Thursday, December 30, 2010

Victoria Findlay Wolfe - Issue 3 Contributor

Some of you may have come across Victoria before and seen some of her amazing quilts. We were very excited to have her as part of our Designer Challenge panel in issue 3. I chatted to Victoria to get to know her better and to find out more about some of the projects she is involved in.

How did you start quilting?

Both my parents sew. My father has an upholstery business, and my mother always made quilts for family weddings, and her mother was a quilter. I would sit at my grandmother’s kitchen table with her tracing patterns pieces on fabric and cut them out for her. Sewing was a natural progression for me. I learned to hand sew patchwork in jr. high school, when they still taught those sorts of things. At the age of 19, I made my first quilt for my niece, It wasn’t very pretty, but it has been deeply loved!

How would you describe your style of quilting?

Free form is the best description. I rarely have a clear idea of a quilt before I start. Like the way I paint, I start from the inside, and work my way out. I make decisions quickly and make what I have “work.” My choices are based on instinct, and trusting my eye, and not over thinking. My favorite quilts start with random thoughts I've put together, like a stream of consciousness, I grab from a selection of fabrics and find a way for them to all live nicely with each other. I also like making fabric from bits of scraps, using them as found objects, and putting them together like a giant jig-saw puzzle. You can see more of my work here: at my blog

What is the favorite quilt you have made?

That would easily be my "Everything but the kitchen sink," quilt.
I grew up with my grandmothers crazy quilts on my bed, and I was all amazed at how they went together all willy nilly and yet worked! I wanted to make a quilt like that, so ten years ago, I made an attempt at doing so. If you look at the bottom of this quilt there is a 16" band across it which is what I made in 2000. I took an old sheet, and arranged the pieces on top of it and machine appliqued them down. I got so bored, that I stopped and put it away for nine years. I pulled it back out a year ago, cut it off the sheet, and placed it at the bottom of the "new" quilt that I had laid out and arranged on my design wall. So, basically, I started trying to do it my grandmother’s way, and came back to making it in a way that was more exciting for me. I now see years of learning experience in this quilt. Simple piecing, machine and hand applique, scrap fabric making, and Y seams. But beyond that, color choices, balance, composition, the difference using lights, mediums and darks, movement, and plainly, instinct and trusting my eye, how to make it look pleasing to the eye, changing it till it works, and how pattern is as important as color. I also learned how letting go of a lot of "rules" can give you just as pleasing a look than planning an entire quilt with preconceived ideas.

What are your favorite colors / prints to use in quilts?

I use a lot of RED. I've made more red quilts then any other, and nearly every quilt I have made has red in it somewhere. That being said, I don't intentionally go for red. When I walk into a fabric shop, I usually go the sale racks and buy what other might consider the ugliest fabrics they have. Odd off colors, weird color combos, strange prints. It's easy to find a nice red, or nice yellow, but it's the puke green, swampy browns, and sickly ochres that I am after, it makes for a well rounded stash. I don’t want to make rainbow colored quilts, I want the 1,000 tones and values in between red and yellow and blue. For me, there are no ugly fabrics

What is your favorite part of the process?

First and foremost is the beginning challenge. Finding the thing that says, OOH! I have to play with that! Recently, my 15minutes play group did a scrap swap, and in the swap, was a piece of made fabric from bits of batiks. It was already a great start. The lightbulb went off and I dug through my stash to find my 8 batik blocks I made the first time I played with batiks, and had never done anything with them. My blocks were very blue, and the piece I was starting with was very greens and purples etc... I put it up on my wall, and played. I stuck things up, and moved them around, and added different colors. What I thought at first would be the final decision was totally scrapped and I took off in another direction. I played until I heard that sound of angels singing in my head.... awwww!!!! Then I know I've reached my stopping point.

That part, that moment, is what makes me want to make another quilt...

Do you have any tips to share with our readers?

Yes, if you find you get hung up on making choices, play. Stop thinking, take your scraps and work for 15 minutes a day. Think of it like this, a runner warms up before he runs a marathon, a writer starts writing with run on sentences and no punctuation, and an artist does 30 second sketches to get his eyes trained for seeing. We can do the same thing, by working quickly and making "sketches” in fabrics. It makes you better at seeing, and you will find certain things that you find difficult will be easier and your sewing in general will become better, if you relax your brain. Trial and error is a great way to learn a new skill, make it up as you go, this leads to new ways, new ideas, and new quilts!

You have set up "15 minutes Play." Can you explain to us what that is? Is it still open for our readers to participate?

As I just mentioned, is a way to get yourself to loosen up. It gives you permission to play, just a few minutes a day, without have a "PLAN" as you start sewing. You make a block a day, you work out a new idea, you play with scraps do whatever you want, as long as you do it without thinking. After a while you have a load of blocks, and then you find you have something you might not have set about making to start with.. Now, how will you PLAY them to make them fit together? How can you keep the stream of consciousness flowing as you set the blocks? What other technique can you add that you wouldn't normally do? Can you sash them, set them on point? cut them up again? It's a site of play, and a place to share it, and bounce ideas off of, and show us your process for feedback. No patterns. Be willing to play and put the rules aside, just for 15 minutes a day and you will find making choice and trusting your eye will become easier.

This site is always open to more participants, the more the merrier. Just send me an email...

Tell us a bit about the NYC MOD QUILTER Guild. How can people join? What can people expect from being a part of a guild?

Amy of Commonplace Life and I started the NYC metro MOD quilters. We decided we wanted to see if there were other folks who were out there that wanted to find a community to share their work with. Everyone wants to find their community, so we set it up and quickly had 50-60 people. We had a couple of meetings and were feeling ourselves out, and at the last meeting we think we've found we are a GROUP of quilters who can come together, and share and bounce ideas with. We run it more as a group than a guild, we're all equals, and we have started making group quilts. We meet the first Saturday every other month at my home, we bring our block challenges, and as a group decided how the blocks or strips will go together. Some say, too many cooks in the kitchen spoils to soup, but we found with more people working on a project, miraculously, we find a solution that is both modern and exciting. We are working on having a show the end of 2011 showing the quilts we have made as a group

We now have 108 members. Our group consists of all kinds of quilters. i.e. art quilters, traditional quilters, and beginners and anything in between. Show and tell is always exceptional and everyone leaves with a big smile on their face eagerly returning with their next months challenges...
You can join here: you can follow our blog for inspiration here:

Tell us more about your BUMBLE BEANS INC. BASICS QUILT GATHER for homeless families. How can our readers get involved?

After asking a friend of mine who runs a local organization if he could take a few quilts for his families, and he said, “ Do you have 700?” I saw a need and started the "BUMBLE BEANS BASICS QUILT DRIVE," which gathers COMPLETED QUILTS to be given to families taken out of shelters, and are being put into the transitional housing by BASICS.

The drive is on going, there is no end, so keep the quilts coming. We have received about 120 quilts so far, and when we receive 200, We will draw a name from those who have donated a quilt for a chance to win a Janome Sewing machine.

There is always a need for quilts. There is no deadline. We will always accept quilts for the families.

November 10th, is our first distribution event where 50 families from one housing unit in the Bronx, will receive quilts. Photographs will be taken, the names of the person who donated will be honored, and hugs will be given...

Knowing that they will be warm this winter, brings me happy tears.

I’ve learned that one little idea can bring a whole lot of happiness to many people.

You can help spread that happiness.

Information for donating a quilt can be found at the quilt info link at:

Monday, December 27, 2010

More for Me Monday | Betty Dear

Has everyone recovered from their eggnog hangovers yet? Well, we here at Fat Quarterly have been thinking about all of our readers who may not have gotten everything on their wish list from the fat guy with the beard, so we'd like to soften the blow with a More for Me Monday giveaway sponsored by Robert Kaufman fabrics.

This week, we're offering up a full 18-piece fat quarter bundle of Betty Dear, the new line by Darlene Zimmerman. Betty Dear features a chic take on 40's housedress prints, perfect for starting a new spring quilt for yourself.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. Just for fun, let us know your favorite thing that you either gave or received this holiday season. We'll let the random number generator select one winner sometime on or after next Monday, 1/3/2011.

Good luck!

Simplify - Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered our Simplify giveaway.

A winner has been randomly drawn from all the correct entries & that lucky winner is...

Debbie Grifka of Esch House

Congratulations Debbie! Please email us at with your details.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

11th Hour! Free Quilt Pattern

Merry Christmas Day to those who celebrate! We know that among our Fat Quarterly readers there are sure to be some that fall in one of the following two camps:
  1. those who are still (yes, still!) wrapping up their gift-making and gift-giving for the year; and
  2. those who are eager to get a jump on 2011 planning!
For all of you, we bring you a special treat today. Ryan Walsh and Charlie Scott of patchwork2 ( have designed a free pattern for a mini quilt or table runner, perfect for both holiday fabrics and other color palettes throughout the year.

You probably know both Ryan and Charlie from their popular quilting blogs, and the two have joined forces to create some fresh new sewing projects and patterns for your enjoyment. We here at FQHQ can't wait to see what they do next.

Here's a link that should take you to a PDF version of the project:

Thanks for the special holiday gift, guys!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, we would like to wish you a happy and safe holiday.

Christmas wishes..

Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement! We are looking forward to creating with you in 2011.

xox Tacha, John, Katy, Brioni, Nova and Kate

Monday, December 20, 2010

More for Me Monday - Simplify

Inside issue 3, Tacha chats with Camille Roskelley - busy mother, fabric designer, pattern designer and author of Simplify.

Stash Books have very kindly donated a copy of Camille's delightful book, 'Simplify', for us to giveaway to one lucky reader! Thanks Stash Books!

For a chance to win, simply answer the following question...

In her interview with Camille, Tacha asks Camille what her favourite colour palette is, so our question to you is.....

"What is Camille's favourite Color Palette?"

Please email your answers to with 'simplify' in the subject line. Thanks so much!

Good Luck. Entries close 24th December. A winner will be randomly drawn and announced here after this date. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spa Winners :)

Our customer survey is now closed, many thanks to all of you who signed up to our newsletter & took part in our customer survey, we really value your feedback. We'll take all your suggestions on board & strive to continually bring you what you want in the pages of FQ :)

....& now onto the 3 winners of the fq bundles of Spa who have been randomly selected from our newsletter mailing list...

& Cindy

Congratulations ladies! You have been contacted by email.


Header graphic

We know it is almost Christmas and many of you are busy making the final push towards the holidays. But what are your crafty plans as we enter 2011? Well, clear your plate, because there is a great quilt-along planned that will begin in January!

18 quilt bloggers have collaborated to bring you the first-ever Bloggers' Block-a-palooza. We'll jump from blog to blog making 2 quilt blocks per week, wrapping up with a custom setting and layout design to help complete your quilt. Us lot at Fat Quarterly are very excited to be part of this quilt-a-long.

The quilt-along is called "Waiting for Spring" because we'll be using the brand new Sunkissed line by Sweetwater for Moda, and the bright colors and botanical prints should help you (or at least those of you in the Northern hemisphere!) push through the cold winter months and have a fresh new quilt ready for the Spring.

More details will be available soon, but in the meantime feel free to grab our button below and spread the word.

Grab our button!

Quilt Dad

Friday, December 17, 2010

Featured Crafter - Camp Follower Bags

FQ: Tell us a little bit about your creative journey?

"I have always been an artistic person. I cherish creativity. My mom made clothing for us growing up, so the whir of the sewing machine was some of the background music to my childhood. 

I started quilting about 11 years ago after my third miscarriage. I really needed something I could control in my life and I found it in a 4 week beginners quilting class. I was a dreadful student and I never finished the class due to having to meddevac a patient back to the USA (I was an Army Nurse stationed in Heidelberg at the time).
About 2 years later my husband deployed to Iraq for the first time (he is in the Army too) and I was left with 2 tiny children, and long nights to worry about what was going on and what could happen with my life and my husband. Once again, I needed something I could control. 
 I turned back to quilting and have never looked back. There was a great quilting group at my church and I got involved with them. So quilting was the first deployment and the next deployment was making the bags. I make bags from military uniforms. The proceeds from my little business helps me afford my significant fabric addiction. The bags became so popular that I started a little website and have sewn for people for about 7 years now. I love it. Each bag I make is totally different and wonderful. My website is"

FQ: Which part of the quilt making process is your favourite and why?

"Well, honestly I like most of the parts. Each step plays into the next. I design a quilt as I go normally. I guess the least favorite part is pin basting quilts, but it is important because while I am pinning I am planning on how to quilt the quilt. Quilting is definitely my favorite step. I love sitting at my sewing machine deep in my zone planning my next quilt, and my menu for the next week and other bags to design....I do lots and lots in my mind while I am quilting."
 FQ: Do you have a favourite fabric designer?

"I have several favorite designers. I love Amy Butler. Each and every collection is filled with grace and passion. Sometimes she sends me her design room scraps for me to use them in my Hero Quilts (Quilts I make for the children of service members killed in combat from their father's uniforms) I love using her fabric for my Camp Follower Bags. 
Like so many contemporary quilters love Anna Griffin, Michelle Engle Bencsko Denyse Schmidt, Heather Ross, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey and Kaffe Fassett's shot cottons. I also love just about any fabric Lecien makes."

FQ: Where do you draw your inspiration from when making bags and quilts?
"I am inspired by the uniform itself when making bags. I maintain the functionality of the pockets when designing bags, but each shape needs to be comfortable and practical as well. Sometimes a lady will suggest a shape or specific purpose for her bag and I will design around that thought.

My quilts are inspired by color and emotion and fabric combinations. Sometimes by an entire fabric collection, or maybe I just want to try out a new to me technique. There is not much rhyme or reason to what sort of quilts I am working on."
FQ: Do you have a favourite quilt or other sewn item that you have made?
"I have a couple favorite quilts. I made one quilt right after moving to Australia out of Lecien tea dyes and antique reds that so reminds me of the landscape of where I used to live. Another favorite is a simple 9 patch I made with some of my favorite pieces of fabric from my horde.

My favorite bag is really ugly and plain. I made it with BDU cargo pockets of my husband's pants and some olive drab water resistant canvas. I obtained the canvas in Alice Springs, Australia from a man who makes swags (an Aussie cross between a sleeping bags and a tent). I love it. It is currently my pool bag. I had to make myself some pretty bags so when I tell people I make bags they don't look at me like I am a lunatic. I make these glorious bags - works of art really and I carry something that is as dull as it can be."
FQ: Are there any new creative skills that you would like to try in the future?

"I am planning a liberated quilt along for my blog. That will be lots of fun. Mainly it is for my mom, so she can get a crash course in liberated piecing before I whisk her away up to Michigan to quilt with Gwen Marston. But everyone else is invited to quilt along with us.

I am also really into adding bits of hand quilting to my pieces even if it is just the final bold hand stitches that finish the binding of a quilt. Anytime I can add some text, bit of uniform or map print fabric to a piece I am as happy as a clam."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Featured Sponsor - FabricWorm

Cynthia from has dropped in to chat to us today. Welcome Cynthia :)

Fabricworm sells modern cotton fabric for quilting and many other craft items. Cynthia carries one of the largest selections of Japanese imported fabrics on the World Wide Web.
Her fabulous custom bundles are just the 'inspiration springboard' you need to launch yourself into an array of colourful quilts and projects.

FQ:Tell us a little about how you came to open the virtual doors of your online store, Fabricworm ?

FW:I first decided to sell fabric on Etsy, after I had attempted to sell a few handmade items, and just wasn't feeling it really pan out, but really wanted to start a small home business, where I could still spend time at home with my 2 little boys. After selling on Etsy for about 8 or 9 months, I decided it would be a good idea to start my own website. That's when I hired a web designer and we opened

FQ: How do you balance being a mum and running a busy fabric store?

FW: It's tough to balance both I must admit. When things were really busy and I still hadn't hired any one to help, I would wake up in the middle of the night around 1 or 2am and cut and pack orders for a couple of hours while everyone was sleeping. There was a time there where I worked about 80 hours a week, and it just got to be too much. That's when I finally hired some help.

FQ: Do you have a team of fabricworms helping you out?

FW: Absolutely. An amazing team at that. We have 2 full time employees and 3 part time employees. They are definitely the engine that runs the vehicle. We couldn't do it without them. And it's great because since we opened our brick and mortar store in Paso Robles, Ca, Birch Fabrics, they are able to work in a nice shop at the same time as fulfilling orders. We even have a sewing studio up stairs, where we often sew on lunch breaks or after work. The girls (Andrea, Bre, Arleen, Belin and Melanie) and I have all really bonded around are love for all things crafty!

(image courtesy of

FQ: What are the best bits about running your own fabric store?

FW: I'd have to say one of the best things is the friendships I've made. Not only with my employees, but with the online community as well. I've met so many interesting, inspiring people, I just couldn't ask for a better occupation. Not to mention I have access to the most amazing fabrics in the world. At least in my opinion!

(image courtesy of

FQ: How do you select which lines to stock?

FW: I limit myself to buying only the fabrics that I truly love. If I would sew with it, then I'll buy it for my customers. I really believe that this is what sets me apart from the rest. And it seems that what I love, others do as well, and they appreciate that I don't over crowd my site, with things that aren't particularly awesome!

FQ: Do you have a favourite designer?

FW: Of course, I always talk about it in interviews, so forgive me if I'm being annoyingly repetitive, but my all time favorite designer is Etsuko Furuya, her design company is called "Echino" and she designs exclusively for Kokka Japan. She's incredible. Her use of pattern is like no one else, and she inspires me every day.

(image courtesy of

FQ: Do you find time to get creative and sew for yourself?

FW: Not as much as I'd like to, but I'm trying to put at least 1-2 hours on the machine per week. Sometimes it doesn't happen, but I'm trying.

FQ: Are you living your dream?

FW: Absolutely. It seems like I sort of stumbled upon it. But I can't imagine doing anything else now. Especially now that my husband, Jason and I are designing are own lines of fabric, for our organic label Birch Fabrics, this if absolutely a dream realized for both of us.

(image courtesy of Birch Fabrics)

You can see the full range of fresh, modern, funky fabrics at Cynthia & Jason's organic fabric label Birch Fabrics & keep apprised of updates on their blog.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions today Cynthia.

You can also keep up to date with Fabricworm news on the Fabricworm blog

Monday, December 13, 2010

{Modern} Relief Winners!

We have the winners of the first {Modern} Relief raffle! Yay!

All the winners were picked via

The grand total collected for World Vision is:

PayPal balance: $5,852.36 USD !!!

SO without further a do the winners are......

Thanks again for making the first { Modern } Relief such a success!!

If you are one of the lucky winners… please hang tight, your Quilter will be contacting you soon to get your info!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Congratulations.... Phyliss Singler!

You are the lucky winner of our Bari J giveaway!

Please contact us at with your details and we'll get your fq bundle of Country Lane on it's way to you :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gift Idea

Stuck for last minute gift ideas for Christmas? 
Still thinking of gifts to make? 
hex bathmat close
Or just need a fantastic gift to give?
If you haven't bought a copy of Fat Quarterly yet because you're not sure what's inside? Click here and scroll down to see all of the issues so far, and use our new flip thru feature to check out the projects.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Janet Clare and a free Penguin mini quilt pattern!!

Today we are featuring Janet Clare. Janet is an ultra creative lady who creates patterns for wonderfully whimsical quilts and stitcheries, and teaches classes on her fun and simple free motion applique and machine drawing techniques.

We came across her lovely booth at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham and she has very generously offered a free pattern for all our readers so that they can make their own cute penguin mini quilt (details at the bottom of this post!) but first we wanted to find out a little more about what makes Janet tick.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your artistic background.
I studied Textiles and Fashion at ‘Winchester School of Art’ and specialised in children’s knitwear design. I worked as a freelance knitwear designer for many years. Now, I look after our two small-ish boys first and design and create every chance I get. I try to be creative every day. Luckily, I don’t like having ‘my two arms the same length’ (which is my Irish Mum’s way of saying ‘doing nothing’), so I can always find at least a little time for my sewing. I make do and mend. I don’t believe in keeping things ‘for best’. And I love being at home with my thrifted and hand-me down treasures.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Anywhere and everywhere! I am always looking for inspiring images and colour combinations and keep a scrapbook and sketchbooks to record them in. I love magazines, blogs and the Internet and always come away from the ‘Victoria and Albert Museum’ full of ideas. I am also inspired by children and their purity of thought, innocence and the joy they find in the mundane.

Describe you creative process to us.
If I am designing a collection I like to make a mood board first. From that I create a colour story and then I start sketching ideas. After a while, an image of a finished quilt will just pop into my head (often when I’m not even thinking about work, just washing up or something equally mundane) and then I know exactly what to do. I don’t make many test samples, as I prefer to make things only once. So, each of my pictures and quilts are completely unique. I write my patterns at the same time as I make the quilts, so when the quilt is finished the pattern is finished too. And then I never want to make another quilt the same again!

What kind of sewing machine do you own.
I use Pfaff sewing machines- I have a Pfaff 2044 and a Quilt Expression 4.0

What are you favourite materials to use in your work?
I try to re-use and recycle as much as possible. I love to work with vintage wool blankets and I do a lot of fusible applique too.

When you are not designing what sort of things do you like to make for yourself?
As I am lucky enough to call sewing ‘work’ I tend to knit in my free time. I also like baking cakes.

Do you involve your children in your work?
They involve themselves! The boys spend a lot of their time drawing, sewing and making next to me in my little studio. They are also very keen to tell me what they think about my work- and are often brutally honest!

Tell us about the classes you teach.
I love teaching. I teach people how to draw with their sewing machines and I am also developing a design based course called ‘Journey’ which I’m very excited about.

You work has a very vintage feel to it. Do you use vintage materials or do you have any top tips for creating that look?
I do use recycled and vintage materials where possible, but I buy patchwork and quilting fabrics and very often use the reverse side of the print for a faded and subtle effect. I also tea dye a lot. Otherwise my favourite fabric to use is plain calico (muslin). I also hand sew and quilt and often cut fabric with scissors, not rotary cutters which I think all adds to the homespun, vintage feel.

You like to thrift. Do you have any good tips? Where to look? What to look out for?
I love thrifting! I treat a thrift shop as a fabric and haberdashery shop- looking for fabrics, such as wool, tweed and velvets, as well as buttons and beads etc. My tip would be to keep an open mind and really look at everything carefully trying to imagine what it would look like in your home all clean and surrounded by nice things. Look out for wool blankets.

What’s next for Janet Clare
I’m currently daydreaming about writing a book and designing a quilting fabric collection- I always have more ideas than I know what to do with and there are never enough hours in the day. But, I’m not one of life’s great planners and just take opportunities as they are given to me, so who knows what’s next!
For those of you that would love the free pattern to make the beautiful Penguin quilt, it is exclusively available here! All you need to do is:
  • Click the 'Add to Cart' button (the price of this product is $0.00 so you will not be charged!).
  • From the shopping cart screen click 'Checkout'
  • Enter your name and e-mail address
  • Click 'Complete Free Checkout'.
Once you have confirmed that you want to proceed, the download link will then appear on your screen for you to download the pattern to your computer. For more information on downloading see the 'Buy' Page.

Add to Cart

You can see more of Janet's work, and information on how to buy her patterns at:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Toy Society - Christmas Drop!

Have you heard about 'The Toy Society'?

'The Toy Society is a world-wide collective of toy makers – of varying skill levels– who make toys and leave them as gifts for perfect strangers.'

You can read more about the Toy Society here and I urge you to go over and have a read, it is such a wonderful thing to participate in.

Every year, the Toy Society hold a world wide Christmas drop...

'All around the world, on the last weekend before Christmas, toy makers (of the non santa kind) will be leaving their handmade toys as gifts for perfect strangers.

This will be the third year, and we would love to see our toy drop count tip the 300 mark this time round (we made it to 200 last year).'

If you want to spread some Christmas joy this year, you can sign up here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

More for Me Monday with Bari J!

Inside Issue 3 of Fat quarterly, Katy had the enviable task of interviewing the fabulous Bari J & they chat about her latest collection for Windham Fabrics, 'Country Lane', among other fun stuff!

Bari J has kindly donated a fq bundle of Country Lane to one lucky reader! Yay! Thanks Bari J!

For a chance to win, hop into Issue 3 to read Katy's Bari J interview and tell us Bari J's answer to the following question....

"Tell us something only you know about Bari J Ackerman. Do you have any party tricks or hidden talents?"
Please email your answers to & put 'Bari J giveaway' in the subject line, thanks.

Entries close midnight Saturday 11 December & a winner will be announced here Sunday 12th December. Good luck!

If you can't wait to see if you won you can purchase Country Lane at The Fat Quarter Shop

Thursday, December 2, 2010

MO2 Winner :)

We have a winner in our Material Obsession 2 Giveaway!

Congratulations to Elena, you just won yourself a signed copy of Material Obsession 2! Yay! Please send your details to

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Zombie - Featured Crafter

FQ: Tell us a little bit about your creative journey? When did it start? Where you inspired by any particular person? 
'Coming from parents who immigrated to the United States - quilting was not a part of my culture or background.  There are no old quilted treasures to be found in the attic.  In fact... we didn't even have an attic.  I had known about Amish quilts, and quilt blocks used to help enslaved people on a path to freedom (the Underground Railroad), and I've admired quilts - but never imagined making one.  I had been embroidering since Brownies (grade 3?) and sewing since middle school, and to this day love embroidering and red working. 

Roly Poly Circus

 My dad also sews - so I've learned a lot from him over the years.  Then one day in my early 30's, my friend Lisa had introduced me to the Eleanor Burns method of strip piecing.  Deer caught in headlights.  I didn't even know what "piecing" was, let alone this really sharp pizza cutter she was showing me.  And then it began.  One log cabin block at a time.  And the flood gates opened. 

Shortly after, another friend, Nancy... she showed me how to hand quilt.  Not only that, in 1990 Nancy took me to my first quilt shop in San Rafael, California... and my lust for quilting and fine fabrics began when I walk through the door of that quilt shop.  

I also discovered the social aspects associated with quilting - which I loved just as much as the quilts themselves.  Nancy's husband and my husband were stationed aboard the same Coast Guard cutter, and would often deploy for 3 month patrols in the Bering Sea - and that meant lots of get-togethers with Nancy and the other spouses' - and lots of quilting. 
 I associate quilting with friendships and good times.  Even when times are bad.  I think any quilter remembers what he or she was doing on and after 911 - and that would probably be quilting.   In good times and bad - joining little pieces of cloth, especially in the company of friends... is a gift to the hands and the heart.  I'm such a fan of quilt retreats and sewing bees.  Sewing.  Laughing.  Talking.  Sharing.  Inspiring.  Snacking.  Making.  And that is my food that feeds my soul.'

FQ: Which part of the quilt making process is your favourite and why?
'I love planning a quilt.  My colored pencils, crayons and graph-paper are never far.  I even keep a graph-tablet in the glove-box of my car.  I never know when the inspiration will strike me.   One night we were watching Project Runway, and I yelled "PAUSE IT!!!!!" to my husband.  I saw something that sparked my designing firecracker.  My heart rate goes up, my breathing irregular... I sketch my inspiration.  The results of that inspiration in the current issue (Winter 2010) of Quilts & More. 

When I sew something, I feel like I'm grabbing a piece of the world or history - and bringing it into my home.  Sometimes... sewing feels like magic.  Especially around Halloween. 
H'ween '09

I love walking into a quilt shop and picking out fabrics.  Love that.  I imagine people who love to make stuff in That Room with the box-that-gets-hot feel the same way when they go to grocery store.   Sometimes the fabrics dictate what they'll become.  Sometimes I pick fabrics specifically for a project.  I'm also obsessed with charms and jelly rolls.  Lumps of pretty clay waiting to be sculpted.  I heart a challenge.  I thrive on challenge.  
I also love piecing "out of a bag" - when it's time to set some blocks or units - I give no thought or planning to placement of the colors/fabrics.  Kind of 'let the chips fall where they may' approach.  I love the excitement of not knowing what's going to happen... letting the quilt universe to do it's thing.  I love the feeling of liberation it gives me to let go and let it happen.  To borrow from Bravo TV's catch phrase... it's a "Watch What Happens Next" moment.  Good times. 
Two Happy quilt pattern - freebie from meebie

I'm very drawn to 30's quilts, and what I enjoy making most.  Almost all of my quilts (about 200 that I think I've made over the years) have a solid white (Kona Snow) background and in least every quit I throw in a solid color.  I love solids as they help rest the eye and give the printed fabric and extra spoonful of pop - like how I used in my charm quilt that's in Summer '07 Quilts & More.  Solids are like the printed fabric's jewelry.

FQ: Do you have a favourite fabric designer?
'Right now I'm crushing on Melody Miller and her new Ruby Star Rising with Kokka - I'm so smitten with it (and her too!).  I love the fresh moderns... but 30's repo fabric will always be my first love

Course I love my Holiday Happy fabric line with Lecien, too! Right now my favorite quilt is my Glow Happy quilt that I designed to go with my fabric.  I liked that it was easy, but looks like it's a challenge. I'm all about the easy.
Holiday Happy - Lecien booth

 For me the 30's repos take me to the time and place of America that I'm not connected to... and it connects me to it.  Like I'm secretly building my own attic treasures.   And as well - building my own Winchester Mystery House... but with yardage instead of rooms.' 
Christmas dec studio makeover
FQ: Are there any new creative skills that you would like to try in the future? 
I would love to learn how to cook - or rather love to love it.  When I'm grocery shopping I pretend the food is fabric and I'm making a big edible quilt with it.  And then I snap out of it and by a pizza.