FQ : Can you tell us a bit about your new line, Greenfield Hill?
DS: Greenfield Hill is much cooler than what I usually do. I feel most comfortable with warm tones and browns. If the line sells well, I hope to build it out with more colorways.
FQ : Would you consider doing collections in other textiles? Voile’s, corduroys, etc?
DS : Never flannels! I did a home dec weight, but the sales were disappointing. The main issue is that it’s wide goods. Shops are built out for 45″. Salespeople are too busy to waste time on things that won’t sell well, and may not even show it. Greenfield Hill will include voile’s. It is considered wide goods, but I think the shops will change over time.
FQ: Do you try to do things that are different?
DS: I just do what I like. I collect stuff at flea markets, but I?m cheap! The old feed sacks that I find are just so great. I don?t get why it?s not out there more. I hope my stuff still feels fresh, not like I?m trying to do reproduction. It needs to feel grounded, and to make sense I?d like to try to be more, ?whoa, what was she thinking?? I don?t want to be formulaic. I like to reach across different collections in a quilt, and I want my collections to reflect that. Each print needs to be strong on its own, and have integrity. It can?t only work when combined with others. But it?s hard.
FQ: How long does a new collection take to put out?
DS: It?s pretty concentrated, because I?m usually working on deadlines. I have a huge archive of scans. I?ll pull things that might be based on a single favorite, & build out with things to support it.
FQ: @greenowlquilts This librarian needs to know: any plans for another book?
DS: I am writing a new book for STC. It?s a book of 20 traditional patterns. My background is in traditional quilts. I want people to look differently at traditional patterns, with bright colors, etc.
FQ: @greenowlquilts Denyse, what kind of direction do you think your next collections (post Greenfield Hill) will go in?
DS: Gosh, I don?t know. I am particularly obsessed with printed plaids. It would be fun to do a predominantly plaid collection. Too soon to tell!
FQ: From website: any plans to release prints via Spoonflower?
DS: I’ve spoken with the folks at Spoonflower. I like what Heather (Ross) is doing with her limited edition prints. I’d love to support what Spoonflower is doing. Something like a cheater print would be a lot of fun!
FQ: @Cheryl_Arkison You are seen as a major inspiration to the Modern Quilt movement. What do you think of it, as a movement that is?
DS: I am really impressed with it. I think it’s great. I love the mix of physical guilds and how the web is being used to create a community.
FQ: @ObsessCreative Do you have particular motifs you like best over others, such as flowers or birds, etc.
DS: I definitely go for geometrics more. They are easier for me to draw! I work in Illustrator. I love medallions and other geometric designs, because they are easier for me to draw.
FQ: @waycoolkid I would love her wisdom on breaking into fabric design.
DS: It’s a competitive industry, but I would encourage anyone to pursue what they love.
FQ: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you wish more people could know?
DS: That’s a really hard question. (We at FQ agree!) Just like everyone else, I have good days and bad days! And that I’m really just a normal, down-to-earth person
FQ: @ObsessCreative So you plan the whole design out in Illustrator? Do you transfer that design on paper?
DS: I start with something that’s a scrap for inspiration. Then I have to recreate it, because I might not have the full repeat. I have someone who helps me with the repeats. I once designed a typeface! This was back when I was a student. It was relentless and repetitive, but I loved it! And when I drew that typeface, I learned how to draw in Illustrator. I am still a stickler for the precision of the drawings.
FQ : @TalkAboutFabric How do you seek out new color inspiration?
DS: It can be from anything! Even a tractor trailer line. There is a tractor trailer line whose colors are very appealing to me. I really notice not only the colors, but the proportions of each color to one another. That’s what is really important. Even 3 colors, in the hands of someone else, can look completely different. So I focus on how to make the combination work and how to keep it balanced.
FQ: Do you have any plans for hosting workshops like Heather Ross is doing (she has 2 sewing workshops in Jan)?
DS: I would love to go to Palm Springs! We have been working on doing something together, but haven’t been able to pull it together (yet).
FQ; @Cheryl_Arkinson Denyse, for all your teaching in Improv, why are your patterns so precise and full of templates?
DS: (laughs) Good question! When I wrote my book that was my first time writing patterns. And to be honest, that’s what the publisher wanted. The question is, how do you write a pattern about not using a pattern? I am thinking of experimenting with workshops where .maybe each participant comes having already made one block, & then explore what it would be like to recreate it in a looser fashion.
FQ: Any advice for just-starting-out crowd on how to avoid common pitfalls of industry?
DS: Don’t assume that anyone else has your best interests in mind. You can certainly find a win-win, but don’t be willing to sell yourself short. It’s important to consider your lifestyle. Are you prepared to be facing deadlines over and over? My advice: set clear parameters for yourself, and remember what you want your day-to-day life to be like. As soon as a deadline is attached, just assume that it introduces a level of stress and may take some of the enjoyment away. I’m not saying I don’t love what I do — I do — but it changes when you approach your hobby as a business.
FQ: @TalkAboutFabric What is recently new in your personal fabric stash, and what is your most beloved but not yet used?
DS: I don’t buy a lot of new fabric, but I am really loving Anna Maria Horner’s stuff. I’m not sure how I’ll use it yet, but I want to own some of it! I also picked up some wonderful woven stripes in lavender at the flea market. It’s beautiful, with a pinstripe of orange in it. I think it was an old shirting fabric.
FQ: @FollowBunny I know Denyse must be getting tired by now but I was wondering if she does any other crafts like embroidery or something?
DS: I would love to get into painting. I was knitting for a while, but I developed tendinitis in my elbow!
FQ: @rosanneduk: What is the most satisfying part of your business/quilting life and what causes you the most frustration?
DS: The thing that I find most enjoyable is seeing what people do with my fabric and patterns. It takes on a new life and becomes somebody else’s thing. I think that’s really cool.
FQ: @ObsessCreative Do you ever feel overwhelmed by too many design ideas?
DS: (laughs) Do I ever not?! That’s the problem! I find that the act of recording my ideas an inspiration makes it much more manageable.
FQ: @TalkAboutFabric Are you able to go into a quilt shop incognito, or is it like Cheers where everyone knows your name?
DS: People rarely recognize me. I am almost always able to shop incognito. That’s a great thing, but can also be humbling! I was at the Sisters festival & got to talking with women who had no idea who I was and had never heard of my fabrics or patterns. I think there are certain audiences, like the FQ readers, who are very familiar with my stuff, but there are other audiences really aren’t familiar with my work.
FQ: Big thanks to Denyse Schmidt for taking the time to speak with us today, and thanks to everyone who submitted questions.