As girls, Sharon and I grew up sewing competitively in various contests, always competing with each other, and frequently taking turns placing first and second in the contest. I think others that were also competing were happy when Sharon and I grew too “old” to compete any more! We were sewing clothing at that time and our mother taught us everything we know.
Our maternal grandmother was a gifted artist; Grandma created beautiful oil paintings and encouraged me on my artistic path. I took art classes all through high school for an “easy A”. I later learned that my teacher was not accustomed to giving A’s, easy or otherwise!
Our paternal grandmother carded wool for spinning, and was an avid weaver. She experimented heavily with using natural, everyday items (like beets, onions, etc.) to dye her finished yarn and combined the wonderful earthy colors in her projects. Grandma also taught me to embroider. She was not lenient when it came to having the back look neat, like the front, but I learned to enjoy the art of stitching by hand. It relaxes me after a long day at work! Oh, I didn’t mention that I also work full-time and live by the motto “so much fabric, so little time!”
I have doodled since I was a young girl, so when I needed to draw more creatures for the quilt for my granddaughter’s “big girl” quilt, I used inspiration from others and drew the designs I used, freehand.
When the decision to start designing patterns was made, I had to rethink what I was going to draw and how to make them uniquely ours. Sharon calls me the animal tamer, since it is my job to take fierce animals and draw them to look fun and friendly! I research pattern ideas to ensure that we are not making quilts that fall into the “been there, done that” category. We try to avoid themes where many patterns have already been published, such as pretty princesses, cats, etc. One of our followers made the comment recently that they can recognize our patterns easily, because our designs have their own distinct look.
When mulling a design idea (yes, I have a notebook full of ideas for future quilts) in my head, I focus on the theme that I want to achieve and then choose animals that would best suit my theme. For example, lots of people LOVE dogs and it was suggested that I should do a puppy park quilt. But what would the dogs do in a puppy park? Other than chasing balls or sticks, playing with other dogs, and visiting the fire hydrant, what else could I draw? I started thinking about what people do in the park: Skating, birthday parties, picnics, walk, run, bicycle … okay, so a theme is coming together! Yay me! The dachshund is one of my favorites from the “Puppy Park”! Okay, so let’s be honest, I love all of them, but definitely some more than others!
My own puppies, Bella and Baxter star in the “Forgotten Picnic” block. Bella brought the basket with bones and water, but was caught giving Baxter a little kiss on the cheek.
Our “Snooty Poodle” block returns us to the days when mothers dressed up to take the baby, in her pram, to the park for a walk. She is decked out in her favorite dress and so proud of her little pup!
I love the look of Cocker Spaniels with their flowing ears! I drew the little girl first with her big bow, but Sharon wanted to make a boy-themed puppy quilt, so here are the two side-by-side:
We like to keep our “works in progress” secret and are always working on the “next pattern” (and the next and the next)! Since we have a goal of releasing a new pattern every month, you can check back with us often to see what is new in the shop! We’d love to hear from you if you’re looking for a special pattern and just can’t find it- I love to draw and would be happy to work with you!
Thank you for letting me share and explain my wildly wonderful, weird, and wacky ways! I hope you have as much making our patterns as I do creating them!
Animal Tamer and Fabric Acquisition Expert @ Ms P Designs USA