Quilters We Love: Fran Gurka

Meet Fran Gurka, a long-time quilter with a passion for learning and sharing her craft with others. Fran is also a member of the National Quilters Circle Ambassador program! We sat down with Fran and asked her to share a little about herself and her quilting.

fran-gurkaHow long have you been quilting, and who taught you how to quilt?

I started quilting about 1997. I traveled quite a bit for my job with the Department of Defense and would sew blocks together on trips. I put my first quilt together in 1997 and it took almost four years to quilt by hand. I am self-taught but had a friend I worked with that quilted and would ask her questions.

What was your first quilt project?

I put a tumbling block quilt kit together. It was hand pieced and also hand quilted. It took about four years to finish the hand quilting, after I retired.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve recently moved from Missouri to Texas and still getting settled, but have still found time to complete a lot of my UFO projects lately! I’ve also been working on a new quilt for a grandson to be born this year.

fran-gurka-5 What quilt project have you been most proud of?

I’ve actually been most proud of the projects others have quilted with my help. In 2014, I was the quilting project leader for a 4H group, and two girls in the group made really great quilts. My 10-year-old granddaughter and my daughter-in-law have also learned to sew some quilted items for their home.

Have you ever entered any contests or competitions? What was the outcome?

I have entered the local quilt guild in Missouri every year for six years and have won several ribbons. I also have entered and won ribbons in the local as well as the Missouri State Fair, but didn’t win any ribbons at that one.

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What’s your sewing room like?

Since I just moved my sewing room is not together yet. I have a room with my computer and sewing machines set up. I hope to get the rest of my stash and notions into the room soon!

What kind of sewing machine do you have?

I have a Viking Platinum 730 and 955E, two Singers (one a 99 three-quarter and one new Singer), and a Janome Gold. Describe your dream sewing room/quilting space.

A room with plenty of light, table space for all my machines, and plenty of room to hold my stash!

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Do you belong to any quilting groups, circles, or associations?

Back in Missouri I belonged to three quilt guilds, and have just recently joined the local quilt guild here in the Houston area. I really enjoyed the first meeting and actually joined that night. I also belong to IMQS for two years and also a long arm quilt guild.

Do you have a favorite quilting shop or website?

My favorite quilt shop is any shop with friendly and helpful people. In Missouri I really enjoyed Patches Place, but it closed a few years ago. Missouri Star Quilting is also a favorite.

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What’s a new technique or trick you learned recently?

I learned something kind of fun recently: not all t-shirt quilts need borders and have to have the same size! I made a collage t-shirt quilt not too long ago and really had a lot of fun making it. Learned a lot of good quilting skills. What quilting tip has changed your life?

There is a lot better way to cut fabric instead of scissors!

What would you say to someone who’s just getting started in quilting?

Remember we are all learning with every quilt we make, no matter how long we have been quilting. We are always learning and should be open to new things. Quilting is a very special hobby and craft for anyone who loves to sew.

A great big thanks to Fran for sharing her quilting story with us! Want to join Fran as a National Quilters Circle Ambassador? You can apply here.

Happy quilting!


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