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Author Interview – Rashida Coleman-Hale


I Heart Patchwork offers a modern approach to this sewing technique that will appeal to beginning to intermediate sewers and quilters. Author Rashida Coleman-Hale took a few moments to talk to us about linen and patchwork as part of her blog tour promoting I Heart Patchwork.

What attracted you focusing only on patchwork techniques for your book?
I love the diversity of patchwork and the many options available when coming up with designs. I can never decide on which colors and prints I like best and want to use for a project because I have so many favorites!   Selecting colors that match or work well together is the technique I use most when designing.  But you can still create beautiful work with fabrics that don’t necessarily match at all.   You can take your design to complex heights or keep it simple.  It’s nice to have those options when creating.

I Love Patchwork_Patchwork Ball

A simple patchwork ball combines linen and quilting cottons beautifully.

In your bio, I read that you lived in Japan and developed a passion for patchwork while in that country—what is distinctive about the Japanese style of patchwork?

The traditional Japanese style of patchwork makes use of an amazing array of indigo fabric that has been a part of Japanese traditions for centuries.  Along with the beautiful color, much of the patchwork is made using simple techniques and the results are phenomenal.  I was certainly drawn to the ease of creating beautiful handmade items without it being too complicated.   Although Japanese style patchwork of today mostly gets it influence from American style patchwork, it still has that simplicity and effortlessness that I’ve grown to love.

I Love Patchwork_Sewing Machine Cover

This sewing machine cover is sure to brighten up any sewing space.

How can quilters integrate patchwork into their quilting projects?
I would say to a novice quilter certainly don’t be afraid to experiment with more advanced designs in their patchwork.  In ‘I Love Patchwork’ the designs are simple but the projects are sophisticated with charming design details that are easy and fun to make. Going back to basics could bring new life to an experienced or advanced quilters’ projects. Use those advanced skills to really play with simple designs and patterns  and achieve stylish results.

What struck me with I Love Patchwork is your creative use of fabric—particularly linen. What are the unique qualities of this fabric that attracts you to linen?
I’ve always been fascinated by linen it’s such a wonderful and versatile material to work with, strong and durable as well as elegant and lovely.  There are several weights of linen available giving one the ability to make bedding, baby items, toys, clothing, towels, bags, tablecloths, curtains, industrial items, the list is endless.  It usually comes quite stiff at first, but after several washes this material becomes softer and even more elegant over time.  The natural color is also a favorite of mine, ranging from subtle shades of beige to creams.  It looks great with any color fabric you pair it with.  You just can’t go wrong with linen.

I Love Patchwork_Travel Sewing Kit

The Travel Sewing Kit would be a sweet gift to make for your favorite quilter--or yourself.

What are your tips for integrating linen and traditional quilting cottons, as in the beautiful lap quilt project in your new book?

The lap quilt is one I’ve my most favorite projects in the book!  I think shrinkage can be a problem when working with linen.  As with cotton, linen likes to shrink A LOT so it’s very important to pre-wash before you begin cutting and sewing.   Wash your linen a few times on a hot setting for maximum shrinkage.  Another good thing to remember is pinning and basting!  I know a lot of people like to skip that part and get right to the sewing.  Linen does not have as much give as cotton and tends to shift, especially when combining it with patchwork.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want your work to come together nicely and smoothly, pin, pin, pin, thread baste, pin, pin and pin!

I Love Patchwork_Lap Quilt

This beautiful lap quilt shows off the best qualities of linen and cotton.

Anything else you would like to share with FabTalk readers?
Don’t be afraid to play and experiment with colors and prints when creating patchwork.   I think it can get a little overwhelming at times selecting fabrics for your projects, but it really doesn’t need to be.   Taking some risks can result in some amazing work! Thank you so much for hosting the I Love Patchwork blog tour today, Sarah!  This has been great fun!

Look for your copy of I Heart Patchwork in your favorite independent quilt shop or fabric store!

Follow The Sew Liberated and I Love Patchwork Double-the-Fun Blog Tour at:

Friday, December 11:
Meg on (interview)

Saturday, December 12:
Rashida on “In the Studio with Cate (studio tour)

Sunday, December 13:
Meg on “In the Studio with Cate (studio tour)

Monday, December 14:
Rashida on (interview)

Tuesday, December 15:
Meg on (interview)

Wednesday, December 16:
Rashida right here! (interview)

Thursday, December 17:
Meg on Grosgrain Fabulous (book review and giveaway)

Friday, December 18:
Rashida Twitter event – Noon EST on Twitter with @iheartlinen
Meg on Living Life as Art (interview, review, and project)

Saturday, December 19:
Meg on (book review)

Sunday, December 20:
Rashida on Zakka Life (book review)

Monday, December 21:
Meg on Craftsanity (podcast interview)
Rashida on Craft Critique (interview and book review)

Tuesday, December 22:
Rashida on all buttoned up (interview)

Wednesday, December 23:
Meg on maya*made (interview)

Thursday, December 24:
Designer-to-Designer: Rashida and Meg interview each other on and

Monday, January 4, 2010:
Blog Tour Winners’ Post – to be announced

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Book: I Heart Patchwork · Quilting @ CraftGossip linked to this post on December 17, 2009

    [...] [...]

  2. I Love Patchwork Review and Author Interview linked to this post on December 21, 2009

    [...] (interview)Tuesday, December 15: Meg on (interview)Wednesday, December 16:Rashida on Fabric Shop Network blog (interview)Thursday, December 17:Meg on Grosgrain Fabulous (book review and [...]