We’re thrilled to welcome Erin McMorris, designer extraordinaire, to the Fat Quarterly blog today.  Erin recently released a new fabric line with Free Spirit (adorably) named Summersault.  We’re in love with the bright tones and happy motifs in this collection, and the raindrop balls have quickly become one of our favorite prints in recent memory.  Erin also agreed to take part in our “designer masthead takeover” project.  Check out our fun new Summersault-themed header!

We wanted to get to know a bit more about Erin and her inspiration for Summersault, and we’ve even got some fat quarter bundles for a few lucky readers.  Read through to the end of the interview for more.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy our chat with Erin!

Welcome to the Fat Quarterly blog, Erin! For our readers that might not be familiar with your work, can you give us a brief introduction to yourself?

Thanks for asking me! I was a graphic designer who went on to study textile design and have been working in the industry for almost 15 years and freelancing for about half of that. I’ve designed everything from shower curtains, and knit socks, to swimwear and wrapping paper. I love designing more that I can explain and still can’t believe I get to draw every day.

Congratulations on the release of your new line, Summersault! What was the starting point of inspiration for this line? And can you give us a brief tour of its prints?

I wanted to do something a little brighter and younger than Weekends and started thinking about childhood summers of total freedom and fun. Remember how the first days of summer vacation were the just the best days when you were young? I wish we could bottle that feeling! All you had to worry about was whether you were going to play in the field, or the woods, and if it rained that was even better! I was trying to channel that imaginative spirit into some of the prints. All of my designs start as a pencil sketch that then gets redrawn in the computer. So a lot of my designs have a line work quality to them that is in keeping with the pencil lines. I always hope that my work is a blend of order and graphic elements with a softer handrawn quality.

If you had to describe the line in 3 words, what words would you use?

  • playful
  • modern
  • colorful

And how about the funky name? Where did that come from?

It just seemed like a fun name to reference childhood. We used to somersault down the hill in our front yard when we were kids. And I can’t believe that the correct spelling is somersault. It just seemed like it needed to be changed to reference summer, right?

One thing that quilters always love about your fabric collections is your bold use of bright, vibrant colors. Are those the types of colors that you are naturally drawn to? Why do you prefer to work in those tones and shades?

Ikea had an ad campaign a couple years ago that was “be brave, not beige” and I thought that was such a great phrase! Just in relating to home furnishings, beige is a huge dominating color because it is a neutral that goes with everything. While I get that, I also think other colors can be considered neutrals. I’ve never met a blue I didn’t like, and I almost consider pink to be a neutral because I think it does go with everything! I’ve made my peace with my brown couch but I need to see it dressed up with as many happy bright pillows as possible! Good color combinations just make me happy. I really like creating a collection for spring because after the long gray winter, I think people crave color. There is a reason that spring jackets are more likely to be made in prints of color rather than winter jackets that are usually in solid neutrals. But as always, who knows how I’ll be feeling about color next week…

Park Slope vs. Summersault

Photo courtesy of Jeni Baker (jenib320 on Flickr)

It seems that your lines are “backwards compatible”, meaning that a quilter can combine prints from your many collections and the end result would still look cohesive. For example, jenib320 on Flickr recently showed how beautifully Summersault coordinates with many of the prints from Park Slope & Weekends. Is this a deliberate design decision on your part?

I’m so happy to hear and see this! When I start thinking about color, I am mostly concerned about creating a slightly different palette than my last collection which in this case for Weekends was lighter and more violet and peach. But I did pick up on some of my favorite colors from the Park Slope collection. I think most designers have a range of tonal values even more than actual colors that they feel comfortable working within and this is what keeps things looking cohesive or becomes known as their style. But yes, I’m completely guilty of being unable to tear myself away from bright pink!

Park Slope vs. Summersault

Park Slope vs. Summersault

Park Slope vs. Summersault

Park Slope vs. Summersault

Park Slope vs. Summersault

Weekends vs. Summersault

Weekends vs. Summersault

Park Slope vs. Summersault

Weekends vs. Summersault

Park Slope vs. Summersault

Photos courtesy of Jeni Baker (jenib320 on Flickr)


What are three things people might be surprised to learn about you?

  1. I don’t drive. Until a few months ago, I hadn’t driven a car in over 10 years. (hello..Weekends “go by bike” print!)
  2. I’m a huge tennis fan. I think this is on my brain since I just watched the French Open…so exciting!
  3. I have the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I know, but I don’t really like chocolate.

Even though Summersault was just released, we’re eager to know what you’ll be doing next. 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?

Flannel!

We hope you enjoyed our chat with Erin.  Are you as smitten with Summersault as we are?  Well, here’s your chance to score some for yourself.  Erin is so generously giving away a fat quarter bundle each to 2 lucky readers.  Want to win?  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post letting us know what you’d like to make with Summersault.  We’ll draw our winners randomly next Friday, June 17th.

** ETA: This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks for entering! **

Good luck!