Meet Moda Designer Wenche Wolff Hatling

One of Moda’s newest designers is Norway’s Wenche Wolffe Hatling. Her first line for Moda—Jol—is perfect for winter and Christmas and works well for Valentine’s Day, too. Read on to find out about Wenche’s first profession, the most challenging part of being in the quilting business, and her family’s unusual hobby.

wenche and her sweetheart quilt

Wenche with her Sweetheart quilt—perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Tell us how you got started in quilting and sewing.

I have always loved handcrafting. Knitting, weaving, crochet, sewing clothes, wood working—I did them all, at school, in the local 4H-club and at home.

Winter Penguin cushions

Winter Penguin cushions

My mother always knitted, but I had aunts who started patchwork and quilting in the mid 1990s. I saw their work and wanted to give it a try, and bought a quilt magazine and discovered that I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) follow the instructions—I wanted to make my own patterns! And so one of my aunts came to me, saw what I had been working on and said “Do you have a pattern for that? I want to make it! So I started making patterns! I named my business “Northern Quilts.” Northern Quilts is now a quilt shop/ web shop (www.northernquilts.no) in Norway.

Christmas Table Runner

Christmas Table Runner

What is your professional background?

I’m an architect by profession, and I have worked as an architect for many years, doing public planning, designing houses and urban spaces. The quilt design grew bigger and in 2010 I quit my architect job to work full time as a designer and quilt shop owner.

jol charm pack

Tell us about how you came to work with Moda. 

I’m a well-known designer in Scandinavia and I have been designing patterns since 2002. I travel to teach classes and I run my own quilt shop in the small city of Steinkjer in Trondelag, the middle region of Norway. I make quilt patterns and booklets, and design for quilt magazines.

I started my international career by attending International Quilt Market with my own booth, presenting and promoting my pattern designs. In 2015 I started working with MODA, and I’m really happy to be with them! Designing fabric is so fun!

From Wenche's quilt shop

From Wenche’s quilt shop

Are you a painter/artist as well as a textile artist?

As an architect, I love to draw, doodle & sketch, and  the need for putting things on paper is always there. My house (and bags) are full of pens and sketchbooks, so when I have an idea I can easily grab the nearest available sketchbook. I especially enjoy the planning process! I love to sketch my ideas and make a fabric pile with all the fabrics for the project. This is the fun part, to bring an idea to life, to make it happen with colors, textures, and shapes.

Wenche's design wall, with new BOM strips

Wenche’s design wall, with new BOM strips

Tell us about your latest project.

Right now I’m working on 2 new BOMs (blocks-of-the-month)! I run a quilt shop and pride myself on offering unique BOM programs each year. This year I will make my new BOMs available in English, and downloadable for my overseas customers. One of the new BOMs is a pieced strippy quilt called “Summerdream,” made in soft pastel colors, with lots of cute blocks—flowers, leaves, a butterfly, and a cat. The other BOM will be with stitchery blocks and a city theme—houses, towers, and cute shop fronts. The biggest challenge is find the time to do it all! I’m always working on different ideas at once, so my home studio tables are always full of WIPs (work in progress). Creative mess!

The current view from Wenche's sewing table

The current view from Wenche’s sewing table

What inspires your designs?

Inspiration comes from art, books, and my garden. I do a lot of garden photos and the colors could be the starting point of a quilt. I sketch a lot and these small drawings often become stitchery motifs. By visiting trendy interior blogs and web sites, I also get a lot of inspiration! My fabric designs are inspired by Scandinavian folk art. You know, knitting, embroidery, rose painting, and folk costumes are a big part of the Nordic heritage. Old patterns and traditional art surround us, even if “Scandinavian style” right now has a very subdued color palette.

Mother and Child stitchery done with Aurifil 12wt. thread

Wenche’s Mother and Child stitchery done with Aurifil 12wt. thread

Is there someone you admire in the world of textiles?

I admire the women who created and made beautiful clothes and quilts several hundred years ago! To work with what they had available, no electrical light, no sewing machines, no equipment that we today take for granted! When you take a look at the back of an old unquilted quilt top, and see the stitches and the thread they used, and you can see the hours of work going into it, and the will to make something beautiful- that is for me a very touching example of women’s creative strength.

Wenche at Quilt Market, in front of the Winter Rose quilt.

Wenche at Quilt Market, in front of the Winter Rose quilt.

What is the most rewarding part of your work? And what is the most challenging?

The most rewarding part of my work is getting positive feedback from my customers! I’m so happy when somebody tells me that my doodles and ideas have sparked their creativity! When they  start with MY pattern and then makes it THEIR own, using their own colors and ideas—that makes me so happy!  Quilting should be relaxing, enjoyable and easy to accomplish, and give the quiltmaker a good feeling. If I can put a smile on somebody’s face when they see my quilts and patterns, I’ve succeeded!

The most challenging? TIME. I’d like to know whom to ask about 28-hours days…

Wenche's Viking family

Wenche’s Viking family

Tell us about your family and what you do for fun.

I love to be with my husband of 24 years and with my kids—I have four of them—my youngest is 12 and my oldest is 23—and I’m so happy when we’re able to do something together. We have a family hobby; we dress up as Norwegian Vikings, and attend Viking Festivals, demonstrating Viking handcraft like tablet weaving (me) and wood pole lathe turning (my husband). Very fun!

cushion made with JOL and moda mochi linen

Cushion made with Jol and Moda’s Mochi Linen

If I’m not sewing, you’ll find me…

Sleeping! I’m not a sporty girl, so I love sleeping!

Getting ready for an outdoor nap?

Getting ready for an outdoor nap?

Well, we’re guessing Wenche needs that sleep, given the busy life she leads! Have you stitched up anything with Jol yet? We’d love to hear about it.

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23 comments on “Meet Moda Designer Wenche Wolff Hatling

  1. Shirley Harrison says:

    Love Wenche patterns. Is she going to publish them in English . Can’t wait to see her fabric line in our local quilt shops.

  2. Susan Robers says:

    Enjoyed reading about this Nordic designer – Wenche! Interesting to hear about Norway and her journey. Such creativity! Looking forward to seeing her fabric and patterns! Love the deer one that was on the post.

  3. Susan Robers says:

    I forgot to ask – how can we purchase items? Love her deer fabric and the cute penguin pillow?

  4. Debbi says:

    My family is penguin crazy so…where can we get the penguin quilt and pillow pattern and her fabric? Kits would be especially awesome! I have not been this excited about a new designer’s line in quite a while (new to me, if not to the lucky sewers in Norway).

  5. barbbrandt3 says:

    Love that table runner and those charming penguins 🙂

  6. Cheryl R says:

    I so love hearing about the process and lives of new designers.
    Her designs are so fresh. I want to add to them to my ever growing
    to do list.
    .

  7. Loris Mills says:

    I love those penguins 🙂

  8. Mary Andra says:

    I enjoy reading about all Moda designers. It’s very interesting to ready how and why they started designing. Thank you for another great interview.

  9. Pdudgeon says:

    Wow! i love this new look combining black and grey with red for patchwork Valentines.
    love the cute table runner with button eyes, and the mom and child stitchery is lovely!
    the style reminds me of the stitchery that my mother used to do in the 1930’s.

  10. Margaret says:

    Linzee, thanks for introducing Wenche. Her work is absolutely beautiful. I would love to know if her designs are available in the US.

  11. gaillacey says:

    I’m in LOVE with the penguins! Fabric is awesome. Is the penguin quilt pattern available in the U.S.? I want it! I want it!

  12. Thanks for presenting me on the blog- and thanks for all the positive feedback! 🙂 My english patterns are available for the quilt shops through United Notions/MODA… like the penguin – the Penguin Winter Quilt . The new JOL patterns Winter Rose and Sweetheart quilt, will be available when the JOL collection ships to the quiltshops! I’m truly thankful if you ask your local quilt shop to carry my patterns (support your LQS!)
    The penguin pillows are not yet printed in english text, BUTthis will probably be a downloadable pdf when I get my pdf-shop ready this spring/summer!
    I can also ship patterns directly from my shop in Norway, http://www.northernquilts.no . You can order through the website or send me a message on the Northernquilts page on Facebook.
    Quilt hugs, Wenche

  13. Marjorie says:

    Everything is wonderful, but love the heart quilt

  14. loosecannon2 says:

    Oh my, what a talented artist you are Wenche. Adore the Christmas Table Runner; the simplicity is very refreshing. I love the deer sketch & hope Moda will have it listed. By the way Wenche, I am in KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE home of the University of Tennessee & Big Orange Football.

  15. Suzette Hudelston says:

    Oh wow! I love this fabric line, thanks for putting it (and Wenche) on my radar!

  16. Cheryl Zubel says:

    Love the Moda design called JOL. Where can I purchase it?

    • Carrie Nelson says:

      HI Cheryl – JOL won’t be shipping to quilt shops until May of 2016. But it IS awesome, isn’t it? 🙂

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