Island Batik Ambassador Spotlight: Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

Preeti at Sew Preeti Quilts has been selected to be an Island Batik Ambassador for the third year in a row! She grew up in India and came to the USA about 20 years ago as a student. Living in the Washington DC metro area, she works as a transportation planner. Preeti made her first quilt in 2013 and 200+ quilts later, she can firmly say that she is addicted to all things quilting! Her patterns have been published in numerous magazines including Make Modern, Quilter’s World and Quiltmaker. She loves bright fabrics and enjoys improvisational piecing.

Time to get an inside look at Preeti’s creative process? We asked her a few questions and here’s what she had to say..

Island Batik: Who taught you how to sew?

Preeti: My mom is an accomplished seamstress/sewist. She made all our clothes when we were young. Most of the quilting related knowledge has come from YouTube videos, online tutorials and a couple of classes.

Why did you start sewing?

I was inspired to sew when I watched a documentary on American quilters at a guild meeting, where I was a guest in 2012. I was so mesmerized by the movie that I exclaimed aloud – “I want to do this.” My friend Vera, who had invited me to the guild meeting showed me how to thread my very basic Brother machine on Labor Day in 2012. I made my first quilt in 2013 for a friend’s sister’s baby shower. The rest is history!

Synergy quilt, featured in issue 44 of Make Modern Magazine. Island Batik Foundations fabric. Read more about the quilt here.

What was the incentive to start blogging or posting on social media?

I needed to keep a record. Then the community grew on me.

Do you have a sewing peeve?

Don’t like paper piecing. Hate tearing out the papers! If I can I try to use freezer paper instead.

What block or pattern could you make over and over again and not get tired of it?

Rail Fence Blocks, Log Cabin.

What is your favorite notion or gadget that you use every time you sew?

Diagonal Seam Tape!

What were your beginner mistakes in quilting?

Ignoring the 10-foot rule. It is so very important to view your project from 10 feet away.

Burning for You, Make It Modern Blog Hop project, 2021. Made with Island Batik Farm Fresh collection. Read more about the quilt here.

What do you do that you hope the “quilt police” never find out about?

I do not care about the Quilt Police. I sew with complete abandon and believe that rules are meant to be broken.

Do you have a favorite quilt that you have made and why is it your favorite?

The Iberian Lynx is my favorite Island Batik and Aurifil thread project (see below). It was a challenging project and I struggled with it. Unsure of what to make and how to proceed. Eventually I chose improv piecing and appliqué to tell the story of strengthening populations of Iberian Lynx, thanks to the conservation efforts.

Iberian Lynx project, 2021. Made with Autumn Sunset collection and 2021 Aurifil Iberian Lynx Color Builder Set. Read more about the quilt here.

Do you like to watch TV, listen to music or books while you are sewing?

Sometimes NPR. Sometimes audiobooks. Romantic fiction and suspense thrillers.

What are your most and least favorite parts of quilting?  

Designing is definitely the best part. It is like playing with infinite possibilities. Writing a pattern can be challenging. Sometimes taking good pictures can be tricky if it is rainy or windy or too cold.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I like to cook, every now and then. I am proud of my Chicken Tikka Masala! My husband Paul is a huge fan of my beef stew, but I don’t eat beef.

If you could choose an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Japan. Because that seems the farthest. I feel like I can go anywhere in the US and Europe easily. Also I am curious about Japanese food and the sightseeing.

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

To see the 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 Preeti!

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