Monthly Archives: August 2011

Underwater Wonders

FQ Inspiration Mosaic | Underwater Wonders

1. Charley Harper – Muskellunge, 2. Mug Rug Complete, 3. Beach Mini Quilt, 4. Lighthouse Quilt,
5. 119_1902, 6. Seaside, 7. Bitty Block Committe Paradise Part III, 8. Neptune Quilt, closer view,
9. Regatta, 10. Big butt baby pants and appliqued t-shirt, 11. Completed Joseph’s coat for Charming Mini Swap – or – Starfish in the sand, 12. Mendocino Block 3,
13. DQS10 – Sea Scene, 14. Mendocino Quilt Block 6, 15. DQS6 Received!, 16. Coral Reef

Welcome to the August installment of our Fat Quarterly Inspiration Theme Mosaic series.  Each month, we challenge our readers with a theme and ask that you submit photos of your crafty projects that best fit that theme to the Fat Quarterly Community & Inspiration photo pool on Flickr.  For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been watching as you submitted your favorite photos matching our beachy “Underwater Wonders” theme and — wow! — there were some beauties.

Don’t you just love this mini quilt posted by Julie Gmehlin?  It was made for her by Claire (milliemorgan on Flickr) as part of a mini quilt swap.

STUD recieved from Claire

We hope you liked this fun summertime theme!  So what’s next?  For many, September signals the start of another school year.  Can you remember the excitement of beginning a new school year?  Reuniting with your friends?  Shopping for new school supplies?  Let’s celebrate the start of the academic year with projects that showcase our many back-to-school icons: pencils, crayons, lunchboxes, looseleaf paper, rulers and — of course — an apple for the teacher!  Let this image of paper-themed fabric be your muse …

Basic Grey : Notebook Paper!

Image courtesy of the workroom

Want to see your picture in an upcoming mosaic, and relish in all of the glory and bragging rights that come with it?  (It’s called sarcasm, folks!)  Simply visit and join our group, and add your photos there.  We can’t wait to see what you submit!

Zen Chic: Modern Quilts with Style

It’s always great to see what the large fabric companies are doing during Quilt Market, but sometimes the true treasures of market can be found walking up and down the seemingly endless rows of the show floor.  Here, shop owners, independent businesspeople, aspiring designers, and inventors set up booths in order to share their new products, their ideas, their vision and their inspiration with all of the show’s attendees.  Here is where you can meet some of the most interesting people that Quilt Market has to offer.


Image courtesy of Alissa Haight Carlton of Handmade by Alissa

And here on the show floor is where Katy and I first met Brigitte Heitland, the owner and creative visionary behind Zen Chic.  Zen Chic is new pattern company that truly embraces the “modern” part of modern quilting.  Through her design, Brigitte aspires to achieve a very contemporary, pure style that fits well in a modern interior with colors and design that complement wood, furniture, walls and floors.  In addition to her sewing and quilting patterns, Brigitte has expanded the Zen Chic brand into textile design with her own line of digitally printed fabric.

I happen to know that Brigitte, with her fresh and contemporary take on quilts — not to mention her gorgeous, award-winning booth — won over many fans in Salt Lake City.


Image courtesy of Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter

In addition to running Zen Chic, Brigitte is a prolific blogger that can be found at Farbstoff.  Brigitte’s blog is an absolute delight, chock full of gorgeous eye candy, great free project tutorials, and activities like modern quilt-alongs.

We wanted our readers to get to know Brigitte and learn about Zen Chic as well, so we invited her to be our guest here on the Fat Quarterly blog.  Not only did she agree, but she brought along some goodies to share with some lucky readers.  Learn more about our Zen Chic giveaway at the end of this post.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy hearing from Brigitte herself!


Image courtesy of Jessica Levitt of Juicy Bits

“I was born in Germany’s Black forest region and grew up with three siblings. We were a funny gang and loved spending time with our grandma who sewed a lot of clothes for us children. I always sat down next to her old PFAFF and felt so comfortable. She once told me: “When you are tall enough to get your feet down to the pedal, I’ll teach how to sew too.” Maybe this was the best thing anyone could ever give to me. I started sewing at the age of six and I hope I can keep sewing until I die :-) . Of course as a German girl I had never heard about quilting. I just sewed my own clothes and loved to have unique things to wear.

“When it was time to decide which profession or area of study to choose, it had to be something creative and I decided on Interior Design. But more and more I was drawn to all the students in the classroom next to mine who were working with needles and thread, and so I ended up as a student of Textile Design. Yet – I was a rebel, had a fight with my professor and left high school without a diploma. I became mother of three wonderful children who fill my life with their laughter, adventures and individuality and life lead me another path. I took care for the income and worked for years as an accountant. Many of my friends wondered how I, as an artist, could do such a “boring job” ;-)


Image courtesy of Jessica Levitt of Juicy Bits

“Then one day, about seven years ago, while browsing in a bookstore, I happened to stumble on a book with photos of wonderful quilts. I was hooked at once. I had to try it myself and got hopelessly addicted to patchwork. Of course there are always a lot of projects I work on simultaneously (as every quilter does). So I needed fabrics, lots and lots of different fabrics to dive in. And so it came that I could no longer keep myself from starting my own little online quilting shop (and this means I can take pieces of fabrics at any time right here in my house – what a feeling!) Besides I’m also running my own longarm quilting business, blogging about modern quilting, and sewing quilt samples for European magazines.

“It’s inevitable: as a trained Textile Designer I had to create my own line of fabrics sooner or later. And so I did, which led me full circle back to my roots of Interior Design. When developing a fabric or even the design for a quilt, the entire impression of a room comes to my mind. I see the light, the furniture, the color concept, and the style.

“The resulting quilt is a natural element of this scene, fitting in harmoniously. I like clarity in a room, an environment of simplicity where you are surrounded by only the things you really need and love, where you can relax, find your inner peace and balance. So my quilts have a kind of minimal, pure and clear style. They show just enough color and pattern to catch your eye and let it rest there for a while.


Photos courtesy of Monica Solorio-Snow of Happy Zombie

“I started my own product line, ZEN CHIC, and had my debut as pattern and fabric designer at Quilt Market Salt Lake City – and what a warm welcome I got.”

Zen Chic sure did receive a warm welcome at Quilt Market, judging from the buzz on the show floor — especially among the modern quilting contingent! — and the booth award that Zen Chic won at the show.  We here at FQHQ foresee big things for Zen Chic.  It’s one to watch, for sure.

So how about that giveaway we promised?  Brigitte has generously offered to award two lucky Fat Quarterly readers each with a Double Mini Fabric Pack of the Zen Chic fabric line!  Each pack contains a selection of large scraps (close to fat eighth size) of Brigitte’s designs, perfect for use in your own projects or to make a quilt from a Zen Chic pattern: the pieces included are large enough to sew all patterns except for the Juggling Summer and Orange Brick patterns (which require larger cuts).

How to win?  Simply leave a comment on this post (one comment per reader, please) and let us know what you think of Zen Chic.  Had you heard of the brand before?  Does it provide a good match for your personal style?  Which of Brigitte’s quilt patterns is your favorite?  And how about that booth — stunning, huh?  We’re not looking for anything too specific here — we just want to hear what you think!

We’ll randomly select 2 winners next Friday, August 19th.  Good luck!

** NOTE: Giveaway is now closed.  Thanks for your entries! **

Spincushion’s Color Cues

Take one item of inspiration:

And build a fabric palette around it:

Voilà! — instant quilt bundle.

That’s the idea behind Leigh Ann’s Color Cues series, originally featured on the Spincushion blog.  As you know by now, we love Spincushion and sharing Leigh Ann’s amazing posts with you.

Have you centered your fabric selections around an inspirational photo like the one above?  If this is part of your quilt-making process, we’d love to hear about it … and possibly feature it in an upcoming blog post.  Let us know!

By |August 7th, 2011|Spincushion|0 Comments

Week 4 | MLCQ Apron-along

Hello, readers!  We hope you’re having a great week (and enjoying Issue 6 of Fat Quarterly!)  We’re back with Susan Beal today, author of Modern Log Cabin Quilting, for the final installment of our apron-along.  Judging from the lack of photos of aprons-in-progress in our Flickr pool and the Modern Log Cabin Quilting pool, we can only assume that the busy-ness of this time of year has unfortunately prevented many of you from sewing along.  That’s OK, because these posts aren’t going anywhere!!  We hope you’ll come back and re-visit the apron-along when you have some more time to sew.  As we mentioned from the start, these quick and easy-to-make aprons would make GREAT holiday gifts.  Just sayin’.

In case you missed them, here are the links for Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 of the apron-along.  And even if you’re not taking part, please read through to the end of this post for a fun announcement from Susan herself!

And now, for the final few steps in completing your apron, here’s Susan …

Today we finish the apron up with a few last steps. I’m making the Vintage version, which has a softly gathered waist, but if you prefer a Modern version with a flat front, you get to skip this next bit!

The downloadable pattern has more detail on evenly gathering the waist, but for this brightly patterned print, as I mentioned last time, I kind of let the pillowcase fabric tell me what to do. It seemed like a shame to cinch those vibrant diamonds and change their shape, so I did less gathering and pleating on this apron than my white-and-blue one from the book. I basted just one row of stitches (on the 6 setting on my sewing machine – remember, you do NOT need to backstitch at the beginning or end when you baste) and just brought the sides in smoothly, leaving most of the middle section pretty open. I felt like that let the pattern breathe a little more and didn’t hide it away or distort it in overly ruffled folds. Here’s what it looked like overall.

Now you’ll open up your package of 2” wide bias tape (mine was labeled quilt binding), and press the folds out. If you have the flat/hem facing version, you’ll need to fold it in half lengthwise and press it, too. I like an apron sash that’s about 2.5 yards long and this new package was 3 yards, so I cut 18 inches off and set it aside for a Charming Camera Case project-to-be.

Mark the center of your apron and the center of your tape with pins or a washable fabric marker and match them. Then tuck the top of the apron body right into the bias tape sash, pinning every few inches, until the apron is pinned side to side, with any gathers captured neatly inside the sash.

Fold and press the raw edges under at each end of the bias tape sash, and continue pinning the tape between the apron body and ends so it’s secured. You’ll topstitch the apron sash along both the top and bottom edges – I started at the left side, stitched the bottom (raw) edge of the tape together all the way across, stitched the right end, and then stitched back across the top (fold) edge and finished by backstitching at the left end again. Sew it however feels easiest, but I think it gives the overall apron strength and stability to sew the sash along both top and bottom.

You have an apron!! Hooray! Here’s mine out on the clothesline – I love how cheerful and summery it is. It’s such a contrast to the two I made for the book – the serene blue and white cross-stitched and scalloped version, and the crisp green and orange squared one. There are so many other embellishments or details you can add… the sky is the limit with this one since it’s so customizable!

We’d love to see your aprons in the Fat Quarterly and MLCQ flickr pools, please add yours if you’ve stitched one up!

Thanks again, Susan, for your time, your energy, and your inspiration!  And now, before we wrap-up the apron-along, two quick items …

  • The winner of Susan’s extra pillowcase (to make an apron of your own!), is Ellen Ban, who said:  “Too busy at work to sew along right now, but plan to make one of these. Love the pillowcase – I had this very print when I was little! Wish I’d kept it!“  Congrats, Ellen!  Please email us at winstuff@fatquarterly.com with your mailing information, and we’ll be sure your pillowcase gets sent out to you ASAP!
  • Due to the popularity of the Modern Crosses quilt pattern, the cover girl of the Modern Log Cabin Quilting book, Susan has set up a special new Flickr group called the Modern Crosses Get-Together.  If you love this quilt pattern as much as we do, be sure to jump over and join the group.  Susan will be sharing submitted photos of Modern Crosses quilts, providing tips and tricks to people just starting to make their own … and who knows, you might even see some swaps and other surprises popping up over there, too.  Don’t miss out on the fun!  To whet your appetite, here are a few Modern Crosses quilts already submitted to the group:

Modern Crosses Quilt

Cover photo of Modern Log Cabin Quilting book

Progess, Quilt for Japan

Photo courtesy of Little Bluebell

PMQG in Sisters

Photo courtesy of oregonsurfers

Modern Log Cabin Quilting

Photo courtesy of bettycrockerass

Modern Crosses Quilt from Modern Log Cabin Quilting

Photo courtesy of iknitandtell

Crossing Hope Valley

Photo courtesy of staarlight

Designer Feature: Cabbages & Roses

As Katy and I were strolling through the maze of booths at Quilt Market this past Spring — truth be told, we were on the hunt for Aneela! — we happened across the booth of one of Moda Fabrics’ newest design teams: Cabbages & Roses.  Though I was unfamiliar with the brand, I was completely taken by the warm, cozy, casual, vintage, shabby chic vibe that the booth (and everything in it) was giving off.

As you all know by now, Katy is not only a Brit but is finely tuned into all things fashionable.  She explained to me that Cabbages & Roses is a quite well-known lifestyle brand in the U.K. for its clothes, housewares, books, and premium fabrics, all sold via their own retail shops.  We were both excited to see that their fabrics — and, more broadly, their design aesthetic — will be more widely available to a global audience with the release of their first line with Moda, Northcote Range.  We wanted to introduce our Fat Quarterly readers to the women behind Cabbages & Roses, Christina and Kate, and learn a bit more about their new line.

Photo courtesy of Jona at Stop staring and start sewing!

From the Moda site:

Since its inception in the year 2000, CABBAGES & ROSES has become a staple British brand in both the women’s wear and home textile industries. The gentle faded florals and deconstructed antique prints have won the brand acclaim worldwide. With exposure in numerous magazines including Country Living, and five books published, C&R are the authority on the vintage chic style of English Country living. The vision for their premier collection for Moda remains the same, fresh, faded and long lasting – a vintage look in a nostalgic color palette that encourages a timeless feel.

This unabashedly British quilt adorned the Cabbages & Roses booth, and will be available as a kit from the Fat Quarter Shop come September.

Photo courtesy of Calli at Make it Do

Let’s listen in as Katy has a chat with Christina and Kate …

Christina and Kate, welcome to Fat Quarterly! For those of our readers who may not yet be familiar with the C&R brand, could you describe the ethos and style behind your product?

Cabbages & Roses was created to fill a gap in the market (and my wardrobe). Our products are both classic and quirky and easily slip into everyday life – eminently versatile and beautiful with an unmistakably Cabbages style. All our products – from our furnishing fabrics to our clothes – are made to the highest specification but always with an eye on the environment. Our woven clothes are made in London and our fabrics are printed with environmentally friendly colours reducing our carbon footprint to around 17 miles- to our studio in Kew.

Your first collection of fabrics with Moda (Northcote Range) has a wonderfully rustic and English feel to them and are very much in the typical style of Cabbages & Roses. What was the design process behind the collection?

FOR THIS COLLECTION WE WENT BACK TO OUR ROOTS AND THOUGHT ABOUT RE-CREATING THE WONDERFUL OLD FASHIONED QUILTS THAT ARE NOW FOUND AT ANTIQUES MARKETS BUT COST A HUGE FORTUNE TO BUY.   I WORKED WITH AMY GIBBONS AND WE GATHERED VINTAGE SCRAPS AND CREATED THE COLLECTION AROUND THEM INCORPORATING LARGER DRAWN ROSES WITH SMALLER DITZY PRINTS.

What is the significance of the name, Northcote Range?

ALL OUR FABRIC RANGES ARE NAMED AFTER A SIGNIFICANT PLACE OR MOMENT IN OUR CABBAGE LIVES.   NORTHCOTE WAS OUR FOURTH SHOP AND IS IN A CHARMING PART OF LONDON CALLED BATTERSEA.

How can you envisage the collection being used? And by whom?

I ENVISAGE THE COLLECTION BEING USED FOR ALL MANNER OF THINGS FROM DRAPES TO DRESSES, CUSHIONS TO BLOUSES AND TABLECLOTHS AND NAPKINS – WE HAVE PRODUCED A BOOK NAMED VINTAGE CRAFTS WITH MANY IDEAS OF HOW TO PUT FABRIC TO GOOD AND INTERESTING USE.

For those of us already familiar with the fabrics sold online at www.cabbagesandroses.com or in your stores, what is the difference between those and Northcote Range?

THE NORTHCOTE RANGE IS MAINLY MADE FROM COTTON WHEREAS OUR FABRICS ARE MADE FROM LINEN.  OUR OWN FABRICS ARE MAINLY USED FOR FURNISHING AND THE NORTHCOTE RANGE IS PERHAPS MORE VERSATILE AS FAR AS HOME SEWING IS CONCERNED.

Kate – you have followed your mother into the family business, was it something you always wanted to do?

I STARTED IN PUBLISHING BUT ALWAYS ADMIRED WHAT MY MOTHER HAD CREATED. I BEGGED TO WORK FOR C&R FOR A LONG TIME AND WROTE UP A HUGE REPORT TO TRY TO PERSUADE HER AND HER BUSINESS PARTNER TO LET ME START WORKING FOR C&R. EVENTUALLY SHE GAVE IN WHEN AN OPENING CAME UP – I STARTED OUT AS THE OFFICE ASSISTANT AND HAVE NEVER LOOKED BACK.

How do the two of you get on working together? Do you have similar ideas and tastes, or do you sometimes have a conflict of opinion?

WE ACTUALLY WORK QUITE SEPARATELY DAY TO DAY AS I AM NOT VERY CREATIVE, IT’S THE BEST THING I COULD EVER HAVE DONE TO WORK WITH CHRISTINA, SHE IS AN INSPIRATION (I THINK ALL IN THE OFFICE WOULD AGREE) SHE HAS MUCH BETTER TASTE THAN ME, BUT I ALWAYS ENJOY SOMETIMES BEING ASKED WHAT I THINK. WE HAVE HAD ONE ARGUMENT IN THE WHOLE TIME WE HAVE WORKED TOGETHER – POSSIBLY ABOUT THE BLOG, I CAN’T REMEMBER – I STICK TO SPREADSHEETS AND EMAILS, SHE STICKS TO CREATING BEAUTIFUL THINGS.

Christina, your background is within interior design and styling, what made you branch out into your own lifestyle company back in 2000?

WHEN I FOUND THAT THE FABRICS AND DESIGNS I REALLY WANTED TO USE WERE UNAVAILABLE, IT MADE SENSE TO PRODUCE THOSE THINGS MYSELF.

You have grown to become a highly coveted and respected brand within the UK, this year sees a 6th book release ‘Vintage Chic’ out this month (July) and Northcote Range is expected to ship to stores this Fall.

THE BOOK VINTAGE CHIC WAS ACTUALLY FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2003, THIS IS A RE-PRINT – MY PUBLISHERS SAW THE SUCCESS OF OUR OTHER FIVE BOOKS AND DECIDED TO RE-LAUNCH IT – I THINK IT HAD ALREADY HAD FIVE RE-PRINTS, THIS WILL BE ITS SIXTH!

What is next for the both of you?

WE ARE WORKING ON VARIOUS PROJECTS, IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE WE ARE OPENING ANOTHER AREA IN A DEPARTMENT STORE IN TOKYO AND ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO LAUNCHING OUR NEW CLOTHING COLLECTION IN SEPTEMBER.

Thanks so much, Christina & Kate!  Can’t wait to get your hands on Northcote Range?  What would you make with it?  Precuts of the line are currently available with yardage expected to arrive in shops in September.  Happy sewing!