Monthly Archives: August 2010

Community – The Quilt Project

Around this time last year and thanks to Kirsty from Kootoyoo, The Quilt Project was born.

The Quilt Project is an online community friendship quilt made up of 66 squares. The participants had to create an original design, in any medium, as long as it was in red.

Once the squares were finished they were sent back to Melbourne, photographed and assembled into a quilt, which was then displayed for one night only.

Photo courtesy of Michelle

Kirsty tells us what inspired her to organise The Quilt Project.

I have co-ordinated 3 community based friendship quilts and loved so much the sense of belonging & the unity & the thought of many hands working together to make one “something”.

I’ve been stewing on The Quilt Project for a good long time now. Every time I’ve looked at my Great Grandmother’s Redwork quilt I’ve thought about it more & more. I feel a connection with those women. Women who made time to stitch these intricate designs in only red just to share a piece of themselves with someone else. It gives me goosebumps.

I’m the only person who really gets to enjoy my piece of redwork history & so I thought I’d like to have a go at organising a contemporary redwork piece that once complete will be published online so that everyone can enjoy it.‘

Photo courtesy of Kirsty.

The best way to view the quilt is here. If I were you, I would grab a cuppa before you get started…there are a lot of inspiring blocks to see.

Lara’s contribution.

We would love to here about any inspiring community events. If you know of any, please drop us a note at

Issue 2 Contributor – Lisa

Lisa, known as upstatelisa on Flickr and writer of the blog, took part in our Designer Challenge in Issue 2 of Fat Quarterly. We chatted with Lisa to find out more about her and her sewing projects.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Ottawa, Canada but now live south of the border in upstate NY (met my hubby while in grad school in Syracuse NY), near the beautiful mountains and lakes of the Adirondack region. I used to be a speech pathologist but now manage the 5 rental properties that my hubby and I own, while being a wife, and mom to 3 (two of which I homeschool, the oldest is going into her last year of high school and said that she would rather ?die? than be homeschooled LOL!).

How did you start quilting?

I bought my first sewing machine with the money that my paternal grandmother gave me when I was 13 years old. She was a wonderful sewer, smocker, and knitter and wanted her granddaughters to enjoy the same. I learned to sew at a Singer Sewing Machine store in Ottawa and took classes at school throughout high school I didn?t start quilting until I took a class at a local community college about a year before my first child was born (that?s 17 years ago.. yikes!) and I was hooked!!!!

What is the favourite quilt you have made? Why?

I absolutely love log cabin quilts and am slooowly working on one for our bed and so far I have about 112 blocks?

I now have 112..
My favorite quilt at the moment is a quilt that I made using a tutorial from Victoria of Bumblebeans and my hand dyed fabrics.

waverunner quilt done!

It hangs in our family room so I can look at it often.

The other quilt that I love is one that I made to be auctioned off to raise funds for diabetes research (my youngest child has type 1 diabetes) and it ended up back at our house!!! I do love my hubby!

The quilt is done!
What is your favourite fabric line or designer?

Both of my fave quilts were made without a pattern and I am discovering more and more that I enjoy creating quilts without patterns. I don?t really have a favorite designer but I have a love affair with black and white fabrics and polka dotted fabrics and my stash reflects it!

polka dots and black/whites, black/color
I also have enjoyed dyeing my own fabrics and hope to dye some more this summer!

I feel fortunate to have heard (in person!) Kaffe Fassett, Jan Mullen, Mary Ellen Hopkins, Mark Lipinski, Kim Diehl and many other inspiring quilters at our guild meetings.

I have also made a lot of friends online at flickr (some of whom I have met too!) and through blogging and they (and you!) are all so inspiring!!!! My own blog is at

Where do you do your sewing? Do you have a dedicated sewing area or do you use the dining room table?

I am lucky enough (!) that we do not have dining room furniture (we are not the formal entertaining kind of people) and so the dining room has become my sewing room. My hubby installed some wonderful lighting and built in shelves and built me a cutting table. Even so, I am always searching for places to stash my stuff!

My name is Lisa and I am a fabriholic!

clean sewing room!
Luckily, the sewing room is right off the kitchen and I am a master multi-tasker (usually? some times I sew fingers? but it another story!)

What are you working on at the moment?

It is summer here and unfortunately I don?t have air conditioning in my sewing room so I have to sew early in the AM (which isn?t too hard since I am a very early riser) or wait for cooler days. Right now, I have a one block wonder hanging on my French doors-turned-design wall but it has been hanging there for about a month! I am working toward 25 dresden plates (I have 22 so far!)in my infamous black/white backgrounds with polka dotted plates.

my dresden plates
I also recently bought Stitch Alchemy by Kelli Perkins and have made a couple experimental pieces with paper cloth. I would like to venture more into mixed media!

By |August 27th, 2010|Issue 2|10 Comments

quilt along with us?

We’ve been thinking it would be fun to hang out together and make a quilt. Airfares, real life, money and the like has scuppered our plans to have everyone in one room…but we could do it together virtually, couldn’t we? A quilt along! The very first Fat Quarterly quilt along.
Would you like to join in? I bet you won’t even need to go shopping for supplies.
We’re going to be making a quilt using the block in the picture above. One block, 80 times over for a quilt that finishes up at 44 x 55 inches. Perfect for a Christmas present for a little one, or baby shower gift, or just for snuggling under on the sofa.
Want the stats?…here we go;
You will need either 1 jelly roll


20 different FQs (you won’t use all the fabric in the FQs, but 20 gives you a nice variety of colour/pattern) plus a 55cm cut or 3/4 of a yard cut.

*****Edit – if you want to make the bigger size 30 FQs should be plenty*******
(If you’d prefer a larger quilt, use 2 jelly rolls and end up with a quilt that measures 66 x 72 inches – you will need to make 132 blocks for the bigger size)
Here’s the schedule for those of you that like to plan ahead…
Monday September 6th – cutting instructions (both jelly roll and FQ cutting instructions)
Monday September 13th – piecing
Monday September 20th – quilt top assembly
Monday September 27th – wrap up

We’ll be posting progress in the Fat Quarterly flickr group and also here on the blog.
Why don’t you join us and grab the button?

We hope you do!!!!


Just in case you don’t have a jelly roll or 20 fat quarters lying around (or just need a good reason to buy new fabric), the wonderful Anna Luna at Crafty Girls Workshop is offering you, our readers, 10% your entire order at her shop.

Use the discount code FQ10 when you place an order.

Crafty Girls Workshop happily accepts international orders and if you order now you should receive in time for the September 6th kick off.

By |August 26th, 2010|quilt along|77 Comments

Featured Crafter – msmcporkchopquilts

Today, we are sitting down with the very talented Amanda from msmcporkchopquilts.

FQ: Tell us a little bit about your creative journey? When did it start? Where you inspired by any particular person? I’ve always been interested in making things myself…I come from a long line of talented people, my grandmother was a painter, my grandfather was an architect, my mom is a chef/ceramicist, my uncle takes beautiful photographs…it’s only natural to be curious about creating things from a young age when the people around you are building fantastic things. 
I went to college for art history & art studio with a focus in printmaking & painting but slowly burned out. It just wasn’t for me and a semester before I could have graduated, I dropped out so I could focus on my small business, modernacorn. It was a lot of fun during the day, but I wanted to sew something *more*. 
I bought Amy Butler’s Frenchy Bag pattern, some echino fabric and a few days later…I had a bag. I was stunned! I made a bag! And a bag that people COMPLIMENTED me on! It was sort of the boost of confidence I needed to tackle more and more complex sewing projects.
I started going to a local shop, Scottie Dog Quilts and sewing with the ladies there on an almost daily basis. They were so inspiring, sewing, laughing…just being great. With their help I learned how to quilt..before that I was completely self taught, so imagine all the short cuts I learned along the way!

FQ:Which part of the quilt making process is your favourite and why?

Can I cheat and say two parts?! The design process and the actual quilting. I love love love designing things and have sketch books filled with ideas. Half of the time I’d rather draw it on paper than actually cut it and sew it.
And quilting…quilting is just fantastic. Nothing pleases me more than quilting nonstop. I love straight line quilting, I love free motion, I love drawing with’s very relaxing for me. I usually know how I’ll quilt something before I even sew it. It’s bad.

FQ: Do you have a favourite fabric designer?

This is so hard! I have a massive collection of Kaffe Fassett and his designer friends but I rarely sew with it…I place it on my shelves and admire from afar. I really love Heather Ross because I adore fussy cutting…plus I think it’s neat that she was in Vermont and then lived in California…I can relate to that. I also am *really* in love with Riley Blake, Laurie Wisbrun, Lizzy House. It would be fair to say that I just love fabric! ;)

 FQ: Where do you draw your inspiration from when making quilts?
The things around me for sure. My husband and the adventures we go on…we take a lot of car trips all over the state, he’s always getting me to look at things differently.. I love looking out the window…Northern California is a plethora of inspiration….mountains, ag fields, tons of wildlife, the lakes…everything is really neat to me.

I also love love love traditional quilt blocks and I’m always playing with them, I think there is a reason why they’ve stayed around so long…the design sense in them is brilliant. I love art history as well and enjoy playing with historical palettes of color and themes. And I work at the cutest quilt shop ever, Honey Run Quilters in Chico, CA…seeing all the new bolts come in & my talented coworkers projects is awesome!

FQ: Do you have a favourite quilt or other sewn item that you have made?

I love everything I sew…otherwise I wouldn’t take the time to sew it…hahaha. But I like my hex bag, the pillowcases on my bed, my 5&Dime quilt because the quilting is intense, I made a wedding quilt for my husband that I’m pretty keen on, I loved sewing my oregon star, I enjoyed the design challenge of my Circa50 quilt…I tend to really like everything! I’m currently working on a lone star that’s really got me hooked!!!

FQ: Are there any new creative skills that you would like to try in the future?
Garments! I’m very inspired by Karyn at the Workrooms dresses, she always adds an unexpected detail that woos me over!

Issue 2 Contributor – Marit

You may well have already come across Marit thanks to her fabulous Spiderweb tutorial! Such a quick and easy way to make spiderweb blocks!

Marit took part in the Designer Challenge in Issue 2 of Fat Quarterly. We caught up with Marit to find out a bit more about her and her inspiration.

Check out more about Marit on her blog.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

I am a norwegian woman, living in Stavanger, a pretty town on the west coast of Norway. I have always liked making things with my hands, and used to do a lot of knitting and sewing before I discovered my big hobby: quilting. I am trained as an architect, and quite interested in structure, pattern, texture and color…

How did you start quilting?

My start was a fascination with the Amish and their quilts. Reading about them, I got inspired and made a few small quilts myself. Years later, by a lucky coincidence, I was invited to join a local quilt guild and my fascination with quilting grew. Then I discovered the whole world of quilt-blogs, after reading about this new phenomena in a magazine. I am so happy to have found this online community of like-minded creative people sharing the love of quilting!

What is the favourite quilt you have made? Why?

It is not easy to pick just one! I like to try different techniques and patterns, and have been lucky to end up with a lot of favorites ; ) To name a few:

The short stories was made as a quilt-a-long with the lovely Penny of I loved trying a new technique and staring my favorite Heather Ross prints in colorful log cabin blocks:

My Mars & Venus is a playful star-constellation inspired by Bonnie’s Maverick star ( ) and my two playful kittens:

I love to take an old pattern and make it in fresh, colorful modern designer fabric. One of my favorite patterns is the spiderweb. When I made this scrappy spiderweb wall-hanging I discovered a nice way to make the blocks without piecing them to paper, saving a lot of paper-ripping hassle.

I put a tutorial on my blog. I love this pattern, and am planning to do it in different color-ways. There is a little stash of halloween fabric waiting to be cut into strips…

What is your favourite fabric line or designer?

I have many! I am very fascinated with color, and quickly fell in love with Kaffe Fassett and his designs, both patterns and fabric. I love the whimsy and cute Heather Ross fabric . Denyse Schmidt is also a big favorite. Looking at my stash, there is a nice contribution from all three… But there are so many young modern designers who makes fresh and colorful fabric lines, and I keep discovering new favorites…

Where do you do your sewing? Do you have a dedicated sewing area or do you use the dining room table?

I would love to have a little studio or room for my sewing. Instead I use the whole house. The sewing machine is set up on the dining table. I also have a removable design wall in the same room. A big piece of cotton batting is hanging from curtain gliders covering the wall. When this “design-wall” is not in use I display one of my quilts here. The kitchen nearby is where I do all my cutting and ironing. I love how the kitchen counter has the perfect hight to do so. Fabric is stored in the office, next to my computer. As you can imagine, there is a lot of setting up and taking down equipment. I even carry my office chair up the stairs every time I am using the sewing machine. It is worth it to get the best ergonomic position and rest my neck and shoulders as much as possible. I also like to quilt by hand, and often sit in the living room in the evenings, one eye on the television and the other on my quilt.

What are you working on at the moment?

I usually work on several quilts at the same time. Right now I have started making blocks for a lap quilt for a lovely 15 year old girl. I am also working on my 1″ Heather Ross hexagon quilt top, slowly sewing the small pieces together by hand. In the evenings I like to do some hand-quilting and am currently halfway done quilting a wall-hanging.

Issue 2 Contributor – Rachael Simmons

I had never come across Rachael before she offered to be a part of Issue 2′s Designer Challenge. I am not sure how I had missed her as her quilts are just beautiful, but we were very happy she got in touch! Her quilts are colourful, well thought out and full of surprises.

To see what I mean you just need to see how she turned her pinwheel block from the designer challenge into the most amazing quilt.

There is even an Elvis and birds hiding in this quilt! Read all about it in her blog post here.

Find out more about Rachael from our interview with her and by visiting her wonderful blog, Blue Mountain Daisy. You will not be disappointed.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a Aussie girl originally from Ballarat who moved to sunny Sydney in the early nineties. A bit less than a year ago we decided to have a tree change and moved to the beautiful Blue Mountains about 80 km from Sydney. I travel to Sydney every day to work as a Florist . That way I get the best of both worlds: the vibrant hustle and bustle of the city and the rejuvenating beauty of the mountains. There’s a really strong quilting community here in The Blue Mountains which definitely adds to the appeal.

It’s amazing how much I relate quilting to floristry. They’re both about playing with colour, creating with a tactile thing, using different shapes for interest, knowing theory and techniques but not being afraid to try new things.

How did you start quilting?

I guess I’ve dabbled in sewing on and off most of my life. Dolls clothes and embroidery when I was younger, making clothes and altering my op shop ( thrift store) finds, nesting with cushions and curtains. It’s funny, about 7 years ago a friend gave me the most beautiful quilt and it didn’t even enter my mind that I could make one. I think I started to get interested when Amy Butler’s Belle range came out a few years ago. The gorgeous blue and aqua fabrics were popping up here and there on the Internet and they were so beautiful I just had to make something out of them. I have enough clothes so I thought I’d try a quilt. I ended up using fabrics from Henry Alexander, Joel Dewberry, Anna Marie Horner and Tula Pink as well. I figured a quilt of random squares wouldn’t be too difficult. It turned out a bit crooked and full of mistakes with big uneven hand quilting but I love it. I enjoyed every aspect of making the quilt and the journey has continued from there. Quilting is very addictive with so many different styles and colour combinations to play with and always something new to try.

What is the favourite quilt you have made? Why?

Probably my favourite quilt so far was one I made for my sister in law, called a Very Very Merry Merry Go Round. It’s mostly made from scraps which freed me up to play without being nervous about ruining expensive fabric. I started with some Queen of May blocks because her birthday is in May and ended up sashaying them with string pieced strips. I had fun using different techniques, machine and hand piecing as well as machine quilting and hand quilting. It’s a big, bright, colourful quilt on which you see something different every time you look at it. Another one I love is Summer Bubbles, I love the dreamy colours and all those circles which I padded with extra batting. It’s an enlarged version of a baby quilt pattern called Ginger Spice by Hugs N Kisses. I had a lovely time hand quilting in perle 8 thread on sunny afternoons. It’s funny how some quilts you just really enjoy every part of the process.

What is your favourite fabric line or designer?

My favourite fabric is Sis Boom’s Nuala Toille in aqua and red. I believe it’s an enchanted fabric that makes every thing it’s mixed with look beautiful. Sadly I’ve just used my last little piece.

But really there are so many inspiring fabrics coming out all the time, so I couldn’t pick one line. At the moment I love Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley, Lizzy House’s Castle Peeps, and French General’s Lumiere Noel and ShKate Spain’s 12 Joys of Christmas. There are too many amazing designers to name all my favourites but some are Jennifer Panganelli for Sis Boom- her colours are fabulous, Prints Charming- contemporary patterns designed in Sydney, Philip Jacob’s luscious botanics , Martha Negley’s fruits, flowers and foliage, Heather Ross of course makes you smile with her fun prints. Nani Iro’s double gauze is like watercolours painted on a cloud.

I’m interested in the custom fabric printing places like Spoonflower. It’s amazing to think you can design your own fabric and have it printed up. Or choose from thousands of patterns other people have come up with. That opens so many possibilities.

Where do you do your sewing? Do you have a dedicated sewing area or do you use the dining room table?

In Sydney we lived in a one bedroom apartment so I was in the lounge room. I’d read stories about people quilting in caravans and on boats so I was glad to at least have my own table. Now that we’re in the mountains I am lucky enough to have my own sewing room and one with the most amazing view of the garden and never ending trees. When I’m sewing and I look up and the sunlight is filling the garden I can’t think of a better place to be. One day I was fussy cutting a bird when I noticed a bird sitting on a branch just outside my window looking at me. It’s one of those things though, no matter how much room you have you can always do with a bit more. Recently I snuck a card table into the lounge room with my hexagon project on it. And I fantasise about having a walk-in wardrobe for my fabric stash.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have a pile of tops that are waiting to be quilted. I keep saying that I’ll tackle those before I start any new quilts but it’s so easy to get side tracked and start something new.
I’ve been working on foundation piecing or American paper piecing in recent times. When I first started quilting I didn’t like mariners compasses, I found them “too pointy”. I saw a New York Beauty style quilt at a quilt show that changed my mind, everything about that quilt was absolutely perfect! Coincidentally when I moved to the mountains the person who made that quilt, Chris Jurd, teaches at my local quilt shop.

I’ve been basting 3/4 inch hexagons for a long term project. And I’ve just received EQ7 which means more ideas and quilts to be made.

Too many quilts, so little time!

By |August 20th, 2010|Issue 2|4 Comments

Garden Spikes – Tutorial by Amy Ellis

Fandango by Kate Spain for Moda will hit the shops very soon! I can’t wait to snap some up for myself. And just in case you don’t know what to make with this line, the fabulous Amy Ellis from Amy’s Creative Side has created a quilt pattern just for you. And to make your life even easier, Natalia at Piece n Quilt has created kits for this quilt. (Find details at the bottom of the pattern)

If you haven’t visited Amy’s website before, pop on over and check it out. Amy has hosted the Blogger’s Quilt Festival for 2 years in a row. A feast of eye candy for any quilter! And a brilliant way of getting to know all our fellow quilters out there all over the world.

Garden Spikes by Amy Ellis

12 print fat quarters, look for a balance of color and print.
6 solid fat quarters, I used Marine, Chocolate, Buttercup, Ochre, Prarie Green and Tomato Soup
5/8 yd binding fabric
4 yds backing fabric

Press your fabrics prior to cutting, use starch to press out stubborn creases, and a crisp cut.
From each print fat quarter, cut:
1 – 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ square
1 – 8 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle
1 – 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle

From each solid fat quarter, cut:
1 – 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ square
2 – 2 1/2″ x 22″ rectangles

To assemble blocks, using 1/4″ seams, sew together two sets of six solid strips in a pleasing arrangement. Press seams open as you work.

You can see that my sets aren’t identical, put them together as you wish.

Then crosscut into 12 – 2 1/2″ stripsets.

Insert the solid strips into the blocks, pin, sew and press your blocks to complete!

Layout your sewn blocks with the 12 1/2″ blocks cut earlier. Look for balance in color and print as you decide where each block goes. I usually just throw them all down on the floor then look for problem areas, and adjust as needed.

Sew your blocks into rows, press seams in opposite directions, and sew your rows together to complete.

To achieve the simple straight lines of quilting, I used my walking foot and low tack, painters tape.

(Click here for a tutorial on straight line quilting.)

Quilt, bind and enjoy your new quilt! I can’t wait to see yours!

(Click here and here for tutorials on how to bind your quilts.)

To make this quilt – email Natalia at to reserve a kit for the quilt top and binding. (cost will be $43.00) You will be notified as soon as the fabric has arrived at Piece N Quilt!

By |August 16th, 2010|Uncategorized|17 Comments

Issue 2 Contributor – Jennifer Davis

You will have seen Jennifer’s fabulous Circus Monkey Quilt in Issue 2 of Fat Quarterly.

It was designed using Caramel Town from Lecien. Such a fabulous quilt! Quick to sew up and so effective. If you are wondering what it might look like in other fabrics, wonder no more! Our Katy has been busy making one for herself.

circus monkey quilt laid out

In case you haven’t seen Jennifer’s work before, settle yourself down with the brew of your choice and find out a bit more about this talented lady and then go and visit Jennifer’s blog Sugar Stitches or her flickr photostream, and tell her Fat Quarterly sent you!

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I grew up in a small farm town in Idaho. It literally had one stoplight. I spent my teen years dying to get out, and now I would give anything to move back! I live outside of Washington, DC for the time being…my husband is a pilot in the Air Force, so we’re here until they decide to move us. I’m a stay-at-home mom to a 4-year-old, Liberty, and a 2-year-old, Wyatt. I spend my days up to my elbows in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and if I’m lucky, I can squeeze some sewing time in! I try to balance the designing with being a mom: my first and foremost priority is to be a mom…designing has to come second. As they are getting older, I am more able to spend more time sewing. I just don’t want to regret missing anything with my children.

How did you become interested in quilting and sewing?

All the women in my family were sewers, quilters and embroiderers. I guess its just in my DNA! After my daughter was born and I stopped working, I got a whole lot craftier! I had been embroidering since I could hold a needle, so sewing with a machine was a little different. It was frustrating at times, but very rewarding when I finally “got” it. Sewing really gives me a sense of accomplishment, and I love making things for my family. I feel like its a testament to my love for them.

How would you describe your style?

I would say I have a “modern cutesy/kawaii” style. I love the more modern fabrics, but I’m still a real girly girl at heart. I love all things Kawaii! And I’m a sucker for a good ‘shabby chic’ fabric!

What inspires you?

My kids! The cartoons and children’s books are always so bright and cheerful. I’m a little obsessed with rainbows. Japanese sewing books and magazines are a drug to me. I cannot get enough of them! I have a little stack in my sewing room. They’re worth every penny, because I “read” them over and over!

My happy shelf

Describe your sewing space. What’s on the walls? What’s the overall vibe?

I am really proud of my sewing room: I started out sewing at the kitchen table. When we moved to our current home, I set up a plastic table and some plastic bins in an unused room. Then one day I decided I should just claim the room as mine permanently. I painted the walls a light yellow, and slowly got some white furniture from Ikea. It really is my favorite room in the house. It gets great natural light, and the colors are cheerful: I have all my fabrics folded and put on shelves. I put little knick knacks here and there: Japanese Re-ment, little Kawaii toys, and, of course, my Blythe dolls. They are my muses! I wanted to be able to walk in and just see all the things that make me happy! I strongly encourage all sewers/crafters to stake a claim on a room or a space to create in. Once you have that feeling of permanence, your creativity flows a lot better.

What do you watch / listen to while sewing?

I usually always have the iPod on. I have a pretty eclectic playlist: 90s hip hop, classical music, and my “Chick Music”-Ingrid Michaelsen, Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap, and Lenka.

What is your favorite project that you’ve made?

Wow. That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child! Usually my favorite project is whatever I’m working on. Right now I’m in the process of my first quiltalong-a Kaleidoscope quilt using my Lecien Minny Muu stash. Its bright, colorful, and a spin on a traditional quilt block.

Dresden Quilt

What’s your all-time favorite fabric line?

Again, like asking me to pick my favorite child. Its a close call: Flower Sugar by Lecien, Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt, Fresh Cut by Heather Bailey are some of my faves. But the minute I finish this, I’m sure I will immediately think of more that I can’t believe I didn’t mention!

Shoes, socks, or bare feet while sewing?

Bare feet, all the way! Unless its winter, then I wear cosy socks.

What projects (patterns + fabrics) are on your “must make” list?

Victory Garden by Busy Bee Quilt Patterns (I’m going to use Bliss!), some Carolina Patchworks and Don’t Look Now patterns. And, of course, my OWN patterns, LOL!

Traveling Threads

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 5 fat quarters to work with, what prints would you choose?

I would have to say any Japanese Kawaii fabrics. They’re so cheerful, and they all have little stories…it would be a great way to pass the time!

Where did the idea for your Caramel Town quilt pattern come from?

Caramel Town was made for the Lecien Corporation. They were looking for a quilt to “show” the fabric line at Spring Quilt Market. When I saw the images of the line I fell in love! The prints are so fun and whimsical! There is a great panel in the line, so my goal was to showcase those in the square-in-a-square blocks. I think the pattern is very versatile: you can replace the panel blocks with a larger scale print fabric. Lecien is an amazing company to work with. I have been so honored to be asked to design for them again.

What’s next for Sugar Stitches?

I have several (eek!) patterns in the works. There’s just never enough time to do it all! I have a couple really fun applique designs that I can’t wait to reveal! My goal is to publish a book, so I’m working on that in the background. I also plan on putting more free patterns on my website.

If you are interested in being a contributor for a future issue of Fat Quarterly, please email us at

We are also looking for people to take part in the designer challenge in issue 3.

By |August 14th, 2010|Issue 2|4 Comments

Patchwork Inspiration

One of the great things of being part of the Fat Quarterly Team is that we get emails from our readers. Whether it is ideas for features, pattern submissions or letting us know what you think of the magazine – we love it all!

A while ago Cathy from Catherine Daniel Pottery emailed us about how inspiring she found patchwork. She is not a quilter. She is not even a sewer! Her choice of medium is actually clay.

Her email reminded us how important it is to step outside of our own immediate sphere when looking for inspiration. How often when starting a new project do you browse through hundreds of photos of quilts? It is just as important to look through all types of photos. Perhaps a particular finish on a pot might spark an idea, the outline of a building, the shadows in a photo etc

So we wanted to know more about Cathy and how patchwork influences her work.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your artistic background.

I?m married with three children and live in rural Norfolk, England. I enjoy anything creative. My formal Art education ended when I left school to study French and German at University. Many years later, having raised a family and built our own home in the meantime, I embarked on four years of Pottery and Ceramics courses, before deciding to buy my own kiln and go it alone. It was a decision that came completely from the heart and I had no idea if anyone would want to buy what I made. Amazingly, the first galleries I approached with my work were really enthusiastic, and loved the unique visual identity of the quilt-block designs on my ceramics. Two years on from then, and things have just grown and evolved and I have loved every second.

Are you a sewer?

Not really. I have very basic sewing skills, just enough to sew my own ceramic buttons onto my pottery. I have always loved the pattern and colour of patchwork quilts and I would just love to be able to make something so beautiful. But they seem so BIG, and I get daunted just thinking about it! I am currently looking into having some tiny quilts made to match some of my pieces, to be sold together. But I won?t be making them myself!

Why did you first start looking at patchwork for inspiration?

My fascination with pattern is as old as I am (very!). I?m always drawn to the colours and design on anything from wallpaper and curtain fabric to crockery and clothing. I?d have found it too dull to work with quiet, contemplative tones, so I chose to work with bright, joyful glazes. Thinking about how best to crowd in as much pattern and colour as possible, the answer was obvious ? patchwork! Back then, I had never even heard of a ?quilt block?, let alone a ?fat quarter?! I just made up my first designs, and then eventually a few clicks of the mouse revealed that there were thousands of named quilt patterns out there ? I was staggered and of course delighted at such a resource to work with!

Describe how you have used appliqu? in your designs.

I did actually know what appliqu? was as I had a child?s appliqu? set for Christmas when I was about nine! With my clay I create a platter bearing a patchwork background, then cut from the clay slab individual folk-art motifs (birdhouses, leaves, hearts, etc) which I then place onto the design. The piece is then fired and the individual areas glazed by hand and fired again. I also make framed wall-pieces using a similar technique.

What do you think the advantage is of looking outside your crafting world for inspiration?

Maybe if you look outside your immediate craft for inspiration, there is more potential for creating something original, something a bit wacky that isn?t already being done by others within your own sphere. You also become more aware of the design that is all around you, in man-made objects and in nature, and the many ways of interpreting that design in the end product.

How do you recommend people start thinking outside the box for inspiration.

That?s difficult to answer because people?s minds work in different ways. For me, I often take an accepted technique for creating something, then turn it on its head, and experiment with other (possibly crazier) ways of doing it. Maybe not always going for tried and tested methods/designs/materials ….. but trying and testing some of your own.

Can you give us some examples of some ceramics that you think might be able to inspire us quilters?

Hmmm. That?s another hard one. Having looked at hundreds of quilts in my background research it became immediately obvious that there is no lack of originality and inspiration amongst quilters. You make a bewildering array of quilts in all shapes and sizes, patterns and colours, contemporary and traditional, drawing on anything and everything for your themes. I don?t know that there is any direct inspiration quilters can take from ceramics, but I hope that my own ceramics highlight the fact that Quilting is not a craft entrenched in the past but a medium open to new interpretations and innovation.

Perhaps some of these images might get your creative juices flowing! Where do you look to for inspiration? We’d love to know.

My creation

By |August 11th, 2010|Uncategorized|7 Comments

Issue 2 Contributor – Caroline

Circular Logic is project in Issue 2 – Scraps. It is a brilliant way to use up tiny scraps. We chatted to Caroline Press to find out more about her and her inspiration.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Caroline and I live in Corvallis Oregon with my husband of 19 years and our two children. By day I’m a scientist, I have a PhD in Plant Pathology and work full-time in the field. By night, I’m sewing, a lot! I sew almost every day during the evening as time allows but I also juggle the usual household pursuits, kids sports, activities, and so on. My online alter ego is Trilliumdesign and I blog about my sewing exploits at

How did you start sewing?

I just started quilting this year but I have been sewing all my life. My mother is an accomplished tailor and I remember using her scraps to make tiny purses for myself when I was a child. I spent many hours in her sewing room watching and later helping her and even started sewing clothes for myself when I was in high school. I put sewing on hold for a long time after college while I was studying and then working towards my career. I started back up a few years ago when my daughter was in the ‘princess’ phase and made her dresses and outfits which I realized I could do much more economically on my own. When she grew out of that, I realized I really enjoyed the process of sewing and designing not to mention the lovely fabrics and colors. So I moved on to making purses and bags for myself and still design those today. I am currently putting the finishing touches on my own purse patterns since so many people have asked me for the patterns for my designs. I’m hoping to make these available soon in my etsy shop.

What is your favourite quilt that you have made?

I started quilting in January and made a few doll quilts for my daughter as practice pieces. They turned out so well, I was inspired to make my mother-in-law a lap quilt for her belated christmas gift and the quilt bug has stuck ever since. I’m entirely self taught thanks to the internet and countless helpful quilting bloggers, flickr members and you-tubers. So far I have made 5 quilts this year and am currently working on 4 more. My favorite quilt is probably the Mod blooms quilt I made earlier this year. I love the combination of colors on that one and the mod vibe.

Who is your favourite designer?

My favorite designer is a tough question to answer. I’m an avid fan of textiles and there are many designers whose designs I typically gravitate towards. Probably the most influential for me is Paula Prass. Her use of color and print design is really vibrant and fun and definitely speaks to me. Her Flights of Fancy line is a favorite of mine.

Do you have a dedicated sewing area?

I sew in our home office on an armoire that my husband modified for me as a sewing space. It was intended to hold both my machines and my fabric but in truth I have taken over much of the house with my fabric and supplies. My fabric collection lives in part on our living room bookcases. My family puts up with a lot from me. My daughter told me recently that as long as she hears the sewing machine she knows that I’m around and that is comforting to her.

What are you working on at the moment?

My current project is a quilt I’m making for my son. He rarely benefits from my sewing skills, so he’s overdue for a nice quilt. I also have a couple of other quilts on the go and I always have a long list of projects on the horizon. I’m a planner.

My etsy shop can be found at where I destash, and sell my purses and other sewn goods. I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to share my love of sewing with everyone and would like to extend a big thank-you to the Fat Quarterly folks for inviting me to do so.