Amitie Textiles


Another of our sponsors, Amitie Textiles, has been a supporter of MMQG for years.  We recently caught up with Jen to talk all things modern quilting.



How long have you been quilting for?  Can you tell us about your first quilt? 

My first quilt was an English paper pieced number made in the nurses home more years ago than I care to remember and definitely mention. I cut the papers myself out of old “doctor order” notes that were discarded each night. I can’t bring myself to remove the papers as it is quite nostalgic! The fabrics are also a trip down memory lane. I used whatever I could get my hands on, polyester, corduroy, seersucker, stretch! And most of them were from family garments.

Can you tell us a bit about your transition into more ‘modern’ quilting? 

I’m a fabric driven quilter. We are so fortunate to have such variety. I love an eclectic mix and really I’m just a scrap quilter. I make what I love and don’t really follow any particular style.

How do YOU define ‘modern quilting’? 

I think the modern quilting movement has been in progress for many a year.  We have had quilters for decades challenging the boundaries and I think these ladies don’t get enough credit. Look at the quilters of the gees bend, Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston just to mention a few. They were making quilts many years ago which stylistically are now regarded as ” modern”.  I think the fabric designers have had a big influence as well. We have such great designs and colour combinations available. To me “modern quilting” is all about personal choice and expression and that’s what I love about this industry.

What led you to start up Amitie?

I had owned two quilt stores prior to amitie but this was my first solo store. Originally in the 90’s I found it difficult to purchase light, bright fabrics. Most of the stores stocked repros and country. Initially it was not easy to even find the fabrics I loved and we imported Rachel Ashwell’s shabby chic, Cabbages and Roses, the early Heather Ross and were one of the first quilt stores to stock Liberty of London.

A few years later things started to change. I think one of the first ranges I was really excited about was Amy Butler’s first range. It was quite a shift in the quilting world.

What makes your customers unique? Or Amitie unique? 

Our customers are unique. It is reinforced each time I go to quilt market in the US. I get asked all the time “what collection did you use for that quilt?” Our customers love fabric and enjoy the challenge of mixing ranges. They put their own stamp on things. I frequently see my patterns made up and think” dang, wish I’d used that background or colour combo”. I think Australian quilters are unique!! I think we have many talented quilters in this country. The role of the brick and mortar stores has changed over the years. With so many people buying online, tutorials and websites dedicated to classes the store is more about the social  aspect, friendships and troubleshooting now. We stock a fabulous range of hand picked fabrics, many from Japan and the staff are always available for advice.

With a busy business to run, do you still get any time to quilt?  Can you tell us about your latest WIP?
Because I live in the Middle East at the moment I get to quilt every day. I know I’m extremely lucky. In the last two years I’ve made a number of quilts. 9 quilts plus 6 cushions are in my new book “quilt lovely” due to be released by FW media in Feb 2015.


I would never have been able to do this if I was running the store.

My WIPs are a quilt for Quiltmania magazine which is a combination of hand and machine, a small quilt for a collaborative book with other Moda designers and I have 4 others in various stages which will be released as patterns. I have difficulty sticking to one project at a time and before I finish one I’m madly starting another. I always have some hand quilting on the go and something portable eg appliqué or hand piecing for travelling or on those days you just want to veg and watch a movie while stitching.

Can you tell us some gossip from the International Quilt Festival in Houston?  What are the latest or upcoming trends in fabric/design?  (We NEED to know!)
 What happens in Houston stays in Houston!! No I don’t think there was any gossip this year, a few sore heads after a couple of big nights out! I think the modern quilt gathering was responsible for a few of these. It’s such a great atmosphere and over the many years I’ve been going I have made some super friends. It’s like a reunion every year. You come home pretty tired as so much has to be crammed into those few days, both work and play. The quilt show is always a highlight. The Moda party is a good night out! You eat way too many sweeties from everyone’s booths and way too much food in general.

I didn’t think at fall market there was a huge change in trends. Cotton and steel was released at spring market and that created a buzz. Katy Jones “Priory Square” is lovely and I guess I have to mention my line “Gardenvale” for Moda!! It was extremely well received! I am really happy with it. Because I am such a scrap quilter, I wanted to design a range that wouldn’t really look like a range if used in a project and that’s what it is.