Q: Where did you find your original inspiration for this collection?
A:I met Linda Arye, founding president of Quilts for Kids, several times at Quilt Market and at local quilt shows and shops. Their organization provides 30,000 donated quilts per year to seriously ill hospitalized children all over the United States. We got to talking and I decided that I wanted to help by designing a collection for kids, inspired by kids, and to benefit kids. I told Linda that I would design a collection and donate all of my royalties for the collection to the Quilts for Kids organization. Henry Glass Fabrics is also sponsoring a quilt contest with cash prizes). All of the quilts entered in the contest will be donated to hospitalized children through the Quilts for Kids organization.
Q: What was your “aha” moment in designing this collection?
A:I knew it would have a children’s theme, but I had a hard time deciding on one. Then one day I thought about those playroom rugs that have little towns printed on them, so kids can play with their dolls and cars on the floor. I thought about sick children who couldn’t get down on the floor to play- but with a quilt they could have a play mat right on their laps. I wanted to do a large panel print with a town on it, scaled for Matchbox cars. After I came up with the concept for the panel, the coordinates came pretty easily.
Q: What projects do you have in mind for this collection?
A:One of my favorite projects with the Happy Town collection is this set of stuffed animals: Fifi, Fido and Fluffy. They each have their own “pocket baby!”
These wall hangings are made quickly and easily, featuring simple embroidery. A much cheaper alternative to purchasing art! They would be adorable in any kid’s bedroom or playroom!
And you can never have enough tote bags! This one is very roomy and has lots of pockets for toys and treasures. (Find these patterns on my website soon.)
Q:Tell me about your sewing machine. What kinds do you have and how many?
A:I have an Elna 6005 which I have had for 11 years- I love it! I use it for everything- piecing quilts, making clothes & home décor items like curtains, and machine quilting small projects. It has a lot of fancy stitches which I use occasionally to embellish projects. I also have a serger, which is in a box in my basement. I think I used it 3 times. I could never get the hang of threading it!
Q:What is your favorite part of the fabric industry?
A:The creativity of everyone in our industry just astounds me! I love walking around at Quilt Market- every booth is more beautiful than the last! And everyone is so friendly; some of my best friends are other designers that I met at Quilt Market.
Q:From what aspect of your life do you draw creativity?
A:I love being creative in all aspects of my life; I often talk about everyday creativity on my blog. I like to cook and create new recipes. I like making a lot of my own home décor projects, like painting furniture & wall art, and making pillows, curtains, etc. My family and I also like taking day trips into the city and hanging out in cool shops and trying new restaurants. I am also a certified magazine junkie- I love all of the beautiful photos! I believe that every part of your life can be creative if you just keep your eyes and heart open to the details and the moment.
Q:What is your design process?
A: I draw everything by hand and paint it with watercolors. Then I scan it into my computer and use Photoshop to design the repeat patterns for fabric. It is really fun to play around with different scales, layouts and color combinations. For example, I can take a flower and make it small or large. I can then do a scatter of flowers or lay them out in a grid. I can try a hundred different backgrounds. I can try making the flowers red, blue, yellow, pink. I can get totally lost in the process (and often do).
Q:What is the most challenging part of the design process?
A:Sometimes it’s just getting started- I usually have lots of ideas, but I have to narrow them down to the one that feels “just right.” Then I have to define the focus of the line, and that often changes as I am working on a collection. Probably the hardest part is the editing and discarding patterns I have created which I love, but just don’t quite work within the collection.
Q:What is your favorite print in the collection?
A:I love the panel because it’s big (36 x 40”) so all you have to do is add a border or two and you are done. I also love the stripes. I really like the color stories that we put together and I think they add a lot of energy to the collection. Oh, and the cat and dog print is really cute, too.