This month we’re debuting a new feature on our blog, Quilter’s Spotlight. Over the years we’ve received many beautiful quilts from quilters who are well-known or very prolific contributors, and we wanted to feature some of those people who have so generously contributed their time, their talents and so many beautiful quilts to us.
Helen Baczynski falls into both categories, as she’s especially well-known in the longarming world, where she’s been an instructor at many major shows and is an intelliquilter maven, who has contributed more than 60 quilts that I know of to Quilts Beyond Borders over the years. Helen was kind enough to agree to be our first quilter in the spotlight, so we sent her some questions which she has answered for us.
QUILTER’S SPOTLIGHT: HELEN BACZYNSKI
We asked Helen to send us her picture, and a picture of her favorite quilt. Here they are! Many of you will no doubt recognize Helen as the lovely woman with the long silver hair that you may have seen at shows teaching classes or on the vendor floor.
Hometown & State: Springfield, South Dakota
Years Quilting: Oh, so many!
Favorite Quilting Style: I love scrappy quilts but am also drawn to modern ones.
Quilt Guild or Group: Just a small Springfield group. We only meet once a month during the winter. I think we must all be too busy in the summer.
Why do you volunteer with Quilts Beyond Borders? It satisfies my need to make quilts. I like the small size QBB needs – they are fast to make. I can try out new patterns and am challenged to only work from my stash of fabrics. I often need to buy backings, however. I make the whole quilt from start to finish.
I really like the fact that the QBB quilts are hand delivered to the children and people who need them and that photos are posted on the blog. It’s more personal than just sending them off to an organization without any knowledge of where they end up. QBB can be trusted to get the quilts to where they are needed.
How did you learn about Quilts Beyond Borders? I really can’t remember how I found out about QBB.
How did you learn to quilt? No-one quilted in my family but we all sewed clothing. That bag of dress making scraps caught my eye and I started out hand piecing hexagons using the English paper piecing method when I was in high school in the late ‘60’s. The patchwork, or piecing, was all I was interested in for a very long time. I started quilting in the late 1990’s and in 1998, bought my Gammill quilting machine. I’m self-taught.
Where do you get quilting inspiration? Mostly from seeing photos of other quilts, but I also like challenges, such as making a quilt to fit a theme, or having to use a provided fabric.
What’s your favorite quilting tip or technique? Just enjoy the process – there are no rules so don’t worry about how you do things or the look of the finished quilt. If you like it, that’s all that matters.
What else should we know about you? I grew up in England and trained as a teacher. I met my husband on Ascension Island when I was teaching at the school there. (Now search to find out where that is J) We were married in 1984 and I have lived in the U.S.A. ever since except for about a year when we worked in Saudi Arabia.
I quilted as a business for several years when we lived in Las Vegas. Now I simply enjoy making quilts for myself and a few good causes – QBB being the main one.
Here is the most recent group of quilts that Helen has sent us. Some will be headed to Ethiopia and some to Syrian Refugee camps in Greece and Jordan. She has also kindly give us permission to sell some of them at the IQF in Houston this year to raise some funds to pay for excess baggage expenses and supplies to get more quilts to more children.
Helen, thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us over the years! There are many children sleeping warmly wrapped in your beautiful quilts!