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! **