Hi this is Designer/Radio show host Pat Sloan! We off to a really fun start this year! The designers blocks have made you happy.. I know because a ton of you have shared your blocks with us! There is a theme for the year, I asked each designer to create a block inspired by a woman who has given them inspiration.
When was your FIRST quilt sighting? Did it inspire you to start quilting?
I’m not sure if I can remember my “first” quilt sighting. I was always crafty and loved using the sewing machine. But the quilting bug really bit me around 2002 when I attended a local quilt show. It’s a small quilt show and anyone can enter so there were lots of quilts made from different levels of expertise. I remember seeing a quilt that i just fell in love with. It had simply pieced blocks, probably 9 patches, and hand embroidered blocks of quotes and scripture in between. At the time it seemed like a very detailed quilt that only an expert could make. But seeing all the beginner quilts encouraged me to just get started. I later designed my own version of that very first quilt and gave it to a friend when she had her first baby.
Do you still have your first project you ever made? What was it?
The first pieced quilt I ever made was for my first born son. I cut a square template from the box his crib came in and traced it onto fabric which I then cut out with scissors. I was going to hand stitch the squares together but after a few rows my husband felt sorry for me and took me to buy my first machine.
Unfortunately I have no idea what ever happened to that quilt or where it is. The quilts pictured are the oldest quilts I have that I made. I made them for my boys and appliqued a letter for their names on each one. I didn’t know what I was doing so each block has batting between it and the background plus batting between the quilt top and backing. They have a nice weight to them and everyone in the family loves them.
When you go to a quilt show, what types of quilts are you drawn to?
I think color usually attracts me first. I’ve always loved color and how people use it in different ways.I have a hard time pin pointing a specific style that I’m drawn to because I see the beauty in every quilt. Sometimes I’m surprised at the quilts that I fall in love with at a show- something totally out of my ‘box’ like batiks, or foundation paper piecing. Every time I leave a show I am excited to dabble in another style of quilting.
We all have parts of the process we ‘prefer’ more than others. What part of quilt making do you ‘Prefer’ most and why? And which the least.. and why?
I love the beginning- that first light bulb moment when an idea is just beginning. Thinking of the whole design layout and fabric choices. Sometimes the design comes first, then the fabric. Other times it’s the fabric that inspires the design. It’s the excitement of seeing all the ideas floating around in my head become a reality. Hex Plus is a prime example of that. I had this idea of putting “plus” signs in a hexagon shape and loved every minute making this quilt. At this point it is my favorite but that is subject to change from day to day.
I absolutely hate binding. I usually pass my quilts to friends who bind them for me. If I absolutely must bind a quilt I machine bind it to get it over with quickly.
Did you have a career prior to making art?
I didn’t really have a career prior to this. I like learning new things and dabbled in this and that all through college. It seems I was changing my major every semester. As a result I never graduated and became a stay at home Mom. But I continued my love for learning new things. Several years ago I decided to go back to school (online) to finish up some credits so that I could get into a radiology technician program. It sounded cool and really interested me.
I was quilting a lot in my spare time to add some craftiness to my life. I thought it would be fun to sell some of the patterns I was designing and started ‘Crazy Old Ladies’. I was pleasantly surprised with the success of my first patterns. Soon things were getting pretty busy with the patterns so I decided to take a semester off from school. It was a good thing I did because I found out I had thyroid cancer. That was a crazy year, but in the midst of all of my surgeries and treatments I designed my first fabric collection, Going Coastal, for Michael Miller Fabrics. It’s amazing the way things work out some time! Now I juggle the patterns, fabric design, and lots of quilt making while raising three amazing kids.
What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown?
I grew up in Northern California. The mountains and the beach were only a couple hours away in opposite directions. As kids my parents would take the family to Bodega Bay at least once a year. You have to know that in Northern California the water is cold and the coast is usually overcast or foggy, but we loved it anyway. Every once in a while you would get lucky and have a day where the sun was shining, we call that “beach luck”.
When I was dating my husband I took him to Bodega Bay. He had never been to the ocean having grown up in Idaho. It was an unseasonably beautiful day and we joked that he brought the beach luck. To this day we always have great beach weather when he’s along for the trip.
Do you have a tip or trick to make your quilt making easier?
Simplify. Honestly I’m not a gadget girl. I use the bare minimum of tools when it comes to quilting and it seems to work for me. I try to cut corners whenever possible but I don’t really do anything that fancy. When I discover something to make my life easier I jump right on it. One of those things was using tape on the machine when sewing Half-Square-Triangles. This is one of those concepts that has become a normal part of my routine. If you haven’t seen or tried it by now, you’ll be doing too in no time!
What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?
Aside from 2021 (the perfect white), which Amy picked, I would have to say 5002, 2805, and 1147. I absolutely love these colors.
What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it?
Ugh, my studio! I dream that my studio looks like Camille’s, but that’s just not the case. :o) When we moved into our current house the only room available to me was the front room. You know the one you see right when you walk in the front door. I cleaned it up for the picture but lets be realistic, it doesn’t usually look like this. I can’t hide it (there is no door) so I don’t.
Friends and family know what I do so they’re used to seeing the disaster that is my creative space. I really love this room though. It has two large windows so I get lots of natural light. It’s also on the main floor of our home at the bottom of the stairs so I can hear everything that goes on in the house from this room. That comes in handy with being a Mom. Ideally I would love a bigger space with a door, but I’m fortunate to have what I do have.
If you could train with, or work with one person for a day.. who would it be?
I’ve been very blessed in my career as a quilter to meet and get to know some really fabulous people. When I became a licensed designer for Michael Miller Fabrics I really didn’t have a clue of how the fabric design world worked. Early on I was able to visit the west coast studio of Kathy Miller and see the goings on of this creative place and get a better idea of how things work.
I learned a lot but I still don’t know very much (if that makes sense). My dream is to be able to travel to New York and hang out in the east coast office of Michael Miller Fabrics and further immerse myself in the business side of the quilting industry. It’s just fascinating.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I have so many fun things happening this year! In May at spring quilt market I’ll be debuting my 5th fabric collection for Michael Miller Fabrics. I can’t sneak a peek here but keep your eyes open because things will start coming very soon. :o)
I also have a bunch of new “Crazy Old Ladies” patterns coming soon as well as a new pattern line “Emily Herrick Designs”
I’ve been busy making quilts all year and you’ll start to see them making their way into your studio in various quilting magazines including Modern Quilts Unlimited, Quilts n’ More, Fons and Porter’s Easy Quilts and Quilting Quickly, so keep an eye out!
I’m probably most excited about the ‘Small Town Quilt Show’ retreat that Natalia Bonner is putting on. It’s being held in the gorgeous mountain valley of Midway, UT and is going to be fabulous. I’m teaching my Hex Plus quilt and I just can’t wait. I hope some of you can join me- it’s going to be a blast!
What woman Inspired your Quilt Block?
When I started quilting I soaked up everything anyone would tell me on how to do it. I wanted to make sure I was doing it “right”. Several years in I stumbled on the blog of Jacquie Gering Tallgrass Prairie Studio. I was fascinated by her quilts (Jacquie’s quilt is above). They were gorgeous but they were different. Her pieces weren’t all square and the blocks weren’t symmetrical…but they were still amazing quilts.
She was my first introduction into “modern” quilts and when I started to realize that there are no “rules” in quilting. Quilting is Art and seeing Jacquie’s work has really helped me to learn that. Her quilts means something to her and invoke feeling into the people that see them. I realized that I was putting so much thought and feeling into my quilts that I didn’t want to be bound by what someone said I had to do. In fact, much the opposite. If someone says “Oh, you can’t make a quilt with crooked pieces” then I want to say “Oh yeah? Watch me!” I had the opportunity to meet Jacquie a few years ago when market was in Kansas City.
She was the kindest, sweetest, most humble lady and seemed almost taken back that I was so excited to meet her. Of course that made me like her more. When I say I’m inspired by Jacquie it’s not that I want to make quilts that look like hers, it’s that I want to be the kind of quilter that does what I love because I love doing it and I love sharing it with everyone else.
The first quilt of hers I saw was “Not lost in the woods”. That quilt was the inspiration for my block.
- The Book you are currently reading– I just finished “My Story” by Elizabeth Smart. It hits close to home but was such an amazing book.
- Last Movie you Watched- “About Time” from an Instagram recommendaion. It was so good. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
- Your current favorite Song– “Say Something” by A Great Big World. Such a sad song but so beautiful.
- The snack you crave- Anything sweet but particularly peanut M&M’s
- The Color you have always LOVED.…. GREEN!
Visit Emily at
The very talented Natalia Bonner has a Machine Quilting tip for you each month. Natalia will be quilting the final top for the Aurifil Gallery in Milan Italy!
Visit Natalia at http://www.pieceandquilt.com/
I won’t lie, I TOTALLY love how these blocks look together… excited! CLICK HERE to see how I auditioned fabric and to see all my blocks together!
Are you on Facebook? I have a new group with the most incredible show and tell going on! You should see it! CLICK HERE to join me… I’d love to meet you!
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EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block.. that person will receive a special Aurifil thread prize! This month our random winning block is from Sheila! Winners are all contacted via Flickr email and posted at our FLICKR PAGE CLICK HERE