Do you notice that there are often underlying connections to the “things” that catch our eyes? By “things” I mean anything that makes an impression on us—images, people, events, the whole gamut. As a kid those relationships always surprised me, and now, I embrace and enjoy them. Thus, today, revelation is my theme, and here’s the spin:
Lately, I’ve been mesmerized by fabrics with very simple pattern designs that are almost Japanese-like. (I featured Yoko Saito a few months ago—her prints are a good example of this style.) The first tantalizer showed up in the last year or so in a line of quasi-architectural fabrics. There was a crosshatched white-on-white print that I invested in heavily and deployed in virtually every recent quilt I’ve made that called for whites. The other fabrics in the line were just as wonderful, but the white was/is my go-to.
Then, there was a baby quilt featured in a That Patchwork Place/Martingale & Company catalog that caught my eye. It featured a forest of spindly white trees set in fresh-green prints and solids—a unique, modern, and supremely cool take on baby bedding.
In the post-holiday lull, I found more minimalist fabric at my local quilt shop. This time, it was multi-tonal stripes + subtle prints that lured me. I’m a total sucker for neutral striped prints with tight, hand-drawn lines, and that’s exactly the print I found. Better yet, this one also had a subtle touch of color. Oh yeah, the next print had renderings of bare trees in a quiet, neutral palette. So delicious!
Last clue: I repeatedly picked up the quilt patterns of one particular new designer displayed at my local quilt shops. Hmm, there was something about her style that kept ringing my bell.
What a hoot when I realized that all these discoveries had one designer in common: Carolyn Friedlander, a young, hip, and energizing new light in our quilting universe. Carolyn visits us today and shares a bit about her quilting life AND she’s sponsoring a giveaway! (Details at the end of the post.)
A Fresh & New Perspective
Wow Carolyn, you just started quilting in 2009, and here you are, five years later, a triple threat: you’ve created prize-winning quilts; designed and sold fabric lines with the Robert Kaufman company; and you’re expanding into patterns and notions like quilt stamps. What was it about making quilts that struck such a chord with you?
I’ve always loved making things and being creative. I grew up on a farm around creative folks including plenty of women who made things (Mom made my clothes growing up) and a family business. I never imagined starting my own business, but I always knew I wanted to live a creative and productive life. I was enticed by quilting after finishing college, because I saw my mom doing free motion quilting, and I finally had some free time on my hands without having school to worry about. To me the quilting looked like drawing with a sewing machine, which was awesome. I could instantly see how quilting could merge my love of making, creative stuff, and my design background. I was hooked instantly.
Do you come from quilters and crafters or are you the cuckoo in the family nest?
Oh yeah, so the people in my family are creative in all types of ways. Like I mentioned, my mom has sewn her whole life, and many of the women on both sides of my family have roots in various forms of making. My dad is a rancher and citrus grower, which I think requires plenty of creativity, and my brother and sister are both very artistic as well.
With your first fabric line, Architextures, you used your “sweet spot,” your architectural training, as a starting point and the renderings are so spot-on. Where do you think inspiration will take you next?
I can only hope to continue to be inspired by the things around me and to be able to convey who I am through my work so that others can do the same.
What’s important to you as a quilter/designer?
My goal as a designer is to stay engaged and connected to the quilting itself. I love being connected to the making as well as being challenged by it. I also like creating work that is personal and still very usable for others. It is always a compliment to see others using my work as tools for expressing themselves.
Will you be attending quilting events across the country this year?
I am scheduling more and more travel this year and even into 2015. Recent and upcoming highlights include more travels to new shops in Florida, Salt Lake City earlier this month, and I’m really excited about teaching at the SewDown in Nashville this spring. It is shaping up to be a fun and very full year!
What’s coming up for you? Where would you like to see your quilting business in two to five years?
Carolyn is sharing a copy of her new quilt pattern “Focal” and a mini charm pack of her “Botanics” line with one of our readers! There’s nothing like the chance to win FABRIC to stir a bit of excitement at SHWS–we love our fabric!
To enter the giveaway, leave me a comment answering this question: What’s better: crisp new fabric or chocolate? That’s a toughie depending on day of week/state of mind . . . leave a comment by Thursday, January 30 and I will announce the winner in my Friday post on the 31st.
Thank you Carolyn! Keep on dazzling us with your beautiful fabrics and patterns!