Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Past Perfect: Judy Martin

Colorado Log Cabin by Judy Martin about 1983

August's Past Perfect Quilt Star is Judy Martin, my old friend from Quilters' Newsletter.

We worked together at the magazine in the eighties. She lived in Colorado and was an editor. I mailed the editors articles in manila envelopes. It was fun to be at the center of what was happening. Judy had kids and moved to Iowa. But she never stopped making innovative quilts. (She counts over 250.)

35 years later quilters are still making Judy's Colorado Log Cabin (and not giving her enough credit.) It's the perfect example of an updated classic. She simply added a couple of seams to create secondary patterns. Brilliant!

Supernova is up in Iowa now

The Iowa Quilt Museum has a show of her recent work. Do go to Winterset, Iowa to see 
Innovation Meets Tradition: Judy Martin Quilts. It's up till October 1st, 2017. The quilts on display focus on Log Cabin and Star quilts, patterns she's explored for years.

Red Sky at Night

Over the years she has designed simple quilts and complex quilts.

Galileo's Star from the exhibit.

And simple quilts that look complex.

Hollywood Boulevard

Some of her designs are so "of course" that people tend to think they have always been around and they are free to use her ideas without any credit. All the pictures on this page are copyrighted by Judy Martin.

Wedding Bands with its staggered star borders
has been influential recently

  She's written over 20 books and published most of them with husband Steve. 

One of my favorites is an early book Patchworkbook, a design how-to for piecing.

Scrap Quilts is another early favorite. There is Colorado Log Cabin
on the top shelf.

Judy is from San Diego and grew up with a "mother who sewed and a father whose engineering profession encouraged mathematical practicality. She was at home with the sewing machine and with graph paper at an early age."

Flowering Star

Judy really did a lot to define the end-of-the-20th-century quilt and she is working on the 21st century now with new techniques and traditional designs.

Wave on Wave

Capistrano is in her 2010 book Stellar Quilts.
It's a variation on Flying Swallows.
See a post on the traditional block here:
Iowa Quilt Museum
Winterset is a 3 hour drive from Lincoln, Nebraska so you could see two of your favorite quiltmakers' work in one midwestern trip. Edyta Sitar's quilts are at IQSC's Quilt House in Lincoln, Judy Martin's in Iowa.


Diane said...

I love Judy's patterns. Not just the delightful designs, but the precision with which the patterns are written. I'm a cpa, and very much appreciate the engineer's mind behind the directions, lol. Now you have me thinking...I've a longer weekend the end of the month, and Des Moines is about a six hour drive from Milwaukee...

Barbara Brackman said...

winterset is a happening little town.

Salmagundi said...

I, too, remember those old days at Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. Over the years, I had 20 plus quilts and patterns published in QNM. I miss the friends (and manilla envelopes!) that I made during those exciting times in quilting. Thanks for updating us on Judy. She's the best!!

Rebecca said...

I have several of Judy Martians books with lots of yellow sticky notes!

JustGail said...

Thank you for posting about this - I don't live *too* far away and have a day or two "must use" vacation days. I'm thinking a day trip is in order.

Speaking of QNM - how likely is it that a digital archive of every issue published will ever be made? Or are there too many copyright issues for that to happen, esp. since the magazine was sold at one point.

Barbara Brackman said...

JustGail-your guess is as good as mine. We sold one time print rights to the magazine when we worked there. That's a lot of copyright updating.

Marianne Fons said...

Barbara, thanks for mentioning Judy Martin's wonderful exhibit at the Iowa Quilt Museum, www.iowaquiltmuseum.org. And, hey, get yourself up to Winterset before it comes down and have lunch with me while you are there! (Signed, Marianne Fons)

Gypsy Quilter said...

What would we have done without Judy to inspire us? It's great they are doing a show of her work. And yes, I have that book also, along with a few others she wrote. Glad to see she's still going strong.

Anonymous said...

Saw the show last week-- it is WONDERFUL!! The Museum is very well done- the people of Winterset should be commended for their work & dedication.

viridian said...

I have Judy's Scrap quilts book and one other. The patterns and templates are accurate, which is appreciated.

Lori said...

Judy and her quilts are both amazing! She was a quilting game changer, that's for sure!

FLO_rancher said...

Nice to know that this display is not so far from Lincoln NE..but I live as far west in Nebraska as you can travel. Thank you for honoring Judy Martin such a fantastic quilter..so inspirational. I hope to meet her one day.

Roxanne said...

I still remember the arrival of that QNM, and all these years later that is one of the issues I've hung onto. I remember we talked about it in my quilt group--it was a revelation. Simple and stunning!

Titia said...

Such lovely work! Thank you for sharing. Her books were some of the very 1st ones I bought.

Wendy said...

Judy Martin was the reason I picked up quilting again - her star quilts are an inspiration and a joy. Thank you for showcasing her work!