You will have seen Jennifer's fabulous Circus Monkey Quilt in Issue 2 of Fat Quarterly.
It was designed using Caramel Town from Lecien. Such a fabulous quilt! Quick to sew up and so effective. If you are wondering what it might look like in other fabrics, wonder no more! Our Katy has been busy making one for herself.
In case you haven't seen Jennifer's work before, settle yourself down with the brew of your choice and find out a bit more about this talented lady and then go and visit Jennifer's blog Sugar Stitches or her flickr photostream, and tell her Fat Quarterly sent you!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I grew up in a small farm town in Idaho. It literally had one stoplight. I spent my teen years dying to get out, and now I would give anything to move back! I live outside of Washington, DC for the time being...my husband is a pilot in the Air Force, so we're here until they decide to move us. I'm a stay-at-home mom to a 4-year-old, Liberty, and a 2-year-old, Wyatt. I spend my days up to my elbows in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and if I'm lucky, I can squeeze some sewing time in! I try to balance the designing with being a mom: my first and foremost priority is to be a mom...designing has to come second. As they are getting older, I am more able to spend more time sewing. I just don't want to regret missing anything with my children.
How did you become interested in quilting and sewing?
All the women in my family were sewers, quilters and embroiderers. I guess its just in my DNA! After my daughter was born and I stopped working, I got a whole lot craftier! I had been embroidering since I could hold a needle, so sewing with a machine was a little different. It was frustrating at times, but very rewarding when I finally "got" it. Sewing really gives me a sense of accomplishment, and I love making things for my family. I feel like its a testament to my love for them.
How would you describe your style?
I would say I have a "modern cutesy/kawaii" style. I love the more modern fabrics, but I'm still a real girly girl at heart. I love all things Kawaii! And I'm a sucker for a good 'shabby chic' fabric!
What inspires you?
My kids! The cartoons and children's books are always so bright and cheerful. I'm a little obsessed with rainbows. Japanese sewing books and magazines are a drug to me. I cannot get enough of them! I have a little stack in my sewing room. They're worth every penny, because I "read" them over and over!
Describe your sewing space. What's on the walls? What's the overall vibe?
I am really proud of my sewing room: I started out sewing at the kitchen table. When we moved to our current home, I set up a plastic table and some plastic bins in an unused room. Then one day I decided I should just claim the room as mine permanently. I painted the walls a light yellow, and slowly got some white furniture from Ikea. It really is my favorite room in the house. It gets great natural light, and the colors are cheerful: I have all my fabrics folded and put on shelves. I put little knick knacks here and there: Japanese Re-ment, little Kawaii toys, and, of course, my Blythe dolls. They are my muses! I wanted to be able to walk in and just see all the things that make me happy! I strongly encourage all sewers/crafters to stake a claim on a room or a space to create in. Once you have that feeling of permanence, your creativity flows a lot better.
What do you watch / listen to while sewing?
I usually always have the iPod on. I have a pretty eclectic playlist: 90s hip hop, classical music, and my "Chick Music"-Ingrid Michaelsen, Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap, and Lenka.
What is your favorite project that you've made?
Wow. That's like asking me to pick my favorite child! Usually my favorite project is whatever I'm working on. Right now I'm in the process of my first quiltalong-a Kaleidoscope quilt using my Lecien Minny Muu stash. Its bright, colorful, and a spin on a traditional quilt block.
What's your all-time favorite fabric line?
Again, like asking me to pick my favorite child. Its a close call: Flower Sugar by Lecien, Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt, Fresh Cut by Heather Bailey are some of my faves. But the minute I finish this, I'm sure I will immediately think of more that I can't believe I didn't mention!
Shoes, socks, or bare feet while sewing?
Bare feet, all the way! Unless its winter, then I wear cosy socks.
What projects (patterns + fabrics) are on your "must make" list?
Victory Garden by Busy Bee Quilt Patterns (I'm going to use Bliss!), some Carolina Patchworks and Don't Look Now patterns. And, of course, my OWN patterns, LOL!
If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 5 fat quarters to work with, what prints would you choose?
I would have to say any Japanese Kawaii fabrics. They're so cheerful, and they all have little stories...it would be a great way to pass the time!
Where did the idea for your Caramel Town quilt pattern come from?
Caramel Town was made for the Lecien Corporation. They were looking for a quilt to "show" the fabric line at Spring Quilt Market. When I saw the images of the line I fell in love! The prints are so fun and whimsical! There is a great panel in the line, so my goal was to showcase those in the square-in-a-square blocks. I think the pattern is very versatile: you can replace the panel blocks with a larger scale print fabric. Lecien is an amazing company to work with. I have been so honored to be asked to design for them again.
What's next for Sugar Stitches?
I have several (eek!) patterns in the works. There's just never enough time to do it all! I have a couple really fun applique designs that I can't wait to reveal! My goal is to publish a book, so I'm working on that in the background. I also plan on putting more free patterns on my website.
If you are interested in being a contributor for a future issue of Fat Quarterly, please email us at email@example.com
We are also looking for people to take part in the designer challenge in issue 3.