Designer Tidbits: Leah Duncan

Hi everyone! Please welcome our special guest today, Leah Duncan (an Austin native, yay!) on the Jolly Jabber. She’s here to talk about her newest fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics, Morning Walk. Keep on reading to learn more about her collection. 
Portside Travel Set by Grainline Studio

Q: Tell us about the Morning Walk collection. What were you inspired by?
Leah: I was inspired by my return to Texas from a 2-year stint in Brooklyn, and particularly my return to our beautiful neighborhood in Austin, Texas. I take my dog Oslo on walks each morning and the collection was inspired by the little bits of nature I see on those walks and the colors of the home and buildings in our neighborhood. Austin is a truly beautiful and colorful town, so I wanted to celebrate that and how happy I was to be home, 

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a designer?
Leah: Being able to express my creativity on a regular basis is pretty much a dream. Being a fabric designer in particular is great because I absolutely love seeing what everyone makes with my fabric. It;s like a collaboration with this other human whom you’ve never met before who could be living on the other side of the world and you’ve just given them a little piece to their puzzle.

Rising Ground Quilt by Art Gallery Fabrics

Q: What’s your favorite print from the Morning Walk collection?
Leah: Limestone Feel Indigo! This is a print that I brought back from my very first fabric collection, Maya. I get many emails searching for that collection, so I wanted to bring some of it back and this print was my personal favorite. It feels good to see it back after all these years, 

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Leah: Chocolate. Hot chocolate, baked chocolate, raw chocolate, you name it. Although I think I would be incredibly unhealthy!

Llano Street Quilt by Leah Duncan

Designer Tidbits: Kate Spain (Paradiso GIVEAWAY)

Hello Fat Quarter Shoppers! It’s Kate Spain here on the Jolly Jabber and I’m so thankful to Kimberly and FQS for inviting me here today to share about Paradiso, my newest fabric collection for Moda Fabrics! 

Q: Tell us about the Paradiso collection. What were you inspired by?
Kate: As it usually happens with my design process, when I finish one collection, I’m left with more ideas swirling around and unresolved so they carry me forward into the next collection. My previous collection, Horizon, was inspired by the colors of sea glass, and I guess it was that combination of dreaming of warm shores and escaping the cold winter that very naturally drew me into a tropical palette and floral Paradiso. The corals, aquas, blues and charcoal grays will blend perfectly with any leftovers from Horizon to create a bright beautiful range of harmonious, happy colors. If anyone has the kind of winter we’ve been having, Paradiso couldn’t arrive at a better time! 

Q: Which print is your favorite?
Kate: My favorite prints are usually the ones where I feel like I’m trying something a little different and bringing something new to my style that stretches and pushes me forward as a designer. It’s probably because of this that I can never pick which prints will be the most popular in a collection! I get attached to certain prints for various reasons so can I cheat and pick three? I love the energy of Rhapsody. This came from a painting I did in my sketchbook.

I really like the texture of this one called Tradewinds from random elements I pulled together from my sketchbook. And I didn’t realize it until I actually made a quilt, but I love the optical motion that Veranda adds to a finished quilt. 

Q: What is your favorite project you made with Paradiso?
Kate: Can I have a few favorites for this too? For Fall Quilt Market, the Moda Schoolhouse included a “pajama party” theme, so to play along, we were asked to make pajama bottoms. I have to admit, it seemed a bit daunting having never sewn anything that fit well before (oh! I’ve tried). But I turned to the internet for some how-to tutorials and was able to make a pair of drawstring PJs that I wear all the time. I incorporated elements from here and there and improvised a lot!

I’m also really excited to be offering new quilt patterns in our shop!

Here’s Shangri-La that I pieced and quilted for my booth at Quilt Market. 

And here’s Tradewinds that was pieced by Sherri McConnell, quilted by Val Krueger and is on our bed right now – along with my fave Denyse Schmidt pillows! As you can see, this quilt happens to be someone else’s favorite too! 

Q: If you could be any animal, what would you be?
Kate: Paws down, I’d want to be a cat so I could lounge on the ironing board, like Franny, instead of actually using it.

Stretch and sleep, like Lou, as much as possible

Or squeeze myself into an empty box, like Roscoe for a nap,

For a gazillion more pictures of these three (well, and some other photos too), come and visit me on instagram @katespain. Hope to meet you there!

SURPRISE! Franny, Lou, and Roscoe (along with Kate) are giving away a Paradiso Fat Eighth bundle and a Paradiso PDF pattern of your choice! To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is enter through Rafflecopter below. 

Thank you so much for reading along! We can’t wait to see what projects are made with Paradiso, and please don’t forget to share so we can highlight your beautiful work! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Designer Tidbits: April Rhodes

Good day everyone and welcome back to the Jolly Jabber! We’re so excited to have April Rhodes join us to talk about her second collection from Art Gallery Fabrics, Wanderer. We are absolutely head over heels with her new collection and we know you’ll be too! Read on to learn more about her inspirations. 

Q: Tell us about the Wanderer Collection. What was your inspiration?
April: My inspiration for Wanderer was based off my dreams of travel and adventure. We all dream of an escape from time to time. I wanted to compile a collection that felt discovered over time: searched out. I used many images and items from my own little collection and past. All of the photographs in the Wandering Lands prints were taken over the last 8 years while exploring with my family. Serape Dream is based off some of my very favorite possessions, my vintage Turkish Kilim rugs and the Temple print is a collection of my sketches and embroideries. Also, the Crocheting print is based off a crochet blanket my mother gave to me. 

In the end, I wanted Wanderer to express the need for finding oneself, finding one’s place in the world, and collecting happiness. 

Q: What is the best part about being a designer?
April: Definitely being a part of other people’s artistic process and seeing them create with my own artwork. That is by far the best part!! Knowing that my fabrics are inspiring others to make things they feel proud of is a huge honor. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what it would be like to have people sew with my fabrics.

Bucket Basket Tote by Very Shannon

I remembered the first time I met Anna Maria Horner and I was so star-struck that I tripped over a sample in her booth and could hardly introduce myself. Her work has had such an impact on me. Now it feels almost surreal to be amongst her (in a much smaller way) as a fellow designer. There is nothing I’d rather do.

Sew Together Bag by Holly Gets Quilty

Q: What is your favorite project you made with the Wanderer collection?
April: Oh my. It’s hard to choose a favorite! A few come to mind: I made a quilted rug that was a lot of fun. I gave it a fringed edge from yarn and the mix of textures makes me feel so happy! I also made a bag with Sylphs Freedom Flower. It’s a single sided border print and I placed the border on the top so that it flaps down. That combined with leather and big gold hardware, makes me feel pretty proud. 

But by far, my favorite things is a little Sally Dress I made for my daughter in my Sacred Seeds Brittle print. I designed this specific print just for her, because golden yellow is so perfect with her blonde curls and she is my planter. She loves to sprinkle the zinnia seeds in our garden and I can’t wait to fill the pockets of this dress with seed packets and plant with her in the Spring! 

Sally Dress

Q: What is your favorite print from the collection?
April: That’s another tough question, but instead of rattling off all of my faves and why I love them, I’ll say that Wandering lands is my number one! I came into this industry as a buyer from my mother’s shop, Sew To Speak. I still hold that title and I love looking at collections and searching for unique fabrics for out store. That being said, I always try to ask myself, whether designing fabric or sewing patterns, “What haven’t I seen yet?.” I strive to offer the industry something new and inventive with every collection I design.

Zippy Top by Delia Creates

In this collection, Wandering Lands is that print. I see myself inside of it. it’s made up of moments and memories. There is a photograph from a field near my in-law’s house. I remember stopping the car so I could get out and cross the road to capture those horses in the meadow. There are other photographs from trips with my husband and our daughters. There is, however, also an indistinct quality about them. These places could be anywhere. They aren’t necessarily unique to us. Others have traveled these paths and seen these scenes.

Knotted Pillow by See Kate Sew

I hope this collection intrigues people. I think it may shock some, or others may like it, but not know how they would use it. I imagined whole cloth quilts as well as patchwork pieces, bags, pillows, and apparel. I’m excited to see what people create with it! 

Downtown Tunic by Sew Caroline

Designer Tidbits: Me and My Sister Designs

Hello fellow Jolly Jabber-ians! It’s Barb and Mary from Me and My Sister Designs again. This year, we’re celebrating our 10th year with Moda Fabrics and Mary and I are excited to introduce our 27th collection, Bandana

This collection is full of our signature bright colors and whimsical prints.

It’s difficult for me to choose a favorite print from Bandana, so I think it would have to be these four. I just can’t make up my mind! A girl can have four favorites right?

We also have two new patterns that pair perfectly with our collection, Starlett and Dandelion

My favorite out of the two is Starlett. At first, I was crushing on the Dandelion pattern, but when Mary started sewing Starlett, I instantly fell in love! I usually gravitate towards simple repetitive patterns so this is a shock to me! Both patterns include instructions for the mini quilt versions as well.

Bandana is also perfect for our Makin’ It Cute templates too!

And… Bandana is also available in Fat Quarter Shop’s exclusive precut, Jolly Bar! This precut includes an exclusive Hopscotch pattern that you can only get when you purchase the Bandana Jolly Bar!

Hopscotch quilt in the Bandana Jolly Bar. 

We’ve been busy at work with new fabric collections and patterns coming soon. Most of it must be kept secret for the time being but we couldn’t have any of it without all of you!

Thank you so much for all of the love the past 10 years and we hope you enjoy Bandana as much as we do.

Barb and Mary
Me and My Sister Designs

Designer Tidbits: Elea Lutz

Welcome back to the Jolly Jabber everyone! Elea Lutz is here to share her new fabric collection for Riley Blake Designs‘ sister company, Penny Rose Fabrics. Penny Rose Fabrics offers beautifully crafted fabrics with designs that are uniquely vintage. Elea’s new fabric collection, Milk, Sugar & Flower is filled with charming magpies, beautiful florals, and a dash of cute kittens and bunnies! Read on to learn more about it. 

Q: Tell us about the Milk, Sugar & Flower collection. What were you inspired by? 
Elea: Most of my designs are inspired by my childhood and the days spent watching my mother and grandmothers sew, embroider, knit, cook and make things from their hearts and hands. I also find joy in playful illustrations of birds, bunnies, kittens and little creatures along with oodles of multicolored flowers. The name Milk, Sugar & Flower was inspired by the grocery lists my grandmother would make and carry with her to the store. Her lists almost always include milk or flour and things like sugar or butter and so on (we shared a sweet tooth, for sure!). Milk, Sugar & Flower sprouted from those memories and the idea of mixing sweet things with lots of colorful flowers. 

Q: What is your favorite part about being a designer?
Elea: There are so many things I love about being a designer, but I think my favorite part might be the act of creating itself. Those moments when I get to put pencil to paper and pour out ideas. Or, just listening to the hum of my sewing machine as I work through a project – seeing it all spring to life. I’ve had my hands in some type of creative medium since I was little. I would sew clothes for my dolls, paint rocks, doodle in my notebook – you name it. That’s my happy place. being a designer allows me to do work I truly love and hopefully bring joy to others as well! 

Q: How do you describe your style?
Elea: I love color, anything vintage, lots of flowers, and a heaping spoonful of sweet little creatures. I guess I’d say my style is a playful mix of all that smooshed together. 

Q: What is your favorite project you made with this collection?
Elea: Oh that’s a tough one! My mind has been swirling with ideas. But if I had to choose, it might be the little baby romper in the kitty and bunny print made with my friend. I’m also finishing up a kitty pouch pattern that coordinates with this collection and have enjoyed making lots of those too. 

Q:What is your favorite app on your phone?
Elea: Oh there are many! But, right now I’d probably say the app I use the most is Instagram. I joined a few months ago (@elealutz) and have been addicted ever since. Sharing life through photos is such a wonderful way to connect with each other. 

Doll Quilt by Amy Sinibaldi of Nana Company
Toy Drum Bucket by Amy Sinibaldi of Nana Company

Designer Tidbits: Melissa Mortenson of Polka Dot Chair

Hello everyone! Please welcome Melissa Mortenson of the Polka Dot Chair to the Jolly Jabber! We’re so excited to show you her first fabric collection for Riley Blake Designs, Derby Style! Want to learn more about her inspiration? Then keep on reading! 

Q: Tell us about the Derby Style collection. What was your inspiration? 
Melissa:  Even though I grew up in Salt Lake City, I consider Louisville, Kentucky, to be my home. I’ve lived here for over 20 years now and have come to love the city. When I moved to Kentucky, I left all of my immediate family behind and decided that if I was going to live here, I was going to enjoy it. The whole “bloom” where you’re planted thing… Over the years, I’ve truly embraced the many special things that Kentucky has to offer, especially the Kentucky Derby

Oliver & S Roller Skate Dress

The Derby is a BIG deal here. The kids even get out of school the day before it. The city celebrates for a solid month with outdoor activities, balloon races, steamboat races, parades and a multitude of other things. I have a confession to make, I still haven’t been to the ACTUAL Kentucky Derby. My husband and I go to the Kentucky Oaks, which is the day before and considered the Derby for the “locals” (The Derby is on my bucket list though!). 

Over the years, I started to notice all of the colors and patterns associated with Derby. Bow ties, seersucker suits, big colorful hats, smartly dressed men, and beautiful dresses. Attending the Derby (or the Oaks) is like stepping into a beautifully styled magazine shoot. As much as I love to watch the horses race, watching the people is even more fun. After I attended the Oaks this year, I had a major burst of inspiration and sat down in one weekend and made the bow tie print from the Derby Style collection. After that, the rest of the line came together quickly. If you look at my dress from that day I think you can see where the inspiration came from. 

Q: What is the best part about being a designer?
Melissa: I’m pretty new to it, but I’d have to say that being able to design a project to look JUST how you want it. I designed the Derby Style collection because I want to sew with those fabrics. 

Q: What is your favorite project you made with the Derby Style collection?
Melissa: I’d have to say the Prize Ribbons Quilt. It’s a “coming soon” pattern that was inspired by some prize ribbons I made out of paper a few years ago. I love how the Dresden block mimics the look of a horse prize ribbon.

Prize Ribbon Quilt

Q: Any future plans for Melissa Mortenson and the Polka Dot Chair blog?
Melissa: That’s a big question. I’ve never been great at planning ahead. I just seem to take things as they come. I do know that #1 on my list is to get my PDF patterns printed! Then #2 would be to complete more quilts this year. 

Patchwork Pillow

Last year, I published my first book, “Project Teen: Handmade Gifts Your Teens Will Actually Love,” and I am working to promote it this year. My blog grew so much last year so I hope to be able to keep up with that momentum. I really enjoy designing projects and connecting with my readers. I’ve got a “spark” of an idea for another fabric line, so I guess I’d have to say in 2015, I’d like to “pitch” the next fabric line and come up with an idea for another book. Fingers Crossed! 

Designer Tidbits: Molly Hatch

We would like to welcome Blend Fabrics newest fabric designer, Molly Hatch. Born to a painter and an organic dairy farmer, Molly was raised to be creatively industrious. Molly’s designs have expanded to various lifestyle products, ceramics, and now her first fabric collection, Tea Garden! Tea Garden features beautifully hand painted designs of porcelain plates, tea pots, antique silver spoons and cups. Watch our Quilt Market video and read on to learn more about Molly’s inspiration.

Q: Tell us about the Tea Garden Collection. What were you inspired by?
Molly: Tea Garden was inspired by my career as a studio potter and ceramic artist. I love historic ceramics – traditional blue and white. I wanted this collection to feel simultaneously familiar and new. 

Q: How would you describe your style?
Molly: My work always reflects my hand in some way. All of my surface designs are generated by hand and colored by hand – which gives them a unique look that is very much my own. I love traditional imagery, historic source material is always a part of what I do, but I always reinterpret the original to make it suit my own contemporary lifestyle. Traditional yet modern! 

Q: What is your design process when beginning a new collection?
Molly: I start each collection with a story – thinking through who it is for and what the story is behind the designs. I often sketch and develop concepts on paper before I start any design work and research historic material through museum collections and in my own library. I love that when people design fabric collections, they can be complex in the groupings of patterns and they still work well together in the larger collection. 

Q: Do you have a favorite print from the Tea Garden collection?
Molly: My favorite print is the Devonshire Tea pattern – the teacups and teapots were so much fun to draw! I feel this pattern could be used for so many things. 

Q: What projects do you hope to see made with Tea Garden?
Molly: I hope to see everything! I can’t wait to see what people do with this collection and I can’t wait to sew some of my own projects. I have a five year old daughter, so I think she and I will get to making some fun things together. 

Designer Tidbits: Carolyn Friedlander

Hi everyone! Carolyn Friedlander is back on the Jolly Jabber with her new collection for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Doe! We just adore Carolyn, and her background in architecture has helped her develop her own modern and clean aesthetic for which we’ve come to know her. The Doe collection is an accumulation of her favorite colors and prints over the past few years of her quilting career. Read on to learn more! 

Q: Tell us about the Doe collection. What were you inspired by? 
Carolyn: Doe is my third collection with Robert Kaufman, and I had so much fun putting it together! My favorite thing about the collection is that it’s a bit of a mash up. Mixing prints and textures is one of my favorite things to do, as well as finding beauty in things that may not be perfect, and so this collection sets out to capture that. The designs are inspired by a mix of things that have worked their way into my life and mind over the last couple of years, including (but not limited to) my quilt pattern wok, my new (old) house that I’ve been fixing up, and my forever love of grids, clean lines, and structure against the reality of what is hand drawn. 

Q: How do you describe your style and how has it evolved over the years? 
Carolyn: I would say that my style still sticks to utility as well as a connection to the human hand. I think that I’m always finding inspiration in my surroundings, but I’ve noticed over the years that how I interpret them changes as I explore and get comfortable with new tools and different techniques. 

In terms of color, I definitely have favorites that I will always want to use and can’t get away from, but it’s also been fun to fall into different color moods over time where certain shades are all that I can think about. Recently, I’ve been drawn to browns, caramels, and creams. 

Q: What is the best part about being a designer? 
Carolyn: I’m so grateful to be able to design, and I absolutely love doing it! There are so many things that I love about it – from creating initial concepts, to sewing with it for the first time. But one of my favorite parts is seeing what other people do with my designs. I always think of my designs as tools that folks can use to make the things that they want to make and that will express who they are. Seeing how they use my fabrics and patterns to create work that they are most inspired to make is something that I really look forward to. 

Outhouse Quilt

Q: What is your favorite project you’ve made with the Doe collection? 
Carolyn: It’s always so much fun sewing with a new collection! I find that I learn the most about the collection by actually using it. All of my new patterns (Outhouse, the Nest Egg Tote, and Catenary) were fun ways that I explored the collection. Catenary was especially fun for finding ways to mix and match many of the prints.

Nest Egg Tote

Most recently, I’ve had fun mixing Doe with my other collections – Architextures and Botanics. I just finished a Nest Egg tote that uses all of my collections, and I even worked in an appliqué block from one of my other patterns, Alturas

Catenary Quilt

Q: If you could marry a technology, what would it be?
Carolyn: Marry a technology… that’s a tough one! While I love technology, I also love getting away from it and doing stuff that just feels real, which is why I like to sew so much. I know that we all spend big chunks of time in front of screens, and so any break from that is something that I really appreciate. 

I do love that technology affords us such great opportunities to share what we are working on. Without instagram and blogs, I wouldn’t be able to see all the great things that folks are making, and for that, I am grateful.  

Designer Tidbits: Recollection by Katarina Roccella

Hi everyone! Katarina Roccella of Like Flowers and Butterflies is joining us all the way from Serbia today to talk about her new Recollection collection for Art Gallery Fabrics! She’s a long-time fan of Fat Quarter Shop and one of Art Gallery’s newest designers. Read on to learn more about her amazing collection and inspiration. 

First of all, I want to THANK the entire Fat Quarter Shop team for giving me this chance to showcase my collection. Fat Quarter Shop was the first online shop for me, when I started my fabric obsession 10 years ago.

Q: Tell us about the Recollection collection. What were you inspired by?
Katarina: Recollection is my second fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics. With this line, I tried to evoke the old, fundamental textile techniques from rug weaving, tapestry, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and ikat – motifs that were passed through the centuries, from generation to generation, recollected, becoming a legacy or heritage that makes up history and a history of modern craft work.

I have always been attracted to doilies, lace, and other vintage memorabilia. Also, doilies hold a special place in Serbian tradition and culture. I was also inspired by kilims, which are the gorgeous shapes and patterns of Pirot, the southern part of Serbia. Kilims are very geometric in form, and in combination with floral lacy motifs and shapes, create the perfect harmony for my “Recollection” line.  Culturally and historically, kilims are also used in very intricate needlepoint tapestries with beautiful roses. These have also inspired me to design some of the prints.

Q: What is your favorite print from the collection?
Katarina: Every single print in the collection has an important place in my heart and they are grouped together to challenge and inspire people to create various projects. From small items like toys and accessories to clothing, home decor, and quilts. The print “Flower Engrams” was certainly the most time consuming print to create since it had so many colorway variations before making the final decision. It’s also the print that excited me the most while creating it, so maybe that’s my favorite one!  

Q: What projects do you hope to see made with Recollection?
Katarina: I am looking forward to see any project made with my collection. There are two colorways that offer vast possibilities and also amazing AGF blenders and solids that match and complement the line perfectly. Please share your Recollection projects on my Recollection Fabrics Flickr page. I would love to see what you make! 

Q: What’s next for Katarina Roccella?
Katarina: My third line for AGF called “Skopelos” will be available in April 2015. It was named and inspired by my family’s favorite vacation spot, the Greek island, Skopelos. I am also working on developing some patterns that accompany my fabric lines. 

Designer Tidbits: Ashton Road by Valori Wells

Hi everyone and welcome to the wonderful and colorful world of Valori Wells! Today, she’s showing off her newest fabric collection for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Ashton Road. Read on to learn more about her inspiration and also her new book! 

Q: Tell us about the Ashton Road collection. What were you inspired by?
Valori: I was inspired by my beautiful children, Olivia (9), Violette (7), and Teague (5). They are always in my studio painting, drawing, and playing with fabric. They add so much joy, laughter, and LOVE to my life. I wanted to create a fun – kids collection, but also have prints that can go with anything. The color palette is happy and playful – like a candy picnic with your siblings. It’s hard to find good “boy” fabrics that don’t scream toddler or baby, so I created these tree houses print (not that my girls don’t love them too) that are whimsical and boy-friendly.

Q: What is the best part about being a fabric designer?
Valori: Honestly, doing what I love. Being an artist and getting to share a part of me with others is a great reward and I’m very blessed to have the career that I do. I get to draw, play with color and see all of that hard work come to life in fabric… then cut it up, sew it, and make things!

Q: What is your favorite print from the collection?
Valori: My favorite print from the collection is Rippling Mum (the two-color flower). Turquoise and orchid are my favorite colors of the design but I’m also loving the black and white colorway as well. I love this print! It’s simple and graphic and can stand on its own if need be.

Q: Tell us about your new book, My Life in Fabric?
Valori: My new book, My Life in Fabric, is all about the different ways (out of the norm for most quilters) to fill your life with fabric. I was one-and-a-half years old when my mom opened her quilt shop in 1975, and my life has been full of fabric ever since. I love to print on fabric using silk-screening and blocks as well as painting. Layering of images and techniques is very inspiring to me and I wanted to share all of these options of creating your own life in fabric. The book also has several projects with different quilting and sewing methods. I am very proud of this book and thrilled to have the opportunity to share various techniques and inspiration with other fabric lovers!