Getting to Know Judy Martin
Complete List of the Books Judy has Written
Complete List of Judy's Patterns and Their Sources
Judy's Kitchen & Bath Renovation Odyssey
Tour Judy's House
Tour Judy's Sewing Room
What People are Saying About Judy Martin
A Quizzical Look at Judy Martin
“How now, quilt?” Prince Hal asked in The First Part of King Henry the Fourth. William Shakespeare was a big fan of quilting. He liked to work subtle quilting allusions into many of his plays. He even referenced Judy Martin in Antony and Cleopatra: "Age cannot whither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety."
With the scene thus set, it’s time to find out what else you know or don’t know about Judy Martin. Answer each of the following questions in the Bardish affirmative, “Truth is truth,” or in the Macbethian negative, “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.” To the quiz! Anon! Remember, "Ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven."
1. “Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.” Judy Martin promotes skill development as a way of empowering quilters to make any quilt they desire.
Answer: “Truth is truth.” You know the old saying, “Give a woman a fish, and she’ll eat for a day. Teach a woman to quilt, and she’ll eat fish for the rest of her life.” All right, so maybe that’s not the right saying, but you get the idea. If you only learn how to make a particular quilt, then that particular quilt is all you’ll be able to make. If you learn the SKILLS of quiltmaking, then you’ll be able to make any quilt you want. Judy Martin’s books guide you through the process so you have the freedom to express yourself creatively.
2. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin once climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
Answer: “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.” The closest she’s been to Kilimanjaro is the Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Sometimes her family can get her to climb the walls, though.
3. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin has designed more original block and quilt patterns than anyone in history.
Answer: “Truth is truth.” Each design sparks a new idea, kind of like quilting’s version of a nuclear chain reaction. Judy has enough design ideas to power a medium-sized city for many years. “My art is not past power, nor you past cure.”
4. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin is the majority owner of the Union Pacific railroad.
Answer: “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.” She owns the game Union Pacific and will drop anything she is doing when presented with the opportunity to play it. Judy Martin loves to play boardgames. In fact, she and her husband have designed a game, Quilt Show, which was recently released by Rio Grande Games.
5. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin was born in a log cabin, and her name has become synonymous with honesty.
Answer: “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.” You must be confusing her with someone else. But the fact is Judy’s first book in 1980 was Log Cabin Quilts and her 2007 blockbuster Judy Martin’s Log Cabin Quilt Book is in its fourth printing and still going strong. And now she has taken Log Cabins to a new level with Extraordinary Log Cabin Quilts. And in addition to those three books, she has done a number of immensely popular Log Cabin designs. The Colorado Log Cabin, the one with the stars in the corners? It’s not traditional; it’s one Judy designed for Scrap Quilts in 1985. The Shenandoah Log Cabin from Cookies ‘n’ Quilts is a Virginia Reel made from logs. And on it goes. Almost every book Judy Martin has written has had a Log Cabin pattern in it.
Judy Martin is refreshingly honest, though. “The good I stand on is my truth and honesty.”
6. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin spends her summers performing the works of Shakespeare at park festivals all over the United States.
Answer: “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.” As much as Judy loves Shakespeare, the only parks she hits in the summer are ballparks. She did, however, design the very popular quilt, Shakespeare in the Park, which first appeared in The Creative Pattern Book.
7. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin combines an engineer's sensibility with an artist's vision to make the beautiful possible and the process satisfying.
Answer: “Truth is truth.” You might say she was genetically programmed to perform such a function, like some sort of Robo-Quilter. Judy's father was an engineer; her sister is a NASA scientist; her brother works for Boeing; she was valedictorian of her high school class of 1000 students; she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of California at Santa Barbara; she has artists up and down the family tree. If you're looking for someone to give you common-sense advice, uncommonly beautiful patterns, and sensible instructions, who better than Judy Martin? Her pedigree is unsurpassed. Yea, verily.
8. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin is the name of a village in New Mexico.
Answer: “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.” But if it were true, it would be a place that’s off the beaten path; a place more beautiful than most; a place where all the laws and rules are founded on common sense; a place where anyone can achieve their goals if only they take the time to get their seam allowances right.
9. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin's patterns go together more easily than those from other designers.
Answer: “Truth is truth.” Sounds like a wild claim, but we hear it all the time from satisfied sewers. The best example can be found with Judy Martin's 10-1/4" rotary-cut LeMoyne star blocks. They are an amazing 7 times more accurate than other designers' 12" rotary-cut LeMoyne star blocks! It's because Judy fully comprehends the complex trigonometry that enables such precision. If you start with the most accurate patterns and employ the best methods, perfectly pieced quilts are the natural consequence. It's that simple. So think about it the next time you're having trouble with fit. Perhaps it's not your sewing; it just might be your pattern. “Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise…”
10. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin worked for 8 years as a senior editor at Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine and Quiltmaker.
Answer: “Truth is truth.” In addition to designing many of the patterns that appeared in those magazines in the ‘80s, she wrote books for them, classics such as Scrap Quilts, Taking the Math Out of Making Patchwork Quilts, and Log Cabin Quilts.
11. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin is a star of the first magnitude.
Answer: “Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee!” That’s Twelfth Night for “Depends on how you look at it.” Does Judy Martin light a solar system? Probably not. Do planets revolve around her? Come on, she doesn’t possess that much gravity! But do quilters pay attention to her? You bet! And it’s plain to the naked eye that quilters look up to Judy Martin for the best patterns and the most sensible hints and advice.
Speaking of stars, one of Judy’s recent books is called Stellar Quilts. It's packed with enough beautiful star quilts to light a solar system.
12. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin likes making scrap quilts best of all.
Answer: “Truth is truth.” Scrap fabrics add sparkle to a quilt. That’s why almost every quilt Judy makes is a scrap quilt and why she’s written two books, Scrap Quilts and Scraps, on the subject. Even the dithering Hamlet preferred scrap quilts. He was, after all, known as “a king of shreds and patches!”
13. (“Truth is truth.” / “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.”) Judy Martin’s next book will be written in iambic pentameter.
Answer: “Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain.” It will be written in dactylic hexameter. “Do you not jest? Yes, sooth.”
“So, on your patience evermore attending,
New joy wait on you! Here our play has ending.”
Judy with her biggest fans, circa 2010.
The Unauthorized Autobiography of Judy Martin
1969: The first lunar walk, Woodstock, the Amazing Mets win the World Series, and Judy Martin makes her first quilt. All right, so Judy's first quilt doesn't quite rank with the other listed events. It just shows that Judy has been doing it a long time and has learned quite a bit in those 4+ decades. Fortunately she's not shy about sharing what she has learned.
Judy Martin has been earning her sole livelihood from quilting for more than 30 years. From 1979 to 1987, she worked for Quilter's Newsletter Magazine and Quiltmaker. As an editor, Judy was one of the principal pattern designers on staff, author of countless articles and six quilting books. In 1987 she left to start her own publishing company, Crosley-Griffith, with her husband, Steve. They have published her sixteen most recent books, including her latest, Extraordinary Log Cabin Quilts. Crosley-Griffith also manufactures Judy Martin's Ultimate Rotary Tools.
Judy, Steve, and their 2 children, Kate and Will, moved to Grinnell, a small town in central Iowa, in 1993. Grinnell is a safe and friendly community that is home to Grinnell College. They chose Grinnell because it is a good place to raise children, and they haven't regretted the decision.
Judy's interests, apart from the obvious, include playing boardgames, sketching architectural and furniture designs, reading good fiction, watching good films, and eating good and often exotic food.
Judy Martin feels like the luckiest person in the world to get to make her living from quiltmaking. She buys more fabric than she'll ever use, serves her family take-out pizza (which is excellent in Grinnell) when she gets engrossed in a quilting project, asks her husband to just pull a sweater over it when his shirt loses a button, irons clothes only for weddings and funerals, and has gotten over feeling guilty about any of this. Judy encourages you to do the same. You'll live longer and be happier.
Five Things That Really Rip Judy's Seams
1. People who text and drive at the same time.
2. Television ads that are louder than the shows they are appearing in.
3. Chain emails.
4. Those pesky half-width (or half-wit) newspaper ads that go on the outside of an entire section, usually the comics.
5. Junk faxes.
Oddly Interesting or Interestingly Odd
These things have nothing to do with quilting, but they are interesting nonetheless.
1. Maine is the only U.S. state with a one-syllable name.
2. Venus is the only planet in the solar system that rotates clockwise. Thus, the sun rises in the west on Venus.
3. Ketchup used to be sold as a medicine. It was claimed that it cured everything from athlete's foot to baldness.
4. There was once a town in Oregon called Half.com.
5. The average lifespan of an American dollar bill is about 18 months.