Eye of the Beholder: Reverse Appliqué
Milliken started out as a trading post in the early 1860s, and when the railroad came to the territory, the town slowly began being recognized. Milliken, named in honor of Judge John David Milliken, the president of the Northwestern Land and Iron Company, had a rocky history fraught with high expectations that couldn’t be met, fires, railroad disruptions, the Great Depression, and so much more. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Milliken started to grow into its own. Today, Milliken is a thriving farming and ranching community.
Margaret Brewster Willingham, the creative mind behind the Milliken-based company Eye of the Beholder Quilt Designs, is a national teacher, lecturer, pattern designer, and author. Willingham’s quilts are influenced by the dynamic elements of movement, color, and design that she has used for over 40 years as a choreographer of dance. She composes unique quilts full of beauty, elegance, and color. Her greatest joy is in passing on the skills and growing confidence in quilters new and old, inspiring us all to listen to our own creative voice and to have the confidence to try something new. She is most well-known for the innovative (and foolproof!) methods she’s devised for reverse appliqué – Trace, Baste, Snip and Stitch – which takes the mystery and hardship out of reverse appliqué. Many of her designs can be completed either by hand or machine. In addition to her own pattern designs, she designs patterns for commercial and Indie fabric companies, including Island Batik, Banyan Batiks, and Batik Textiles. Willingham also co-authored her first book in 2018: Christmas RAPPing, Christmas Quilts featuring Reverse Appliqué & Paper-Piecing (with Nan Baker). She teaches regularly at specialist appliqué retreats and festivals, including the Academy of Appliqué, Appliqué Away at Galveston Bay, QuiltFest, Road to California, Vermont Quilt Festival, and AQS in Lancaster and Paducah.
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