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 Piecedincludes 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.”
Single yards of adorable fabric are the main ingredient in 101 projects for everything from dresses to caps to pillows and plushies!
You will find patterns to make irresistible clothes, toys & accessories for babies AND kids! This darling book has it ALL!
It has everything from Dresses and Pillows to Western Shirts and Booster Charis.
All the necessary pattern pieces are included in the front pocket of the book.
“Rebecca and Patricia have the uncanny ability to answer most of life’s sewing dilemmas with one yard of fabric, showing us how even the trials of childhood have single-yard solutions-all in vivid color and jam packed with style.” – Tula Pink (fabric designer)
“I think I’m a teacher at heart,” says one of Moda’s newest designers, Amy Ellis. “I really like to encourage people.”
Amy supplied that encouragement through her first two books Modern Basics, and Modern Basics II, which offered new quilters the chance to stretch their wings with patterns that presented a challenge, but would still get finished. “When I was working on that book I had three kids at home with me all day and quilting was necessary for my sanity,” she says. “Finishing something gave me a real sense of accomplishment and I wanted others to have that feeling, too.”
Amy’s new patterns, made with her Modern Neutral fabric
Though Amy admits to having a houseful of color, when it came time to write her next book her husband suggested she think about quilters who prefer to decorate with a more neutral touch. The result is the book Modern Neutrals: A Fresh Look at Neutral Quilt Patterns. Her fabric line of the same name debuted at Quilt Market last month and will ship to stores in October. “It’s been so fun to see how much interest you can add with minimal color, by varying the tones and layering texture in the designs,” she says. She was thrilled to share her fabric and designs at Market, and appreciated the kindness of the more seasoned designers. “They took the new designers under their wings and were so friendly and welcoming. I feel honored and blessed to be working with Moda.”
Amy dishes up more encouragement to quilters through her Blogger’s Quilt Festival, a site she’s set first up five-and-a-half years ago. This online “exhibition” gives quilters of every age and ability the chance to share their quilts and win cool prizes, too. “I time it to coincide with Quilt Market, because I think that’s when people are really looking for eye candy,” she says. “Despite it being a busy time it’s so much fun, and a number of new quilters and bloggers have come out of it.” (Entries are closed, but you can view the entries and get lots of quilting inspiration here.)
In addition to wrapping up her fourth book, due out in December, and taking care of her four children, Amy’s been designing quilts for magazines (look for her patterns with her Modern Neutrals fabric in upcoming issues of Quilty, Love of Quilting, and others); writing her Amy at Home column for Quilty; co-hosting the podcast, QuiltCast, with April Rosenthal; taking on the occasional teaching gig; and serving as a spokesperson for Baby Lock sewing machines. Phew! As busy as she is, Amy needs no encouragement to keep sewing. “Quilting is my creative therapy, and everyone needs that in their life,” she says.