Sunday, September 30, 2007

American Jane's new "Look and Learn"

Sandy Klop of American Jane has created a line that will take you back through your yearbooks, all the way to grade school! Each detail of this Look and Learn collection is sweet and young, and the colors are so vibrant. Here's a bit about the sentiment behind the line and then a lot more about the creator!

Look and Learn
Remember first grade, sitting in rows alphabetically or at color-coded tables? And little chairs just our size, but it was hard to sit in one place for a long time. Recess was the most fun of all, especially on rainy days when all the toys and art supplies became available to everyone. Remember new books, clean pieces of paper, the smell of paste.

It's all in Look and Learn, the best of childhood memories. Patterns available using Look and Learn fabric are Merry-Go-Round, Tea Party, Four on the Floor, Color Crayons, and Teddy Bear.

About American Jane
American Jane Patterns is the brainstorm of Sandy Klop. The name comes from a real person who was named America Jane. The name sounded perfect for the look Sandy creates. Sandy likes traditional patterns presented with her own color palette. She has focused more recently on a 30's, 40's, 50's look with an emphasis on children and toys. Her look is upbeat and pleasing to the eye.

Putting Patterns Together
Sandy first makes a quilt with fabric available to her, most often of her own design. She then writes the directions to make the quilt, remembering how she put it together. Her husband Stan edits the pattern and sends it to a graphic artist who creates pictures to go along with the directions. The pattern is reviewed until it meets all the requirements for an accurate, easy-to-follow pattern. Stan prints it, ships it to distributors and puts it online at americanjane.com. Sandy will kit popular patterns in her fabric for customers who can't get the fabric easily in their local quilt store.

What's ahead
Sandy designs two fabric lines each year for Moda. The "Look and Learn" line followed "Peas and Carrots" and "Basic Building Blocks". Her new line to be introduced at Fall Market in Houston is called "Wee Play." One popular pattern using measuring tapes will be reprinted in different colors. Her previous lines have been reprinted to keep up with the demand. Fortunately, Moda is willing to reprint when there is a demand for a certain pattern.

All in a Day's Work
Sandy has a large studio upstairs in her home which includes a 12' long arm quilting machine. She can produce a quilt, quilt it, and bind it in short order. Stan works in a small office downstairs. The guest bedroom downstairs contains racks of patterns which now number more than 100! Sandy and Stan meet for coffee early in the morning to go over American Jane business and review patterns. After breakfast, Sandy often takes a long walk before going to her studio. Once she is in her studio, she in is in her own creative world. She barely stops working for lunch. At 4:00 Sandy meets up with Stan and goes to Peets Coffee in downtown Walnut Creek to enjoy their deep roasted coffee and review the day.

In the evening, Sandy often will bind a quilt or look through books and magazines for new ideas. She has a drop-in sewing group that meets on Thursday nights at Thimble Creek. No day goes by when she isn't sewing or working on quilts. Sandy is happy with her life. And Stan enjoys going along for the ride.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Debbie's Recipe Box

This is the easiest casserole ever and for all of you who don’t want to stop sewing to cook, this is the perfect recipe for you!


Recipe courtesy of Stove Top Stuffing!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Camille's Stippling Tutorial

Hi guys! Our good friend Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms fame has given us a great tutorial to share with you! If you want more tutorials like this, let us know and we'll arrange it. (If you are viewing this in an e-mail, you will need to click to the blog to see this tutorial. It's worth it!) Thanks to Camille, and enjoy!

Click the picture to see it full-size. If you'd like to print it, there is a printer-friendly version available here. And click here to see some of Camille's wonderful patterns!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Customer Quilt Page!

Hi everyone!

We're giving our Fat Quarter Shop Customer Quilt Gallery a fresh start on our Flickr photo site! You can see and comment on the quilts here.

Thanks to all of you who keep submitting images of what you've created with our products. We love seeing all of your fantastic results! Here are a few of our newest submissions... (If you are viewing this in an e-mail, you will have to click to the blog to see these!)


Want to send in pictures of the quilts you made with Fat Quarter Shop loot? Please e-mail them to Jocelyn@FatQuarterShop.com with your name, where you're from, and a little bit about what went into the quilt. Thanks!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Susan Jackson on Fun, Freedom, and Baby Fats

Susan Jackson of Cracker Jack Quilts is passionate about the fun and freedom of quilting, and it shows in her new pattern book, Baby Fats. Read about how she got her start in designing quilts, and for all you lovers of pink, check out our Perfectly Pink Baby Fats Quilt Kit!

Writing patterns happened by accident for me. The first quilt I designed, Charmin’ the Monkey, was my youngest son’s first birthday present. It was made out of love for him, not for “business”. The infectious smile brought to everyone’s faces by that little sock monkey was so rewarding! I never really set out to start a business, but if you truly set out to do what you love, the rest will take care of itself. Cracker Jack Quilts was born! I really have to thank Kimberly Jolly for taking a chance on a new designer and supporting me through her shop. Her customers are second to none and I have enjoyed the emails I have received from them.

I am passionate about whimsy and fun...not perfection. When I was taught to quilt I was so intimidated by the “rules” that I would stiffen up at the sewing machine. One day I thought to myself, “Why am I so worried about the dreaded Quilt Police showing up and ruining my day?” You know the old adage “Once I gave up hope I felt much better?” Well I adopted that theory and just went with it. Quilting was supposed to be fun, free and make you happy. I vowed to do just that.

Since then I have designed a line of patterns geared towards chunky appliqué, quick piecing and actually finishing quilt tops! The quilts I design are full of opportunities for you to play with your fabric. Now who wouldn’t want to do that??

My current project is a brand new pattern book called Baby Fats. It’s a method for turning 24 fat quarters into 4 completely different baby quilts. Create them all in one day and don’t think twice about that new baby spitting up on them. They are meant to be used, loved, and adored! Have a daughter due about the same time that neighbor is having twins and your niece just announced her bundle of joy? You can crank these wonderful quilts out with no stress! I promise, playing with fabric is fun and this booklet gives you a reason to do just that!

Well, Fat Quarter Shop Fans, I must thank you for the opportunity to blog...but my baby (Mitchell) just toddled in and is demanding “mmmm-mmmmm” kisses while my other 2 loves (Connor and Savannah) want to decorate a cake for Daddy’s birthday. You know, I just may get the inspiration for a new quilt while we’re up to our elbows in icing...Stay tuned! :-)

Susan Jackson

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Debbie's Recipe Box: Breakfast Casserole

This is our traditional Thanksgiving/Christmas morning breakfast served with hot rolls and fruit! Recipe courtesy of Debbie's mom.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Audrey and Stephanie on Legacy Patterns

Audrey and Stephanie Wright are the ladies behind some of our favorite and very convenient patterns. We love their patterns so much, we put together our adorable Bananas Foster Quilt Kit with their Butter Charm & Jelly pattern. Today they share about how they got started and what's new!

With all these Jelly Rolls and Charm Packs available, what’s a girl to do?
Legacy Patterns has 3 patterns designed to use those strips and squares that you can’t resist collecting. We are just as addicted as you are.

First, a little about us. Legacy Patterns is a mother-daughter design team that has been working together in the quilting industry since 1997. We owned and operated a retail store for 5 years, went separate ways for a couple of years and teamed up again in 2002. In addition to Legacy Patterns we started Starwood Pattern Company, a wholesale distribution company, currently representing over 200 designers. Our thoughts at the time were, if we are marketing our patterns, why not other designer’s too! Little did we know what we had started.

We love the challenge of designing with Jelly Rolls and Charm Squares. The best part of using them is the time you save in selecting fabrics, and most of all, no cutting is required. Jellystone Park was born when Stephanie was driving and we were brainstorming as usual. We thought, how many blocks can you get using all 40 strips and nothing else? Grouping the strips, simple piecing, add a little cutting and with a little more piecing with borders, you are all set. Our next quest was combining the charms and jellies, as we now call them. That is how Butter Charm & Jelly came to be. When we saw the Sunshine line from Moda, we knew it was the perfect choice. Included in the pattern are two matching throw pillows using the extra charm squares!

Our newest design Rolling Fields came after listening to shop owners and customers commenting that the charms and jellies arrived earlier than the yardage. They loved the fabrics and did not want to wait for the bolts of fabric to finish the quilts. No need to wait now! Rolling Fields uses two Jelly Rolls and binding. What could be any faster or easier? We love the results after using Decadent Victorian by April Cornell from Moda. We had no trouble finding a coordinating binding with so many colors in the line.

With all the wonderful charms and jellies available, we challenge you to create your Masterpiece!


Happy Quilting!
Audrey and Stephanie Wright
Starwood Pattern Company

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries

We are excited to feature Thimbleberries’ Lynette Jensen on our blog. Her new Lodge & Lakeside 2008 Quilt Club has just been revealed to rave reviews! Here's a glimpse into her newest creation.


A leader in the quilting industry for two decades, Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries has thoughtfully designed and produced patterns, fabrics, and books that reflect her distinct upscale country style and support her customers' creative pursuits. Her generous spirit and bountiful ideas provide inspiration to fans who share Lynette's passion for creating the pieces that make a house a home. With the creation of her Thimbleberries Quilt Club, which numbers more than 1000 retail shop members and over 100,000 consumer members, Lynette has indeed developed a very loyal and avid following.

“The most important thing about Quilt Club is the opportunity it creates for quilters to get together with others who love the craft of quiltmaking to share ideas and
inspiration. I wanted to establish a format for this to happen, and that is Club,” says Lynette.

Each year Lynette unveils an all-new fabric collection for Thimbleberries Quilt Club. This year’s program is Lodge & Lakeside, inspired by the beautiful lodges and lakes in Lynette’s home state of Minnesota. “As I have traveled around the country and abroad I have noticed the appeal of getting away to a place of natural beauty seems to be universal,” Lynette explains.

Just like a beautiful lakeside lodge retreat, Club offers quilters a creative escape for a few hours each month while
attending meetings at their local quilt shop. The fabric designs convey both the rugged beauty of woodlands and the nautical charm of lakes in two very distinctive colorways. The supporting prints comprise multicolor florals and textures, geometrics, tonal coordinates and theme prints. Members have a wide range of options to choose from and each quarter offers a new project, large and small. The smaller projects are perfect for gifts, to use up a fabric stash, and for those just learning to quilt. The seasonal themes throughout the collection will continue to inspire quilters the whole year through.

Lynette Jensen

Monday, September 17, 2007

Joanna Figueroa and Allspice Tapestry

Joanna Figueroa is the visionary behind Fig Tree Quilts, and today she talks to us about her design process and her romantic Allspice Tapestry collection.

Where do you get your ideas for your fabric designs?
I definitely have lots of favorite places that I go to for color inspiration - special spots like flower shops, dress boutiques, flea markets, stationery stores, even my favorite bookstores sometimes yield great color combinations that end up being the inspiration for a new line.

What is your design process?
I always start with the color palette first. After I have fallen in love with the way that the colors feel together, I begin to work on the prints. I don’t use all one medium and all one style - my designs can be hand drawn, painted, computer manipulated, derived from vintage fabric swatches, etc. I am always looking to make and use color combinations that are just a little bit different & unexpected, vintage but with a fresh appeal. That’s why we call our style Fresh Vintage™.

Tell us a little about the Allspice Tapestry collection. What inspired it?
The Allspice Tapestry line started with one old cinnamon floral swatch that was an all time favorite, very elegant and vintage feeling. It wasn’t hard to match all of the colors and accents to that original cinnamon floral combination - there were so many beautiful, soft colors that complimented it so well -- well-worn aqua, warm pink, soft cream, sage green, deep caramel, faded red. Many of the other colors in the line add color combinations that catch people’s interest that you might not expect to see. To hear that from people is one of my favorite compliments to receive.

What are a few things about yourself that you wouldn’t mind telling us?
  • I studied Political Science in college (although I did minor in graphic design) and then got a Masters in Theology in grad school. The path to fabric design has been long and interesting for me…

  • I love to watch old 80s shows.

  • I am a nut for dark chocolate mixed with orange in any way.

  • I emigrated from Poland to the United States when I was 8. We have a very exciting and clandestine “escape from Communism” story. But if I told you, I would then have to kill you. :-)

  • My favorite thing to work on these days is my Fresh Vintage™ pubication. It comes out quarterly and lots of people eagerly await each new issue. I never know what each issue will contain until I actually sit down to produce it. It’s really fun for me to see each one evolve.

Can you give us a glimpse into future collections?
Currently I am working on swatches of my new line which will debut at Quilt Market in Houston. It is a fresh, Spring collection called “Dandelion Girl”. The palette is soft creams, warm peach, aqua, apple green, faded cinnamon brown and a butter yellow. It has soft florals and a bunch of little prints and mosaics. Oh… and there are some wonderful woven stripes and plaids with it. And seersucker! And some finished product goodies that you’ll just have to wait and see at Market...tease, tease. Actually, I don’t even know how those are going to turn out yet.




Joanne Figueroa
http://www.figtreequilts.com/
http://www.figtreequilts.typepad.com/

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Debbie's Recipe Box

Edit: One of our readers pointed out a left-out ingredient in this recipe--1 cup of sugar! It's now on the recipe card. Thanks, Tykeh!

This is a family favorite as well as a tradition that I always bring this cake to my beginning quilting classes! Recipe origin unknown.




Friday, September 14, 2007

Tanya Whelan on Barefoot Roses

Tanya Whelan has a knack for designing fabrics that take you back to another time and place, yet feel resfreshingly modern. See what inspires her beautiful creations! We can't wait for her next collection to debut!

I'm so happy to be blogging on Fat Quarter Shop's blog. I've been a fan of the shop for a long time so I was so excited to see that they started a blog.

I'm a fabric and sewing pattern designer, and my first fabric collection for Free Spirit/Westminster Fibers, "Barefoot Roses", was introduced in May at Spring Quilt Market. My next collection, "Ava Rose", will debut at the Spring 08' Market.

Maybe you've already detected a trend here by the name of my collections. Yes, I absolutely love roses. Barefoot Roses features lots of em. Big, medium and small, all rounded out by vintage style tickings and polka dots. In addition to being girly, the collection most of all reflects my love of all things vintage and just plain old. My love of old things is definitely the driving force behind all of my design work. I'm a big collector of antiques, old artifacts and stuff just found on the curb. Old movies, mostly the sets as opposed to he actual stories, also really inspire me. Every design I create resonates for me with a particular time and place from the past whether it's a little girls bedroom in an English cottage circa 1920, a late 19th century French drawing room, or a 1940's living room. This is all probably a result of spending too much time in the Metropolitan Museum's costume exhibit as a little girl.

I'm also realizing just lately how influenced I am by Scandinavian design. I just love the light simple quality of one or two pretty floral patterns in an all white sun drenched room and this probably reflects my personal style most of all.

While the designs themselves feel nostalgic I really love fresh, clear coloration and Barefoot Roses completely reflects this. Fresh green is such an important counterpoint for me to the pretty pinks I love as, for me, it keeps things from getting too sweet and feels more modern.

When I'm not designing fabrics and sewing patterns, sewing, crafting and collecting, I'm chasing after my 3 wonderful children and spending time laughing with my best friend and husband. Oh, and of course making him stop the car because I spotted a treasure on the curb.

Please come visit me at my new blog, Grand Revival, and say hello, I'd love to hear from you!



Tanya Whelan

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Verna and the Vintage Spool

Today we have the very talented Verna Mosquera blogging for us! She is debuting her studio, the Vintage Spool, with a line called "Sweet Escape."

I was so excited to hear that Kimberly had started her own blog. Having been a fan of her website for quite some time I just knew it would be terrific! It is a pleasure to guest blog and share a bit about myself and my company.

My name is Verna Mosquera and after many years of travel I settled in the beautiful town of Danville in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is there, where I balance being a wife to my husband Miguel, of 11 years, mother to my sons Milo, 5 and Nico, 2 1/2, as well as being the owner of The Vintage Spool.

That balance couldn't be more obvious than this week where I've juggled such tasks as taking my son to his first day of Kindergarten and returning home to find the Federal Express man waiting on my porch with over 300 yards of fabric from my debut line "Sweet Escape," for FreeSpirit Fabrics.

Although having my studio in my own home can be challenging at times, as far as I'm concerned it doesn't get much better than this. I am able to raise my sons while I run the day to day operations of my business. Both are jobs which I am extremely passionate about!

"Sweet Escape" is a line of 30 romantic, softly colored prints. The line was created from a sampling of small vintage treasures which I have collected over the years; a hanky, a french perfume label, millinery flowers, a curtain panel, snippets of very old fabric and so much more.

Why the name? Well because creating things with our hands is such a "Sweet Escape" from all the stresses in our daily lives.

One of the first things I recall learning as a new quilter was to use an inspiration fabric when you start a new project. That fabric leads to the color palette and overall feel of the quilt. It is so amazing to think that soon my fabric designs may inspire others to create not only quilts, but home and personal accessories, children's clothes and so much more.

Be on the lookout for our fabrics in December of this year, not to mention several new patterns both pieced and applique to be released at Fall Market in October. Stop by our website The Vintage Spool for updates as things progress. Remember to check in with Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop as she is sure to have the fabrics and patterns as soon as they are available.



Thanks again to Kimberly and her readers for being a part of this terrific time of artistic growth!






Verna Mosquera
www.thevintagespool.com
photos courtesy of Gregory Case

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Middle Name Contest Winners!

Hi, everyone! Today we announce the two lucky comments from last week's post who will each win a Jelly Roll of their choice! Thanks to EVERYONE who shared a little about themselves, it was great fun to read! (By the way, there seem to be a ton of quilters with the middle name "Ann" besides Kimberly running around!)

Drum roll please...

Congratulations to Kittyo and Carolyn!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Debbie's Recipe Box

This is a great dip to bring to quilt gatherings! The dip can be served in a small, hollowed out pumpkin surrounded by Ginger Snaps.

Recipe courtesy of “Signature” magazine from Longaberger.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Lynne Hagmeier's Autumn Journey

Lynne Hagmeier is a Fat Quarter Shop favorite! She specializes in primitive fabrics and all of her fabric collections work well together. We always carry all her collections due to their popularity, and we are happy to have her blog for us today. Autumn Journey is coming in really soon, and we know you can hardly wait!

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration for fabric designs?
Fall colors in nature as well as leaves, acorns and berries are always a favorite. Vintage fabrics with a theme of flowers or leaves set the tone.

What is your design process?
I begin with a theme from an antique print fabric in my stash, then add coordinates with mini prints, a geometric and a small vine. The color palette is next, designed to fit the season of the year or the theme, but always warm, rich and comfortable to live with.

Tell us a little about "Autumn Journey." What inspired this collection?
I collect acorn related home dec items and am drawn to fabrics with acorns and leaves in them. The supporting fabrics just fell into place with the fall color scheme.

What are a few things about yourself that you wouldn't mind telling us?
I am married to a wonderful guy who is my partner in our business and works beside me to host retreats, vend at market and travel to guilds and shops for workshops and lectures. We have 6 kids and 7 grandkids between us. My first area of interest in college was fashion design. I took one class, realized I would never end up in Dallas or New York and switched to social work, but have always loved creating with my hands. I've done everything from tole painting and cross-stitch to garment sewing and woodworking. I enjoy it all! My favorite activity is antique-shopping to find the right item to transform into a one-of-a-kind decorating accent. I buy it and Robert creates my vision. We're a good team.

Can you give us a glimpse into future collections?
The shops will be seeing Cranberry Wishes in January with a Christmas feel. The colors will be perfect for the holidays, but the fabrics will blend into any KTQ collections. I'm really excited about next year's line for Spring Market. It's based on a quilt from the 1850's with a crewel work center and some fabulous fabrics in pieced blocks. I can't wait!

Lynne Hagmeier
KT Quilts

PS: The Middle Name contest is STILL going, comment now for a chance to win!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

We are so excited to introduce today's author, Joel Dewberry. Who hasn't heard of him! Read on to see how this "eclectic modern" designer finds inspiration in nature and how his newest collections reflect that spirit.

My ideas and inspiration for fabric designs come from a number of different sources. As an artist and designer I make a habit of observing what is going on in the world around me. Two experiences in particular that inspire me are (1) Walking through a park, garden or nursery. Nature is at the heart of my design collections and my process. There is an unending supply of content and energy there. (2) I enjoy the experience of walking through a shopping mall. From window displays to fashion to home interiors, I use this opportunity to keep current on trends and styles. Another source of inspiration for me is design antiquity. I have evolved as a designer through my study of the many genres of design, everything from Victorian to Post-Modern.

My design process for my current fabric collections (Aviary, Manzanita and Chestnut Hill) was the same. I addressed each of these three collections in a similar fashion. I developed a recipe that I then applied to each to deliver my final designs for each group. In addition to the traditional contrast of scales, I wanted to incorporate something unique and memorable. I decided to begin with a delicate and beautiful silhouetted floral print (ie. Lily, Blackeyed Susan and Sparrow on Cherry Blossoms). These prints brought an organic quality that made them feel familiar. I then worked on supporting floral prints to complement the larger main design (ie. Manzanita Branches, Chestnut Branches and Wood grain). I next introduced a range of historic, geometric and modern inspired prints. This final step was a bit unexpected and I feel it helps to differentiate my collections from others in the same genre. The seemingly incompatible mixture of design styles was then harmonized through the application of color. The end result is an eclectic mix of patterns that create personality, drama and just make me happy.

The Aviary collection was my attempt at recreating the beauty and spirit that are synonymous with a relaxing garden setting. From the cherry blossom and sparrow motif to the rich wood grain texture, Aviary transports the elegant design of nature to the luxurious medium of fabric.

The Chestnut Hill collection permeates the rich flavor and beauty found in the Tuscan countryside.
Signature prints like the chestnuts and chestnut branches and architectural details like the scrollwork pattern help initiate a return to historic and timeless beauty. This collection, in particular, was inspired by a recent trip my wife and I took to Italy. We were swept away in the history and beauty that we found in Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Venice. I could not think of a better way to capture the magical beauty we experienced there than to dedicate one of my collections to our trips memory.

The Manzanita collection achieves a successful harmony between urban couture and bold floral and fauna motifs. The collection’s distinct color palettes help to further soften the transition from a modern style to organic beauty. The “Manzanita” name is derived from the raw, but elegant manzanita branches which I devote a pattern to within the collection and while it wasn’t my intention, an Asian influence seems to have emerged.

While I am a relatively new fabric designer and have just recently been introduced to the industry, I have been a crafts“man” for sometime now. In addition to my numerous other branding and design activities, I have been invested in the crafting industry for nearly 10 years. I have grown to appreciate, respect and recognize the potential that exists in this exciting industry. I hope to be a part of its continued evolution and look forward to contributing new and unexpected designs.

On the horizon, I will be launching my next fabric collection sometime early 2008. Speaking of new fabric, I better get back to designing if I am going to make that deadline!


Joel Dewberry
www.joeldewberry.com

PS: Don't forget that the Middle Name contest (from yesterday's post) is still on!