Monthly Archives: May 2011

May Flowers

May Flowers | FQ Inspiration Mosaic

Thanks to everyone who contributed photos for our May Flowers theme. Every month, we like to create an inspirational mosaic around a central theme with pictures from the Fat Quarterly: Community & Inspiration pool. Want to see your photos in future Fat Quarterly mosaics? Simply add them to the pool, and be sure your photos fit the theme.

Our theme for June will be”Sassy Stripes”.  Have you made something where striped fabrics play a starring role?  Or have you used stripes in a new and inventive way?  Maybe the pattern itself creates a striped effect.  In any case, we love to see what you create.  If you have any projects that you think fit the bill, add them to the group and let us know!

If you’re reading this, you have an open invitation to join and submit your pictures to our Community & Inspiration pool. Even if it doesn’t fit under the current theme, we still love seeing what you create and sharing it with all your fellow readers.

Free Fat Quarterly Patterns

Have you seen our latest patterns over on the Sew Mama Sew blog?

First, Tacha designed a free quilt block pattern that she calls “Stepping Stones“. This fun block can also double as a pillow top, which Tacha shows here (made from Aneela Hoey’s Sherbet Pips line):

Then, I posted a tutorial for a nifty little mug rug that I named “Ziggity“. I made two: the first from the new Kingdom line by Jessica Levitt (coming soon!), as well as our friend Sarah Fielke’s From Little Things line.

We hope you enjoy our free project ideas! (Oh, and don’t forget about Katy’s “Fit for a Princess” quilt pattern, also available on the SMS blog.)

If you make a Stepping Stones block, a Ziggity mug rug, or a Fit for a Princess quilt, we’d love to see them! Please be sure to share them in our Flickr pool.

Prince Charming by Tula Pink

Katy and I are still going through all of our notes and recovering from the wonderful time we had at quilt market. We met tons of great people, including some new names and faces that we hope to shine a light on here on the Fat Quarterly blog soon. But aside from all of the fabulous people we got to meet and hang out with, we all know what the main draw of quilt market is: THE FABRIC.

We collected tons of information about the newest fabric lines to be hitting your local shops in the coming days, weeks, and months, as well as the insanely talented designers behind them all. Today’s post is the first in a series of previewing some of our favorite fabric lines from Quilt Market.

Today, we’re thrilled to speak with Tula Pink, the creative genius behind such popular fabric lines as Parisville, Neptune, Full Moon Forest, and Flutterby. Tula was in Salt Lake City showing off her latest masterpiece, Prince Charming (and, trust us, it’s even more amazing in person than it looks on screen!) We couldn’t wait to learn more about this vibrant new collection. In addition, we’ve allowed our guests to take over our blog page in the spirit of their new collections. Check out our new Fat Quarterly masthead, all decked out Prince Charming-style!

Let’s hear more from Tula herself …

Before I was a fabric and quilt designer I was, like anyone else, a fabric lover and a weekend quilter. I would squeeze sewing into any free time I had which often involved blowing off plans with friends. My excuses for this behavior became more and more manufactured to the point where I could actually hear my loved ones rolling their eyes at me over the phone. No one was surprised when I turned this hobby into a career except for me.

There wasn’t anything like Fat Quarterly then (and it wasn’t all that long ago). We are a unique and gangly crew of craft misfits who refuse to fit the established standard that created words like “demographic” and “target market”. We are a new breed. We create our own communities without regard for geography and set our own aesthetic standards that can change in an instant. We rarely recognize that what we are doing is defying an industry and therefore we make no apologies for it. It’s a beautiful thing and I am ecstatic to be a part of it in any small way that I can.

We think that part of the appeal of all of your lines is that each one tells a story. What’s the story behind Prince Charming?

Story telling is a HUGE part of how I design. Every time I sit down to draw there are a million different directions I could go. The only way to focus my thoughts is to try to tell a story. With each piece I have to question whether or not it furthers the narration. Sometimes the narration is literal and other times it’s stylistic. Prince Charming is about fantasy. It’s about the fairytale we grow up with when rain was still fun instead of the precursor to mud, frogs are cool because they jump and snails are just weird but kind of awesome. It’s the embodiment of discovery, mystery and optimism. Prince Charming is by no means a children’s collection, I consider it an elegant interpretation of a child like spirit which is something that I strive for every day of my life. Occasionally I achieve it but sometimes I do have to sit down and pay my bills.

Another signature of your collections is your bold and imaginative use of color. What inspired your color selections for Prince Charming?

Color is a funny thing. Everyone lives within their own palette. For me, aqua is a neutral, it’s like denim, you can throw anything in with it and it still looks fresh. With the rest of the colors I was really listening to what my people were asking for, Neptune. Prince Charming is an electric re-interpretation of that infamous collection. I pumped up the volume a bit and reworked the color combinations. The people who follow my blog and Twitter and send me emails are really important to me, without them I couldn’t do what I do so I try to listen as best as I can while still being true to my own evolution as a designer. In this particular case, we both got what we wanted.

OK, so let’s talk about the hidden imagery that so effectively engages people with your designs. How did this unique approach to illustration develop? And do you think it will always play a role in your design style?

The hidden images are a necessity for my process. I get bored reallllllly easily. It’s a lot like staring at the clouds, if you stare long enough you start to see shapes that weren’t there at first glance. I live with these designs for over a year before they actually make it into stores. As I get more familiar with each design I begin to see things that might not have been there to begin with. As an image emerges I go back in and make it more intentional until it becomes a natural part of the design. The hidden critters will always be there, it’s just the way I think. They are my little wink, my secret hand shake, with the people who buy my fabrics.

How do you feel that your design style has evolved from your first fabric collection, Full Moon Forest, to the release of Prince Charming?

My design style has evolved immensely with each collection since Full Moon Forest. Over the course of my career I have become more confident in my own intuition. I’ve grown up. The question I get asked the most is what my favorite collection is, the answer is always the same, the newest one. With every collection I get better at executing my ideas, expressing my point of view and more skillful in the actual technique of drawing and creating repeats. The day my newest collection stops being better than the one that came before it is the day that I will quit designing fabric.

Your blog readers love when you give a glimpse into the early stages of your design process and the origins of your prints. Do you have any sketches or early views into the origin of Prince Charming that you can share as an exclusive for Fat Quarterly readers?

See images. Actually, the main print for Prince Charming was originally drawn for Hushabye but it just didn’t fit so I put it in my “revisit this later” drawer. It took a year or two to really visualize what I needed to build around it to make it feel right. I will never just throw something in a fabric collection. I draw out about 12 to 20 prints for every collection, I only use about 8 of them. Some of it sucks and some of it is really great but just doesn’t fit. Those little gems get set aside so I can do them justice later. The original frog prince didn’t have the personality that this one has, I’m glad I waited.

Not only are you an accomplished fabric designer, but you are a prolific quilt pattern designer as well. One seems more loose and free-form, while the other is structured and mathematical. Do you find that fabric design and pattern design use different parts of your brain? And is it difficult to shift from one to the other?

There were three things I was good at in school. Art, Math and sitting in the principal’s office (I was practically furniture in the disciplinary office). Designing fabric is a lot more mathematical than anyone thinks. Engineering a repeat is very calculated and structured much like designing a quilt pattern. One inspires the other, it’s a very fluid transition. The quilt is the outlet for the fabric. I generally begin thinking about the quilt as soon as the first print in a new collection is completed. If there isn’t anything to make with the fabric then what’s the point?

It’s probably too soon to tell us much about your next collection, but can you give us a hint of what we might expect in ONE WORD?

I’ll give you two words… peppered freckles. Try to figure that one out! Ha! And no, it’s not the name of the collection. It will all make sense someday.

Thanks so much, Tula! So what do you think of Prince Charming? What will you make first from this exciting new collection? Don’t forget to visit our sponsors to find more Prince Charming, and be sure to use your exclusive Fat Quarterly discount codes!

Meet the Quilters: Angela Walters

We’re excited to be back with another installment of our Meet the Quilters series, where we highlight the work of the talented artists who elevate quilt tops to new heights of creativity.  Today, we’re getting to know Angela Walters, a prolific quilter who quilted 43 (!!!) quilts that were on display at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City last week.  Angela also recently announced some very exciting news … click through to leave her a note of congratulations!

So sit back and join us in getting to know Angela a bit better …


Hi! I am Angela Walters, from I live in Kansas City, MO and longarm quilting has been my therapy for 7 years.

How did you get interested in long-arm quilting?

My husband’s grandfather taught me how to make quilt tops. On day, on a whim, he suggested that I get a quilting machine. He helped me talk (coerce) my husband into letting me buy one. Before my machine was delivered, I had never even seen a longarm. I soon found out that I liked the quilting part better than the piecing!

What part of the quilting process do you love most?

I have 2 favorite parts! I love deciding how I am going to quilt the quilt. I lay out the quilt top and let the quilt “talk” to me. At that stage, the possibilities are endless!

My second favorite part is putting the last stitches in the quilt. The feeling of completing something is one of the best feelings in the world.

What’s your favorite quilting style?

I love all different kinds of quilting styles, from modern to traditional. However, if I am left to my own discretion, I love lots of quilting. I don’t think you can have too much quilting on a quilt (if it’s done right!).

What inspires you?

I am inspired by so many things…….fabric, other quilts, the designs I see in nature. My husband knows not to even ask me why I am taking a picture of the tiles in a restaurant!

How do you come up with your quilting designs?

The designs in the fabric and the layout of the quilt are two of the first places I look to get ideas for the quilting. Usually there is something within the quilt that I can play off of. If I am really stumped, I like to try to fall asleep thinking of the quilt top. As crazy as it sounds, I usually figure something out while I am sleeping.

Is your longarm machine computerized?

One of the biggest misconceptions of longarm quilting is that all the machines are computerized. While some machines are computerized, mine is not. All my quilting is “freehand”, which means I control the machine and designs that it makes.

What is your favorite (or some of your favorite) quilts that you’ve completed?

There are so many! But if I had to pick a few……

The Cartwheels quilt (quilt designed and pieced by Tula pink) was one of my first collaboration with Tula Pink.

The Alphabet quit (designed and pieced by Tula Pink) is a a favorite because I think it proves that you can have feathers in a modern quilt!

The Paintfalls quilt. I made this quilt especially for the quilting, so it has a special place in my heart.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as someone who quilts others’ items?

No matter how many customers’ quilts I quilt, I always get nervous the first time I quilt for anyone. Quilting, like any other art, is subjective. I can quilt the best feather on a quilt, but if the customer doesn’t like feathers, then I am in trouble! I try to have a lot of communication with my customers so that I know what they like and don’t like.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue this as a business?

The business kinda pursued me. When I bought my machine, I planned on just quilting my own quilts. But, I soon realized that I liked machine quilting more than the piecing. I couldn’t make quilts fast enough, so I started quilting my friends quilts. Before I knew it, I was in business and I have loved every minute of it.

Do you ever sew your own quilt tops, or other items?

I love to sew, but I don’t do it very often. I try to allow myself time to work on my own stuff so that I don’t burn out, but my first love is machine quilting! I figure I will have plenty of time to make my own quilt tops when I am done running a business.

How long does it take to quilt a quilt?

That is the number one question I get asked! The answer is short and sweet…….it depends on the quilt. The size of the quilt and the complexity of the design affect the length of time. The Cartwheels quilt, for instance, took me over 30 hours to complete. On the other hand, a small quilt with an easy allover design might only take 45 minutes to an hour.

What quilting trends or new items or fabrics are exciting you at the moment?

I love that more and more people are paying attention to the quilting, instead of just being an afterthought. The quilting is another layer of art on the quilt can add so much to a quilt top.

What tips or advice do you have for sewists who are considering working with a long-arm quilter?

Communication is the most important thing! I love it when my customers tell me what they like. But even if they are leaving the quilting designs up to me, I ask them to point me in a general direction. So don’t be afraid to tell your quilter what you like and what you don’t.

Be Our Guest: I am That Girl …

My name is Jennifer Jenkinson and I am That Girl who loves to quilt. After a series of athletic injuries and surgeries, I needed a relatively safe hobby so I decided to try quilting. As it turned out, I was one of those people who didn’t discover the extent of my creativity until I picked out some fabrics, picked up a needle and some thread, and made my first quilt. From then on I was hooked and quilting has become a passion in my life.

I believe in quilting without obligation; for the passion and the art rather than churning out a quilt-of-the-day. I’m honest and opinionated and believe that anyone who wants to quilt, young or old, rich or poor, should have the opportunity to create and make a quilt. I love working with new quilters through tutorials, quilt alongs, and any other way I can encourage them to jump in and make their first quilt.

I have a wonderful and supportive husband and a fabulous 7 year old daughter. My daughter is smart, funny, and super creative. She and I spend many hours together creating and crafting in my sewing studio. My husband is my sewing machine “fixer”, a creative second eye, occasional quilt baster, my best friend, and the one I fall in love with over and over. We have two beagles, Buddy & Gus, who combined with the 7 year old, keep us on our toes all the time!

I work full time in the high pressure world of finance. I’m a gymnastics mom and softball coach {& mom} and I have a date night with my husband once a week. What spare time I have left in the evenings and on weekends I use to escape and spend creating, designing, piecing, quilting, and rolling around in my beloved fabric stash.

My Blog:

Post: A Pintuck Patchwork Pillow

As a self taught quilter, I’ve recently become fascinated with different general sewing techniques. I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and make my work look more polished. Like topstitching… I love topstitching!

My latest obsession involves pintucks. So much of quilting is about texture and pintucks give already beautiful fabrics a unique texture. The technique is simple and with this tutorial and a few hours you can have a beautiful pintuck patchwork pillow… say that five times fast! Your pillow will measure 12” x 16”.

*All seam allowances will be ½” unless otherwise noted*
Select 8 fabrics you would like to feature and cut one 5″ square from each fabric. Charm squares also work nicely…

Take your first square and get ready to sew your first pintuck! Some like their pintucks evenly spaced and straight but I prefer mine to have a more organic look; especially when using them in patchwork.

So with that being said, make a fold with WRONG sides together and finger press.

On the RIGHT side of the fabric, stitch along the fold as close as you can to the edge.

Continue this on your square until you are pleased with the number of pintucks. Repeat this step for each of your squares. Press the pintucks of each square to shrink the stitches. Personally, I’m not picky about pressing all the pintucks in the same direction; I like the texture created by the random directions.

Once you have all 8 squares pintucked {is that a word??} stitch them together into 2 rows of 4. Then stitch the 2 rows together. Your seams will most likely not match up but that just adds to the patchwork texture of this pillow…

Now you are ready to sash the blocks. I used linen because I love linen mixed with quilting fabrics. Cut 2 linen strips that measure 2” x 9” for the short sides of the block and 2 strips that measure 2.5” x 17” for the long sides of the block.

Stitch your short strips on first, press and then stitch your long strips. Press and now you have the completed front of your pillow that should measure 13” x 17”! I used a simple envelope closure to finish the pillow off but feel free to use your favorite pillow method.

Thanks for having me today here at Fat Quarterly! I hope you will come visit me soon and see what else I’m up to…

Back from Quilt Market!

Katy and I are back from Quilt Market, where we had a blast catching up with many of our fabric friends and readers.  We have a LOT to share with you all, but we’ll need a few days to recover and collect our thoughts.  In the meantime, enjoy these fun pictures from the Moda photo booth of us and some of our friends!

sweet baby market!
Photo courtesy of { House } of A La Mode

Included in the photos are:

Can you tell who’s who?  More soon!

Marshmallow Brochette Quilt Along

You saw the modern mini quilt tutorial here first and asked for more…

Boyish Mini Quilt

The Marshmallow Brochette Quilt Along has begun! Check out for Part 1 of the QAL! You can also join the Threaded Mess flickr group to share pictures of your progress throughout the project.

Boyish Mini Quilt

This first post includes detailed instructions on gathering materials to make either a mini quilt or a lap quilt. I’ve also added a follow up post with the final lap quilt mockup and buttons for your blog!

Boyish Mini Quilt

Come join in all the fun!

Happy Quilting,


Whip Up Action Pack

When Kathreen emailed us and asked us to review her new ezine aimed at children, I jumped at the chance. I had been impressed by what I had seen of the ezine around the blogosphere and was wondering how appropriate it would be for my own kiddies.

Kathreen is the face behind Whip Up and is the force behind the successful book Whip Up Mini Quilts. So when she said she had a new ezine out we knew it was likely to be good.

The Whip Up Action Pack is a theme based ezine. Everything is designed to introduce your child to one topic and through manageable activities develop your child’s understanding of that topic.

Kathreen sent me the May edition which is named, Tea & Sew. There are about 8 activities ranging from dyeing wool and stitching up a tea cosy to making tea bath salts. Each activity is well introduced and peppered with fun facts to get your child thinking.

The magazine is aimed at 7 year olds although I suspect that my 5 and 4 year old would also get a lot out of the activities even if they don’t understand all the thinking behind them. In fact I plan on getting them to try out some of the chai mixes.

If you are looking for some educational and FUN activites to do with your children then I would definitely recommend you to buy the Action Oack. It is only $5 which is a complete bargain for the amount of content and thought that goes into it.

If you want to try it out you can purchase it from here using this discount code:

Edited: The discount code has now expired. But you can still purchase the Action Pack from the Whip Up site.

By |May 13th, 2011|Book Review|1 Comment

Giveaway winners | Lilac Lane + Jaybirdquilts

Thanks to everyone who entered our most recent giveaways, and big thanks to Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts and Melissa Stramel of Lilac Lane for their generous prizes.  Congratulations to all of our winners.

The winner of two Lilac Lane bag patterns is:

#110?  Really … the last comment?  Wow, I’ve never seen that happen!  Comment #110 is from Amy of Pick ‘n’ Stitch, who wrote “Would love to win. Enjoyed learning about you, Melissa!”

The winner of jaybirdquilts’ prize pack #1 is:

Comment #150 came from Alicia, who blogs at CrashWorthy.  Alicia wrote, “I love the H& K pattern. It is a fantastic example of modern designs!”

The winner of jaybirdquilts’ prize pack #2 is:

Lucky #139 is Eva from Finland, who blogs at Eisblumen and wrote “My favourite is Unwind! I love the negative space and the strippyness! I love the fabric used in the picture, but I could also imagine it in Central Park or in vintage sheet style fabrics.”

The winner of jaybirdquilts’ prize pack #3 is:

Our last winner is the author of comment #300, Ursula, who wrote “I love Hugs and Kisses, I can see why it’s a favorite. And I would love to try it in red and aquas (I am loving those colors lately)!!!”  (Ursula, we don’t have a blog or email address for you, so please be sure to contact us to claim your prize.)

Winners, please email us at with your mailing information.  Stay tuned for more great Fat Quarterly giveaways!

By |May 11th, 2011|giveaway|2 Comments

Fat Quarterly Fabric Pack | Above All Fabric

It’s time for another installment of the Fat Quarterly Fabric Pack.  We’ve partnered with Melanie of Above All Fabric to create this fun pack of 9 fat quarters.  This particular bundle was inspired by the Topiary print in the center of the mosaic, from Tula Pink’s Parisville line.  From there, we pulled some other prints that played off of its shades of purple, green, and blue.  The Bella solid in Slate from Moda’s Bella solid line would be a great backdrop for block sashing or a quilt’s background that would allow the prints to really pop.

Fat Quarterly Fabric Pack | Above All Fabrics

Top row: Treetop Downtown Turquoise, Clover Dot Aqua, Lady Dot Soiree
Middle row: Blue Tonal Dot, Topiary Mist, Bella Pistachio
Bottom row: Bella Hyacinth, Bella Etchings Slate,  Orchid Feng Shui Seafoam

Just for fun, I expanded the bundle a bit to show how some other prints might work with the collection.  You can be sure that I’ll be adding those 1001 Peeps prints to my collection when they become available.  They really add a lot of life to this fabric pack!

Fat Quarterly Fabric Pack | Above All Fabrics

If you make something with this (or any) Fat Quarterly Fabric Pack, we’d love to see it!  Please add your projects to our Fat Quarterly Flickr group.