Tammy Silvers

MQU‘s Cheryl Sleboda talks with quilter and contributor Tammy Silvers.

Originally posted on February 8, 2018 by Cheryl Sleboda

We caught up with Tammy Silvers, whose quilt “Granny Squares” is in the latest issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited #22.  She was able to tell us a little about what’s going on with her and her quilt adventures!

So, Tammy, when did you first learn to sew? When did you make your first quilt?

I grew up with sewers – the women in my family were makers before it was on trend to be makers!  I had dresses that were made from old dresses of my mom’s.  My Barbies had dresses refashioned from my old dresses.  So….when did I learn to sew?  Hmmmm….probably as soon as my grandmother felt I could handle needle, thread and scissors (aka I don’t remember!).

But….what I DO remember is my first sewing class.  I was 10 and my mother enrolled me in sewing classes at the local Singer store.  We had to choose a pattern and over a four week period, had to cut and stitch the garment ourselves.  My most vivid memory from that class?  My mother making me take EVERY STITCH out when I got home because it wasn’t perfect, and making me resew.  Yes, I won the “competition” they held at the end of the class, but I stayed far away from the sewing machine after that!

Fast forward to my “adulting” – I started sewing again when I had children.  Necessity can drive you to strange and wonderful things, including the sewing machine!

And then there was that fateful day 26 years ago when my sister-in-law coerced me into taking a quilting class.  And the bug bit me.  Hard!  Now I made the butt-ugliest quilt (yes, it really REALLY was), but I was hooked on quilting.  And I have never looked back.

What is a technique that you have never tried that you would like to?

I’ve tried almost everything.  I LOVE taking classes and seeing other folks’ take on different techinques and processes.  But I have never inset a circle.  I’ve seen it done.  Fascinating.  Really.  But I’ve never attempted it myself.  Definitely on my bucket list for must try techniques!

What about the Modern aesthetic appeals to you?

Ah…so many aspects of Modern Quilting are appealing.  The focus on space and relationship.  The fact that you don’t need to fill the entire surface with piecing or even the same block.  That there is breathing room and a focus on line and interpretation.


Granny Squares, by Tammy Silvers


What advice would you give to a beginner in quilting?

Explore.  Try different things.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  And don’t expect it to be perfect (perfection IMHO is highly overrated).  Enjoy the process.  You’ll discover techniques and blocks that speak to you, and in the process, you will refine and improve your skill.  Quilting truly is an art form, and we all have an inner artist that we can unleash!

What kinds of fabrics are your favorite to work with?

Batiks, definitely!  I love the rich saturation of color, the flexibility (no wrong side!), and the tighter weave, which makes more precise piecing possible.  And I may be just a bit biased – I have three lines now with the fabo folks at Island Batik!

What kind of projects are you working on next?

I’ve been exploring guided improv and the various ways to use it to create patterns and quilts.  I’m having tons of fun discovering all the ways I can develop it!  I’ve done three quilts so far, and am discovering that there are virtually limitless possibilities.  Exciting!

Thanks for talking with us, Tammy!  To see how to make this quilt, check out the latest issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited! To see more of Tammy’s work online, check out her website at

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