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Member Spotlight - Kate McMahon

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

Hi Friend! I’m Kate McMahon, this year's Vice President. I started quilting decades ago as a 5 year old on my grandmother's lap. She has been an avid quilter all her life and while the skill skipped a generation, she was happy to teach me and have the tradition continue. She taught me all the basics while we worked together on baby quilts, most of which were then donated to the Good Sam NICU. She often remarked that I was “a speed demon since day one” since I would always sew petal-to-the-metal style. Still do. As I got older, my time was taken up by the activities of a kid and teenager: school, theater, choir, and boys, but I would always return to my love of making. It wasn’t until the end of college that I really found my stride with quilting again. What started as one quilt literally turned into 3 as a result of overbuying fabric, changing my mind about color placement, and learning some tough lessons as I rediscovered the craft. Started with the fabric pull on the left, cut EVERY SINGLE PIECE OUT, made the blocks on the right and then decided that I wanted green instead of yellow.

So back to the store, home again to cut out more pieces, lots of trial and error with trying to make do and I ended up with a 12-block quilt. It was originally supposed to be 20…

So with the extra fabric, I made a quilt for my Aunt and this ended up being the very first pattern I designed for what would later become Blue Mungo, my quilt and knitting pattern company.

A few years passed and I still had extra of the fabrics so I made a quick baby quilt and practiced some free motion designs. That’s all very indicative of my approach to quilting, just dive in and go for it and then make do with what you end up with.

Since that “first” quilt back in 2015, I’ve made over 100 more and have learned with each one! Some of my favorites are my first Halloween quilt, “Moon Spool,” and my first “Celtic Warrior” that I brought all the way to London for a photoshoot!

I tend to favor solids over prints and love a quilt with LOTS of pieces. ie the quilt below with over 2000 pieces!

I also really like to design with construction and fabric conservation in mind. I’m often asking myself, ”How can I make this block with no waste?" or "What shapes can I cut from a layer cake square?" Rarely do I start with a final idea in mind. I joined the Cincinnati MQG two years ago and have loved sharing tips and learning from others in the group. Especially last year, when everyone’s life was turned upside down, it was so nice to have a group of fellow quilters to connect with and I really hope that we can all meet in person soon! Until then, Happy Quilting!


CMQG Vice President 2021

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