We are back from Market, and our next post will include some of our favorite things from Houston. Today, we have Heather Peterson, the creator of awesome new patterns and projects in our store, like Charmed and Dangerous. She tells us about her business, passion, inspiration, and new directions she is taking!
Hi everyone! I’m Heather, the designer of Anka’s Treasures patterns and fabrics. This is my first time blogging, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.
A bit about the business –
I started my business 11 years ago, when I was a sophomore in college. Things really did start slow, as I had to keep my grades up in school, work a job to pay for school, and work another job to fund my business! Thanks goodness that part of my life is in the past. Since then, it has turned into a full time career, with lots of late nights trying to keep up with the many deadlines in publishing. I’ve also had the opportunities to meet so many great people and had a lots of great experiences through this job. To date, I’ve published over 200 designs in books, single patterns and magazines. More recently I’ve started designing fabrics and have completed about 12 lines.
It’s still a pretty small business, so I do everything from piecing the quilts, quilting them on my long arm, sewing the binding, taking the photos and doing the artwork and text in the books. I’m a process person though, so I love having my fingers in all the details and enjoy constantly going from one thing to another. I think this is also apparent in my style. I really don’t have a set look for my designing as I am constantly changing my style to flow with whatever is trendy at the time. I don’t want to get pigeonholed into one look. Besides, I love all of the beautiful fabrics coming out and I want to be able to use them all! Spoken like a true fabric collector! But hey, that part of the fun of quilting. It’s also a big part of my inspiration. When I see a new fabric line that I love, I just have to design a new pattern so I have to buy it!
My inspiration to sew began at an early age. I grew up in my mom’s sewing rooms and she was always helping and encouraging me to create. My business is named after my great-grandma Anka. She’s the one that got my mom sewing, which resulted in me sewing. She was also a very inspirational person to me in many other areas of my life. You can read more about this on my web site.
My theory on quilting –
My patterns are all designed with the everyday quilter in mind. Meaning, the patterns aren’t intricate or extremely difficult. Many are based on traditional blocks, with a bit of a twist. I usually try to do something that looks much harder than it really is. When you break down my designs into a simple block form, you can see how easy they are. But, when sewn together they usually form a secondary design that provided more visual interest and looks more complicated.
I also love things that go together quickly. I’m on a tight time frame, (like everyone else) and really don’t get that much time to sew, so I love instant gratification. That is part of why I like to work with charm packs and jelly rolls (read more about this below). My favorite purchase lately, has been my “speedy sewing machine” – it does about 1600 stitches per minute so I can get done even quicker! On to the next project –
I have been designing fabrics for Henry Glass for the last few years. My newest line is called Serenity and was inspired by some of the popular colors in home dec right now. It’s soft and fresh and I wanted it to appeal to the younger generations, as well as the average age quilter. It goes perfect in the bathroom I just redecorated to match it. I have framed a piece of the original artwork – to pull everything all together. I love large florals, so I always start by painting that design first, and then adding other pieces such as a tonal, geometric, mini floral, plaid or stripe. I love plaids and stripes cut on the bias, so I always try to work one into each of my lines.
I have been very busy the last six months (along with my Mom who helps sewing and fields many design questions), coming up with two new books and two new patterns. Mom and I designed the two new single patterns together. They are based on the 5” charm squares, but you will need some additional yardage for the apron, quilt, etc. I also just finished a charm book, called Charmed and Dangerous – you can tell I love to collect charm packs! The other book is a follow up to my first jelly roll book (On a Roll) and is called On a Roll Again. This time I have included several smaller projects, to help use up your leftover jelly roll strips. I have been working with Moda’s charm squares and jelly rolls almost exclusively lately. First of all, I love their fabrics, but I also love the convenience of these products. They are color coordinated, the cutting is already done, and I get to collect all of the new fabric lines for a minor investment. It saves so much time and helps with my need for instant gratification. For those of you who aren’t hooked on the charms or jelly rolls, I do list options in the books for fat quarters. So, either way you are covered.