A Chat With Denyse Schmidt

1. I’m so excited that your newest fabric line ‘Hope Valley’ is  here!  Can you talk about your design process that leads you to create your fabrics?
My fabric designs are based on vintage prints – generally 1930’s feed
sack type prints. Usually the process starts with either a color
feeling or story that gets stuck in my head. The inspiration for Hope
Valley is from a combination of events, experiences and objects. I
fell in love with the colors of the southwest during a trip to Santa
Fe in September 08. The yellow-greens especially are intense and
beautiful. The palette for Hope Valley was inspired by that trip, and by some  vintage, hand-tinted postcards I have. I was designing the collection  during some of the darker moments of the recent recession and  everyone was talking about the Great Depression. Thoughts about those  times – especially the positive aspects that my parents always talked  about – how everyone was in the same boatand helped each other out –  influenced my print designs. The name comes from a town in Rhode  Island – who wouldn’t want to live in a place that sounds so optimistic?

2. What about your bold use of color?  When designing fabrics, do
you feel the colors first,or the print?  Will there be a second reprinting of ‘Hope Valley’  in different groups of colors?
I do tend to use color as the organizing influence in my collections.
We hope to have an extension of the collection, though we’ve been
very busy these last months and the deadline seems to be now!

3. I think modern quilters are excited to see that you have new
patterns available.  Can you tell us more about them?  Are they for beginning, or intermediate  quilters?

I’m excited about the new patterns too! We introduced Single Girl in
the late fall 2007, to get our feet wet and figure out how things
work. Having more patterns was always the goal, and it’s far more
effective to have a group, than just one. We had fun making them and
I love shooting the covers – my cat Boo made it onto two of the
covers. He’s a total ham.

I think the patterns can work for beginners – especially  Hills ‘n’
Hollers, and Stacking the Odds. The others may seem more intimidating
because they have curved seams or are time intensive. I think our
instructions are clear and simple, so that anyone can tackle them, as
long as you have basic familiarity with sewing. The Proverbial Quilt
is adaptable for different levels – we included all the letters of
the alphabet so you can make up your own phrases or personalize a
quilt (or bag, or pillow!). So it could be a very simple and easy
project. In general, quilts are large and take longer to make than a
skirt or tote bag. It’s not necessarily difficult to do a quilt, but
it is more of a time commitment.

4. What will you be doing this year?  Workshops?  Travel?
I’ll be designing lots more fabric, and it looks like I’ll be
starting a new book project! I’m teaching almost every month in our  studio, and teaching the week of July 4th to teach at the Quilter’s  Affair in Sister’s Oregon. I’m also teaching at Craftland in  Providence RI on March 6. Most likely I’ll be doing a guest spot up  in VT during one of Heather Ross’s workshops – so much fun! I’ve got  a lot of other invitations tospeak and teach – we do our best to  list them all on our website, on the “what’s new” page. It’s also  good to sign up for  our mailing list for all the events. I’m sure  I’ve left out some important goings on!

5. Do you have any advice to offer aspiring fabric and/or quilt
Knowing what you want or expect from pursuing it is a good place to  start. Do you want to make it your livelihood, or do you want to keep  it as something you love to do? Doing anything for a living really  changes your relationship to it, so be careful what you ask for!

There are a ton of great resources for advice on business and design  out there, and the web has made it much easier to get your work out  there. Perseverance is the key.

Thanks Denyse!  And just so you know, at the end of the Hope Valley Quilt Along, Denyse will be offering our participants a chance to win the whole collection of her quilt patterns!  How awesome is that?!

So, Saturday will be the last day to enter to win quarter yard cuts of some Hope Valley prints!  If you haven’t already entered…what are you waiting for?!  Go HERE.

Also, grab the button….

A Big, Hopeful Quilt Along at The Little Blue Cottage

Edited to add the winner of fat quarters is Ashley of Film in the Fridge!!  I’ll be contacting you!  Thanks everyone for entering and quilting along!

Here we go!  This is something I’ve been working on for a few weeks now and can finally announce.    I’ll be having a Hope Valley quilt along!

I contacted Denyse Schmidt about the possibility of this project before the fabrics were even available and she and her team have been most gracious and generous!  To get things started, join the Hope Valley Quilt Along Flickr group! In the next few days, I’ll be talking about  the quilt block we’ll be making. (Edited to add that I didn’t know that when creating a Flickr group that if you start out as a private group, then it is always private…if you are a member of flickr, add me as a contact littlbluecottage and I’ll send you an invite!)

But, to make things truly interesting and exciting, I’ll be kicking off the quilt along with a giveaway of some Hope Valley fabrics!  One lucky winner will receive a quarter yard of these…

Enter to win by leaving a comment and I’ll pick a winner on Saturday!

If you’d like to participate in the quilt along and want to get your fabrics, you’ll need (for a lap quilt) quarter yard cuts and (For larger quilts) no more than 1/2 yard cuts of prints and 1-3 coordinating solids.  Because this quilt is somewhat improvisational, it’s hard to give exact quantities for fabric.   I’m using  kona cottons in zucchini and O.D Green and a Kaffe Fasset shot cotton in Smoky.  Kona cotton in Sand is the background solid I chose for the block we’ll be doing and you’ll need 2 yard for a lap quilt and 3-4 for a larger quilt.  The actual prints and solids you choose do not have to match mine – these are just the ones that I happened to enjoy with the Hope Valley fabrics.  Other clues about what solids to pair with the prints can be found here.

So, start your engines rotary cutter and your sewing machines…we’ll be quilting soon.  And come back tomorrow for a special interview I had with Denyse about Hope Valley, color and everything quilty.

Hope Valley Button Medium

Originally uploaded by littlbluecottage

I Heart My Couch

Now appearing regularly on the couch – Japanese cotton/linen pillow and quilt.  Something very different for me in these fabrics.  Love them!

And…if the fabric seems familiar to you…

From the movie, ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’.  Starring my fabric!

So, you could totally have a duvet like Scarlet Johansson’s.  But, no.  You cannot have Bradley Cooper.  Sorry.