Interview with Gyleen Fitzgerald
Meet the designer behind Issue #21’s cover quilt!
Originally posted on January 9, 2018 by Cheryl Sleboda
Gyleen Fitzgerald’s quilt Cityscape is the cover quilt for Modern Quilts Unlimited Issue #21. We sat down with Gyleen to learn a little bit more about this talented quilter.
When did you first learn to sew? When did you make your first quilt?
I learned to sew at about 4 and I doubt I was any good at it until about 10; however, starting that young provided the foundation for my lifelong love of fiber.
I didn’t make my first quilt until 1981 and it was out of necessity. My friends were having babies like there was a sale! I was a recent college graduate with little spendable income. What I could do was stitch. I found a class that was in walking distance from my apartment. I made so many baby quilts that I lost track and didn’t photograph many of them.
What is a technique that you have never tried that you would like to?
Wow, I need to think on this one a bit. I’m a technique teacher and an engineer so if I saw it and wanted to do it…it was done. However, I would love to master thread painting.
The muted tones of Gyleen’s Cityscape quilt add a cozy touch to this chair.
What about the Modern aesthetic appeals to you?
I love the clean lines, the uncluttered, which speaks to my linear left brain. However, I like the negative space with texture. For me that texture comes from low volume piecing.
What advice would you give to a beginner in quilting?
Learn to sew and not just make a specific quilt. If you can sew, you can make anything. In quilting, start with what you love in your favorite color.
What kinds of fabrics are your favorite to work with?
I really don’t have a favorite. I fancy hand-dyed, shot cottons and semi-solid at the moment. In prints, I pick large scale, clear and bold. And I buy more stripes than I really use. Each genre of fabric has its challenges and I “practice” designing and making quilts across a broad spectrum of genre. Most of my designs are made twice in different genre fabric so I can prove to myself the design will hold or can be easily modified. Working this way keeps me on my toes as an educator and opens up my comfort zone.
What kind of projects are you working on next?
I just finished Trash to Treasure Pineapple Quilts Book 2, like yesterday. So now I’m back to finishing the quilts for Polygon Affair…The Love Grows Stronger book. I’m head-over-heals in love with polygons! If I did no other designs, I would be a happy quilter just working these geometrics.