Welcome to Year number 7 of our Monthly Designer Challenge & Interview!
I’m Designer, Author, Talk Show host Pat Sloan.
This year we are celebrating the rainbow of colors in our color wheel. Each designer is assigned a certain color to create their block in.
February is a perfect month for the talented Maureen Cracknell’s to visit with us. Her gorgeous Art Gallery fabrics and her expert eye for color always has her matching just the right Aurifil threads. Her color is Blue-Purple, you are going to love meeting her and sewing her block!
You can listen to Maureen and I talk about her freemotion stitching on my Talk Show
And the Challenge part continues as each month we select one random winner to receive a 12 spool BOX of Aurifil thread for just making the challenge block and sharing it at my website! (details at the end plus last month’s winner!)
Let’s get to know Maureen!
Where do you live and what is your favorite spot there?
I live in Coudersport, a small town in Potter County, Pennsylvania.
Coudersport lies in a valley surrounded by beautiful hilltops and I often venture out to our favorite spots throughout the surrounding area to take my finished quilt photos!
When was your FIRST quilt sighting? Did it inspire you to start quilting?
When I decided to start sewing about seven years ago, I was too intimidated by all of the beautiful quilts that I was seeing online to just dive right in. I was afraid to cut into the fabrics I loved so much, for fear I’d ruin them. For a couple years I stuck to smallish sewing projects until one day I decided to just go for it and I’ve been non-stop quilting ever since!
From the moment I discovered the online quilting community I’ve been constantly inspired, and since I’m self-taught and don’t have any local family and friends to quilt with, I’ve relied on the wonderful friendships I’ve made online to keep me both inspired and encouraged to stick to my own style of quilting!
Did you have a career prior this, what was it?
I’ve always been a creative, jumping from one project and medium to the next. I’ve always loved to learn new techniques in all categories of art and would have never imagined I’d find such an intense passion for sewing and quilting.
I became a stay-at-home-mom is 2002, and once my children were old enough to grip a crayon or brush we were spending our days creating together. For extra income during those (pre-sewing) years, I did everything from fine portrait commissions to restoring cemetery statues to face painting, but without a doubt my favorite art projects will always be the ones I’ve made with my children.
Now that my daughter is old enough, I’m teaching her to sew, and we’re having a blast! And while my sewing, designing fabrics, selling the things I make, and blogging has certainly become a fulltime job, I’m still very much a stay-at-home-mom first and foremost!
Have you had a ‘light bulb’ moment in making
My “light bulb” moment would absolutely be the quilt-as-you-go technique I often use and teach in my Craftsy class Quick Quilt as You Go.
It’s a simple method but has changed the way I sew in BIG ways! I love jumping back and forth between QAYG and non-QAYG projects. It’s so much fun and fast!
What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it?
Currently my studio is a bit overwhelming for me! Typically I try to be very clean and organized since my room is one of the first you see when you enter our home, but that’s becoming tougher and tougher. This year, I’m very excited to have the opportunity to relocate to a studio space right downtown in Coudersport. I’ve completely outgrown my current space, now that it’s overflowing with projects, rolls of fabric and furniture! I’ll be sharing my studio journey on my blog and invite those reading to follow along! In the meantime, I’m trying my best to keep things looking pretty, especially my fabric stash!
Do you have a GREAT tip?
I’ve learned that one can’t have too many shelves, baskets, or bins! Keeping things organized and looking pretty is the best thing for being creative and feeling good. While I keep my fabrics folded and organized by designer on the shelves, I also have lots of baskets and containers for storing and organizing my other necessary supplies. It keeps things looking nice and tidy! The best thing I’ve done is dedicating an extra-large basket just for scraps. As I work I toss all usable scraps into this basket and once it’s full, I bundle the scraps by weight and destash them on my Instagram or Etsy shop. It’s been a wonderful system for me!
What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?
It was difficult, but I chose my most favorite colors to include in my Bohemian Garden Aurifil thread collection.
From the dozen my three stand-out favorites would have to be – 2000 Light Sand because I use it the most, 2784 Dark Navy because it’s perfect to use for my thread sketching, and 2225 Salmon because it’s so pretty! I also love all of the peachy-pink, yellow, and aqua shades!
What else is new?
At the beginning of this month, friend and fellow Art Gallery Fabrics designer Sharon Holland and I launched our first co-hosted community event, the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew-along! The response has been incredible and ALL are welcome to join us anytime! You can follow this link to find all the details, it’s never too late to jump in and join the fun! https://maureencracknellhandmade.blogspot.com/2017/01/introducing-sewcial-bee-sampler-sew.html
I released my newest fabric collection, Garden Dreamer this past October and my next will be hitting shops this May, I can’t wait!
What about Blue/Purple on our color wheel inspired you?
I truly love all colors, and shades of purple are among my most favorites. My assigned color evoked images of Summer blooms – Hydrangeas, Delphinium, and Hyacinth flowers, so my block design had to be a play on a pieced floral pattern.
And a few on the light side…
What’s the most interesting thing you see out of your office or kitchen window?
A few years ago someone in the neighbor released their domestic pet bunnies and since they’ve bred like bunnies do and they’re literally everywhere! The entire neighbor takes care of them. If I look out any window in my home, at any time of day, it’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll see a bunny or several hopping around!
Are you a Dog or Cat person?
I have one of each, a Himalayan Ragdoll named Lily and a Morkie named Penny. I love them both, but if I’m being honest our dog loves us unconditionally and our cat just tolerates us!
What is your favorite book you have ever read?.
On my way to and back home from Quilt Market last Spring I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and it was just what I needed to read at that time. I highly recommend it. I loved it!
Visit Maureen at
- Blog: https://maureencracknellhandmade.blogspot.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maureencracknellhandmade
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maureencracknell/
- AGF Fabrics: http://liveartgalleryfabrics.com/person/maureen-cracknell/
- Craftsy Class: http://craftsy.me/maureencracknell
FIRST – for those who did our 2016 Challenge, I will have a setting VERY SOON.. sorry for the delay this year. You can use any of the prior settings found at>> PATTERN PAGE
For 2017 I am making all my blocks with French General fabric. I have both blocks together over there… they look great!!
ENTER YOUR BLOCK so you can be in the running to win a box of thread, last month’s winner is below
And JOIN my fantastic online quilt group with the most incredible quilt show each day… I’d love to meet you!
******* JOIN our Aurifil Family *******
EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block.. that person will receive a special Aurifil thread prize! Winners are all contacted email
Our RANDOM picker this month selected is bestbelle! She has WON a BOX of Aurifil thread! Such gorgeous blocks entered .. see all the great versions HERE
REMEMBER – The Photo entry is moved to my website where more people can enter, right HERE