Q&A with special guest, Angela Walters!

Angela Walters, AKA The Midnight Quilter, is a quilt teacher, author, fabric designer and social media sensation, and will be a special guest at The Festival of Quilts 20th Anniversary at the NEC Birmingham from 3rd – 6th August 2023.

Angela will be hosting a 90-minute trunk show, An Evening with Angela Walters, at the Festival Theatre on Saturday 5th August at 5.30pm when she’ll be sharing her quilting journey. Angela will also be hosting two Longarm Quilting talks / demonstrations on Friday 4th and Sunday 6th August.

Hi Angela, with over 165,000 followers on YouTube, you truly are quilting royalty! We’re delighted to be welcoming you to The Festival of Quilts for our 20th anniversary. What are you going to be sharing with quilting fans at the Festival this year?

I hope to spend a little time encouraging them to find their machine quilting mojo. For some reason, machine quilting is one of those things that can scare some quilters. I hope to break it down for them and prove that it’s not as hard as one might think. I also can’t wait to share a little bit of my journey with them. Once they know how bad I was when I started, they will believe me when I say, “If I can do it, anyone can do it”.

Your quilting journey began with your husband’s grandfather with whom you made your first quilt (a 9-patch quilt that is still on your bed today, we believe). Can you tell us more about that experience and what led you from that place to longarm quilting?

Grandpa Ford, my husband’s grandfather, started making quilts as a way to stay busy after retirement. After seeing him make one, I asked him to show me how. He quickly became my quilting buddy. He was a hand quilter, but he somehow talked my husband into buying me a longarm. I never knew that it would lead to all of this!

These days, modern machine quilting is your passion. What is it about the Modern aesthetic and this type of quilting that appeals to you? 

Honestly, I love all kinds of quilts! But when the modern quilting movement started, I loved the use of solid fabrics that were being used in the quilts. If I am being serious, I had a selfish reason. All the solid fabric on the front meant that the quilting showed up a lot better!

You’ve spoken about how you find quilting therapeutic. Can you tell us a little about that?

When I started quilting, my oldest child was 6 months old. It quickly became my little bit of ‘me time’. Whether it was just 5 minutes, I always felt better after my ‘quilting therapy’.

You’ve achieved what many crafters dream of – you’ve turned your passion into a successful business, both online and with your shop, Quilting Is My Therapy. What advice would you give to anyone looking for inspiration to do the same?

“Work hard and be nice to everyone” is something I repeat to my mentoring group often. I think if you do those two things, you can’t help but be successful. Although, I still can’t believe that I get to do this for my career! I am so fortunate.

We’re looking forward to your Festival of Quilts demonstrations. In Ruler’s Rule, you’ll be show how easy it is to quilt with different types of rulers. Then in Fabulous Feathers, you’ll be sharing the lowdown on how to quilt feather designs. How important to you is teaching and sharing your knowledge with the quilting community?

I love teaching quilting more than quilting itself….well, maybe. I love being around other quilters and I get just us much inspiration from my students. Plus, when something ‘clicks’, and they have that ‘aha’ moment, that is so very satisfying.

If you get a moment away from your longarm quilting machine, what are you looking forward to seeing and doing at The Festival of Quilts?

Like any quilter, I love to look at the quilts. It doesn’t matter what type, size or style it is, there is always something to be inspired by. 

You’re inspired thousands of quilters all around the world, but who or where do you turn to for creative inspiration?

This will sound silly but I get inspiration everywhere. By seeking out the details and things in everyday life, I am constantly finding patterns and colors that inspire me. Even if it’s a bathroom floor tile.

As we celebrate 20 years of the quilting community coming together at The Festival of Quilts, what does it mean to you to be part of this worldwide quilting family?

What I love about the quilting community is that no matter what part of the world you go to, quilters all speak the same language. Whether in the USA, Europe, Australia and beyond, quilters are all generous and giving with their skills and knowledge. It’s an honour to get to be a part of the family and to share my passion with so many amazing friends!