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Pabst ‘old soul’ shines in quilting

Suzette Lowe
Reporter

Amy Pabst is an “old soul” with her feet firmly planted in the future.

The 32-year old has dedicated herself to one of the oldest creative arts while finding ways to make the design and technique fresh and modern.

In the past 10 years, Pabst has become an award-winning quilter. In 2020, she achieved a goal that she never thought possible. Her book, “Log Cabin: the 100,000 Pieces Project” was published by Quiltmania.

“I never dreamed that my name would be on the cover of a book,” Pabst said. 

Having a book published on quilt design she has dedicated herself to for the past few years has made her story come full-circle.

“I had dabbled in a lot of creative arts,” Pabst said. “None really satisfied me though. I was at my local library and picked up a random book on quilts. I found my passion. Now to have a book that others may get inspiration from is so rewarding.”

When she began quilting, Pabst said she taught herself, but soon learned from online tutorials and demonstrations.

With so many quilt designs to choose from, Pabst felt herself drawn to the log cabin pattern.

“Most people think there is only one type of log cabin quilt,” Pabst explained. “There are really many variations. That’s what fascinated me about it.”

For Pabst, perfecting the technique led her into creating a series of log cabin quilts, many of them miniatures.

“I started this series in 2015 and completed 26 quilts, some of them having 6,000-7,000 pieces,” Pabst said. “I reached my goal of 100,000 pieces in 2019.”

Entering prestigious quilt shows has become another goal of the LeRoy resident.

“My first quilt show was the Mountain State Art and Craft Festival,” Pabst recalled. “It has a special place in my heart because I got an honorable mention for my sampler quilt. It spurred me on to get better and it showed me I was competitive, something I hadn’t realized about myself.”

Since then, she has been juried into several shows including those sponsored by the prestigious American Quilters Society quilt competitions in Paducah, Kentucky; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Des Moines, Iowa; and several other locations. Her work has won anywhere from first place to honorable mention.

In Nov. 2019, Pabst was chosen to send 24 from her series of log cabin quilts to the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. The event, sponsored by the International Quilters Association showcases 1,200 quilts and 1,000 vendors, attracting over 50,000 visitors.

“I had to send photos of my quilts to be juried,” she said. “I wrote a proposal in hopes I’d be chosen for the special exhibit. It was such an honor to be selected.”

That special themed display caught the eye of the Carol Veillon, an editor for Quiltmania, a publishing company based in France.

“She contacted me for a story for their magazine,” Pabst said. “Not long after that, she said ‘why not a book,’ so I signed a contract in March 2020.”

Nineteen of her quilts had to be shipped to France to be photographed. Pabst said it was scary to send her creations away, but the experience is one she would never forget.

“They really respected my input and asked for my approval on everything,” she said. “It really is my book.”

When she received her copy in the mail, Pabst said it “it was surreal.”

“It came out just the way I wanted it to,” she said. “I was prepared to be happy with it, no matter the result. It exceeded every expectation I had.”

Most people don’t know that Pabst was inspired to quilt by a library book. She is often asked if it was a skill she was taught by her mother or grandmother.

“My mom and grandma taught me to sew,” she said. “They worked at a local dry cleaner and I helped with alterations. To be honest, I hated it. Sewing is not for me but quilting is.”

She credits her parents for being a tremendous support in her achieving her dreams.

“My mom is my biggest cheerleader,” she said with a smile. “She says she doesn’t have an eye for design, but she does. She gives good advice. My dad is the organizer and shipper. I appreciate them both so much.”

After completing the 100,000-piece log cabin project, Pabst felt led to another series.

“I’m now doing a micro piecing project,” she said. “This one has the goal of 250,000 pieces and I’m half way there. The pineapple design is my focus. Because the pieces are about a quarter-inch wide, I came up with my own name for the technique.”

Judging is also in her future. Now a certified judge through the National Association of Certified Quilt Judges, she has evaluated quilts in several shows, including a virtual one this past November.

“The reason I love judging so much is I get to be up close to these beautiful quilts,” she said.

Even though she has other interests including reading, running, and weightlifting, her passion will always be quilting.

“Life is so confusing,” Pabst said. “It’s nice to know that I’ve found my place and that is behind a sewing machine creating quilts.” 

Pabst’s book is available for purchase at quiltmania.com and locally at Bolts and Quarters Quilt Shop in Parkersburg.