'Meet the Maker' is a series of blog posts that gives you a chance to get to know the people that make some of the great items we offer. For our first post, we've asked Kathy Baltz, maker of Nautical Flag Banners, a few questions.
- Beach or Mountains?
I prefer the mountains over the beach. I find the Mountains beautiful and peaceful compared to the ocean, although I grew up thinking I could never leave the ocean!
- Favorite activity/hobby?
I love skiing so much, I taught full time for 14 years. I still try and ski 4 - 5 mornings a week. In the summer, I love my gardens. I plant 20 dozen state fair zinnias per year to compliment my perennial garden!
- What was your Inspiration to quilt?
I have a golfing friend who wanted me to join her quilting group. I told her: "I don't sew." She was persistent and I went to a fabric store with her. I was blown away by the color. I'm an artist. I love color and design.
- When did you begin?
I started quilting 6 years ago. My first quilt was child size quilt. My biggest block was: "Why should I cut up this good fabric to sew it together again?" After that first quilt I went out and bought fabric for a king size quilt. It took me a more than a month to finish it. The wonderful Ladies of the Lakes Quilting Guild in Wolfeboro, NH helped me, taught me, and supported me through my first big project. I'm forever grateful and still have so much fun at meetings!
- Where did you get the idea for the banners?
The idea came from a love of quilting and having a boat on Winnepesaukee. I wanted to make a quilt for the bed (which had to be a custom size) and put the name of our boat on the quilt. I wanted white with royal blue for a crisp look. I knew from experience, embroidery would take a long time. I thought about using the Nautical Flag Alphabet. When I looked at the alphabet, I realized it was all geometric shapes that could be pieced in fabric. It was white and royal blue and had just enough color for added interest with red, yellow and black.I got out my graph paper and markers and started to play with designs. Once I had drawn out Lake Winnepesaukee, I played with Scituate, Hingham, and Cape Cod.I'm from a big family in Scituate, Mass. All seven kids were brought up with a love of the ocean and boating. I thought of Christmas presents for family in their town names. That's when I thought Marco Island, Plymouth, Lake Erie, Annapolis, etc.I was in Stockholm during the Whitbread race years ago and remembered all the flags. This could be international.Even though I've been in NH for many years, the love of the ocean and all things nautical is still with me.The fabrics are 100% cotton and the batting is a polyester blend.
- Who was your first customer?
My first customer was a Guild member who has a son in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I made a table runner for her son "who has everything."
- What's the most overlooked detail?
The most often overlooked detail is how tiny some of the pieces of fabric can be to get a proper nautical letter.
- What's the most complicated part?
The most complicated part of quilting design is that a 1/4 inch seam must be allowed to each side of the fabric. When a piece of a letter is 3/8" wide; well, it gets complicated.
- Do you have a favorite quilt?
Three years ago, my then 87 year old Aunt Betty pulled two quilt tops out of her hope chest that were made by my Great Grandmother in the 1930's - 40's. She asked me to finish one so she could use it on her bed. She gave me the second one. It's a 9 patch design, easy as pie today, but in the 1930's and 40's, people used up scraps to make quilts. Some of the 3 inch squares are pieced together using scraps of the same material. I was thrilled to find that quilting is in the family tree!
- Where's your favorite place?
My favorite place in the world is the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. I have gone up there so many times, that sometimes I'll just drive up for lunch! On a clear day you can see the ocean but I usually look to the southwest for "that feeling". I've gone up the auto road with a packed lunch, parked at the snow fields, and hiked over to the top of Mt Jefferson to read a book. Once I met a couple who had been on the trail for three days on their way to Washington. They were shocked to find me just sitting there with a day pack. : ) They took me up on my offer of a ride down the mountain but hiked to the top of Washington first.