Q&A with John Kubiniec

By Anna Bernard, Summer Intern

Anna Bernard

Anna Bernard

We’re continuing our celebration of the launch of the My Stars imprint and the publication of our first book in the fall, a compilation effort, with another interview with one of the 10 authors.

Today, we’re talking with John Kubiniec. John is from North Tonawanda, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo, and grew up in a family of crafters. He lives in New York City, where he works as a quilt instructor and designer and serves as a church organist.

He will move to Rochester, N.Y., at the end of the summer to devote more time to designing quilts and continuing his longarm quilting business.

Whole Lotta Love

Whole Lotta Love

He was a runner-up in the 2010 McCall’s Quilting Quilt Design Star contest, and his patterns have appeared in Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts, McCall’s Quick Quilts and McCall’s Quilting. He has also designed patterns for RJR Fabrics and Windham Fabrics.cover-200px[5]

To check out more of John’s work, visit his blog, Big Rig Quilting.

One of John’s quilts, Whole Lotta Love, is featured in the McCall’s Quick Quilts August/September 2013 issue, which goes on sale today. John’s quilt uses the Glimma line of fabric by Lotta Jansdotter for Windham fabrics.

Lotta Jansdotter and John Kubiniec

Lotta Jansdotter and John Kubiniec


How did you get started quilting? Did you sew before you started learning to quilt?

I have always been interested and involved in some sort of crafty activity and was always interested in quilting. I work with the “critical mass theory” — I have to have enough things dealing with a topic before I get started. So, I bought books on quilting, then eventually bought a sewing machine “on speculation” — (thinking) that  if I owned it, I would learn how to run the machine and I might learn to quilt. Well, it sat in the closet for three years, until I came across a quilt store and took a class on how to use the sewing machine and then launched into the world of quilting. It was only after about three years of “stash building” that I thought I could call myself a real quilter.

DSC01364     JK -Headshot

How do you define modern quilting?

Modern quilting for me means simpler, cleaner lines, with more negative space to show off the quilting. I think that it is also quilting that is free from the quilt police. By that I mean, many people who are exploring this aesthetic are doing it through the Internet and are learning online or just experimenting on their own — and creating their own rules. It presents a freedom to think outside the box in creating new block designs and rethinking the traditional quilt designs and traditional ways of construction.

What types of quilts do you make — modern, traditional, a mix of the two — and why?

I hate labels that confine things and try to categorize them.  I make quilts. I let others describe them as they see fit. What I do is I take an idea — a block, a concept, and give it a little twist. It might be how I use color, it might be how I alter the block, it might be whatever my crazy mind decideDSC00160s I should do at the moment. Sometimes, they might be traditional, sometimes modern, sometimes a mix, and other times, not sure what to call it.

How do you utilize social media in your quilting?

I have a blog and enjoy posting there and also enjoy looking at other people’s blogs. They are a great source of inspiration to see what others are doing.  Facebook is also a great way to keep in touch with people and gain encouragement along the way.  DSC01364

If you had a quilting motto, what would it be?

There are no ugly fabrics. Keep cutting them into smaller pieces, the ugly factor disappears — eventually.

What other creative outlets do you have?

I love reading autobiographies and mysteries, cooking, gardening, and playing the piano and organ. I am a professional musician by trade.
What types of fabrics are you most drawn to?

I love Asian-inspired fabrics. I love Japanese fabrics. I love ’30s repros. I love bright primary colors. I love black as a background. Red is my neutral. I love batiks. I love Baltimore Album repros. I love solids, and I hate solids. I love traditional Amish colorways. That’s the long answer. The short answer: I love fabric and enjoy the challenge of taking any fabric and making it work in a quilt.

If you could have one quilting superpower, what would it be?

Be able to wiggle my nose and have all my fabric perfectly cut for my quilt.

JK and workDescribe your quilting aesthetic in five words or less.

Don’t fear color, embrace it.



Let us know what you think. How would you describe modern quilting? Is this the first time you’ve heard of John, or are you already a fan? How do you incorporate modern touches into your quilts?

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3 thoughts on “Q&A with John Kubiniec

  1. Jean Murphy

    Hey John

    We just enjoyed the annual gathering at Rita’s and, of course, she was bragging about you (much deserved). You have such a creative ability to expound on your new “crafting” which was only a dream before. I absolutely love the quilt shown in this blog and it shows more detail in the August/September McCall’s magazine.

    Keep up your fantastick work and maybe we will be seeing you soon when you move to Rochester!

    By the way, do you ever sell your quilts?

    Jean Murphy


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