Variety is the Spice of Life
If there’s one thing Mabeth Oxenreider knows about, it’s color. Her quilts frequently include as many as 75 to 100 different fabrics. While that might overwhelm some quilters, Mabeth finds it broadens her design horizons. “I never have to worry about a fabric butting up against the same fabric and I have the entire range of spectrum and value to work with,” she says.
In addition to color, Mabeth enjoys quilt designs that feature a variety of blocks.
“Quilts with 20 or 30 blocks all alike are boring as the dickens to make,” she says. I like quilts with four or five different blocks. I place them on my design wall and see what works. Not everything does—sometimes you get an idea but it’s not until you put it into fabric that you figure out it doesn’t work. But that’s how I learn.”
In addition to designing, Mabeth enjoys teaching workshops and classes, particularly those that focus on technique.
“New and better techniques help people improve their projects, and they enjoy quilting more,” she says. Mabeth also stresses the importance of using good quality equipment. “I don’t know how many times I’ve heard ‘Oh, this is good enough--I can get by with this.’ I tell my students to buy the best quality equipment and fabric they can afford and they won’t struggle so much.”
While Mabeth enjoys teaching and traveling, she’s always happy to return home.
“I love the interaction and input I get from working with others, but I do some of my best work by myself,” she says. “Coming home, sitting in my sewing room, and seeing that big bluestem grass blow in the breeze is really special.”
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