Thank you Lissa Alexander, Marketing Director of Moda Fabrics, for introducing me to another designer, Scott Hansen. Scott’s pattern Lime Grape Fizz appears in our March/April ’10 issue (No. 132). The inspiration for Lime Grape Fizz came from an interesting source. Read more from Scott to learn about one of our male quilt designers and how this quilt came to be.
I would have to say that I have always been fascinated with color and design, and as a kid I did all sorts of creative ventures. The first needlework crafts I remember doing were crochet and embroidery. Then in junior high I took a home ec class and made my own shirt and pillow for the sewing portions, and I thought that was pretty cool. It was right around America’s Bicentennial then, and Colonial America was really “big” and I really had this desire for old-fashioned stuff. So that was when I decided to make my first quilt. It was big and heavy and Mom and I tied it, cause well, neither of us knew much about quilting. And that was pretty much the extent of my sewing at that point.
Fast forward to the mid-80’s when my best friend’s sister and girlfriend were really into counted cross-stitch, and I thought well that is something pretty cool and to me way easier than regular embroidery because it was so “orderly”. For about 5 years that kept my hands and mind busy when I was doing other 20-something activities, like dating and getting married. When I first got married, I wanted to make my wife a really nice Christmas stocking, but I needed a sewing machine to put it together. So I cross-stitched an elaborate panel and after picking up a $200 Singer in 1990 with my first “bonus” check from work, I went at it. Sometime after that, my wife and I happened to drop in on a quilt show, and I was mesmerized by the wonderful creativity I saw there. I also picked up my first “fat quarter” pack. I think that was the turning point. I made a lap quilt for my grandma in the nursing home. The pattern was “Card Trick” in pinks, lavender, and dusty blue. I then started making quilts for friends babies, and then eventually our three babies as well. The points on my oldest son’s quilt do not match in the slightest. I was still doing cardboard pattern pieces….and well 5/8” seams….
A few more years later, and I picked up a magazine that talked about the top ten quilt shops, and since I was getting tired of my job in retail management I was really intrigued with the idea of opening up my own quilt shop, so I called and or wrote all those owners about their experiences. This would have been about 1995 now, and of all those owners I really developed a great relationship with Mary Ertherington and Connie Tesene of Country Threads fame. That next spring Quilt Market happened to be in Portland Oregon, and Mary and Connie invited me down to come help them (we live out in the country NE of Seattle). Wow! That was so exciting, inspiring, and overwhelming. I came back excited, but not sure where to go next.
Well, the next 10 years or so, we had a very busy family life, and the quilt shop dream just seemed to fade as the urgencies of life picked up pace and took over. I was still quilting and making up pretty much my own ideas, but never really doing much more than that. I did some pattern testing for a new friend Sara Nephew’s books, and went to a couple more Quilt Markets in Portland, Oregon.
I had my first original quilt design published in Mark Lipinski’s Quilter’s Home in the Jan/Feb 08 issue. I had also started a blog the year before, and that was a neat way to share with other quilters. Shortly after that issue, Quilt Market was again in Portland, Oregon, so I went down to help my friend Sara Nephew with her booth down there. This time at Market, I went around and met all sorts of wonderful people, and was more connected than before. When I came home, I kept up on those connections, and kept blogging and designing. I started doing quilt designs for Free Spirit and managed to get some more quilts published in magazines, and was so delighted to have my first Moda quilt picked up by Quiltmaker. Lissa Alexander at Moda got me hooked up with Carolyn Beam here, and I must say they have both been a delight to work with.
Now to tell you a little bit about the inspiration for this quilt Lime Grape Fizz. It’s design basically came from this old raggedy comforter “quilt” we found by the side of the road near home.
It wasn’t great (actually it is pretty ugly), but it was freshly dumped, and it had an intriguing fabric. I am a sucker for anything old and abandoned, and it needed a home, even if it was just for the car or emergency kit. We took it home, washed it, and it has been the base for a many a picnic or snuggling under while watching fireworks episode. The print on the fabric always reminded me of a quilt, and when I saw the colors in the Eva line by Basic Grey for Moda, I thought this is the fabric to make that quilt that had been stewing in my mind for many a year. The name for the quilt was discovered at Fall Quilt Market last year by the attendees of Quiltmaker’s Schoolhouse Session, I am told…I could not even think of a name for this quilt, and I LOVE naming my quilts….but this one escaped me, and I think it was because it was meant to have this name!!
So that’s my story in a nutshell, I haven’t totally abandoned the idea of a quilt shop, but it is on a back burner for now. I have really enjoyed this designing thing, I have more quilts coming out in the next year in various magazines, and on my website I have links to free downloadable patterns that I have done for a few different fabric companies. I have big plans for 2010 for a lot of new things in regard to designing, and I hope that you will drop on by my website
to see what I am up to, and hopefully be inspired by the things around you. I have this idea brewing in my head right now about how to design a quilt based on dinner tonite, but that is another story…we’ll have to wait and see if that quilts out into reality here. I am looking forward to meeting you out there in Blogland, and if you really want the day to day stuff you can follow me on Twitter too. I told myself last year, there is no way I am getting on Twitter, and now my wife thinks I need a 12 step for it….I think she may be right…but for now come on and Tweet with me..