Yesterday was the first day of spring though for much of the country it doesn’t feel like it. Today I want to provide a glimpse of spring with this month’s Blogger Bundle. Curated by my friend, Yvonne Fuchs of Quilting Jetgirl, this bright, cheerful bundle is filled with vivid color. On the off chance you aren’t familiar with Yvonne, she is a blogger, modern quilter and pattern designer who lives in Southern California with her husband and Puppy the cat. I met her several years ago and since then she has been a constant source of information and inspiration to me and her many readers. She is involved with the Quilters Planner, was a leader in the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop for several years, and is actively involved with the Modern Quilt Guild. All that being said, the most valuable facet of Yvonne’s work is her effort to build community within both the quilter’s on-line and ‘in-person’ communities. I greatly appreciate how Yvonne tirelessly supports each of these.
Let’s look at the bundle she curated! It contains fabric from across lines in shades of pink, yellow and green. There is a delightful ‘rainbow’ component to this selection which includes pieces fro Art Gallery Fabrics, Windham Fabrics and Henry Glass Fabrics. Yvonne chose to use pieces designed by Maureen Cracknell, Carrie Bloomston (one of my all time favorite designers), Kim Diehl and Dana Willard.
As usual for me, the bundle surprised me. I can totally see putting the pink arrows with the two rainbow fabrics. But when she added the cheddar yellow (from Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer, and the grassy green and rich rust fabrics from Bloomston’s Dreamer line, the collection became richer and more sophisticated. I was pleasantly surprised by this. Each month, working with these quilters, watching them pull colors together, I learn more and more.
For more information, please click here to read Yvonne’s Blogger Bundle post. She has one bundle to share with a luck winner too! As before, this bundle is available in my shop and is on sale today through Friday. (One thing to note: I am leaving Friday night for a week with my son and his family. So orders placed before 3pm on Friday will ship by Friday afternoon. Orders placed after that will wait until my return and will ship on Monday, April 2nd. If you have questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comments.
Thank you to Yvonne for creating this pretty bundle and brightening our day with it. It will no doubt add color to many quilter’s stash!
I am really excited to share my first Blogger Bundle with you! For the past couple of months I have been working with a group of awesome quilt bloggers. They will be curating bundles of fabric from my shop for me and I will offer these as both fat quarter and half-yard bundles. It has been a really fun experience for me and I am learning!! There is always something new to be learned, isn’t there?
This month’s bundle was curated by Sarah Goer. She writes at Sarah Goer Quilts. A stay-at-home mom of two school age children, Sarah has a passion for fabric, color and quilting. She has (already!) taught her two young kiddos to quilt and they will have a quilt hanging at QuiltCon next month. Sarah and I became acquainted several years ago when we both were starting our blogs. Since then, we have worked together on several different projects; the most recent of which was when I pattern tested her new Scattered Squares pattern. I really admire Sarah’s use of color. Her newsletters always contain a few fresh palettes to inspire the reader. I enjoy seeing the suggested colors she offers up.
When she agreed to put a bundle together, I knew I would like it! Honestly, this experience has been so interesting. I am in my shop each day working with these fabrics; cutting orders and shipping them off to customers. But seeing the collections that someone else puts together reminds me that there are endless combinations to be made with those yummy bolts I have downstairs!
Sarah chose a grouping of teal blue, gray, navy blue and yellow. I was surprised there was no purple in the bundle as that is often a go-to color for Sarah. 🙂
But this bundle works! It is really vibrant and bright! This collection includes the following:
Terra Firma Sunlit – from Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer line
Dots in Gray from Red Rooster’s Basically Low line
Atomic Web from Michael Miller’s Sassy Cat line
Sashiko Florette in Teal from BariJ’s Wild Bloom line
Frogland Friends Coordinate by Henry Glass
What do you think of this bundle? I am curious to hear your opinions. Also, Sarah has a post up today talking about our project and she even has a bundle to give away to a lucky reader. Hop over and take a peek. Maybe this is your lucky day?
Of course the bundle is also offered in my shop. It will be on sale today and tomorrow only, for 20% off!! (No coupon code needed.) Prices go back to normal on Friday!
Welcome back! Today I want to share a bit more about Maureen Cracknell and her gorgeous work. If you haven’t yet read it, part one of this interview was posted here yesterday.
When I spoke with Maureen last week I became intrigued by her stories and her developmental process as an artist. What most impressed me though, was her humility. She spoke with such a genuine tone and it was incredibly easy to have a great conversation with her. I asked her to talk about what inspires her when she is working on a line of fabric and she told me some wonderful stories.
It seems that sometimes, drawing, painting and then designing a line of fabric is very therapeutic for Maureen; it is a way to process and work through a life experience. She shared two of these stories with me.
The first one was when she designed her very first collection, Wild and Free. This was the first line Maureen designed for Art Gallery Fabrics. Her mentor, Pat, had been encouraging her to take the step and design a line of her own. However, Maureen held herself back by worrying it ‘wouldn’t be perfect’, that maybe her work would be only ‘mediocre’. She was afraid to put herself out there and kept saying she wasn’t ready yet.
In June of 2013, Maureen’s father passed away. This was a time of intense grief, as one would expect. Out at a restaurant, sharing a meal with her family, Maureen ran into a friend of her father’s. He was expressing his condolences to her and he asked her if she was designing fabric. Maureen was somewhat taken aback and replied no, she was not. This friend told her that her father had mentioned Maureen would be using her artistic skill to design fabric. Her father told this friend that he was so very proud of her and knew she would do well as a designer, that he was proud she was going to be ‘making fabric’. This conversation between her father and his friend stuck with Maureen and she took it as a message from her dad that she could indeed do this.
At about the same time, Maureen received a call from her mentor, Pat Bravo. They talked and Pat mentioned that the whole Art Gallery booth was ready for the upcoming Fall Quilt Market show. She said they were only missing one thing. Maureen, of course, asked “what is that”? Pat’s reply was, “you, we are missing your fabric”. Maureen was blown away and this was just the gentle push she needed to jump in and begin.
In Wild and Free, Maureen used drawings she already had as well as new pieces of art to create the line. There is even a design based on drawings she made with her children. The star fabric, Midnight Roof, is one of these. This simple blender is based on a game Maureen often played with her children where she would draw a line and then the child would add a line. They continued this back and forth sharing and together, they would create stars. She and her children also played this game to create hearts (with each person drawing half of the heart) as well as portraits where they each add to the portrait, turn by turn.
When Maureen agreed to jump in and start designing her own line, Pat generously made herself available to Maureen, teaching her how to use Illustrator for design purposes. They had many Skype sessions with Pat guiding Maureen through the design process as well as teaching her to use the software. Not long after they began, Maureen’s first line, Fleet and Flourish, was displayed in the Art Gallery Fabric booth at Quilt Market. Maureen won Best New Exhibitor that year! What an amazing start to her career as a designer.
The next story is as heartwarming as the first! The current Maureen Cracknell line that is flooding quilter’s stash everywhere is Garden Dreamer. It is just a fantastic collection of florals, both large scale and small, with shades of greens, blues, corals and purples. Truly a gorgeous line of fabric, she told me the story of how it came about.
When her children were little the Cracknell family lived in a house which happened to have a very small yard. Her neighbor, Leslie, kindly asked if Maureen would like to bring her children to play in her yard so they would have a little more space to run around. As any sane mother of three young children would, Maureen happily accepted the offer. She and her neighbor became very close and their children grew to be friends. While the children played, Leslie taught Maureen to garden. They spent many playdates together in the yard, weeding and tending the garden. This was Maureen’s introduction to gardening and she enjoyed being in the yard with her friend and both of their children. Her neighbor had a very green thumb and grew gorgeous perennials in her yard. She took the time to teach Maureen how to garden, what the names of the plants were and what sort of environment they would grow in. Sometime later the Cracknell family moved to a larger house. When they moved, her neighbor dug up plants, dividing them from her perennials so that Maureen could plant them in her new yard. Unfortunately, not too much later, her neighbor was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Maureen was very supportive of Leslie during the treatment phases but ultimately she passed away. Grieving this loss in her life, Maureen created Garden Dreamer in tribute to her neighbor. She says that “Leslie passed away just before I began sewing but I know she would be thrilled about all of this.”
I think the emotion Maureen pours into her work translates to beautiful color and composition. Her fabrics are full of joy. I asked Maureen whether she had any input into the adorable selvages that Art Gallery puts on her fabrics. She explained it was actually up to the in house designers at Art Gallery. They design her promotional materials as well as the beautiful selvages. I don’t believe I have bought a piece of fabric just to get the cute selvage, but it is a fun bonus to see a pretty selvage trimming the fabric I bring home. Art Gallery for the win here!
Fleet & Flourish Booth at Quilt Market
We had a nice time reminiscing about her experiences at Quilt Market as a part of the Art Gallery team. It was heartwarming to hear the love Maureen has for her partners at Art Gallery. She is both indebted to them for all she has learned from them as well as invested in the company as a loyal member of their team of designers. She spoke about the way that Art Gallery fosters an environment of collaborative teamwork.
From left: Sharon Holland, Pat Bravo, Katarina Roccella, BariJ, and Maureen Cracknell
I want to interject here. My experience thus far with Art Gallery as a new shop owner has been superb. I have called numerous times with questions on process, delivery dates, shipping cost, etc. Each time I have been greeted with warmth and a kind hello. Sometimes I find myself talking with a knowledgeable customer support person and other times my call is taken by none other than the owner, Walter Bravo. He treats me with as much attention as he would a large operation; I am never made to feel less important because my orders are usually five bolts at a time. This impresses me deeply. Prior to retirement, I managed a Human Resources group for quite a few years. I know first hand the benefits of fostering an atmosphere of teamwork and collaberation within a group of employees. The team becomes like a family and the positive effect of this trickles down and is felt by customers, thereby increasing their loyalty to the company. I am an example of this. I am proud to carry Art Gallery Fabrics in my shop.
Being the curious sort and not wanting the conversation to end, I also asked who makes the decision to make her fabric into the usual gorgeous cottons that Art Gallery produces as well as knits, canvases, voiles and, soon, rayon fabrics. This is a collaborative decision made by the designer and the team at Art Gallery but the head designers have the final say. I am happy to see the other types of fabric offered as it allows for so many different sorts of projects. Art Gallery does an awesome job with their lookbooks. If you haven’t taken a peek, it is worth your time. There are samples of everything from home decor, quilts, dresses, skirts, totes, bags, pillows and more. Free patterns are offered on many of the examples. If you want to see the book for Garden Dreamer, click here.
I hope my posts have given you a peek into Maureen’s work and creative process. I feel like I made a new friend after chatting with her and I am grateful for that.
As I mentioned yesterday, Maureen’s Garden Dreamer fabric is on sale through Sunday, March 19th. Save 15% this week only. No coupon code needed, prices are already adjusted.