Okay, as quilters, you are probably aware of her fabrics (Verna, Good Fortune) if not of the designer herself, but we have had her bolts on our shelves for several years and have seen some lovely quilts made with them.
We tried to meet up with her at the Houston Market in October, but weather conspired against that. As busy as people can get during those hectic days, it is probably better to have a few more uninterrupted minutes here in Louisiana instead.
Honey Honey is her latest line of luscious lovelies and we have a new sample or Perfect Ten up behind the register featuring all of them...
Kate designed a unique pattern to showcase the fabric line, appropriately titled Apiary. You can download the PDF at that linked site. The honeybee alone is awesome!
Up-Date: Let me correct that... Kate SPAIN is AWESOME!
She and her delightful husband, Peter, arrived safely and we had an all-too-brief visit at the shop before heading over to our favorite lunch spot, Ponchartrain Po-Boys. As the best of luck would have, we had just an hour before received our bolts from her new line, Honey Honey.... and they were sitting brightly on the shelf.
I am so glad she met Georgia, who knocked out the sample of Perfect Ten, here behind them and using the fabric line.
So, while they reside up in the colder Northeast, I think the temps were colder still here in the South as they made their way through Atlanta and Alabama. A trip to Gee's Bend left a strong impression and they told us about the aging population of quilters in this small tight-knit community. If you want to see the birth of the Modern quilter, hot-link over to the Auburn University's swell archive.
As we peppered them with questions between bites, we learned that Kate comes to fabric design by way of Rhode Island School of Design and Hello Kitty! (I kid you not!) and has been licensing her unique works with Moda from the start. We often hear about designers jumping from one manufacturer to another but Kate has an excellent rapport with Moda Fabrics (which is wonderful to hear because they produce exquisite fabrics and in such an outrageous diversity.)
Of course, we are curious to learn insights in the production of each line, how the colors and motifs are created but the real mystery to most of us is "How does Moda know how many yards of each line to produce?" This is a critical question because these manufacturers typically only make one printing and what is done is done! This can be so maddening to us quilters who perhaps didn't get quite enough of that border to finish and then the wild goose-chase begins!
The Answer Is: She doesn't know! They have asked this question themselves and still have no answer. She was able to give an insight into how many bolts are usual in each line (approx. 40) and these are what you will find in the pre-cuts. When there are fewer than 40, you will find repeats of several bolts in the rolls to make a total of 40 strips.
Kate IS a quilter, although her time is more limited now and she DID design the Apiary pattern, linked above.
I truly hope we meet again in this life..... they are super-good people and we would like to thank them for taking the time to visit. Road-trips are sprinkled with the unexpected, for sure, and those of us who stand stationery experience them vicariously through people like the Spains.
(I really am a groupie at heart .... I could ask an endless stream of questions and sit there, rapt in attention and they were so gracious about it. I hope their sandwiches didn't cold as they answered)