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Making Quilting Cool Again At Los Alamos Makers

on January 16, 2019 - 9:06am

LANL physicist Quinn Marksteiner tackling one of the most underrated pieces of engineering - the sewing machine. Courtesy/Los Alamos Makers

Quilts can make cool custom decorations, not just blankets. Courtesy/Los Alamos Makers

Los Alamos Makers News:

New quilting instructor Jill Ryan at Los Alamos Makers is teaching a free introductory class 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. Courtesy/Los Alamos Makers

At Los Alamos Makers, 3540 Orange St., it is always exciting to see the lines between art and science blur. Introducing scientists to a craft or getting artists to include a high-tech feature into their art is always fun.

Los Alamos Makers has offered sewing classes and camps for all ages before, but never any quilting classes, until now.

“A lot of people think that quilting is their grandma’s hobby and that’s just not true anymore,” Jill Ryan said.

Ryan is the new quilting instructor at the local makerspace. During a free introduction to quilting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, Ryan will describe and showcase some quilting techniques and cool things one can create. The event will jumpstart a series of quilting classes she will offer.

“I think a lot of people find sewing or making a quilt to be a daunting prospect and I'd like to help people discover what they can do and remove that intimidation factor,” Ryan said. “There are also so many different types of quilts - from ridiculously simple to ridiculously hard – that I don't think anyone should let their idea of what quilting ‘truly’ is stop them.”

The best part of being part of the makerspace is meeting the diverse talents this scientific town has to offer and learn how people got into a particular trade or craft in the first place, she said. 

“When I was in my 20s, I started working at a fabric store to make extra money on weekends. Until that time, I had primarily sewed to make clothes and I didn’t ‘get’ what the big deal was about the cotton/quilting section of the store,” Ryan said. “One of my co-workers coached me through making my first quilt and I guess from there I was hooked. I started taking quilting classes at a local quilt store, made some friends, found a community and just went from there.”

Anyone even remotely curious about quilting is encouraged to attend Ryan’s introduction to quilting.

“Quilting has become so diverse that I think anybody can find – and might be surprised to find –a quilt they like,” she said. “There's been a recent surge in modern and artistic quilting and fabrics, along with tools and patterns to simplify the process, that pretty much anybody can find something they like and will want to hang on a wall or wrap up in, from quilts that take literally less than two hours to make to quilts that I assume will take me a lifetime, projects you can take with you on the bus, or work on while waiting for appointments.”

“I always say that my quilts are my hug when I can’t be there to hug someone in person. I get a lot of pleasure out of knowing that something I make is going to provide enduring comfort and warmth for a friend or family member.”

Anyone interested in attending Jill's free introduction to quilting class is encouraged to RSVP on the event's page at .

For information about other events at Los Alamos Makers, check out Los Alamos Makers' Eventbrite page at

One of instructor Jill Ryan's original and creative quilts. Courtesy/Los Alamos Makers