Friday, June 25, 2010

Christmas Magic by Kathy Schmitz

By now, Christmas is everywhere in quilt shops. There are so many stand-out lines for this holiday, but this year Kathy Schmitz's Christmas Magic is the one enchanting us. Grinning little (knee high!) snowmen, a magnanimous Santa Claus, and little bits of winter sprinkled all around these prints, are foolproof for a perfect winter wonderland. Add in the bright, rustic Christmas colors, and it really is magic. Check out the adorable panels for easy Christmas quilt ideas! We're stocked with yardage, all the precuts, and of course fat quarter bundles. Click here to see the full line!

I am a native of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Yes, it rains a bit here, but that's what keeps everything so green! I grew up in Oregon with two OLDER sisters (they don't like it much when I include the "older" part). Our mom always made sure her girls had an abundance of creative supplies - paper, felt pens, fabric, buttons, glue, tape, paint, and of course a sewing machine. My mom's sewing machine was ALWAYS humming away and it just seemed like a natural step to take a turn at the old Singer (the sewing machine, not my mom). My first quilt was a scrap quilt made up of 3" (or so) blocks. Some of the fabric came from dresses my mom had made and I had outgrown and some of the fabric was collected from neighbors. I was only 12 or 13 and it took quite awhile, but I finally finished it and of course, I still have it. It's an odd size, but that suits me fine!

If I had a particular style, I guess it would be immature. When my boys were in grade school I would volunteer to teach art in their classrooms. I absolutely fell in love with the simple unexpected art that came out of the minds of 2nd graders. Where they would place a chimney or how they would color a cat would just give me those big "AH HA" moments Oprah talks about. Children's art inspires me. Children's book illustrations inspire me. They tell a story. The biggest compliments I get are when someone says they want to "step into" a painting.

Once my boys started Middle School, for some odd reason, they didn't want me to volunteer at school anymore. This left me with too much time on my hands and a sudden realization that they would soon be grown and independent and I needed to do the same thing. With the blessing of my husband (or maybe it was a huge nudge) I decided to start my own business selling greeting cards with a quilt theme. My sister, Bonnie, and I set out for the Kansas City International Quilt Market in the spring of 2002. I had my freshly printed paper goods and she had her amazing penny rug patterns. Neither of us knew what we were doing, but there just comes a time to jump. We were very fortunate and we landed squarely in an industry we love and appreciate.

At my first Quilt Market, I nervously presented Moda my portfolio hoping for a shot at fabric design. Moda has been a wonderful company and I am proud to be among their talented designers. One of my first fabric lines with Moda was a Christmas line. Through the years I have painted over 100 Santas and Snowmen - my FAVORITE things to paint! It doesn't really matter what time of year it is. I can put on my Christmas music in summer and I'm good to go. My latest Christmas line, Christmas Magic, was the first line I ever painted away from home. I was on a family reunion vacation in Sun River Oregon in the middle of July! I would start the days playing gin rummy on the deck and then slip on my headphones and listen to Bing Crosby and paint for few hours before heading out for a bike ride.

Tradition is a huge part of my family life and one of the biggest traditions we have is at Christmas time. When my husband, Steve, and I unpack our Christmas decorations all of the memories of Christmas's past come flooding back. I hope my painting of the little snowmen Santa made in the Christmas Magic line, becomes a wall hanging, table runner or winter quilt that will become a part of another families Christmas tradition.

The first step in developing a line for Moda is a simple line drawing. I submit these drawing and then we might tweak them and go from there. As my stash of line drawings started adding up, I realized I liked the look of the black sharpie line against the white paper. I got out my needle and thread and tried to remember the simple embroidery stitches I had been taught way back when. I embroidered a drawing onto cloth (Moda Crackle fabric of course) and I found a new place of contentment - sitting with a needle and thread in hand. Cheryl at Moda had the brilliant idea of taking these embroidery images and translating them to fabric. The fabric line I am working on right now is completely inspired by embroidery. It's come full circle - from drawing for fabric to embroidery and back to fabric!

Kathy Schmitz
Kathy Schmitz's Blog



This is a great little article from Kathy Schmitz. I really am looking forward to her new line. Cyndi

WoolenSails said...

I enjoyed learning more about Kathy and her work, love her designs.


suzanne antique lover said...

I also love the designs... this post makes me want the holidays to be here...!

Shelley said...

Great info on how she designs! Snowmen, embroidery, santa , what could be more perfect!!!

Robyn J said...

I've been a fan of Kathys for a while & it's great to see the FAT 1/4 shop's going to have some of her fabric............. when will it be available ? I just checked the FAT 1/4 web site & couldn't find it anywhere.... I looked at 'what's new' & 'coming soon'

Fat Quarter Shop said...

Hi all! I'm sorry if this wasn't clear, but the Christmas Magic line has already arrived! You can click on the orange "Christmas Magic" link in the very first paragraph to see it. Thanks!

SewCalGal said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing these insights. Yummy fabric too!


Anonymous said...

How interesting to learn how Kathy got started designing fabric. I especially like the primitive style. How brave of Kathy and her sister to go to Kansas City for a start. You are an inspiration, Kathy.

Alexandra said...

hi! I've come over from the V & co. blog for the give a way. this post is so neat to see how the fabric is designed, the steps taken before we find such pretty fabric in your shop. very interesting. thanks for posting this and sharing it with us. love, love your store, super service, quality products, great shipping. super friendly website that is so pretty to look at, thank you thank you