Designer Tidbits: French General + Giveaway!

The Fat Quarter Shop is excited to welcome Kaari Meng of French General to the Jolly Jabber. Kaari’s latest fabric collection is Panier de Fleurs by Moda Fabrics.

Q: What was the first seed that grew into the Panier de Fleurs collection?
A: My inspiration for Panier de Fleurs was the basket of fresh flowers I always see at the farmer's markets in the South of France. Every summer we take a group of women to France to learn how to live like rural French women - and heading out to the farmer's market's is always one of the highlights of the week. The piles of fresh lavender, sunflowers and roses always inspires me and makes me think about new design ideas.

Q: If your collection had a soundtrack what would be on the list?
A: Panier de Fleurs soundtrack would have to be all about the accordion that is played in the little French cafés. The cafés fill up with farmers and merchants after the market - everyone sits around and has a café creme or a glass of cognac.
Here is what it sounds like

Q: What single print/SKU in the collection is your favorite (can only pick one!)?
A: As always, I love the red and grey prints the best. My favorite print from Panier de Fleurs is 13590 - inspired from an 19th century French textile. It's a rural, elegant print that fits perfectly into my idea of a French country house.

Q: What is your favorite project you have made using this collection?
A: I have three favorite projects from Panier de Fleurs: a basket applique quilt designed by Penny Tucker - pattern available at;

a pair of patchwork pillows with a bit of embroidery;

and our prize ribbons which was featuring on my blog, September 29th, during Moda's Country Fair Blog Hop.

Q: What is your favorite part of working in the fabric industry?
A: I have many favorites about the fabric industry - but I think my absolute favorite part are the people who work in this industry. I have really enjoyed getting to know so many inspiring designers and merchants - and everyone truly enjoys what they do. I think it is a real tribute to the quilting industry to have so many passionate people involved.

My second favorite part of the fabric industry is receiving my collection from Moda (early!) - when UPS pulls up and drops off a box of fabric - my stomach gets all nervous and my heart starts beating a bit faster. I can finally sit back and enjoy the whole collection.

Q: Can you give us a sneak-peek of your next fabric collection?
A: My next fabric collection is a return to the past! We are reprinting our very first collection, Rouenneries with some of the best prints - as well as a few new, fresh prints, to make up Rouenneries Deux. I am really excited about this collection coming out again - the juicy reds, pale reds, soft greys and faded hemp colors make this one of our best selling collections - and it fits into my house perfectly!

Q: What is your absolute favorite thing in your house?
A: My favorite item in my house would have to be my daughter - does that count? Sofia brightens my day and inspires me to continue creating something new everyday. My second favorite items would have to be paintings I found in New York City fifteen years ago. The landscape is painted by Joseph Fiore, a listed artist from Black Mountain College.

Q: Which project stands out in your memory as your all-time favorite?
A: One of my all time favorite projects has to be the scrap boards I make using all of the scraps I find on the floor - tiny little pieces that I just don't have the heart to throw away - so I sew them onto a piece of burlap and save them to remind me of all of the little beauties that I have used in projects - or for inspiration while designing fabric.

Q: Where do you do your best thinking? Can we see a photo of your studio?
A: I have many different places I like to work - and each gives me different inspiration. French General is filled with all of the old beads, trims and paper that I use for creating kits. Our garage at home has been converted into a studio and sewing place for me - the shelves are stacked high with all of the antique fabric I use to design our collection for Moda. And finally, my desk in the house is always piled high with a new project or two. I suppose each space allows me to create in a different way - so I probably do my best thinking whenever I am in one of these creative spaces.

Q: What is your one guilty pleasure in life?
A: I am sure that I have more than one - but one guilty pleasure that I know I am guilty of is going to the shop and NOT working - just letting myself be in a creative space - hoping that I can soak in the energy and then maybe the creativity will flow! I also love a glass of Lillet any time of the day - and sometimes, that too, helps my creativity!


And now, Kaari has generously donated a Panier De Fleurs Jelly Roll to one lucky winner! 
Leave a comment on this blog post telling me what you love most about France or that is French for the chance to win.
You have one week to enter from the post date.  
Good luck!

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