Carol Hopkins started quilting in the days before rotary cutters (Yes, Virginia, there was a time when quilts were cut out with scissors). It was 1980, and she made a queen-size Log Cabin quilt using a yardstick to measure her pieces. That’s determination for you!
She was drawn to small quilts early on (“They match my attention span,” she laughs) and she made so many she became known locally for them. But it was a simple strip quilt she’d made for her five nieces’ American Girl dolls that launched her pattern company. When she showed the quilts at a guild meeting, the response was so enthusiastic that she was asked to teach a class and later, to write the pattern for it. That pattern, Little Nieces, remains Carol’s all-time bestselling pattern.
But it was when Carol discovered Civil War reproduction fabrics and paired them with her small quilts that a new passion was born. She designed six patterns for her first Quilt Market booth in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since. Her first book, Civil War Legacies, is a collection of 15 of her most popular patterns using Civil War fabric. It was also Martingale’s number-three bestseller of 2012. That means a LOT of small quilts are being made out there in Quiltland.
Carol’s new book, Civil War Legacies II, is another irresistible collection of small quilts, including her most successful pattern in Civil War quilt fabric, Baskets for Betsy.
FABRIC GIVEAWAY ALERT! Our friends at Marcus Fabrics have provided a bundle of fabrics from Judie Rothermel’s “Enduring Legacy” line to share with you! Find out how you can win it plus a copy of Civil War Legacies II at the bottom of this post. Visit the Marcus Fabrics blog for another chance to win the eBook!
So what does all this have to do with summer vacation? Everything, because that’s when Carol designs, sews, writes patterns, and takes care of all the other details involved in running a pattern business. Since 1976, Carol has been a professor of literacy and language education at Purdue University, and summer break is when she devotes herself to quilting. I don’t know if that’s a very restful vacation, but it sure sounds like fun!
I asked Carol what inspires her and how she goes about designing all those quilts. She explained that she doesn’t design on paper; she has to work in fabric and let the quilt grow organically. She starts by looking at pictures of antique quilts for inspiration, then grabs a block book and hunts for just the right block to work with. She’ll make a group of blocks and play around with them on her design wall until everything comes together just right. I also asked if she had a favorite part of the process, and her answer was one we can all relate to: buying the fabric!
Take a look at some of Carol’s 17 new quilts from Civil War Legacies II:
See more of Carol’s latest designs here.
Have you discovered Civil War reproduction fabric? What kind of quilts do you make with it? Tell us in the comments
and you could win the Civil War Legacies II eBook PLUS the Civil War fabric bundle from Marcus Fabrics! We’ll choose a 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 randomly chosen winner is Annette, who says:
“I am a sewer of many years of many different things, from clothing to handbags. I am truly a newbie to the making of quilts and would much rather do small items. Like Carol, a lot of the items I have made through the years have been organic so to speak. I like to grab the fabric and start the cutting. Let the magic happen. I have made a couple of hand bags with the Civil War era fabrics for gifts. They were gorgeous and well received.”
We’ll email you about your prizes, Annette. Congratulations!