I have long admired the pretty, colorful patterns developed by my friend Elizabeth Eastman. She agreed to an interview for this blog, so here is your introduction to her!
When did you start designing quilts? And when did you decide to sell patterns?
I designed my first pattern for Sherri McConnell–really a simple little giant block mini-quilt, which was in her booth at Quilt Market a few years ago. Now I look at it and shudder, but our starts are always this way, aren’t they? The next one wasn’t really an original design, but a recreation of an antique quilt, which I did in blue and white. Riverside Sawtooth is still a favorite. I think that was the first time I put a pattern up for sale, but then it was accepted by Simply Moderne magazine (one of the QuiltMania magazines) and I pulled it down for a while.
Selling patterns really evolved from when I started teaching and lecturing at Guilds in my area: each guild likes to have a unique pattern they can draw from, so that’s when Home, Sweet Home was written. From there, I would get ideas, try them out and then put them up online in my PayHip.com shop. And then Northern Lights was when I learned about creating medallion quilts.
The other factor in all this was the release of software from Affinity by Serif that enabled me to create a professional looking pattern. I had wanted to upgrade from a word processing document, but didn’t want to spend the money for the Adobe software (recurring fee of 25 dollars per month). Affinity’s Publisher was released in Beta during this time, and I became a beta tester — as I was so eager to get into the program. (Side note: Affinity has three programs: Designer, Photo, and Publisher. I use all three. I think the last price I saw on them was $55 each.) Sorry to go on so long, but having the tools to create are just as important as the act of creation sometimes.
The most recent pattern is Heart’s Garden.
Elizabeth’s quilt “Triad Harmony”
Your quilts are so bright and cheerful looking! Do you have a method for how you choose your colors? Intuition? Trial and error? Color theory? Something else?
I live in an area with a distinct light–in Southern California, which has often been written about. I think that has influenced me in my color selection. I could describe the color choices as high contrast, clear hues, but I love a good muted palette every once in a while. While I majored in Creative Writing in College, I did a minor in Digital Art, which included photography, etc. When you get in the color lab and have to decide if your colors are muddy or greyed or low contrast, you quickly learn to tell the difference. A good way to teach yourselves this is to play around with some of the free photo apps on your phone (Snapseed is a good one), and experiment to find what you like.
And yes, I have lots of bits of cut pieces — sometimes I lay it out and I don’t like it, so I try something different.
Elizabeth’s quilt “Annularity” shows her wonderful sense of color
What’s your current favorite among your patterns?
Always the most recent one. Kidding. I’m quite fond of Blossom, as it’s so versatile, but I also like Triad Harmony, especially done in ombré fabrics. The most popular pattern overall is the Mini Double-Pocket Bag.
Elizabeth’s Mini-bag Pattern
And we are having a great time with the Mystery Quilt-A-Long of Heart’s Blossom. The complete pattern will be ready Summer 2020.
I know you recently decided to quit teaching. Any plans for the time that will leave?
I decided to take a different approach to teaching, as I only want to teach Zoom classes and all the guilds are opening up for in-person. So while the venue (guild visits) may change, teaching in some form will continue.
“Merrion Square” was the first quilt I made from Elizabeth’s patterns. It’s so cute I couldn’t resist!
You’re currently leading a quilt-along that will be a pattern eventually on your PayHip site. What made you decide to do this format?
Part of the Heart’s Garden project came about because I had time now to consider other ways of reaching out and teaching. Many of us learn new things through what we read, and watch, and I wanted to explore that.
Also, because I’m crazy. I had one design all mapped out, started the quilt-along, and realized I hated my original plan. So I scrapped it, and had to re-design something I liked much better. I can hardly wait to show it off! Three other women have contacted me and shared their progress and I love seeing it in different fabrics and styles. Such a treat to be a part of this!
I love this quilt design of Elizabeth’s, too! It’s called “Criss Cross”
This is barely a sampling of Elizabeth’s wonderful designs.
If you want to see more, here’s the link to her blog: opquilt.com
Oh! And if you go to her PayHip store, the Heart’s Garden Sew-Along is currently FREE!