Joining us today on the blog is Kathleen Khosravi of Olive Leaf Quilts

Toile fabric, with its bucolic country scenes in contrasting colors, is quintessentially French. It fits squarely into the French provincial style. You may therefore be surprised to learn that it did not originate in France. Rather, it was part of the “Indienne” cottons that were imported from India in the sixteenth century. The cloth was an instant success because it was not only beautiful, but lightweight and washable as well. Its triumph was so complete that in 1686, King Louis XIV placed an embargo on the importation of all cottons because they were such a threat to the French fabric industry.

Of course, peoples feelings about the fabric did not change just because it was outlawed by the king. In fact, the quest for it continued to flourish, albeit…quietly.

The ban was lifted in 1759, and French manufacturers realized they should be creating toile patterns themselves. French toile fabric began in the town of Jouy-en-Josas, hence the expression, toile de Jouy. Toile fabric from India was block printed using wood blocks. Production began in France this way as well, but it didn’t take long for the clever French to adapt it to copperplate printing methods, which were new technology at the time. This created sharper, more precise renderings on fabric. In other words, it got better!

So, while the French did not invent toile fabric, they certainly perfected it!

As a collector of French fabrics, I have gathered some beautiful examples. The quilt above, entitled “Etoile,” meaning “star,” was designed to feature a collection of toile fabrics. Black and red fabrics generate lines that intersect diagonally and create checkerboards that move across the quilt. It was created using two traditional blocks, the eight pointed star, and the snowball. Combining these blocks in an alternate setting creates a strong overall design that displays different toile fabrics and provides areas to showcase quilting.


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Quilts by Elena

Elena has been quilting for over 30 years, teaching advanced quilting classes for over 20 years, and pattern designing for over 15 years. Every minute that Elena can spend quilting is a joy.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that she sews at least 6-8 hours a day (and loves every minute of it!).

In the early 1980’s she switched from dressmaking to quilting and has enjoyed seeing the industry change over the years. Quilting inspiration can be found everywhere, from the gorgeous country landscape to the bright, bold colors of today’s new fabrics.  She hopes that the joy she receives from quilting is spread through the original patterns she creates. 


Visit us at to see our full selection of Quilts by Elena.


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Canuck Quilter Designs

Joanne Kerton has been quilting since 2000, started dabbling in quilt design in 2007, and has been writing quilt patterns of her original designs since 2012, distributing them as Canuck Quilter Designs. She has had work published in American Patchwork and quilting. Her designs feature crisp piecing and contrast, and appeal to many different tastes. She strives to make her pattern clear, easy to follow and accessible to quilters of all skill levels.


Visit us at to see our full selection of Canuck Quilter Designs!

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Sandra Healy Designs

Sandra Healy is a wife and mother of 3. She started sewing while still a child but didn’t discover patchwork until the birth of her first child and he’s now over ten!

For three years Sandra ran a company, “Mena and Me” which created bespoke cushions and wall-hangings. These products were stocked in a local shop and sold online. Sandra’s business, happily, was booming but after a couple of years, she was struggling to keep up with demand and she knew that designing was her true love. In September 2016, Sandra launched her first quilt, patchwork and applique designs.

Sandra loves applique and quick(-ish) projects as the world is so full of beautiful fabric that it seems rude to spend too long on any one project. Aside from her family, Sandra loves her garden with its little ponds of frogs and fishes. Sandra loves the seaside and the changing seasons and the Co. Antrim landscapes where she lives. To make up for all that fresh air and wholesomeness, Sandra relishes a good cocktail and can’t get through a day without a helping of dark chocolate.

Visit our website at to see our full selection of Sandra’s patterns.


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New Patterns by Debbie Caffrey

Debbie Caffrey is a self-published author of fourteen books and dozens of patterns. She has designed and published over 250 patterns in an ever-changing line of mystery quilts.

Debbie has taught many energy-filled workshops nationwide and internationally – Canada, England, Australia, and Iceland!

After living in Anchorage, Alaska from 1979 to 2000, Debbie returning to New Mexico and lives there now. She enjoys long walks and drives and experiencing new places.

New Patterns

There are three new patterns by Debbie Caffrey available on the website. They were originally exclusive to Craftsy’s Civil War kits. Now you can buy just the pattern.

Vintage Baskets Quilt Pattern

Morning Star Quilt Pattern

Ocean Waves Quilt Pattern has a large selection of Debbie Caffrey patterns and Mysteries!  Come and browse our selection today by clicking on the banner below.


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One of’s Top Designers

Patti Carey

Hello, my name is Patti Carey and I have been a pattern designer with since 2009.  Since that time, I have designed roughly 100 patterns.  I also design quilting projects for various quilt magazines, including McCall’s Quilting, Quiltmaker, Love of Quilting and Easy Quilts.  For the past 30 years, I have been with Northcott, a leading company that designs and prints quality fabrics for the quilting industry, and I am currently Vice President – Public Relations.  I don’t spend much time in the office these days.  Instead, you are likely to see me inspiring and educating quilters through speaking and teaching engagements at guilds, shops and conferences, or in the Northcott booth at large quilting shows such as AQS Quiltweek, QuiltCon or Quilt Festival.


Gaining a Love of Quilting

I haven’t always been a quilter.  I have always sewn, however – my mom regularly sewed, making clothes for our family, and home dec projects for our house (curtains and even re-upholstering our furniture), and taught me to sew when I was 7.  I did just about every craft imaginable when I was younger.  All of that changed when Northcott transitioned from fashion fabrics to quilting fabrics in the early 1990’s.  I taught myself to quilt so that I could make samples (a.k.a. quilts) for Northcott’s salespeople.  As the need for samples grew, so did my interest in quilting.  Soon I was designing quilt patterns to showcase the new fabric collections.

Designing Patterns and New Techniques

I particularly enjoy working with fabrics that many quilters shy away from – panels, border stripes, large scenic prints, or unusual fabrics – and I realized that if I could inspire quilters to use these fabrics, Northcott would continue to design and print them.  As a result, my focus has been to create designs that show the interesting or unusual fabrics in new and innovative ways.  Many of my designs feature quilts made with panels that have been cut apart – PC-201 Psychedelic Spin is a good example, made with Northcott’s ColorWorks Concepts Psychedelic panel.  The quilt is much easier than it appears!

Additionally, I endeavor to come up with faster, better or easier ways to make quilts, and I incorporate these techniques in my patterns.  For example, I found that it was much easier to cut the fabric pieces for my PC-195 Pine Grove pattern from 2½” strips if I taped the templates to the underside of a square ruler.

I also share my experiences through my blog, particularly the parts of my life that include quilting, and enjoy the feedback from my readers.  Quilting is not only my vocation; it is my passion.


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5 Simple Steps for Selecting Fabric

By Diane McGregor

Castilleja Cotton

About Castilleja Cotton

  • Diane has been quilting for 20 years.
  • Owner of Castilleja Cotton which has been in business since 1991.
  • Designed over 500 quilt patterns.
  • 70% of the quilt patterns are for the novice quilter.


  • Do you have difficulty selecting fabrics for your quilts?
  • Do you get in the quilt shop and then get confused about which fabrics you should select?
  • This will give you the basic skills to select fabrics to produce the most wonderful quilt regardless of the quilt pattern.
  • Selecting fabric is a learned skill.


  Learned Skill


First quilt, 3 fabrics, 1991                                     Recent quilt, 20+ fabrics 2012


watch the video below





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No-Sew Pattern Kits

My name is Genevieve Rees, and I started Kits by Kalt in 2010 creating No-Sew patterns and kits. I have always been interested in crafts, sewing, and quilting. I even learned to cross stitch as a Camp Fire Girl. For several years I had been making the Heirloom Balls, Pinecones and Evergreen Trees. I give them away every Christmas to virtually every person I came into contact with. Countless friends and family told me I should be selling the ornaments.  Knowing that I would not be able to keep up with mass demand I decided to market them as patterns and kits, instead of selling the finished product. Over the last few years we have expanded to include year – round holidays, including Valentines Day, Easter, and 4th of July.


New Kits

After concentrating on the 12 patterns we carried (both in printed form as well as PDF downloads), this year we are bringing the kits back. We now offer the Heirloom Balls and Pinecones as complete Christmas kits, as well as Easter Kits. Each kit is completely No-Sew, and contains all materials needed to complete 2 ornaments- including fabric, pins, styrofoam, ribbon, and full color 8 page pattern. All of our kits are proudly assembled in the USA. Our kits and patterns are perfect for all ages, a perfect afternoon craft for the family to do over the holidays, each ornament can be completed in about an hour.



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Being Mindful

Last year I was introduced to The Great Courses.  For those of you who haven’t heard of this before The Great Courses is a company that produces a series of college-level video courses taught by experts in their fields for people who are life long learners but don’t actually want to go back to school.  Topics range from cooking to history and everything in between.  There is something there for everyone.  As I browsed through their catalog I was enthralled by the offerings.  The cooking course peaked my interest but at the time my life had been a little crazy (we all know how that goes) so in an attempt to slow things down and pay attention I chose my first course to be Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation.  I ordered the online version and dove right in.


For most people the vision that comes to mind when you say meditation is of the person 
sitting cross legged on the floor, arms gently folded in their lap.  But meditation can be 
practiced in many forms.  This is good news for someone who can’t sit and breathe deeply 
and try to calm her thoughts for even 30 seconds without getting itchy all over, it’s nice to 
have something other than traditional meditation that still feels meditative. 

Coloring Books for Adults

Coloring books for adults have been very popular in the last year.  Even has some great coloring books available.  They have even just came out with coloring note cards that you can purchase, color and mail.
Coloring is meditative.  It slows you down.  You stop and pay attention. How to fill the 
space in, what colors to use, and the repetitive motion all create a focus point around 
which your thoughts can revolve. I think there’s a comfort in the concentration detail 
demands. Coloring in a pattern is a lot like walking a paper labyrinth. There’s nothing to trap you, there’s nothing to solve.  You just quietly wander down the path until you’re done. 
Give coloring a try! You won’t regret it. Order your coloring book, or note cards at  Grab those pencils or markers, maybe a glass of wine and create 
something calming and beautiful today.  
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Penny Lane Primitives

My name is Kathryn Hecker and I’m the owner/designer for Penny Lane Primitives.  I’ve had an ongoing love affair with sewing since I was in elementary school.  Over the years I tried pretty much every craft out there. Knitting, crocheting and embroidery have always been my passions, but more than anything, I absolutely love hand stitching!  My desire to find something that I could turn into a profitable business finally blossomed in the form of my whimsical penny rugs. I started selling my completed designs on Ebay, but found it impossible to keep up with the demand. Then after many requests for patterns, I decided to give that a try. That’s when Penny Lane Primitives was born. 


Pattern Tip:

Here’s a little tip for you…trace all of your pattern pieces onto freezer paper.  You can then press the freezer paper onto your fabric for a temporary bond.  This makes cutting your pieces a breeze!  Once everything is cut out you just remove the freezer paper and you’re good to go!  I like to pin my pieces in place but stapling works too!

What the Future Holds:

I love creating new designs and have no intention of stopping any time soon! I recently retired from my job working in an elementary school and can now devote all of my free time to my growing business. There is something for every season in my line and they are so easy to create!  My advice to anyone out there with a love of crafting that’s hoping to start a business?  Never ever give up!  It may take some time, but if you have a dream, you can turn it into a reality!

Kathy- Penny Lane Primitives



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