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Meet Pattern Designer Christine Van Buskirk

Posted by Brenda Wolfensberger on

Christine Van Buskirk - Quilter's Stash Box

Each month we include a Cut Loose Press (CLP) pattern in Quilter's Stash Box. New subscribers receive a tab divider system with their first month's box. We love the CLP system. The patterns are printed beautifully and efficiently on a heavy-stock single sheet, front and back, and cut to fit perfectly in a three-ring binder. Using the dividers, your CLP patterns are filed under categories easily identified:

  • Project Type: Quilt, Stitchery, Home, Craft, or Bag
  • Fabric Type: Fat Quarter, Square, Strip, and Yardage
  • Project Time: Under 2 Hours, 2-6 Hours, and 6+ Hours

Christine Van Buskirk - Quilter's Stash Box

The March 2017 pattern selection is Double Dresden by Christine Van Buskirk.

Christine's pattern finishes at 32x32 inches and is likely to require 6+ hours for the typical quilter. The pattern creates a large center flower that is perfect for a wall-hanging or table topper. Click here to see the March Stash Box.

Meet Christine

Christine Van Burke

We interviewed Christine to learn more about her approach to designing and quilting. She has been designing for Cut Loose Press since the pattern line was first introduced, and has sixteen patterns available through CLP. She also designs Creative Grids Rulers, a line of rulers often associated with CLP patterns.

Christine mastered other materials before she became known in the quilting industry. She has a PhD in Material Engineering - metals, polymers, and ceramics. She has worked for Chevrolet in their casting plant, as well as for IBM in their Thin Films Product Development. "My materials of choice are certainly different now," Christine says. "Cottons, wool, and silks!"

We wanted to know about her design process.

I am definitely a "design first" person! My background is engineering, so it has been the shapes and geometry that have drawn me into the quilting world. I look at quilts, and am figuring out an easier way to make them. We've all made quilts that look like they should be easy but aren't - who wants to do that? One of the hallmarks of my designs is that they are easier to make than they look.

We asked, "What is the most gratifying part of designing?"

I love to see the idea that was in my head turn into a beautiful quilt! I also teach, so to see the joy in my students when they make a quilt from one of my designs is truly gratifying - I love to share my vision with others.

She says that a design can require varying degrees of time.

Some design thoughts "marinate" for months before I commit to them, some start as quick sketches that get thrown into a file for a couple years, some hit me and I head to the studio to work them out in fabric right away. "Double Dresden" was designed, a sample made, and pattern drafted for a year before I published it - I needed the right fabrics to show it off.

We asked if she ever decided a design wasn't working and had to abandon it.

I was working on my CLP pattern "Jewel Box" last spring, using a new fabric collection ... It doesn't matter how good something looks on paper or EQ, fabric is a different story. I remade this quilt twice, changing both block layout and fabrics, until it was right. I was under a Quilt Market deadline, so I didn't have the luxury of just tossing it aside. But there are others I have worked on that I've scrapped. There's one I made that was just too difficult to sew together for the result. If I'm not excited about a design, how can I expect my audience to be?

We always like to know how a designer first became interested in quilting. Christine was inspired by her mother, who started quilting in the early 1980s. Christine would visit her mother and become increasingly intrigued.

I was busy with college, grad school, marriage, job, kids - but in the back of my mind I kept thinking that some day, I would quilt. In 2000, I took the plunge with my first quilt class, and was hooked. I've been designing as long as I've been quilting - I think the first EQ software I tried was Version 2! I design both on paper and with software. I primarily piece, and send most of my quilts out to be finished, though I've done some hand quilting, and will use my domestic machine to quilt my smaller items. I've used a longarm machine to finish about 6 of my own quilts - enough to know that it isn't what I love to do.

You will see many of Christine's quilts at the end of this article.

Kaffe Tuffets by Christine Van Buskirk

The Tuffet Master

Christine became interested in tuffets in 2014. "It was so confusing," she says. "I figured out how to make the top, but got stuck on the upholstery part."

She then discovered "The Tuffet" pattern by Sharyn Cole, took a two-day class with Sharyn and became a certified Tuffet Master.

Since then I have taught nearly 400 people to make Tuffets, and those classes continue still. I've taught ever level of quilter (including some who hadn't sewn before!) to make Tuffets. It's a two session class, and everyone leaves with a completed Tuffet. Students make tuffets just because they are fun and whimsical, but also for weddings, a new baby, and as a remembrance of a loved one. There's a lot of love in these classes.


There is a limited quantity of remaining March 2017 Stash Boxes. Click here to purchase.

UFOs Piling Up? Christine says, "Enjoy the Process!"

We like to ask quilters what might seem like an obvious question to most of us. Do they have any UFOs languishing in their studios? Christine had a comical response:

Is this a trick question? To see if I really am a quilter? I don't know any quilter who doesn't have a few UFO's. It's rare that I don't finish a quilt top once I've started, but I have way too many tops that need to be quilted. I also have a few projects that I am happy to take a long time to finish - I'm working on a wool block of the month from 2015, and it might take me a couple more years to finish it. I've decided I would rather enjoy the process slowly than rush to finish under pressure.

Advice from Christine

We asked, "Can you offer any advice to someone who dreams of designing their own patterns?"

If you are designing for yourself, just do it! It's a lot harder to write a pattern that someone else can make - be sure to use a pattern tester. There are so many pattern designers out there - decide why you want to do it, and what your niche is.

Quilts by Christine

Star Shine

Star Shine by Christine Van Buskirk

Balancing Act

Balancing Act by Christine Van Buskirk

Orange Blossom

Orange Blossom by Christine Van Buskirk

Honey Comb

Honey Comb by Christine Van Buskirk

Show Us Your Double Dresdens!

We would love to see photos if you complete Christine's pattern from the March Stash Box. Send them to us at the address here:

Send your photos to Quilter's Stash Box

There is a limited quantity of remaining March 2017 Stash Boxes. Click here to purchase.

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