It’s been two years since Kim Diehl released a collection of quilt patterns in her “Simple” series of books—and if you’ve been counting, her new book is lucky #7. This latest bunch of warm, welcoming quilts are as gorgeous as ever, and as always, they speak to lovers of scrappy quilts.
“Farm-Girl Finery,” “Sprigs and Twigs,” and “Apple Brown Betty” from Simple Appeal
Simple Appeal is inspired by Kim’s grandmother, a use-it-up-and-make-it-do kind of quilter who passed her no-nonsense style on to her granddaughter. But the practical lessons Kim learned from her grandmother apply to more than fabric choice; those practical lessons have also guided her in construction. Looking at Kim’s quilts you might not believe it, but her designs are deceptively simple to create. A reliance on classic quilt blocks, paired with her invisible machine-appliqué method, means all of us—yes, even you!—can stitch these beauties. Simply follow Kim’s no-nonsense lead.
Clockwise from top left: “Penny Garland,” “Homestead Harvest,” “Wreath of Lilies,” and “Mending Basket.”
See more quilts from Simple Appeal in the slideshow below.
Last month, we approached our Facebook followers with a question: If you could ask Kim one thing about her quilts, what would it be? Kim chose five of her favorite questions, and today she’s sharing her answers at Stitch This! Read on for Kim’s thoughts on color, inspiration, process, and her “teeny tiny sewing room,” where all the magic happens!
FABRIC GIVEAWAY ALERT! Our friends at Henry Glass have generously provided a bundle of fabric from Kim Diehl’s “Hearthside Seasons” line to give away to you! Learn at the bottom of this post how you can win it, plus a copy of Simple Appeal.
Visit the Henry Glass blog, The Sewing Cabinet, for another Kim Diehl book and fabric giveaway!
Facebook Q&A with Kim Diehl
1. “When you design a new pattern, do you think about how it will look in a variety of colors? Your country colors seem to look just as good as bright and batiks.”
What a great question, Suzy. When I design my quilts, I do it the old-fashioned way with a pencil and paper, and at that point in the process, I really think only in terms of values—light, medium, and dark—rather than actual colors. Taking this approach lets me (or anyone!) plug in any type of color scheme and have a successful outcome. Once I’m ready to make my quilt and I begin auditioning prints for my design, that’s when the fun really starts, because the sky’s the limit! I actually love it when people step away from the colors in my quilt design and take a completely unique approach with bright colors or batiks, and it completely fascinates me how each of these quilts can be the same pattern as mine, yet look so different.
2. “Which part of the process do you enjoy the most?”
I wish I could tell all of you that I love every step of the process equally, but I can’t do that with a straight face. My very favorite part of making a quilt is any step that lets me dive into my favorite armchair and do some hand stitching, especially sewing the binding, because I get to spend time with my finished quilt and I can spread it in my lap and pet it and pat it while I do my stitching. This is totally normal if you’re a quilter! And here’s where I have to confess that just like everyone else, there are some steps in the process that I consider to just be a necessary evil. I find cutting fabrics to be dreadfully tedious, so when I tackle this step, I treat myself to some TV time to help me whittle away this little job.
Kim enjoying some hand-sewing time with her dog, Cooper
3. “What is your favorite color and what else do you like to do besides quilting and making fabulous books?”
I find that my favorite color can be different on any given day…I can’t just pick one color, because that would be like trying to pick a favorite child. I’m always in love with cranberry red, but then I also love shades of teal blue, plum (never purple!), and olive-y greens.
When I’m not quilting and traveling, I love to be a homebody and enjoy some quality nesting time. Gardening, baking, antiquing, and playing cribbage with my husband is about as exciting as it gets for me. My oldest daughter very recently got married, and she asked me to decorate her reception venue, which was a huge, cavernous empty space. I had a blast hauling in scads and oodles of quilts, and arranging country-style bouquets in my collection of vintage crocks, canning jars, and cobalt bottles.
Kim’s collection of vintage blue glass
4. “What does your sewing studio look like? I would love to see the area that you create in!”
I know that many designers have dream studios with acres and acres of space, but this is SO not the case for me. I have a teeny tiny sewing room, but I love this space because it’s all mine and I’ve got it organized for maximum use. My red curtains cast a cozy warm glow on everything, and I use fun and unique containers for storage. One of my best finds was an old beat-up green and cream enamel roaster that I dug out of the ground on my in-law’s farm. They thought I was slightly nuts when I asked if I could have it, but I now use it for my fabric scraps and it’s one of my favorite things.
Kim’s sewing room
5. “Where do you get your inspiration for your fabrics and patterns?”
I do a lot of porch-sitting when I’m thinking about pattern and fabric designs, and much of my inspiration comes from nature, especially my front garden, which I’ve shared below. I also love putting my own twist on tried-and-true quilt blocks that have been loved and used for years, and I love combining elements from two or more traditional blocks to make something fresh and new. The cherry on top is being able to use my own fabric designs when I stitch my quilts, and I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.
Kim’s front-porch garden
Kim, thank you for giving us a peek into your process!
What do you like best about Kim’s quilts—the colors, the appliqué, the scrappy vibe? Tell us in the comments
and you could win a copy of Simple Appeal PLUS the gorgeous fabric bundle from Henry Glass! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!
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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The random winner is Rickie, who says:
“My whole house is decorated in antiques and Kim’s quilts fit in perfectly. The style, the colors, the mellow warmth just capture what I want my home to be. We are (finally) finishing the bonus room above the garage and it will be my sewing room. I would love to have a copy of the book to be my first projects in the new room to create things to help me decorate my new space. Please pick me.”
Rickie, we’ll email you about your prizes. Congratulations!