Designer Spotlight: Jeni Baker of In Color Order

Today, I want to share with you an interview I initiated last November with a fellow quilting enthusiast. Every once in a while you happen across a quilting blog that’s so inspiring, you spend hours reading through the posts and can honestly walk away with a renewed vision of your craft.  A few years ago I was introduced to teacher/designer Jeni Baker’s blog, In Color Order.  Contained it its posts, I found a healthy discussion of color theory, design and construction techniques.  Jeni has a great knack for mixing fabrics, documenting her creative process and throwing in just the right balance of her every day activities; especially the antics of her adorable pet bunny George!  Those of you who don’t know Jeni are in for a treat.  Those of you who do know her, well, I hope you enjoy my interview with our friend.

My correspondence with Jeni began in late 2011 when she debuted her first commercial pattern.  Previously, we had traded comments on each other’s blogs and passed one another in the hallways, so to speak.  We’ve appeared in a few books together and have a great respect for each other’s style. I was a regular at her vintage sheet etsy shop, Iron Sea and would check into her blog daily to catch a glimpse of her black Netherland Dwarf rabbit, George. By the way, did you know George has his own blog now, with videos?  What a famous little bun he’s turning out to be!

After Jeni posted her Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial in October 2011 I knew I wanted to feature her.  Well, I guess I should say I knew I wanted to feature her ever since discovering her blog, but the Drawstring Bag tutorial is what really made me contact her and say, let’s talk feature!  I thought her pattern was genius and really easy to follow.

This interview has been a long time in the making and I’m happy to finally be able to share what Jeni had to say about her quilting and her first pattern:

RWQ: Hi Jeni! Thanks for being here today. Please introduce yourself to everyone, they’d love to know more about you!

Hi, I’m Jeni! I love to sew and am currently trying to find my niche in the world!

I blog at In Color Order about my sewing adventures, thrifting finds, and my pet bunny George!

I love sharing sewing tutorials with my readers and I am excited to be self-publising a few patterns!

RWQ: It’s no secret you enjoy working with color.  Do you have any wisdom to share about selecting  fabrics for quilting projects?

I love putting together different fabric combinations, choosing the fabrics for a project is my favorite part of the process.  I spend a lot of time talking about fabric and color on my blog, in my Art of Choosing series.  Sometimes working with color and pattern can be a little scary, but I try to take the fear out of it and make it more accessible!

RWQ: I’m a big fan of your Art of Choosing series.  From what I understand you taught a similar class at Sewing Summit last year and plan to return again this year?

Yes, this fall you’ll find me teaching fabric and color selection at Sewing Summit, a conference for the modern sewer and blogger! I spoke at last year’s inaugural event, and I’m honored to be returning! So if you’re attending, make sure you say hi! I’ll be teaching about fabric and color again, we’ll be talking about color basics and how to choose fabrics for your various sewing and quilting projects!

RWQ: Let’s talk about your Lined Drawstring Bag pattern.  This fun pattern is the reason why I invited you here today.  Please tell us all about it.

The Lined Drawstring Bag pattern is for a simple drawstring bag, easy enough for all sewers.  The pattern includes 8 sizes, bag construction tutorial, detailed instructions on designing your own size, and a printable worksheet. These bags are great for just about anything! The sizes range from tiny (4″ tall!) to big (26″ tall!).  They’re great for storing your current hand sewing project, wrapping gifts, or as a gift itself!

RWQ: To help the readers get to know you a little better, I thought I’d ask a few fun questions. Here goes, OK? What is your favorite color?
Purple! Almost any shade but especially Eggplant and Lilac. Purple has been my favorite color since I was in grade school! I’m so excited to see more designers using purple in their fabrics!
 RWQ: Do you have an all time favorite fabric line?
Oh geeze, just one? I’m a collector by nature, which is very dangerous in combination with a hobby like sewing! I think it’s a tie for me, between Mendocino by Heather Ross and Park Slope by Erin McMorris.  I love Heather’s whimsical drawings and rich color schemes, and love Erin’s mid-century modern style.
RWQ: What color are you most lacking in your stash?

I think the color I am most lacking in my stash is probably either brown or yellow.  I don’t tend to use a lot of brown, so I naturally don’t buy a lot of it.  Yellow on the other hand I love and use often, so I simply go through a lot of it!
RWQ: Where do you find your quilting inspiration?

I am inspired a lot by my surroundings, which is why my craft room is absolutely covered from floor to ceiling in mini quilts, bulletin boards, fabric and other various collections.  Often times I’m inspired by the fabric itself! I like to start with my fabric selection or a color scheme and then design something around it.  I also love Pinterest for finding inspiration.  Before the internet, I loved clipping things from magazines and pinning them up on the wall or saving them in scrapbooks etc.  Pinterest allows me to do that much quicker and easier!
RWQ: When you visit a quilt shop what section do you typically go to first? (Do you get down to business and dive right into the fabrics? Do you chat up the person behind the counter to see what is new?)

Honestly, I usually try to find the sale section as soon as possible, I love a good bargain! I generally like to take my time, perusing everything.  You never know what you might find hiding amongst fabric that’s not ordinarily your taste!
RWQ: Smart girl! I tend to hang around the sale section too!  Just because we all love a few good stash photos… can you share a few shots of your fabric and creative space?

What a beautiful space!  Jeni recently had her sewing room featured on Art Gallery Fabrics blog here.
RWQ: When you’re not posting to your own blog, where can we find you?
When I’m not creating tutorials and patterns for my own blog, you can often find me guest blogging around the web! This year I’ve worked with Moda, sharing a Patchwork Chevron Quilt tutorial on their blog, Moda Bake Shop.  You’ll also find a Triangular Log Cabin Pincushion tutorial on Riley Blake’s blog, Cutting Corners!  It can be fun to work outside of your comfort zone sometimes! 🙂
RWQ: Thanks so much for being here today, Jeni! 
Here’s a link list for all of the places you can find Jeni online:
Please be sure to stop by Jeni’s blog and let her know you saw her feature on Ryan Walsh Quilts!  You are more than welcome to leave comments for her here as well.
As a special thank you to my readers, Jeni has offered to give away an electronic copy of her Lined Drawstring Bag pattern to one lucky reader.
To enter, leave a comment on this post.  I will pick a winner using the random number generator and announce the winner here in an upcoming post.
Happy quilting everyone! See you next time,