Saturday, October 30, 2010

For those of you....

who missed the LIVE tweet chat with Denyse Schmidt, here is the transcript!

FQ : Can you tell us a bit about your new line, Greenfield Hill?

DS: Greenfield Hill is much cooler than what I usually do. I feel most comfortable with warm tones and browns. If the line sells well, I hope to build it out with more colorways.

FQ : Would you consider doing collections in other textiles? Voile's, corduroys, etc?

DS : Never flannels! I did a home dec weight, but the sales were disappointing. The main issue is that it's wide goods. Shops are built out for 45". Salespeople are too busy to waste time on things that won't sell well, and may not even show it. Greenfield Hill will include voile's. It is considered wide goods, but I think the shops will change over time.

FQ: Do you try to do things that are different?

DS: I just do what I like. I collect stuff at flea markets, but I’m cheap! The old feed sacks that I find are just so great. I don’t get why it’s not out there more. I hope my stuff still feels fresh, not like I’m trying to do reproduction. It needs to feel grounded, and to make sense I’d like to try to be more, “whoa, what was she thinking?” I don’t want to be formulaic. I like to reach across different collections in a quilt, and I want my collections to reflect that. Each print needs to be strong on its own, and have integrity. It can’t only work when combined with others. But it’s hard.

FQ: How long does a new collection take to put out?

DS: It’s pretty concentrated, because I’m usually working on deadlines. I have a huge archive of scans. I’ll pull things that might be based on a single favorite, & build out with things to support it.

FQ: @greenowlquilts This librarian needs to know: any plans for another book?

DS: I am writing a new book for STC. It’s a book of 20 traditional patterns. My background is in traditional quilts. I want people to look differently at traditional patterns, with bright colors, etc.

FQ: @greenowlquilts Denyse, what kind of direction do you think your next collections (post Greenfield Hill) will go in?

DS: Gosh, I don’t know. I am particularly obsessed with printed plaids. It would be fun to do a predominantly plaid collection. Too soon to tell!

FQ: From website: any plans to release prints via Spoonflower?

DS: I've spoken with the folks at Spoonflower. I like what Heather (Ross) is doing with her limited edition prints. I'd love to support what Spoonflower is doing. Something like a cheater print would be a lot of fun!

FQ: @Cheryl_Arkison You are seen as a major inspiration to the Modern Quilt movement. What do you think of it, as a movement that is?

DS: I am really impressed with it. I think it's great. I love the mix of physical guilds and how the web is being used to create a community.

FQ: @ObsessCreative Do you have particular motifs you like best over others, such as flowers or birds, etc.

DS: I definitely go for geometrics more. They are easier for me to draw! I work in Illustrator. I love medallions and other geometric designs, because they are easier for me to draw.

FQ: @waycoolkid I would love her wisdom on breaking into fabric design.

DS: It's a competitive industry, but I would encourage anyone to pursue what they love.

FQ: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you wish more people could know?

DS: That's a really hard question. (We at FQ agree!) Just like everyone else, I have good days and bad days! And that I'm really just a normal, down-to-earth person

FQ: @ObsessCreative So you plan the whole design out in Illustrator? Do you transfer that design on paper?

DS: I start with something that's a scrap for inspiration. Then I have to recreate it, because I might not have the full repeat. I have someone who helps me with the repeats. I once designed a typeface! This was back when I was a student. It was relentless and repetitive, but I loved it! And when I drew that typeface, I learned how to draw in Illustrator. I am still a stickler for the precision of the drawings.

FQ : @TalkAboutFabric How do you seek out new color inspiration?

DS: It can be from anything! Even a tractor trailer line. There is a tractor trailer line whose colors are very appealing to me. I really notice not only the colors, but the proportions of each color to one another. That's what is really important. Even 3 colors, in the hands of someone else, can look completely different. So I focus on how to make the combination work and how to keep it balanced.

FQ: Do you have any plans for hosting workshops like Heather Ross is doing (she has 2 sewing workshops in Jan)?

DS: I would love to go to Palm Springs! We have been working on doing something together, but haven't been able to pull it together (yet).

FQ; @Cheryl_Arkinson Denyse, for all your teaching in Improv, why are your patterns so precise and full of templates?

DS: (laughs) Good question! When I wrote my book that was my first time writing patterns. And to be honest, that's what the publisher wanted. The question is, how do you write a pattern about not using a pattern? I am thinking of experimenting with workshops where .maybe each participant comes having already made one block, & then explore what it would be like to recreate it in a looser fashion.

FQ: Any advice for just-starting-out crowd on how to avoid common pitfalls of industry?

DS: Don't assume that anyone else has your best interests in mind. You can certainly find a win-win, but don't be willing to sell yourself short. It's important to consider your lifestyle. Are you prepared to be facing deadlines over and over? My advice: set clear parameters for yourself, and remember what you want your day-to-day life to be like. As soon as a deadline is attached, just assume that it introduces a level of stress and may take some of the enjoyment away. I'm not saying I don't love what I do -- I do -- but it changes when you approach your hobby as a business.

FQ: @TalkAboutFabric What is recently new in your personal fabric stash, and what is your most beloved but not yet used?

DS: I don't buy a lot of new fabric, but I am really loving Anna Maria Horner's stuff. I'm not sure how I'll use it yet, but I want to own some of it! I also picked up some wonderful woven stripes in lavender at the flea market. It's beautiful, with a pinstripe of orange in it. I think it was an old shirting fabric.

FQ: @FollowBunny I know Denyse must be getting tired by now but I was wondering if she does any other crafts like embroidery or something?

DS: I would love to get into painting. I was knitting for a while, but I developed tendinitis in my elbow!

FQ: @rosanneduk: What is the most satisfying part of your business/quilting life and what causes you the most frustration?

DS: The thing that I find most enjoyable is seeing what people do with my fabric and patterns. It takes on a new life and becomes somebody else's thing. I think that's really cool.

FQ: @ObsessCreative Do you ever feel overwhelmed by too many design ideas?

DS: (laughs) Do I ever not?! That's the problem! I find that the act of recording my ideas an inspiration makes it much more manageable.

FQ: @TalkAboutFabric Are you able to go into a quilt shop incognito, or is it like Cheers where everyone knows your name?

DS: People rarely recognize me. I am almost always able to shop incognito. That's a great thing, but can also be humbling! I was at the Sisters festival & got to talking with women who had no idea who I was and had never heard of my fabrics or patterns. I think there are certain audiences, like the FQ readers, who are very familiar with my stuff, but there are other audiences really aren't familiar with my work.

FQ: Big thanks to Denyse Schmidt for taking the time to speak with us today, and thanks to everyone who submitted questions.

FQ : Final post-chat comment from Denyse for all of you FMF fanatics ... three words: "DON'T GIVE UP!" (plus a BIG smile : )

Live Tweet Chat with Denyse TODAY

1. Get yourself a twitter account.
Use to follow the chat. Search for the hash tag #fatq and remember to add it to your own tweets.

2. Think of a question!!!!

3. Tune in to twitter on 30th October at 4pm US Central Time
10 pm UK
11 pm Berlin
5 pm US Eastern
2 pm US Pacific
7 am Queensland (31st Oct)
8 am Melbourne (31st Oct)

4. Have fun!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Featured Crafter - Follow the White Bunny

Today, we are catching up with the supremely talented Nicole from Follow the White Bunny.

FQ: Tell us a bit about your creative journey. I wasn’t exceptionally crafty when I was a kid. I think the most creative thing I did was making dresses out of paper hankies for my stuffed animals. And I used to drive my mom crazy with all the paper cutting I did. No idea what I exactly made, but my rooms was always covered in snippets of paper.

I have always enjoyed drawing though and writing stories and making my own ‘newspapers’ and such. It was not until after I had moved abroad a couple of years ago and became a stay at home mum that I became interested in crafts. It actually started with an Ikea fabric that I wanted to use to make curtains.
A friend taught me the basics on how to use the sewing machine and together we made the curtains.

At the same time I got involved in Flickr and saw all the lovely crafty things there. One of those things was an embroidery by Georgia McDonald. I bought some embroidery supplies, books and just started. Not long after there was an Embroidery Design contest on Flickr and I made an (odd) entry for that of a Little Red Riding Hood figure with an evil Tree called ‘Tre-evil’. I didn’t win but people seem to like my design.

Around the same time I, rather hesitantly, released my first (free) pattern on Flickr and started my Etsy
shop with (only one pattern) not much later.

FQ: When designing embroidery patterns, where do you draw your inspiration from
? I draw inspiration from lots of things. Books and tales I read, art and illustrations and colours I have
seen, lyrics, history and every day things, it all potentially influences my patterns. I have a preference
for the less obvious, for bittersweet tales, vintage stuff and slightly odd things.

FQ: Which of your designs is your favourite and why?
I must admit that I have a soft spot for Pindsvin, ‘the brave Danish Hedgehog’. To me it’s like this image of a cute hedgehog in his teacup is a snippet of a huge adventure untold. He is probably one of my favourite characters.

Another favourite is my most recent pattern the ‘Forty Winks Fox’. It’s the only embroidery I have done that is on display in my living room. I guess it’s more ‘grown up’ than many of my other patterns.

I also have much fun working on the ‘Castle Peeps’ embroideries that I’m doing as part of my collaboration with Lizzy House. It’s very inspiring to do something a little different from my normal work. I’m using different shapes and brighter colours now.
FQ: Do you have any tips for the beginner embroiderer. Start on simple patterns, learn the most basic stitches and try to build on that. When I just started, I found many answers to even the most basic questions and lots of support on Flickr. There are several groups dedicated to Embroidery with many very helpful members!
Recently there have been many ‘how to’s’ for the beginner embroiderer on various blogs too. I also did one for another blog and will be re-issuing it on my blog in the next month or so. Also, has awesome embroidery video tutorials. Embroidery supplies aren’t expensive and you don’t need much to start: a hoop, fabric, some floss and the right needle and you are ready to go. But the most important thing is to enjoy the learning process and the craft itself!

FQ: Are there any new creative skills that you would like to try in the future? I like to challenge myself a little and take on different stuff from what I usually do. This summer I’m planning to learn myself how to cross-stitch and I’m pretty sure that will influence my patterns in one way or another. I also need to improve my quilting skills dramatically.

I’m getting better at putting quilt tops together but the actual quilting always fazes me. I would love to do so many other things as well, painting or print making for example, but there are only 24 hours in a day and I like to sleep a bit too.

FQ: Where do you see yourself in five years? I have no fixed plans for the future. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be making embroidery patterns today I would have not taken you seriously. I’m constantly trying to improve my embroidery skills and pattern making and drawing. I also like to write about crafty things so it would be great if I could do more with that. I also enjoy collaborating with others and explore the crafty world beyond embroidery so who knows what will happen?

You can also see Nicole here:

Twitter: Followbunny

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Irving Street Winner

Thanks for all of your wonderful "Irving Street" comments. They were a lot of fun to read! Unfortunately, there can only be one winner, and the lucky number is ...

#390, CJ from Idaho, who blogs at A Stitch & A Prayer and said "I "LIKE" FQ on Facebook. :)"

See, it pays to get to know us on Facebook!

CJ, please email us at to claim your prize. Enjoy these lovely flannel fabrics!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sew Tina - Blog Tour

All of us at Fat Quarterly are excited to be a part of Tina Givens' blog tour for her latest book "Sew Tina" for Lark Crafts. See here for the rest of the blog tour stops.

Most of you probably know Tina Givens from her fabric designs for Freespirit such as Fairy Tip Toes, Treetop Fancy and Opal Owl. Many of these prints just scream kids' clothing or projects. So it is very fitting that Tina has released the book "Sew Tina" in which she offers us 30 kids' clothing and home decor projects.

Rest assured anyone who thinks sewing clothes is too complicated. Tina includes a detailed introduction covering all the techniques used in her book and explains everything in a clear, down to earth way.

Tina is also very much a lady after my own heart! She clearly states that for her sewing is not about being a perfectionist. It is about making something for the people you love and imperfections make it that much more unique and loved. She recognises that we are all busy people and don't have time to take on a huge sewing commitment, so all her projects should only take from a couple of hours to a couple of days to complete.

To celebrate the launch of her book Tina is offering one of you a fabulous prize package! You could win a copy of Sew Tina, 4 yards of fabric!, 2 boxes of stationery and 2 sewing patterns! Wow!

Don't worry if you don't win - Lark Crafts are also offering 3 free patterns by Tina on their website!

I caught up with Tina to find out a little more about her and her book. I hope you enjoy the interview and don't forget to leave a comment to enter the amazing giveaway! (Competition ends Friday 29th October)

You grew up in Zimbabwe. How did that influence your designs?

A lot. I think where ever you grow up where ever you live now influences everything about your life. I definitely have this sort of ethnic thing going on but I also come from a British background with some mediterranean blood thrown in on my fathers side... so there's a European twist on the African influence... I am also very inspired by where I live now and my children bring me loads of inspiration....

What is your favourite project in the book? Why?

It changes depending on who I am thinking about and who I'd like to sew for. I love the canopy because it can be made for any child any age... even a teen. I also love the booties because they are so darling and fun to make.... I must say though this book is meant to stay in the family for a long while from baby infant sewing through 7 or 8 years old... and then it circulates, someone else has a baby you sew for, or you have a 4 year old friend's birthday coming up...

Are these projects based on items you have made for your own children?

Oh yes. All the garments, absolutely, and the little dude stuff for my little boy. I made a canopy version but made it to fit a tall steel shelf unit for my oldest child and made sides so it was a large curtained armoire for his television and books and such... we could just close the front curtains for hiding all the stuff! He grew out of it and I remade it for my daughter in girly fabrics... Always the hats, and I sew all the time so this is just a few items...

Did you grow up wearing handmade clothes?

Absolutely! My mom created a dress for herself and then guess what made one for me in the same fabric. Then my sister came along and oh we were always seen in identical dresses. My dear cousin too was included in the mix and the three of us little girls were always googled at because we were just that cute! By 8 or 9 we were done with that bit! I made my own clothes and started expressing myself through my wardrobe in crazy stuff... lots of crazy stuff... we're talking late 70s early 80s. Through college I sewed and one coat I remember well was a VERY WARM coat made of tapestry fabric.... I wore it with jeans to classes... Toronto has cold winters and I was glad of it - and loved it because it was unique! I still make many of my clothes.

What was your favourite outfit as a little girl?

I don't have a favorite.... but I do remember I made myself these baggy pants out of pink plaid and I thought I was the bees knees. I even made a pair of 'ked' like tennis shoes to match by dying and painting them... quite the trend setter!

What sort of prints do you think make the best clothes for children?

Anything you absolutely love. From vintage florals, to crazy rose chintz. I love cotton because it's easy to sew and dresses and shirts are cute in cotton. Brilliant color and don't forget to mix prints. Use a tiny print with a larger one and tie it together in color... And sometimes a solid is perfect for that basic piece matched with a busy pattern! I don't care for baby prints for babies... I never did. It's too predictable!

Many people are nervous about making clothes. What would you say to put their minds at rest?

Oh don't be. Start with something small, making mistakes is all about the journey. Just set up that machine and cut away... use inexpensive fabric to start... even by muslin if you're that nervous it's cheap and you can throw it away. If you get frustrated, stop, take a break, have a cup of tea and a treat... anything but get away for a while, then return to it. If you make a mistake use it.... unless it's glaringly bad!

Which project in your book, would you tackle first if you were a complete beginner?

The tote, dude shorts, Crib quilt, the canopy, brookies... see there's loads of easy breezies... also read my intro and basics section because it offers insight into how I sew and I think a new sewer would appreciate it. Don't take sewing too seriously.... get creative with it and enjoy the process!

Thank you so much for having me Tacha... I am thrilled you hosted the blog tour! And good luck to all your readers....
Tina Givens

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Drum Roll Please ............

So are you ready for the big reveal!!!!! We are so excited about this - I just can't tell you how difficult it has been to keep this to ourselves!

Denyse Schmidt, yes DENYSE SCHMIDT, will be joining us in Houston to chat with YOU!!!

So what do you need to do to take part and ask Denyse a question?????

1. Get yourself a twitter account.
Easy peasy - sign up if you haven't already and visit our site and click to follow us.

2. Think of a question!!!!
Even though the chat will be live it would be great if you could leave a comment here or on our facebook page or even email us at with your question BEFORE the big event. It will save time on the day and enable us to ask Denyse more of your questions.

3. Tune in to twitter on 30th October at 4pm US Central Time
10 pm UK
11 pm Berlin
5 pm US Eastern
2 pm US Pacific
7 am Queensland (31st Oct)
8 am Melbourne (31st Oct)

We advise you to log in a little earlier just to make sure everything is working OK before the chat begins.

The easiest way to follow the chat is to use Enter #fatq and you will be able to see all tweets that contain #fatq in them. Make sure to put #fatq in any of your tweets as well.

Clear as mud?

Not to worry, get signed up now and come and join us on Tuesday (Wednesday morning for you Aussies that live in the future!) for a test run! We'll be chatting about what Holiday sewing you might be doing this year, if you have started, ideas for tricky relatives etc...

Join us on twitter using the #fatq hash tag on Tuesday at this time:-

9 pm UK
10 pm Berlin
4 pm US Eastern
1 pm US Pacific
6 am Queensland (Wed)
7 am Melbourne (Wed)

For more information on how to take part in twitter chats see this post

Not to worry too if you are a facebook user. You can now follow Fat Quarterly tweets on our Facebook page by clicking on the Twitter tab. There is a slight delay in the tweets arriving but you will be able to follow what we are tweeting on the big day!

So what are you waiting for? Get your thinking caps on and let us know what you would like to ask Denyse!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wish Upon A Quilt

Cathy from 'Wish Upon a Quilt' took some time out today to chat with us about her creative life.

FQ: Tell us a little bit about how you came to have a fabric store?

I have always loved fabric and sewing. A few years ago, while I was crazy busy traveling with my corporate job, I tried to take some time out of each trip to visit a local quilt shop. At the time, these visits felt like my only respite from a hectic life. I noticed that the people working in these stores seemed so relaxed and happy. Something I was definitely not at the time. 

The fabric was definitely calling me, so I started taking a small cutting mat and fabric with me on my trips and cut out a king size quilt a little bit at a time. I spent my time at home sewing and realized how relaxed I was while I was sewing. I couldn’t get enough!

In 2007, I decided that I needed to do something different. As I was pondering this one day, I finally made it out to a local quilt shop, Wish Upon A Quilt. I walked in the door and was shocked that it had ALL of the fabrics that I loved! I was so impressed that I asked to speak to the owner to tell her how much I loved her store. I was told that she was allergic to the fabric and didn’t come into the store. Bummer! The thought clicked “opportunity” and I sent an email to see if she was interested in selling the store. She was! I couldn’t believe my luck –we struck a deal and the rest is history. 
While the store was primarily an online store at the time, we were open to the public on a very limited basis. That has changed over the past couple of years, we are now a full service quilt shop both online and store front. I found that I really wanted to create a place for people to come in, relax and have fun. Just like I did on all those business trips!

Although I have been quilting for 11 years, I do not get much time these days to work on my own projects. I’m usually sewing samples for the store, and I’m not complaining! I get to work with the latest fabrics and hope to inspire people with the work I do.

FQ: What does a normal day entail?

Well, since I’m a go with the flow kind of person, I’m not sure I have a “normal” day. I work in the store some days where I get to see customers and gorgeous quilts! I would do this all of the time if I could - this is my favorite part of the business. However, if I was in the store all of the time, the behind the scenes would not be done and we would not have much in the store!

I have a fantastic staff so I’m in the store a couple of days a week and spend the balance of the time at my home office. I order fabric, plan promotions, write the newsletter, research all of the new fabrics coming out and the worst part – pay the bills.

FQ: What are the best parts about running the store? 

The people! Both customers and staff are so energizing for me. I love to be in the store.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


We have some EXCITING news!

For the moment though, we are going to keep you guessing.

Some hints??

Quilt Market & Twitter

Any ideas? Stay tuned!

EDITED (by John) TO ADD: though we've had some good guesses so far (my favorite? Chelley's guess: "Up to the moment Quilt Dad sightings? :)"), we can only say that you're not thinking big enough!! It's even bigger than that!

Monday, October 18, 2010

More for Me Monday | Erin McMorris' "Irving Street" flannels!

We're back with another edition of "More for Me Monday", where we offer you, our readers, the chance to win some fabulous new fabric.

Erin McMorris Irving Street flannels for giveaway

Today, our good friend Erin McMorris is back with her brand new line, Irving Street. (Houses on fabric? Yes, please!)

Here in North Carolina, we're finally starting to feel the nip of fall in the air, so it's high time to start thinking about working with flannels. Lucky for us, Erin has chosen to release Irving Street in some of the softest, smoothest flannel I've ever felt.

We here at Fat Quarterly were most excited to see Erin's bird print from her first line, Park Slope, re-released in some new colors as part of Irving Street.

We have a fat quarter bundle of the entire line to give away to one lucky reader. Would you love to get your hands on some of this yummy flannel? Simply leave a comment below and tell us a little bit about the Irving Street in your imagination. Who lives there? What kind of shops? What's the weather like? Who's attending the Irving Street block party? Be creative!

You have 4 chances to enter:
- First, if you are reading this, you can leave a comment.
- If you are a blog follower, leave an additional comment for another entry.
- If you follow us on Facebook, leave an additional comment for another entry.
- If you follow us on Twitter, leave an additional comment for another entry.

And if you're not doing any of those things ... what are you waiting for?

We'll randomly select a winner from all entries on Sunday, October 24th. Good luck!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holiday Special Issue - On Sale Now!

What's in store in the Holiday Special? Here's what you can expect:

•An array of fabulous patterns perfect for your holiday sewing, such as a patterns for a Christmas quilt, a doll's quilt, tree skirt, child's doll, a mug rug, and holiday themed embroidery to adorn your gifts this year.

•Interviews with fabric designers Kate Spain and Amy Suther.

•A round up of great tutorials which can be found easily online and which are perfect for holiday gifts.

•Coupons for money off some of our sponsors online stores:- Aunt Beas Fabrics, Wondrous Woven Fabrics, Piece n Quilt, Freshly Squeezed Fabrics and Burgundy Buttons.

And much, much more.

There are two ways to purchase Fat Quarterly. The first (and easiest) way to purchase an issue for yourself is to simply visit the "Buy" section of our site.

Or you can always visit our Etsy shop and complete your purchase over there.

For our current subscribers, your download link should have bene sent to you automatically. If you have not received your link by the end of today, please let us know.

We hope you enjoy our Holiday Special. And, of course, we want to hear what you think. Please comment here on the blog, pop over to our Facebook Page, give us a shout on Twitter, or email us at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

No Sew..

These look great on the tree or to decorating gift boxes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The girls..

A sweet little gift idea for the girls in your life.
Holiday Issue on sale from October 17th.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Does your...

tree need a little jazzing up this season?

Then look no further, the sweetest tree skirt pattern in the Holiday Issue.
Available from 17th October.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What you can...

look forward to!
Just a sneak peak of one of the many projects in the upcoming 'Holiday Edition'*.

There are also some great Fat Quarterly giveaways going on over at our Facebook page, be sure to check them out!

* If you are a Fat Quarterly subscriber, this edition is in addition to your subscription and will be sent to you free of charge. As this special edition is slightly smaller than our quarterly issues we have priced it accordingly. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eternal Maker and Giveaway!!!

Back in August Katy, Tacha and I paid a visit to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham,UK.

The quilts were great, the company wonderful but the more importantly the shopping was amazing! While trolling the stands I came across Eternal Maker, a UK fabric shop with the most amazing array of fabulous modern fabrics and super friendly staff.

You can find out more about them and look at their gorgeous selection of fabrics at and I caught up with Anna once she had caught her breath after the show and found out a bit more about them and the interesting building that the shop lives in!

How was Eternal Maker born?
The Eternal Maker came about kind of by accident really. I had just quit my job in London and moved back to Chichester at about the same time my mum was looking for new premises for her company - The Button Company. Although she was looking for a warehouse, the cheapest place she could find had a shop front, and she asked if I would like to run a shop from there with her. It had to be something that went with buttons - and as I have always been into fabrics and crafts, it was a logical next step. Looking back I realise we went into it quite blindly - without really knowing anything about the industry, or how to run a shop, or what we needed to stock. It was a lucky accident though, as I wouldn't swap my job for anything - compared to my last job, it's a dream, although I would love to have the salary I had in my last job too!

Tell us more about the building where you shop lives and how having such an interesting building came about.
We were evicted from our old shop as our landlord wanted it for something else, and at the time it was a huge blow, as we had just re-done a whole part of it. We spent several frantic weeks looking for new premises but nothing was right - we couldn't afford town centre prices, but we wanted passing trade, and to be easily travelled to. We needed parking, and we needed the space for both companies. Finally, after weeks of driving around the area looking at all sorts of weird places, with me saying 'no' one too many times my mum pulled over the car and said - that's it. If we can't find somewhere, we'll have to shut down. She asked me what exactly I wanted, and I said 'a cross between a fire station and an old brick warehouse' (ok, I like to aim high, I realise that) and she said some words I won't repeat and drove on. And then, maybe 100 yards down the road, there it was. An old lorry depot, covered in black diesel, but underneath, beautiful brick walls, high ceilings, and shutter doors. It had it's own parking, was next door to the cinema, and 5 minutes walk from the train station - it literally ticked every box. But, it was a huge mess. It took 5 weeks from start to finish, and we pretty much did it all ourselves with our staff - painting, building, laying floors, the works. It was definitely a labour of love for all of us. From the start I had a dream of it being like a fairy tale place - things to look at everywhere and outsized things (we have giant coat hangers hanging from the rafters above with our display quilts on them). So we painted super-sized haberdashery items on the walls, and brought the outside inside with our trees, amongst other things. It makes us laugh that when people walk in for the first time, there is regularly an audible gasp as they take in their surroundings.

Do you have a mission statement? What is your aim?
I'm not sure if we have what you would call a mission statement, but my ethos is this: if everyone else has it, why would I want it too? I want people to find with us the things they never knew they wanted until right now. Or those things they've been looking for forever. Or even sometimes nothing, but have come away feeling happy. We are a small team here, but we all love what we do, even though we are always super busy. I would love to say we are super professional, but that would be a big lie - we constantly refer to other shops as 'real' shops, while ours is just like playing shop - but we all have a passion for what we do, and I think that makes a huge difference to how the customer feels at the end of the day. We work in chaos, but it's a very happy chaos.

You have a fabulous range of fabrics that really caters for the modern sewer. How do you decide what to stock?
The decision of what to stock is easy really - I just have to love it. The vast majority of the fabrics I stock I totally love. I'm lucky that my taste has always been fairly eclectic - I love bright colours, but I also love the more 'boring' end of the colour spectrum - grey is one of my favourite colours. I love big prints, but I also adore the little ditsy prints too. I have always been a huge fan of modern Japanese fabrics, and we buy in huge collections from various Japanese suppliers. I sometimes refer to our fabric selection as feeding my fabric habit, as if I buy it once for the shop, sometimes that means it doesn't end up in my stash at home too (this works only some of the time). I spend a lot of time researching fabric suppliers, and my only wish is that I had more money so I could buy from some of the other suppliers that are on my 'when we can afford it' list!

What do you like to sew yourself?
We always joke in our shop, that Rachael (my shop manager) buys fabric for pyjamas, and I buy it for skirts. When I get the time, a skirt is my go-to project, but I also make quilts, bags, and all sorts of other things. Usually the fabric 'tells' me what it wants to become, and I just hope my skills are up to it(that sounds weirder than I mean it too - I hope other sewers feel this way...)

You also run classes. What kinds of classes do you run?
We run classes in all sorts of things, quilting, basic dressmaking & more simple sewing courses. We also have a papercraft area in the shop so we do cardmaking and other things like that. As I write this, there is a freehand machine embroidery course with Lara Sparks going on, which is one of our most popular courses.

I suspect that owning a fabulous fabric shop is the dream of all crafters. Do you feel that you are living your dream?
This is pretty close to living my dream. When you think about these things in advance you don't always think of the realities - the fact that you have to pay for all the fabric, rent etc., that you don't get paid wages yourself, you work all hours of the day (and sometimes night), and that you are nearly 30 and living in your mother's attic (yes, that's me.) But I think when you really, really want to do something, things like that shouldn't get in the way, and hopefully one day I'll get paid to do my dream job!

What’s next for Eternal Maker?
I've learnt not to predict the future - I would never have said 3 years ago I would be here, and even 18 months ago that we would be where we are. I see new things every day that I want to do and bring in for the shop. The main thing you can expect from us is more of the same - beautiful fabric, different fabric, and lots of other exciting things to go with! Oh, and we are re-launching our website in the next couple of months so watch out for that!

Anna has really generously giving us 2 little fat 1/8th bundles of Echino fabric to giveaway.

If you'd like a chance to win one leave us a comment and we'll draw 2 names on the 17th October. Good luck!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coming Soon...

We have been working really hard over the last couple of months to bring you a special 'Holiday' Issue of Fat Quarterly.
Packed to the bring with gift ideas and seasonal projects!
If you have purchased a subscription to Fat Quarterly, this issue will be coming to you complimentary on the 15th or 16th October! For everyone else, the issue with be on sale from October 17th at a discounted price of $5.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for you patience whilst we have been working through a few technical issues with our site.