Behind the Scenes of Batik Making

Behind the Scenes of Batik Making

When we posted about the process of applying wax for the batiks, we thought you might like it. It's always interesting to get a different view on a product you love and we wanted to share a bit from Michael's perspective. Boy, did it take off! Batik lovers had all sorts of questions and comments for us.

Since Michael and Debra are the power duo behind Lunn Studios batiks, we reached out to them to get some answers for you on working conditions, benefits, wage and just how it works over there in Indonesia.  He sent along some pictures, as well, so we're sharing that here in order to help all of us understand not how batiks are made, but who makes them.

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Quilt Market , the Fall 2013 edition

We did it! One more Quilt Market, one more chance to meet our customers, designers, reps, and those who make this industry as amazing as it is. We had a great time meeting with so many, but for those of you who couldn't make it to Houston, we wanted to make sure you got to see all the fab projects, displays and people, too!

We arrived with a team to put up the booth on Thursday and for the next two days, the booth team worked their way through crates and boxes, finding and placing the many displays that had been planned. What started as utter chaos, with the help of many hands, was transformed into a stellar booth display featuring many of our Fall 2013 releases.

Elisabeth was our Quilt Market hero!

Elisabeth was our Quilt Market hero!

We were lucky enough to have a nice roster of presenters for Schoolhouses including Michael Mrowka and Debra Lunn of Lunn Studios, Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts, Carolyn Friedlander, Allie Heath, Teresa Coates and Darlene Zimmerman.

The crowd went wild with their smartphones when Julie announced her new BOM, Park Bench, using Carolyn's new collection: Botanics.

Insta-love! It's the new BOM from Jaybird Quilts.

Insta-love! It's the new BOM from Jaybird Quilts.

Back at the booth, they were hanging up all sorts of fabulous quilts, including this Superkids Snapshot, made by our own Nichole Ramirez (quilted by Liz Hansen) using Ann Kelle's new Super Kids collection, some Kona Cotton solids and Ann Kelle's Remix.

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There was so much cuteness in Ann Kelle's booth, eliciting squees and quick sits in the Remix-covered settee.

Loads of little projects using Remix and the new Remix Metallics, including the Pixelated Heart quilt, This and That lunch tote from Sew Sweetness, Urban Flotologie flannel footies, notebook cover, rain jacket and more. Many of these patterns will be available in the Patterns section of robertkaufman.com.

Find many of the patterns for these projects at robertkaufman.com

Find many of the patterns for these projects at robertkaufman.com

More Remix and Konas came together in the spectacular Remixed Geese, designed by Erica Jackman, sewn by our own Elisabeth Woo and quilted by the masterful Angela Walters.

 


 

Carolyn Friedlander hit the ground running with her second collections, Botanics. She spoke about the inspiration in the plants around her, as well as her architectural background.

Focus (on the left) is available from Carolyn Friedlander. Disco (on right) is from Jaybird Quilts.

Focus (on the left) is available from Carolyn Friedlander. Disco (on right) is from Jaybird Quilts.

Botanics is the name of both her collection and the appliqued wall quilt, a stunning example of her motto: Savor Each Stitch.

 


 

We're thrilled to offer up the pattern for the Cargo Tote, designed by Anna Graham of Noodlehead and featured in the Botanics booth.

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The gorgeous new Lumina collection was showcased brilliantly by Judy Niemeyer in her Feathered Star quilt, featuring two colorways of Lumina with added shine from touches of Radiance.

Lumina Feathered Star by Judy Niemeyer, quiltworx.com

Lumina Feathered Star by Judy Niemeyer, quiltworx.com

The Kona display was a favorite for many with its unique display of all 271 Kona Cotton colors:

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[Quilting & Sewing] Book Lovers' Day

It's National Book Lovers Day and we're celebrating with our favorites. Sewing, crafting and quilting books are plentiful and are fabulous resources to have in your personal library. Many of us have used them over the years to learn new skills and techniques, referring to them time after time.

Here are a few of the books that we have used and loved. Some are new, some have been around a while, but they are all excellent sewing and quilting books.

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Free-Motion Quilting: Choose & Use Quilting Designs for Modern Quilts
by Angela Walters (Stash Books, 2012)

For anyone interested in learning how to do free-motion quilting, whether on a domestic machine or a longarm, this book is a great addition to the book collection. Angela teaches twenty-six designs and encourages you along the way with her characteristic optimism, making it fun to try your new skills on all sorts of projects.

 

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Liberty Love: 25 Projects to Quilt & Sew
by Alexia Marcelle Abegg (Stash Books, 2013)

Elisabeth says this is her go-to lately and she's made a couple version of both the Marcelle Medallion quilt and the Michelle My Belle dress. Abegg is a patternmaker (you can find her at Green Bee Designs) and her knowledge shows through in the book's clear and complete instructions.

 

 

 

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Material Obsession: Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots
by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke (Steward, Tabori & Chang, 2009)

One thing that stands out from this book is that it's clearly written by quilters for quilters. The Quilting Basics section is full of good advice. The patterns are easy-to-follow and inspire you to reach beyond the sample quilts and make the designs your own, something we can't hear often enough as new and seasoned quilters.

 

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Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts
by Martha Stewart (Potter Craft, 2010)

This is Teresa's go-to book for quick I-just-need-to-sew projects and last minute gifts. It's stuffed full of Martha-style advice with plenty of techniques and tips to keep you going back to it. There are quilts, but it's the variety of projects and ideas that make this one for the sewing room shelves.

 

 

Meet the New Folks: Teresa!

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What do you do at Robert Kaufman Fabrics?
I am the one who gets to post pictures of beautiful quilts and projects on social media, answer customer questions, chat with bloggers and help with all the behind-the-scenes advertising, marketing and content creation.

How did you wind up here?
I heard through friends at Generation Q magazine that Robert Kaufman Fabrics might be hiring and I jumped at the opportunity. I'd previously worked as an editor for an trade magazine in Portland, Oregon and am thrilled to continue working in an industry I love so much.

What's your favorite fabric right now?
I'm slightly obsessed with Blythe (designed by Rebecca Bischoff) that is in stores now. I love the rich colors and its uncluttered florals. Girly, but not too much. I'm planning to use it to line the wool coat I made.

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Do you have a favorite technique or pattern?
I love the log cabin block and all its variations. My first twin-size quilt was a log cabin that took me twelve years to finish because I ran out of one of the fabrics. Oops. Last summer I was able to take a class with Susan Beal and we made some Modern Cross baby quilts for charity—it's my new favorite quick-and-easy block!

What is your current project?
I always have a few things going at once, but my top priority right now is finishing a fan quilt my great-grandma hand-pieced four decades ago.

Go-to color for quilting?
I'm a sucker for the neutrals, especially white, snow and ash (Konas, of course!).

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Three things on your sewing/quilting bucket list:

If you could spend a day with any quilter or designer, who would it be?
I've loved Laurie Wisbrun's fabrics since her first collection and I think her books are fabulous, so I would be thrilled to spend the day oohing and aahing over her designs and getting crafty with her. 

Anything else you want to tell us?
I'm a sucker for hand-sewing, yet I love to bust projects out in a day whenever possible. I love sewing clothes for people I love and teaching others to sew, as well. One of the things that I adore most about working with fabric, whether it's sewing or quilting, is that there is always more to learn, skills to master and fabric to hoard.

Follow along with Teresa's sewing and quilting adventures via her blog and Instagram.

 

Meet the New Folks: Elisabeth!

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What do you do at Robert Kaufman Fabrics?
I am the Event Coordinator,  responsible for handling the logistics for trade shows, assisting in booth prep and managing quilt loans. If  you come to a Quilt Market, you’ll likely see me wandering around the  Robert Kaufman Fabrics booth, making sure things are flowing smoothly and  everything is in its place.
 
How did you wind up here?
I  have a serious love for quilting, sewing and fabric; so when I heard  Robert Kaufman Fabrics was looking to grow their team, I knew I wanted to be a  part of it. While I have not been in the industry before, this is an  exciting leap into a whole new world.
 
What's your favorite fabric right now?
At the moment, I’m really enjoying Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures. Each print is so beautiful and they work well with everything!
 
Do you have a favorite technique or pattern?
I love the Marcelle Medallion pattern from the Liberty Love book. I’ve made two and it has me addicted to the idea of creating more medallion quilts down the road.

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What is your current project?
I  am working on a few different things right now – like most quilters out  there. I have a paper pieced neighborhood that’s slowly coming  together, as well as a scrap quilt that just needs a back!

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Go-to color for quilting?
Orange. Hands down.
 
Name three things on your sewing/quilting bucket list:

 
If you could spend a day with any quilter or designer, who would it be?
I  would love to spend a day with Suzy Ultman. I’m always attracted to her  fabrics, even before I find out who designs them. She has such a talent  for creating a whimsical and enchanting world.
 
Anything else you want to tell us?
I’m   a Disney nerd and I eat lots and lots of candy. I love seeing the  creative community in force, and being inspired by the way different  people view the world. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.

Follow along with Elisabeth's sewing and quilting adventures via her blog and Instagram

Meet the New Folks: Nichole!

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What do you do at Robert Kaufman Fabrics?

I am in charge of all things quilt-related. I help format the patterns that our fabric designers draft, search for patterns that will be complimentary to the fabric we release and hire quilt makers to create physical quilts and other sewn goods for stores and Quilt Market.
 
How did you wind up here?
 
I am a charter member of the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild, which has been supported by Robert Kaufman since its early days. A fellow member, Ramona Burke, is one of the amazing sewers for Robert Kaufman. When they were looking for someone to fill this position, she recommended me. I can’t say enough good things about what being a guild member has done for me. I have a wonderful network of friends and a support group of like-minded folks. We are always looking out for each other, and it’s great.
 
What's your favorite fabric right now?
 
I am addicted to Essex Linen and am so excited about all the new colors it’s going to be coming in. I use it in practically every project. I also love the Interweave Chambray and Chambray Union, which I can’t wait to make clothes with!
 
Do you have a favorite technique or pattern?
 
My personal quilting style tends to be more improv, but I love a good trick! I loved the method used in the Scrappy Trip Along.

Nichole's Scrappy Trip Along in-progress

Nichole's Scrappy Trip Along in-progress

What is your current project?
 
I always have too many going on! But right now the most urgent are two quilts that I am making for a swap with friends. We take a little sewing vacation in Central California every year and have done a pillow swap before. This will be the first time we’re swapping quilts with each other!

The Farmer's Wife Quilt

The Farmer's Wife Quilt

Go-to color for quilting?
 
Linen and other naturals with pops of color.
 
Name three things on your sewing/quilting bucket list:

  • A Dear Jane quilt that is hand-pieced
  • A quilt for my bed (a plight I’m sure quilters can relate to)
  • Learn how to do longarm quilting

 
If you could spend a day with any quilter or designer, who would it be?
 
Carolyn Friedlander! I love the Architextures line so much! I’m also really excited for her future releases. Plus, she’s super-sweet!
 
Anything else you want to tell us?
 
No matter how specific your talents are, there’s always going to be a job out there that embraces that ability and uses it to the fullest. People are really surprised when I tell them what I do now for a living. My friends have all said that this job is so “me,” which I couldn’t agree with more. It’s lots of work, but I love every minute of it.

Follow along with Nichole's sewing and quilting adventures via her blog and Instagram.

A Visit from Jaybird Quilts' Julie Herman

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Last Tuesday, Julie Herman decided to spend the morning and afternoon at Robert Kaufman prior to making her way down to the Quilt Festival in Long Beach. If you haven't heard of her yet, you will in the near future; Julie is starting to make some real noise in the quilting industry, producing anything from quilts and pillows to stylish purses and tote bags. We at Robert Kaufman see loads of potential in Julie (after all, she is only 27!) and can't imagine her moving anywhere but up. So, you can imagine how excited we were to show Julie how the company functions behind the scenes - how a line of fabric goes from the design stage to production, and everything in between. And we could tell she was just as excited to be here: When we allowed her to gather all the free selvedges she needed for a new quilt project, the look on her face was absolutely priceless - like a kid in a candy store!

If you spent only moments talking with Julie, you would be able to see just how much energy and passion for quilting she possesses. And we think that's exactly what the quilting business always needs - new, energetic quilter's that are motivated enough to maintain the industry for generations to come.

If you would like to learn more about Julie, just visit her blog at www.jaybirdquilts.com. We will be interviewing Julie in a couple of days, so make sure to take a look at that...it should be very interesting.