Love sewing year ’round? Now you’ll have a special reason to sew for every season—and that reason is popular designer Bonnie Sullivan and her new book, A Change of Seasons!
Bonnie’s refined folk-art style is instantly recognizable—and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to re-create. Use easy whipstitch appliqué, simple embroidery, and fun embellishments to make showstopping seasonal wall quilts, framed fabric art, banners, and even sweet little stuffies to tuck into nooks and crannies.
From A Change of Seasons
You’ll love capturing the charms of each season as you stitch with Bonnie all through the year. You’ll love all the decorating ideas inside, too!
We love this idea from the book for decorating with framed stitcheries—instead of hanging yours on a wall, prop it up against a wall and embellish the scene with winter greenery and a few things that sparkle. Voilà!
We asked Bonnie to answer a few questions we’ve been dying to ask, and she graciously obliged us. Read our Q & A with Bonnie below.
But first . . .
FABRIC GIVEAWAY ALERT! Our friends at Maywood Studio sent us not one, but two Maywood Studio Woolies Pods featuring Bonnie Sullivan fabrics. Pods are exclusive precut kits with patchwork pieces that are cut and ready to sew. Zero fabric leftovers!
Stitch This!: Tell us about your designing career—where did you start, and where are you now?
Bonnie: Although I’ve been designing and creating little things for as long as I can remember, I didn’t start designing for the quilting world until 2001. I started creating for craft and holiday shows after my first son was born as a way to stay home with him and still earn a bit of money for the family.
When both my sons went off to school, I went back to college to finish a degree I’d started 20 years earlier. I graduated in 1999 with a degree in Family Studies. However, I soon came to realize that my passion was in working with textiles, and I began the journey I’m still on and enjoying today.
My first Quilt Market was in Kansas City, Missouri, in the spring of 2002. I had a line of penny-rug patterns that I published under the name All Through the Night—which is when I used to do a lot of my work. Shortly after that Market, I began designing for Maywood Studio. I started with a line of flannels called Woolies, which look like the wool I enjoy working with. Since then, I’ve designed several other Woolies and cotton-fabric lines. I love designing and continually count my blessings that I am able to be working in this industry with people who share my passion.
ST!: Your sister is Kathy Schmitz, the best-selling author of Stitches from the Garden. Did you and Kathy grow up in a “maker” family?
Bonnie: We absolutely did! I’m one of three sisters. Our mother put together a craft room in the basement with every type of supply we could want. We spent countless hours making Troll and Barbie clothes, homemade Christmas ornaments, miniature furniture out of cardboard and fabric, and whatever else our little imaginations could come up with. Our mother also taught 4-H sewing, and we come from a long line of quilters.
ST!: Obviously you find the seasons a source of inspiration for your designs. Are there other things that inspire your work?
Bonnie: I’m inspired by almost everything. I love looking through books that feature antique quilts and needle arts, but just taking a walk or listening to music can inspire. I do tend to look at the world and the things around me and wonder if there is a quilt or penny-rug pattern that I can make from what I see.
ST!: Tell us more about your popular Woolies fabric collection for Maywood Studios. How did the collection come about, and what’s your process for designing fabric like?
Bonnie: When I first began to work with Maywood, one of the things I asked was if they could make flannels that mimicked the look of wool. Having flannel that looks like wool has extra benefits. Some people are allergic to wool but still love the look, and now they can achieve it. Wool can also be very expensive; Woolies are a more affordable option. Also, I love combining wool and Woolies flannels. Most often I use flannel for the background of a quilt or wall hanging and appliqué with wool on top.
The designs for Woolies are taken from actual pieces of hand-dyed wool. I design coordinating flannels with a motif, most recently a couple of Christmas collections called “Winter Folk” and “Crazy for Christmas,” as well as an autumn group called “Pumpkin Party.” I start by sketching out my designs, scanning them onto my computer, and cleaning up the lines. Then I drop in colors and textures. From there, Maywood Studios works their magic and gets the designs ready to send to the mill.
ST!: Your pattern company, All Through the Night, is a household name in stitching circles. Was writing A Change of Seasons much different from writing the single patterns you’re so well known for?
Bonnie: To be honest, I was a little intimidated at first. I have a certain way I write my patterns that I’m comfortable with. However, the editors at Martingale were wonderful. They led me through the process, and I was able to write the patterns in a way not too dissimilar to the way I usually do. All in all it’s been a wonderful experience.
ST!: You were recently married (congratulations!) and travel a lot from Oregon to Australia to be with your husband. Do Aussie stitchers differ from those in the states? Have they influenced your work?
Bonnie: I’m such a fortunate woman! I get to spend time with quilters (not to mention my husband!) here and on the other side of the world. I don’t think stitchers differ much from here to there. They’re people who love textiles, quilting, and sewing, and they enjoy spending time with others who share their passion—all the same things we appreciate! But I have noticed that many Australian quilters use fabrics a little differently. I’ve seen several examples of varied patterns of fabrics used together, pieced and appliquéd into combinations that seem uniquely their own. I LOVE the look! If I take anything away from the Australian quilting community, it’s to not be afraid to use textiles in combinations that I never would have thought of before.
Which season most inspires you to sew: spring, summer, fall, or winter?
Tell us in the comments and you could win a pair of Woolies precut packs from Maywood Studio plus a copy of A Change of Seasons! We’ll choose two random winners 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 winners are:
Jean, who says, “Fall–I love the colors, the variety of textiles and the *cozy* feeling it seems to instill.”
Lisa, who says, “Winter is definitely my favorite time to sew. After the holidays when I have more time and can relax and enjoy the process without so many distractions. Fall is a close second, it’s my favorite season, all the beautiful colors are so inspiring, but I get so busy with school, fall gardening chores, holiday preparations and getting outdoors to enjoy the changing season.”
Ladies, we’ll email you about your prizes. Congratulations!