Island Batik Ambassador Spotlight: Denise Looney, Quiltery-For the Love of Geese

Have you met Denise? She’s been with us since 2019 and we love all of the gorgeous projects she has created in her role as an Island Batik Ambassador ever since! Denise has spent more than half of her life trying to recreate the feeling she felt the first time sleeping under a quilt her grandmother made. “That quilt, along with everything around me inspires my creativity, though the finish rarely resembles the inspiration.“ She is a self taught quilter behind Quiltery-For the Love of Geese and a pattern designer who revels on pushing the boundaries of her ability and creativity. Her patterns have been published in Annie’s Catalog as well as Island Batik fabric catalogs. She and her husband of 31 years enjoy the solitude of living high above the Mississippi River in Grafton, Il.

Denise told us a little about her creative background. Let’s see what she said!

Island Batik: Who taught you to sew?

Denise: I am self taught, mostly through books from the library (pre-internet) and, trial and error. However, my husband taught me how to use a sewing machine his mother gifted me for Christmas. So I have to say my husband and the library. 

What inspired you to learn to sew?

When I spent the weekends at my fathers house growing up I slept under a quilt my grandmother made. She never threw anything out and patched patches. She made the quilt from clothing scraps and  I have spent the last 27+ years trying to recreate that feeling I felt while sleeping under that quilt. 

Mardi Gras, Island Batik A Piece Of Blog Hop, November 2019. Made with Island Batik Speakeasy collection. Read more about the quilt here.

What was the incentive to create Quiltery-For the Love of Geese and start blogging or posting on social media?
I designed a Foundation Paper Pieced quilt, For the love of geese. I was so proud of it and was sure there were others who love flying geese as much as I do.

Is there block or pattern you could you make over and over again?
Flying geese! I love to manipulate them through paper piecing and the points seem to glow when pieced correctly.

Quilt made for the Island Batik Storm at Sea Blog Hop, November 2021. Made with Island Batik Celestials collection. Read more about the quilt here.

What inspires your design process?
Nature and architecture.

What were your beginner mistakes in quilting? 
Not pinning the sandwich before I tried to quilt it on a domestic machine. 

Is there a technique that you were hesitant about trying, only to discover that you ended up absolutely loving it?
Thread painting!

What is your favorite notion or gadget that you use every time you sew?
I love my wool pressing mat and the ergo rotary cutter from Grace Co. 

Quilt made for the Tool Talk with Studio 180 Design challenge, September 2022. Made with the fabric from Island Batik Flourish collection. Read more about the quilt here.

How do you store your fabrics? 
In a glass door cabinet so I can enjoy the splash of color in my otherwise white room. 

Do you have a sewing pet-peeve?
Red thread and red stringy fabric. You sew with it and red end up all over your home, in your laundry, in your yard outside, in your car, on your pets,  everywhere. It’s like that annoying barking dog that you cannot get away from!

Gear Head, New York Beauty Blog Hop, June 2022. Made with the fabric from Island Batik Snowsicle collection.
Read more about the quilt here.

Do you have a pet that “helps” you sew?
Of course, my Loki, who like his predecessor Enzo loves to jump on anything quilt related to have his photo taken.

If you could choose an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Italy. Well, anyplace I I can look up or down and see magnificent ancient mosaics.

Be sure to follow Denise on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to her blog to see what she makes with Island Batik fabric this year!

To see the whole 2023 Island Batik Ambassador team, please visit:

Stay tuned as we introduce you to more talented Island Batik Ambassadors and let us know in the comments below what else you want to ask Denise!

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