Fourth & twelve…

Because we’re in Texas, folks here might think that refers to football.

It doesn’t.  In this case, it means that the Fourth of July is twelve days away.  And there is sewing to do!

CT Portage Lake

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Moda Designers Share New Year’s Resolutions

Not everyone likes New Year’s resolutions. But others appreciate the opportunity to start the year anew, with bright eyes and a clean slate. We asked Moda designers to share their resolutions with us, and with you. We’d also love to hear YOUR resolutions—let us hear about them in the Comment section. (And I don’t know about you, but my idea of a great New Year’s Eve/Day includes at least a little bit of time with fabric, needles, and thread. Wishing you a Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!)


Janet: Apart from the usual eat healthy/ exercise resolutions (that I’ve been happily ignoring for years now) mine is to slow down and learn to relax. I choose a word for the year and 2016’s will be ‘savour’: Savour (v.) to enjoy and appreciate something to the full, especially by lingering over it.



Betsy: Here is my resolution for 2016 along with the usual losing weight and getting more exercise…learn EQ7.


Also, to have a better relationship with time. I’m always down to the last minute meeting deadlines. I’m always busy. Time gets away from me. I would like to beat the clock, with time to spare.



Lynne Hagmeier

Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles

Lynne: My goal for the Christmas break was to finish cataloging my newest antique quilt purchases. The pile on the chair is about half of what needs to be photographed from this last year. Since it’s quickly approaching 2016, it’s made the list of New Year’s resolutions.cupboard of antique quilts




  1. Do my “minimum-yoga” every day: Close my eyes, take a deep breath. Or two. Raise my hands, stretch, breathe. Feel my heartbeat. Breathe. And that’ it really… nothing complicated.
  2. Say more “no” without explanations.
  3. Sewing related? Well, on my list is to reproduce an antique sampler quilt!
  4. Business? The launch of my new pdf-pattern-webshop!



Luke Haynes: LOTS of resolutions, mostly about what not to overeat and to take more naps. I am joining a climbing gym in January. I will also be working on smaller projects. (Personally, I am not one for resolutions. I try and do that throughout the year, for better or worse.)



Sherri McConnell (on the left): I do have a big quilting resolution: to get my scraps under control by making one scrap quilt each quarter! I’ll be tracking my progress on my blog and IG to keep myself motivated!



Kaari Meng: My New Year’s resolutions include taking more quilting classes—hopefully with Heather Jones and Denyse Schmidt! I am also learning how to ride a cutting horse and plan on continuing my lessons twice a week. And finally, I started stitching every morning for an hour and would like to stick to it!

IMG_6853 IMG_7423



Jan: My husband said that I should resolve to go to more fabra-holic meetings. Unfortunately my fabra-holic meetings take place at the local quilt shop.



Kathy: I want to work on a wall hanging which will simply be for my enjoyment! The backing will be flannel so that I can turn it over and use it as a small design wall when I need one. For the past year I have just had the flannel hanging there. Not too pretty! Time to get started!

Kathy Schmitz's design wall

Kathy Schmitz’s design wall/wall-hanging to-be.



Pat: I have always set up goals for my year. Like many other, some I reach, some I…well…some I add back for another try! 2016 is going to be a very fun year, I have a lot of projects planned, teaching events, sew alongs for you, books, fabrics…and goals!  Sometimes I actually try and make goals that are realistic and attainable, even if they are rolled back into the mix!  So here we go, for the whole world to see:

  • Actually move some of my UFOs out of my house. This goal is a remix, mmmm…it may actually be ON the list every year!  But in 2016 I plan to eliminate six to ten UFOS. I think that is a reasonable amount!
  • I’ve done a word-of-the-year for a long time. Some years I totally knock it out of the park and love my word, other years after February I’ve forgotten about it. This year I’m going to use my word and keep it right up front with me. I have not yet decided on what it will be, but you can follow along at my website (be sure to join my newsletter so you are first to know what it is!)
  • And a personal goal is to get out and walk every day that I can. I sit a lot for work, and for my hobby. Getting my body moving is important!

I am so excited for 2016, please join me!

pat sloan new year resolution



Beth Snyder (fourth from the left, above): My New Year’s Resolution is to spend at least 10 minutes a day in my sewing room, even if that’s just tidying up or playing with fabric. I know to some people, 10 minutes sounds like nothing, but with a busy family and business, just getting into the room will keep my creativity flowing. Besides, I know perfectly well once I get in there, I’ll probably sit down and actually accomplish something. Even if it’s 10 minutes at a time, that can add up!



Kate: Sewing: I’d love to broaden my skills and learn how to sew curves. Personal: I hope to read more, paint more, and sew more. To help make those goals easier, we canceled our cable TV *today*!



Deb: My New Year’s Resolutions are: To get moved into our new home (next door to our grandsons!) and new community. And of course….eat better and exercise more!




Anne Sutton: One of my resolutions for 2016 is to learn a new craft. Every year I beg my friend Barbara for more pairs of knitted socks. She’s 82 and it’s getting harder for her to knit, so I’ve decided it’s time to learn. We have a knitting day planned for January 2. My two granddaughters, Alyssa and Michaela, are coming over and Barbara’s going to teach us how to knit socks. We are all so excited about this! I’ve ordered fingering yarn and circular needles. We all picked out our favorite colors and hopefully we’ll have three more knitters in the world as of Saturday! I’ve attached a photo of socks Barbara’s knitted for me.

Socks knitted by Anne's friend (and future teacher) Barbara.

Socks knitted by Anne’s friend (and future teacher) Barbara.


Anne and her granddaughters will use this yarn to learn to knit socks.

I also want to spend more time on embroidery and wool applique. I’m passionate about both of these, but unless I actually schedule time for them, something else always comes up. Seems to me these would be great evening projects, while I’m watching all the shows I’ve taped.



Corey: My resolution isn’t too fancy and you’re probably hearing a lot of this but I’m hoping to bust some UFO’s in 2016. My plan is to organize by progress, i.e. just needs binding; completed quilt top/needs quilting and binding; completed blocks that need to be assembled into a quilt top/quilted/bound; incomplete blocks; and lastly, projects with supplies purchased but not started at all. I will try to work on these UFO’s around other new projects—I know there will be a lot of new projects! Hopefully I can knock out some of these or send them on to a new home to be completed elsewhere if I just don’t see myself finishing it in the foreseeable future.


So there you have it! What are your resolutions? And Happy 2016!

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Jan Patek: Moda’s Second “Oldest” Designer

dp_jan-patek-300x282So maybe I shouldn’t have tapped Sandy Gervais as Moda’s “oldest” designer, because that means I have to refer to Jan Patek as the second “oldest.” What I really mean, of course, is that they are the longest-designing-designers on Moda’s roster. As we celebrate Moda’s 40 years in business, we thought it would be fun to acknowledge Sandy’s and Jan’s designing longevity and hear a bit about what it was like to be a Moda designer in the early days. So I hope they both forgive the “old” moniker!

Jan Patek’s first designs appeared just a few months after Sandy’s. Jan and her designing partner Linda Brannock, were discovered by Moda in 1995, when they had side-by-side booths at Quilt Market. The distinctive look that attracted the attention of Mark Dunn and Cheryl Freydberg was their overdyed fabrics. “We both loved antique quilts, but you can’t use them or you’ll tear them,” says Jan. “So we had been overdying our fabrics to get that antique feel. We both lived in the middle of the prairie and wanted that warm, cozy look.”

Coming Home Again

Jan’s Coming Home Again quilt, in which she overdyed red-and-white striped fabric she’d bought from Linda Brannock’s garage sale.

After being approached by Moda, Jan and Linda went home and overdyed some more. Their first line of fabric was From the Prairie.

From the Prairie From the Prairie2

From the Prairie Chair

From the Prairie fabric line was printed in upholstery weight fabric, too.

Anniversary Quilt

Anniversary quilt made with Jan and Linda’s From the Prairie line.

In those pre-scanner days, fabric had to be shipped back and forth and getting just the right color was tricky. “Once Cheryl sent me Pantone color cards, but those colors are all so clear that they didn’t work,” says Jan. Today she can find paint chips that mimic the warmth of the antiqued shades she’s known for.

Winter Quilt

Jan’s Winter Quilt made from Herb Garden and Second Plantings lines.

Not having a scanner made a difference in designing quilts that would show off the newest lines at Market, too. “Sometimes quilts made out of a line wouldn’t get done until two or three Markets later,” says Jan, who admits that making them sooner was tricky not only because fabric didn’t show up until very near Market time, but also because the fabric provides inspiration. “Especially with appliqué, the fabric itself kicks off ideas for the quilts.”

Rudolph & Co

Rudolph & Co from Say It with Flowers

With the advent of the computer age, Jan took lessons InDesign lessons at her local Apple store and is now proficient at creating quilt designs on the computer. She finds a click of the mouse a much easier way to audition fabrics than individually cutting pieces and placing them on her design wall. But she still draws out the images for her fabrics by hand.

November's Song

November’s Song stitched from the Porch Swing line

Quilt Market has provided lots of memories over the years.

Booth Fall 2011

Jan’s Quilt Market booth Fall 2011

Jan and her husband Pep have become adept at setting up booths at Quilt Market, though Pep says if he’d known at that first Market that they’d look like the Beverley Hillbillies coming down the road, he might have demurred.

Been to storage unit

Jan’s and Pep’s car is packed to the gills on their drives to Market.

Pep & Bruce

The spouses of Moda’s two “oldest” designers have know each other for years. Here, Jan’s husband, Pep, and Sandy Gervais’ husband, Bruce, get a break from driving, hauling, setting up and tearing down to hang out at Market.

Jenny Doan (“before she was all famous” says Jan) helped with a booth one year and asked Jan if she had any red-and-white socks. When Jan told her no, Jenny said “That’s okay, I’ll bring some.” It turned out Jenny had plans for she and Jan to dress as Raggedy Anne and Andy.

Raggedy Ann & Andy Oct 2010

Jenny Doan and Jan as Raggedy Andy and Anne at 2010 Quilt Market

And Jan says that she needs a 10-minute nap after lunch, even if it’s in her booth. Here someone caught her getting her 10 winks.

Nap at Market

Jan manages to fit in her 10-minute, post-lunch nap, even while at Market!

Jan’s 20-year relationship with Moda provides a lot of satisfaction. “They’ve always been very supportive, and I love the way the fabric looks and feels—it’s extremely high quality,” she says. “If there’s a bump, Cheryl and Mark work with you. And besides, I’ve been married for 46 years, so I don’t fritter around!”

Max & Josie's Wedding Quilt

Max and Josie’s Wedding Quilt from Millennium Garden

Sadly, Linda Brannock stepped back from designing several years ago and passed away in June. While Jan’s been designing fabric lines solo since 2013, she has fond memories of working with Linda. “She was a neat lady and a great designer,” says Jan. “Working together, we would start off with an idea and there was lots of back and forth. Our ideas sparked more ideas in one another, in designing and color. It was so much fun to work with her.”

Pumpkins, Turkeys & Geese-R

Pumpkins, Turkeys, and Geese from the Harvest Home line.

Though she goes it alone, now, designing fabrics still bring satisfaction. “I’ve done it for 20 years and it’s a big part of my life,” she says of the approximately 50 lines she’s created. And quilting is a daily event. Every morning she feeds the animals on her farm, then gets her coffee, puts on her earphones to listen to devotional tapes, and sews for an hour or more. At the end of the day she does the same thing, listening to TV while her husband watches, and sews. “I developed needleturn appliqué so that I can prep it during the day and then just sit and work on it in the evening and not have to jump up.”

Brian's Quilt 2 R

Brian’s Quilt sewn with the Say It With Flowers line.

Jan recently finished recording an episode of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting, which will air in December or January. And she continues to teach occasional workshops and produce her mystery BOM quilts. “I really enjoy them because it’s fun to not just use my fabric—that’s a challenge sometimes—but to use other Moda fabrics—Minick and Simpson, Sandy Gervais, Primitive Gatherings, Lynn Hagemaier, and Blackbird Designs. If I can’t make quilts, truthfully, I get depressed.”

We’re lucky Jan keeps her spirits up by designing quilts and fabrics. Which lines have you used and enjoyed in your quilts?



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Moda Designers: How Do Their Gardens Grow?

It’s that season of the year when, if we’re not at our sewing machines, then many of us can be found on our hands and knees in the dirt. Lots of quilters enjoy gardening—there’s something about combining colors, shapes, and textures to create a landscape that is so similar to creating a quilt.

While some of Moda’s designers don’t garden (and one, who shall remain nameless, claims that when she buys plants it’s like giving them a death sentence), others relish the chance to putter around the yard and draw inspiration for their fabric and quilt designs from what’s right outside their window.

Jan’s iris

First up is Jan Patek. The Audra’s Iris Garden line she designed with Linda Brannock is directly inspired by the flowers Jan’s grandmother Audra Laird brought from her house to plant in Jan’s mother’s garden. When Jan’s mother sold the house, Jan and her sister made sure to put in the contract that they could return and dig some of the iris in the fall. Now the iris lives on in the gardens of Jan, her sister, and Jan’s two sons. “My daughter lives in an apartment, but if she ever gets a house, she’ll get some, too,” says Jan.

Jan created this Audra’s Iris Garden quilt

Avid gardener Kate Spain managed to include a bit of greenery amongst the mittens and hot chocolate in her latest fabric line—In From the Cold. Kate says many of the skills she uses in gardening are the same ones she employs to design fabric.

The garden behind Kate’s previous home, which she says inspired many fabric patterns

“I love to garden,” she says.  “And I love to design fabric. In the garden, I like to compose flowers and foliage in a way that complements how their colors, textures, shapes, proportion, and scale interact with one another. I try to have enough variety of each of these things to make it visually interesting and sometimes that involves digging plants up and moving them around to find the right place for them (kind of like ‘auditioning’ fabric for a quilt). When I’m designing a fabric collection, it’s very much like creating a garden…I try to include a balance of large/small scale patterns, some geometric prints and some more free-flowing, and of course a bouquet of beautiful colors!”

A recent move meant that Kate and her husband left a beloved garden, but also had a chance to create a garden from scratch. After they roto-tilled the entire yard, they brought in 7,000 pounds of flagstone and lots of plants to make the garden their own. “We’re not quite finished, but happy with our progress,” says Kate. “And we won’t have to go the gym for quite awhile!” 

Kate’s new garden after roto-tilling
Kate’s new garden with 7,000 lbs. of stone and new plants in place

Deb Strain, whose most recent fabric lines are Christmas Countdown and Pumpkin Party, says that mixing the colors and textures of plants and flowers, both the focal points and the ones she calls the “all-overs,” is very similar to designing fabric. “I love gardening, and I’m able to enjoy my work every time I walk out the door!” Here are some favorite flowers from Deb’s garden.

Edyta Sitar derives lots of inspiration from her landscape. “My newest book, Seasonal Silhouettes, reflects my love for flowers and gardens—with every month I enjoy a new bouquet of Mother Nature’s abundance,” she says. “Right now in my garden, the day lilies are in full bloom. I’ve tried to capture some of their beauty and incorporate it into my quilts.”

Finally, Mary Jane Butters, whose Glamping line features cheerful floral accents, is a big time gardener. First it was 100 peony plants, then another 100 or more in six different colors,” she says. “Over time, my peony patch grew into a design that grew into a quilt that grew into a peony patch bed.”

How about you? Is there a connection between your garden and your quilts?

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