Thursday, November 20, 2014

Eleanor Burns presents Zoey (and) Christine!

If you've spent any time quilting at all, chances are you're familiar with Eleanor Burns of Quilt in a Day fame. She's often called the first lady of quilting, and for good reason--she's been a prolific teacher and designer for more than 35 years! We are excited to share Zoey and Christine, her follow-up line(s) to Ellie Ann, here with you today on the blog,  Eleanor's story of how these fabrics came to be, and some eye-candy: quilts Eleanor made using these prints.

How did the Zoey and Christine collections get their names?
My son Orion named the entire collection after his younger daughter, Zoey Christine. Benartex decided to split the line into two because it was so big, so the purples and yellows became Zoey and the pinks and teals became Christine. When I think about the line, I think about Zoey. She's so full of life and color and she loves purple. It's a perfect line for her. My last line was named Ellie Ann, after my oldest granddaughter, who is named after me (Eleanor Ann). I think it's cool that we're naming collections after family members.

Zoey Christine

Tell us about the color palettes in Zoey and Christine.
The Ellie Ann collection featured my favorite colors—old-fashioned, soft, romantic pinks, blues, and greens. Zoey and Christine are bright, younger-looking colors. My granddaughter Zoey loves purple, and when I took her into the fabric store, she ran her fingers over the purples and said, ''pretty!" It was really fun to make the colors more happy and bright. Even just the name Zoey sounds more modern than Ellie Ann. I recently did a program on Craftsy using Zoey and Christine, and the video came out so bright, and beautiful.

How did the collection come together?
It's not how "I" do the lines, but how "we" do the lines. My sister Patty is an art major. She always gets in on it and starts with the colors. Orion moves the designs along while I'm out in the world teaching. Nearly all of my lines start with a beautiful painting with multiple colors in it. We start with a large-scale print, and then we think about different scales. We always have a stripe and a dot.

How does being a quilter help in designing fabrics?
If we don't have a variety of scales in the fabric patterns, it's too hard to make a quilt. The values have to be the light, medium and dark as well. It's gotten easier and easier to build a line, especially with Esther's help in the art department at Benartex.

Tell us about the overall patchwork print.
It's great for backings. I totally love it on the backs of my quilts. Then you have a flip quilt—you have the pieced design on the front and you can flip it over and you have a beautiful patchwork that coordinates—a second quilt on the back.

And you used Zoey and Christine to make the All Star quilt in your new book?

Yes. I called my book All Star Quilts. In the early 80s I thought about doing a feathered star but the author of the book I opened said they were hard to make, so I slammed it shut and said I'd do it when I grew up. Now I'm grown up and I decided to do it. I made two with Zoey and Christine. They're both beautiful. The book features all-star quilters Marianne Fons, Alex Anderson, Nancy Zieman, and Mark Lipinski and several different star blocks, including the center feathered star. I decided to call it a mystery quilt, bringing in one celebrity each month as I shared blocks. The audience didn't see the finished quilt until month 4, and I promised my students that if they finished their quilts in time for photography, I'd include theirs in the book. That was incentive--I had 36 students finish their quilts!

Here are some more of Eleanor's quilts made using Zoey Christine:
"Geese in the Garden"
Find it here.

"Hole in the Wall"
Find it here.
"Double Wedding Ring"
Find it here.

Click here to see the Zoey collection.
Click here to see the Christine collection.
Click here to visit Eleanor's Quilt in a Day site and find out more about her new All Star Quilts book.

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  1. Oh my, I do love these prints!!

  2. Wow,such a gorgeous fabrics.Love them all!

  3. I love the yellows, so warm and the other colors are wonderful! My granddaughter also loves purple. Congratulations on a beautiful line.

  4. The double wedding ring looks like little girls dancing round and round with their skirts whirling, giggling all the while.