Meet new Moda designer Betsy Chutchian

Moda Betsy Signing Books

Betsy Chutchian may be one of Moda’s new designers, but she’s certainly not new to the quilting world. Author of four books with Kansas City Star, co-founder of the 19th-century Patchwork Divas, former owner and a current employee of Lone Star House of Quilts in Arlington, Texas, Betsy’s been combining her love of history and quilting for more than 30 years.

Moda Betsy Sewing Room

Betsy’s sewing days started in childhood, when both grandmothers taught her to sew on their treadle machines. In 1969 her aunt gave her the 1940s-era Singer machine that Betsy used for nearly 20 years. Betsy’s mom didn’t sew. “I think it reminded her too much of the Depression and she wanted no part of it,” says Betsy.

IMG_3031

Betsy loves antiques: Here her quilts mingle with an old church pew, coverlet, dishes, and painted cabinet.

When Betsy graduated from college in 1980 she inherited a family quilt top. Using books from the library, she taught herself to quilt, starting with baby quilts for her son and daughter. Despite having two small children, she managed to eke out time to hone her quilting skills. “They were wonderful nappers and would sleep three to five hours at a time,” says Betsy, who hand-pieced and hand-quilted her early work. (Today, her time is limited and she laughs as she quotes a friend who says, “Instead of by hand, I quilt by check.”)

Over the years, Betsy worked in several quilt shops and then bought Lone Star House of Quilts. But just a month later she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. “The shop kept me busy at a bad time, but I was so exhausted I could hardly put one foot in front of the other,” she says. Nine months later, she sold the business. “And here I am, 13 years later!”

Betsy Chutchian's granddaughter Madison

Betsy’s granddaughter Madison

The end of shop ownership was far from the end of her career in the quilting industry. Writing books opened doors for her and she continues to teach Jo Morton’s Little Women’s Club and to travel to share her 19th-century reproduction quilts and wool program. “I love getting people interested in history,” she says.

madison's room

Madison’s modern decor works perfectly with the traditional quilts Betsy made for her granddaughter

Betsy’s new line for Moda, Eliza’s Indigo, is a perfect example. The fabrics are named for Eliza Lucas Pickney, the daughter of a South Carolina plantation owner from the 1700s. When her father had to return to his Antigua home, Eliza took over the family business and turned the plantation into a major producer of indigo, eventually growing enough for export to Britain. “It took her three years to develop it and get a good crop,” says Betsy. “She was only 16 when she took over. Can you imagine your 16-year-old daughter doing something like that? It’s a fascinating story.”

FullSizeRender-3

Betsy’s cat Molly appreciates quilts, as do her other two cats Winston and Hudson.

Betsy’s home reflects this love of history and of stitching. “I have quilts everywhere in my house,” she says. “They’re stacked to the ceiling in one bedroom. There’s just enough room for a cat to go on the top, though he’s scared to climb up because they might fall.” Her collection includes about 60 antique quilts and tops, along with blocks and fabrics, and that doesn’t include the quilts she’s stitched. “I haven’t counted them, because I don’t want my husband to know,” she says with a laugh.

A collection of brown transferware dishes complements this Courthouse Steps quilt

A collection of brown transferware dishes complements this Courthouse Steps quilt

JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

10 comments on “Meet new Moda designer Betsy Chutchian

  1. Libby says:

    AWESOME POST ~

  2. Mary Andra says:

    Thank you for introducing Betsy to the quilt world. Great posting.

  3. Carolyn Sands says:

    Thank you for the post. For some reason, all the photos appear turned on their side. Viewing the post on my iPad.

    • Carrie Nelson says:

      Hi Carolyn ~ They’re on the side on my phone but not on the big computer. I’m not sure what’s happening but we’ll see what we can do to get Betsy right-side up. 🙂

  4. Mari says:

    I am so excited about this!!! I have been quilt stalking Betsy for years. (in a non-creepy way..I swear.)

  5. Clair Becker says:

    Glad to here Betsy is part of Moda now. Love her books. Thanks for posting about her.

  6. Alicia Key says:

    Cant wait to see the fabric. Sure wish I still had Gene Stewart who really would come to the shop!

  7. I am pleased to see this about my friend, Betsy. She is an amazing quilter. I have known Betsy for many years. I am the one who bought the quilt shop from Betsy all those years ago. At that time, it was known as Abram House Quilt Shop. We are excited for Betsy and so glad that she still calls Lone Star House of Quilts her quilting home.

  8. susanboakes says:

    Really looking forward to getting my hands on Eliza’s Indigos! Congratulations on your new line, Betsy — and congratulations to Moda for hiring such a talented designer and all-around wonderful person.

  9. […] and I enjoy reconnecting with them (or meeting them for the first time—here’s looking at you, Betsy Chutchian, Corey Yoder, and Carrie Shyrock). Though they’re crazy-busy, I try to catch up with Carrie […]

Comments are closed.