For April Rosenthal, quilting was not a matter of love-at-first-stitch. In high school, she made a quilt for a sewing class assignment, but the result didn’t encourage her to make more. “I didn’t have the money to buy cute fabric and so I hated that project,” she says. She put it away and didn’t start sewing again until she was 22, when she and her husband wanted to start a family. It took her five-and-a-half years to get pregnant and to help alleviate her frustration she decided to make something for her each of her friends who was having a baby. “I wanted to feel good and happy for them, so I’d crochet or make them a quilt,” says April. “Eventually I got bored with the patterns I found, so I decided to design my own.”
She did that for a couple of years before giving birth to her twins, and then when they were 18 months old, she made a five-year plan. It included her business, Prairie Grass Patterns, for which she’s designed 30+ quilts, and designing fabric. “I’m not sure what drove a mom of 18-month-old twins to do this,” says April with a laugh. But the plan worked. April not only had fabric design on her radar, she wanted to design for Moda. “I did a lot of research and right from the beginning I felt Moda would be the right fit. I knew it was where I wanted to be.”
Those of us who love to sew are the lucky beneficiaries of April’s foresight, as her first line of fabric Best. Day. Ever! will be hitting stores this fall, with precuts available in September and fabric in October. In the meantime, she’s been busy designing quilts for magazines and this year you’ll see the result of those efforts in Quilty, Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting, American Patchwork and Quilting, and the Australian magazine Quilter’s Companion.
You can also hear more from April via Quiltcast, her podcast with another of Moda’s new designers, Amy Ellis. Each week they toss around ideas for the podcast on Monday and record on Wednesday. “When Amy asked me if I wanted to join her, I wasn’t even sure what a podcast was,” says April. “I’m typically a quiet, introverted person, so I told her ‘Make sure to fire me if I’m no good!’ But it’s pretty casual, we just have a conversation.” In addition, April, whose work is included in the Moda Bake Shop book Sweet Celebrations, will have her very own book coming out in October. Bedroom Style, Perfectly Pieced includes patterns for ten different quilts, each in five different style options, for a total of 50 quilts and will be available in October.
Balancing all this quilt-related work (she’s also a long-armer) with family time is one of April’s biggest challenges, but she finds it’s worth the effort. “I do it because I like pretty things, and I like other people to feel like they can make those things, too,” she says. “If there’s something people want to learn, I hope I can teach them. And I’m so, so grateful to be working with Moda.”