Today, we're welcoming back Robert Kaufman fabric designer Amanda Murphy. Amanda stopped by earlier in the week to chat with me about her newest release, Veranda.
Set to be available to quilt shops across the US (and anywhere else great fabrics are sold) on or around August 2011, Veranda is presented in a beautiful Sorbet palette of pink, gold, and green, and a rich Garden palette of purple, aqua, creamy yellow, and green. Perfect for late summer sewing!
It's always a pleasure to talk with you Amanda! Thanks for coming back to visit us here on RWQ!
RWQ: Amanda, when we last spoke with you, Swiss Chocolate had just released from Robert Kaufman. What exciting things have happened since we last checked in with you?
My first Market! My newest collection for Robert Kaufman, Veranda, was displayed in my booth there and will ship in August. I’ve launched a pattern line as well and it has recently been picked up by several distributors, so you’ll be seeing it in stores soon. All the quilts in the pattern line feature Veranda.
I also have a Block-of-the-Month program launching called, “Under the Veranda”. It is a traditional sampler with a very modern twist and is available exclusively to shops that order one or both color stories of Veranda. Each block has a coordinating accessory, which makes it a really flexible program. (Shops with questions about the program can contact me.)
I have a bunch of Veranda pieces in upcoming magazines – and there is one in Quiltmaker right now! Additionally, I have some things in the works in the paper products industry – but I can’t say much more about it yet.
RWQ: I've seen your new pattern line and am so excited about it! I love the designs you came up with to highlight your fabrics. I'll have to keep an eye out for the block-of-the-month program too. So, can you share with us what inspired Veranda?
Gardens. (Other people’s gardens because I can’t grow a thing!) Gardens in the south eastern United States in particular. Also, the beautiful table spreads featured in home decorating magazines. Pink and green glass. Creamware. Linen with hemstitching.
RWQ: Ok, so I'm bringing out my dictionary for this next question ... Veranda, by definition is “A porch or balcony, usually roofed and often partly enclosed, extending along the outside of a building.” How does this definition apply to your fabric line?
I think of Veranda as reflecting an outdoor space with plenty of blooms and foliage, but also intricate architectural details. It is an outdoor room, of sorts. There are ten prints in the collection in two color stories - a pink/tangerine/green “sorbet” color story and a purple/aqua/yellow/green “Garden” color story - plus a white one white print, for a total of 21 fabrics.
RWQ: Great answer! Do you have a favorite print in the collection?
It changes daily. Of course, I’m partial to the paisley, because it was the first print that I designed and really is the heart of the collection.
As I design, however, I’m really appreciating the versatility of the Blooms and Berries prints.
I really also love the light green and aqua tonal prints, though – it compliments every print in the collection really well.
Can I have one more? Since these are such visually complex prints I wanted to add something simple and modern looking. Diamonds!
RWQ: You mentioned your first trip to Quilt Market a little earlier in our conversation, I always enjoy the excitement surrounding quilt market and learning how the designers create their booths. I saw photos of your booth on your blog and they were wonderful. Did you have a theme for your booth or a pre designed layout you followed?
Thanks so much! I loved the way the booth came together! I made seven quilts for that booth in the weeks before Market and my friend made two more. And then Robert Kaufman had my logo quilt made from a pattern that I had designed. (Incidentally, I have had so many requests for that logo quilt from people who want to use it as a bed quilt with their kid’s names or a central panel print – I’ll get to it this summer, hopefully!)
The fabulously talented Angela Walters quilted the logo quilt and the equally accomplished Deborah Norris quilted almost all the others.
When you combine all those quilts with all of the Under the Veranda accessories (in both color stories) that makes for a full booth! Allie, Kyle, and Emmie at Robert Kaufman are entirely responsible for the display. I had the pleasure of spending 30 hours straight in the Dallas airport prior to Market due to flight cancellations and arrived a day late to find everything hung beautifully.
RWQ: Can you tell us more about the line of patterns you just released?
There are six patterns in the pattern line and all feature Veranda.
“Garden Paths” is a 2-1/2” strip-friendly design that is evocative of woven ribbons cascading down the quilt top. It uses quilt blocks in a really non-traditional way.
“Village Green” two roll-ups of 2-1/2” strips and is more of a large, bed-sized quilt. Flowers are appliquéd to the center of each block, but you could easily use fussy-cut motifs or other shapes in the center. Imagine a boy’s quilt with cars and trucks – or a beach quilt with dolphins or flip flops. Some of the Accuquilt motifs would work great on this quilt.
“Blossoms” is a best-seller so far. It uses 2 ten-squares (or layer cakes) and is really fun to make. It is very versatile and would work with almost any fabric collection. You just need to make sure that there is adequate contrast between your fabrics and the blossom petals. Incidentally, varying the petal shape give you a completely different look. I’ve wanted to sew this quilt in Christmas colors for awhile now and a friend commissioned one from me! I am going to vary the shape of the flower so that they look like poinsettias with red centers!
“Town Square” is my “backwards” quilt in that I started with a stack of fat quarters and designed backwards, so there is no waste! It is a great teaching quilts because it is essentially a 9-patch within a 9-patch within a 9-patch. No fabric waste here! I used the Sorbet collection, plus the two aqua prints from the Garden collection. I also used my favorite light green tonal for the sashing and love the “colorwash” look that results. Incidentally, my friend Pat did a smaller version in the Garden color story for the inside – and it is gorgeous. Thanks, Pat!
“Bubbles” is the fifth quilt in the line and I love it because it is a great vehicle for modern fabric collections. It really shows them off big, colorful prints and it is so fun to make! Make sure you blanket stitch down your circles with contrasting thread! Some people have said they were planning on using specialty stitches on their machines for this purpose. What a great idea!
"Portraits of My Garden" is also a really superb vehicle for large, feature fabrics, even if you only have a little of each. The “frame” fabric really sets each individual print off. Even though it looks complex, this is a very simple quilt to make. A beginning quilter could easily tackle this one…
RWQ: Are you a quilter Amanda? How would you describe your quilting "style"?
The mess in my house would show you that I am a quilter. I don’t have my own studio and our kids are homeschooled so our living room is a hub of activity. (That is a nicer way of saying that it is a mess!)
I am heavily influenced by traditional methods and feel that one can never learn enough in terms of technique. If you were at my house right now I would insist we sew together. I think that the joy of quilting is, in large part, taking those techniques a bit out of context and making them our own. I never know when I am going to have the need to use something I’ve learned to make a project more dynamic.
On another note, one of the things that I enjoy so much about quilting, and I expect others enjoy it as well, is the freedom I feel to experiment with color. I might not paint my whole house in whatever my favorite color is at the moment, but I can make a beautiful quilt!
RWQ: What methods do you use to design your fabrics?
A Graphics tablet. Photography – but just for inspiration – I draw almost everything freehand. I like the thick/thin linework that freehand drawings generate.
RWQ: How can my readers find more information about you and your company?
Please visit my website and blog:
Thanks so much for having me, Ryan!
To learn more about Amanda's previous line, Swiss Chocolate, you can read another interview with her here.
The folks at Robert Kaufman have generously provided fabrics to give away! Amanda has also sent along some patterns to pass out!
To enter for your chance to win, please leave a comment on this post. Feel free to let us know how much you like Veranda! Only one entry per person. All duplicate entries will be deleted!
For an additional chance to win, visit Amanda’s blog and comment there too!
I will draw several winners using the Random Number Generator and announce them here on Wednesday, July 13, 2011!
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