the first year after she was born I think I made two quilts compared to the 32 throw sized quilts I finished last year – and nothing motivates me more than a deadline!
Vivika: What is new for you this year? Are you working on any new projects?
Heather: I seem to find a way to keep busy with new projects and I have my very first book, with my co-author and good friend Daisy Aschehoug, coming out in January 2020 and a second book in the works. I’m really excited about both books and can’t wait to share more. I’ve also started teaching and have several workshops lined up for next year, including a new workshop that melds my first creative love, painting, with my current love of quilting.
We know you’ll enjoy this exclusive collection of Heather’s quilt patterns first published in Modern Patchwork and QuiltCon magazines. Download your copy today so you, too, can be a “Queen of Curves” and tackle curved piecing with Heather’s expert instruction!