Designer crush: 4 famous quilting artists’ stories

Projects from Home Sweet QuiltMerriam-Webster defines a crush as “an intense infatuation.” But who says a crush has to be of the romantic kind? If you’ve ever had “an intense infatuation” for a quilt designer, welcome to the club. We’re completely guilty—in fact, innocent crushes are often why we approach famous quilting artists to write books!

As with crushes on actors, musicians, writers, and the like, we crush on quilt designers because we’re curious: we want to know their behind-the-scenes stories. How did they start quilting? Why did they turn their hobby into a career? And where, oh where is that fountain of endless inspiration—and may we take a dip, please? Today we pull the (quilted) curtain back on four popular designers to get the inside scoop on their rise to fame. Enjoy their stories, enjoy their quilts… and enjoy 40% off their books below, this week only!

Designer Spotlight: Jill Finley of Jillily Studio

Detail of Scattered Sunshine from Home Sweet Quilt

Jill has been designing quilt patterns for more than 15 years. Her designs have been featured in several magazines, including American Patchwork and Quilting, Quilt, and Quilter’s Home, and she teaches and lectures at shops and guilds across the country. “I love to share the joy and satisfaction that I get from playing with fabric with anyone who is interested,” Jill says. “Sometimes even if they aren’t!”

Jill has developed a line of notions that includes Jillily Studio Appli-Glue, an archival-quality basting glue for use in appliqué, and Jillily Studio Poke-A-Dots, which are small, sticky thimbles to protect your fingers when hand sewing. Aurifil Threads has just released a collection of Jillily Studio threads called “Everyday Colors.” She’s also worked on six fabric lines for Henry Glass. Many of the quilts in her book, Home Sweet Quilt, feature Jill’s fabrics. You can find Jill online at Jillily Studio.

Projects from Home Sweet Quilt
“Crossroads” and “Let’s Get Together” from
Home Sweet Quilt

Home Sweet QuiltJILL’S STORY
I am a designer of quilts, fabrics, and notions. But actually, I’m just a mom, taking care of this household and the people I love. I have a big crazy family with lots of comings and goings and a wonderful husband. We live in beautiful Utah, surrounded by the majestic Wasatch Mountains. We have seven kids, five of whom are married, so that gives us five more. And we have six darling grandkids!

I love to create with fabric. Nothing else quite matches the texture, warmth, and color that fabric brings to a space. When I started Jillily Studio, my goal was to create and share fresh quilt designs that had an element of tradition but weren’t out of style. I wanted my designs to be at home in any setting, but most of all, I wanted to use them in my home. They’re much more than blankets or bed coverings. They’re the pop of color, the unexpected texture, or the softening elements of each room. I hope you’ll enjoy the same pleasures as you make some of the projects in Home Sweet Quilt to grace your home.

Projects from Home Sweet Quilt 2
“Petal Pushers” and “Scattered Sunshine” from
Home Sweet Quilt

Save 40% on Home Sweet Quilt this week only:
Print book: $24.99 $14.99
Instant-download eBook: $16.99 $10.19

Designer Spotlight: Vicki Bellino of Bloom Creek

Detail of Oh Americana from Bloom Creek Quilts

After taking her first quilting class at a local shop in 1986, Vicki became instantly hooked, making quilt after quilt after quilt. In 2002, she started a machine-quilting business. With the introduction of precut 5″ charms, Vicki began to dabble in designing patterns specifically for charm packs, having grown weary of quilting endless quilts that merely had the squares sewn together in rows! This move ultimately led to Vicki starting her pattern design company, Bloom Creek.

Projects from Bloom Creek Quilts
“A Pack of Posies” and “Oh Americana”
from Bloom Creek Quilts

Bloom Creek QuiltsVICKI’S STORY
Why am I so passionate about quilting? Because quilting affords us so very many choices! From patterns to fabrics, from notions to thread, from tools to techniques, there’s something out there for everyone.

Creativity is what quilting is all about, which is why I’m a firm believer that there is no right or wrong way in quilting, but rather the way that works best for you. I’ve provided a few of my favorite techniques in Bloom Creek Quilts. That doesn’t mean they’re the “right way” to do things, but they work best for me. I encourage you to experience a variety of techniques by either taking classes or joining quilting groups; you’ll not only find the techniques that are most comfortable for you, but you’ll develop lifelong friends who share your enthusiasm for quilting!

Projects from Bloom Creek Quilts 2
“For the Birds” and “Home for the Holidays” from
Bloom Creek Quilts

Save 40% on Bloom Creek Quilts this week only:
Print book: $26.99 $16.19
Instant-download eBook: $18.99 $11.39

Designer Spotlight: Barbara Brandeburg of Cabbage Rose and Teri Christopherson of Black Mountain Quilts

Detail of Wreath of Hearts from Quilting with My Sister

Barbara BrandeburgBarbara Brandeburg made her first quilt at age 19 using dime-store fabric, inventing the instructions and techniques as she sewed. Her years as a young mother were spent sewing traditional pieced quilts and home-decorating projects, using her natural ability to “just figure it out” without a book or class.

In 1994 Barbara launched her pattern company, Cabbage Rose, selecting the name because of her love of decorator floral prints. The year 2014 will mark Barbara’s twentieth year in business—a business that includes books, patterns, and fabric lines. Find Barbara online at Cabbage Rose Quilts.

Teri ChristophersonTeri Christopherson loves quilting because it allows her to play with color—and to buy all the fabric she wants! She taught herself to quilt during her college years. Teri says, “In college, I discovered a quilting show on TV and was immediately hooked. I remember one Saturday afternoon in particular, sitting at a football game next to a nice young man, silently lamenting the fact that I was missing my quilting show. How pathetic is that?” Later, as a young mother in search of a home business, she began selling her quilts in country stores. Business was so good that soon she and her sister Barbara were quilting day and night to keep up with the demand. Teri started publishing her original quilt designs in 1993. You can find her online at Black Mountain Quilts.

Projects from Quilting with My Sister
“Wreath of Hearts” and “Pretty Dresses” from Quilting with My Sister

Quilting with My SisterBARBARA AND TERI’S STORY
For over twenty years, we’ve designed quilts for our pattern businesses. It has been a wonderful journey, but the best part is that we’ve been able to do it together as sisters. Our mother was right—work is more fun when it’s shared with a friend.

As quilters, we feel as if we belong to a second family of sisters—thousands of them! When we got the wild idea to publish our original quilt designs, we flew to Quilt Market in Houston, Texas, with no clear idea of what we were doing or how to do it. We were terrified as we stepped off the airplane. Then we noticed other women sharing our hotel shuttle—they carried quilted tote bags and sported flying-geese pins on their lapels. By the time we reached the hotel, we were gabbing with those strangers like schoolgirls. We came from diverse towns and backgrounds, but were united by a common passion for cutting up beautiful fabric and sewing it back together again.

We’d wanted to write a quilt book together for years to celebrate the wonderful women in our lives—mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends who have supported us along the way. We hope that Quilting with My Sister inspires you to reflect on the meaningful women in your own life. Keep on quilting: we know we will.

Projects from Quilting with My Sister
“Apples” and “Mother’s Day” from Quilting with My Sister

Save 40% on Quilting with My Sister this week only:
Instant-download eBook: $19.99 $11.99

Designer Spotlight: Heather Mulder Peterson

Detail of Maple Harvest from Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures

Heather Mulder PetersonABOUT THE DESIGNER
Heather’s introduction to sewing and quilting began at an early age. By the age of five, she had her own sewing machine, a hand-me-down from her great-grandmother. By the age of 10, Heather had sewn several utilitarian quilts.

Heather had her first inklings about designing in an astronomy class in college. Students were given a tablet of graph paper for homework assignments. Heather discovered that most quilts are based on grids, and she spent many hours in that class doodling quilt blocks. By the end of that semester she had a whole tablet full of quilt pattern ideas, and decided to try publishing a few. To this day, Heather still designs with graph paper and colored pencils, rather than using a computer.

Projects from Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures
“Flower Boxes” and “April Showers” from
Favorite Quilts from Anka’s Treasures

Favorite Quilts from Anka's TreasuresHEATHER’S STORY
My business, Anka’s Treasures, was named after a very inspirational person to me—my great-grandma Anka Petersen. She began the family tradition of sewing by teaching my mom how to sew, and then my mom passed that gift on to me.

I remember, years ago, how I would use a cardboard template to cut squares from a drapery sample book, and then sew the squares together to make a quilt for my playhouse. It wasn’t until years later that a new kind of quilting began to reveal itself to me. It started when a friend of my mom’s was making a sampler quilt, so I started hearing terms like strip piecing, shoo-fly, churn dash, and flying geese. That winter I had a week off from school for Christmas break and I decided to try my hand at quilting. I started with one of the sampler blocks. As soon as one was finished, I started another. By the end of the week I had the entire sampler quilt done (almost 20 blocks). Needless to say, I was immediately addicted. I remember my first trip to a quilt shop to buy fabric—and thus began another addiction. Obviously I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Since then quilting has played a huge part in my life. It’s not just my hobby, it’s my job. It has been a great source of joy and inspiration. I dreamt of writing Favorite Quilts from Anka’s Treasures for some years. Through these designs, I wish to share with you the same sense of fulfillment that I gain from quilting.

Projects from Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures 2
“Candy Apple Blossoms” and “Scrappy Stars” from
Favorite Quilts from Anka’s Treasures

Save 40% on Favorite Quilts from Anka’s Treasures this week only:
Instant-download eBook: $19.99 $11.99

Which quilt designer do you currently have a crush on—or did you develop a new crush while reading this post? Tell us all about it in the comments!

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