Lila Scott: Jack-Of-All-Trades
Written by Linzee Kull McCray
Lila Scott calls herself a jack-of-all-trades. She builds stone walls in her garden, plays piano, and serves as American Patchwork and Quilting’s technical editor. And in between, she finds time to quilt.
“I tried lots of things over the years—macramé, cross-stitch, sewing clothing—but once I found quilting, the rest went away,” she says. “I’ve never found anything else as satisfying.”
Her first foray into quilting wasn’t until 1985, when, after her mother’s death, Lila found some quilt blocks.
“I didn’t know my mother dabbled in quilting, and I decided to put the blocks together,” Lila says. “I used a book to teach myself and I struggled with hand quilting.” So, she joined her local guild and her skills improved. In addition to attending guild meetings, Lila meets weekly with her “quilting bee,” a group of 12 women who have quilted together for more than 10 years. “It’s great to have support,” she says.
It was through guild connections that Lila was encouraged to send her work to American Patchwork and Quilting. In 1993, she began writing project directions for the magazine, and in 1994 Lila published her first quilt design. Since then, she’s averaged about two quilt designs each year for American Patchwork and Quilting, including seasonal quilts that use bright and bold Halloween fabrics from her stash.
“I started collecting novelty fabrics about 12 years ago,” says Lila. “They’re fun and funky and neat to work with.”
Although many of her quilts have a thoroughly modern color palette, they have their beginnings in antique blocks. Lila seeks inspiration in antique quilts and in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. Then she often redrafts intriguing blocks to suit her vision. Lila also gains inspiration from fabric.
“Sometimes I’ll do something as simple as taking a block I’ve already made and make it up in novelty prints,” she says. An irresistible array of batik charm packs inspired a 30-inch quilt. And while Lila admits that she isn’t fond of browns and tans, a design challenge prompted her to use colors she didn’t much like—the result was a brown and pink quilt. “I did it,” she says, “but I’ll admit it’s predominantly pink.”
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