Tricia Patterson, Managing Editor, Quiltmaker, McCall’s Quilting and Quick Quilts
The Color Box quilt, Quiltmaker‘s latest Block of the Month pieced sampler, was designed by Pat Syta and Mimi Hollenbaugh from Bound to Be Quilting. I can’t begin to tell you the reaction when we first saw the quilt in our office. Oh My! We heard a lot of “Wow!” and many “I’d like to make that quilt.” Pat and Mimi have designed several patterns for our publications.
One of the latest, Garden Path Daisies, was published in the July/August 2017 issue of Quiltmaker. (A kit is available for this pattern too!) I love their designs. They are not just creative; their color choices are stunning and their block designs tend to have a lovely twist on tradition in a modern setting.
I thought it would be fun to get to know a little more about this creative team, their business and the backstory of the Color Box quilt design. Here are answers to the interview questions I asked Pat and Mimi. It was so interesting to learn more about them, the company they formed together and their creative spark for Color Box.
Pat: I started quilting about 26 years ago while I lived in Anchorage, Alaska. A friend asked me to join her for a quilting class. She was pregnant and wanted to make a baby quilt. Because I was doing a lot of crafts at the time she thought I would be a perfect match to take the class with her. She made her baby quilt and my first quilt was a queen-size one for my bed. From there I took mega classes, meeting a lot of great quilters, and in two year’s time I was teaching at that quilt store. I was hooked big time. In my first year of quilting I made 5 queen quilts and quilted them myself on my home machine. I taught for about 15 years after that, until I moved to Parker, CO.
Trudie Hughes was my early inspiration, but very soon I found out she liked a “million” small pieces in her quilts. Beautiful, but not easy for a beginner.
Mimi: I started quilting the year after I graduated from college (1984). I visited a local quilt shop with my mom in Boise, Idaho and fell in love with an applique book – Hearts and Tulips by Chris Wolf Edmonds of Truly Yours. I worked on a quilt out of that book on and off for over ten years! I finally finished all twelve applique blocks on the pattern I selected, but by that time I had grown tired of the four fabrics I selected for the quilt so I set it aside. It wasn’t until 2004 that I picked it up again and decided to finish it because I wanted to able to show off my “first quilt”. I added some more interesting fabrics to the sashing and fell in love with it again.
Pat: I think quilting stimulates my small artistic side. I totally love all the traditional patterns and do not find the “modern look” challenging enough. Some may beg to differ, but that is my side of the story. I am not a hand work person, even though I have tried some recently, I still find the machine piecing to be my favorite thing to do. My favorite block to make is the 54-40 or Fight block, as it can make so many interesting secondary patterns alone or when added with other blocks.
Mimi: In between starting and finishing that first quilt I worked on many other projects of all types. I found, however, that what I enjoyed the most was needle-turn applique. I find hand work very relaxing. I also like working with wool and embellishing with embroidery (I have recently completed some of Sue Spargo’s project designs. I LOVE her style!). I like the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that creating something beautiful gives to me.
Pat and Mimi: We met while working together at a local quilt store in Colorado. Pat designed the shop’s yearly in-house BOM programs and Mimi proofed the patterns, later adding an applique element to the designs to give optional choices for customers. We were both designing our own patterns when we first met, and each of us had our own small design company. Pat had designed a book with Martingale in 2002, and in 2014 self-published “Red At Night”. While living in England from 2002 to 2011, Mimi had some original quilts featured in two British quilting magazines, and also co-authored a book on baby quilts. After about four and half years of working, Pat left the quilt shop to have more time to devote to designing. It was at this point we decided to team together to bring the best of both of us to the quilting world. Since Mimi loves to applique she balances out Pat’s love for piecing.
Pat and Mimi: We both design and then get together to toss ideas back and forth until we come up with a pattern we think is really great. For working and for publishing we use several software tools: EQ7 and Adobe InDesign and PhotoShop. We have had to learn these programs through the crash course, on-demand method.
Pat and Mimi: Color Box was designed while we both still worked at the local quilt shop. One large wall of the shop was the “color wall”, where the fabrics flowed like the color wheel. Leveraging that idea, we made each block of our quilt design a different color, with a light, medium and dark tone in each block. We decided to tie these “sampler” blocks together in a setting that could be created individually as part of a monthly quilt-along. That led to the idea of making the quilt flow from one block to another with the colorful chain squares. We love how bright and cheerful the quilt turned out to be.
We hope you are as fascinated by the Color Box quilt design as we are. We are so pleased that Quiltmaker is giving us the opportunity to share it with you. We’ve learned the block of the month kits will be available to ship mid-August. We hope you will join us over the next 12 months to make your own Color Box quilt. You can purchase the Color Box kit here. The finished quilt measures 80″ x 106″. Each month you’ll receive a pattern and fabric to complete one of the blocks for the quilt. We also invite you to visit our website; we are Bound to Be Quilting!