Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: My Involvement In The Quilt World

Rumor has it that Studioe fans want to find out more about my involvement with fabrics.  More specifically, people want answers to these questions:

  • Do I design fabrics or patterns?
  • Do I sew or quilt?
  • Do I have any of the Jaftex Companys’ fabrics in my house?

I definitely do not design fabrics or patterns. However, I do have some involvement with both. I am involved with the design process from start to finish.  I am always looking for design inspiration and will present those concepts to the lead stylists.  For example, you can often see me handing the designers cut outs from magazines.  In addition, I am very involved with finding and signing on new licensed designers.  

In the office, we frequently have designers present their lines to the team and we critique them together.  I do contribute to the decisions of what the line will be composed of when it is ultimately completed.  I make suggestions on choices related to colors, patterns, numbers of skus, how the swatchcards should be laid out, when the lines should be released/ship and project ideas for the lines, to name a few. 

As for projects, my involvement is limited to suggesting some ideas for the projects and proofreading the instructions.  Other than that, the designers and outside pattern makers are in charge. Long story short, this part of the business is probably too technical for my lack of quilting/sewing skills which leads me to the next question.

My sewing and quilting experience is very very limited.  When I joined the business about 10 years ago, I vowed to learn how to quilt/sew. About three years in to my job, I went to Big Lots and bought a cheap refurbished sewing machine.  I figured that if I learned how to sew/quilt, I would have a better understanding of the business.  

Anyway, one day I brought home some fabric and decided to play around with the machine.  This was right around when my first son, Aaron, was born. So what did I make?  Don’t laugh.  Have you ever heard of a pee-pee tee-pee? It is just what it sounds like.  If you still don’t know, it is fabric shaped like a cone that goes over the, you know,  baby boy’s privates.  Its purpose is to protect the diaper changer from getting sprayed with, well, um,  pee pee.  Needless to say, my sewing/quilting career was short lived.  We recently gave the sewing machine away to a neighbor.

Below is a picture of a pee-pee tee-pee in case you were wondering what it looked like. 

pee pee tee pee

In spite of not being an avid quilter/sewer, fabric is part of my life and is all around my house. Peppered Cottons are probably the most popular.

Below, you can see how we used one of the shades of blue Peppered Cottons on the cornices in Brett’s room.  My father-in-law made this.

cornices 2   

Here, you can see how we used the sand colored Peppered Cottons to cover the cushions and pillows on a little bench that we have in our den.  This was professionally made.


Next, there is a kids quilt that mixes the Peppered Cottons with an adorable boys construction line. The kids truly love this quilt.  See Brett doing yoga on it.  Nice form Brettie!

keep trucking quilt  

brett yoga

The next photo is one of a quilt made for when Aaron was born.  This was made by some friends that worked in the Richfield, Utah, Wal-mart fabric department.

airplane quilt

This is a fleece throw.  The A.E. Nathan division sold baby throws to Bed Bath and Beyond.  We have tons of these in our house and gave them away to friends.


dog blanket

This is a quilt that my co-worker, Karen Junquet, made for when Aaron was born. 

karen baby blanket

This is another quilt given to me by friends in one of the Idaho Wal-mart fabric departments. It is a huge rag quilt using tons of the 2012 A.E. Nathan flannels.


Then there are the piles of fleece and flannel blankets in the kid’s closets.  

blankets piled up

Finally, we had pillow cases made with A.E. Nathan flannel.  We used these as giveaways for Aaron’s birthday. The kids love them and the parents still talk about them to this day.  As you can see, we had a bunch embroidered with Aaron’s name. These were made by Mr. Bobble’s Blankets, an A.E. Nathan customer.

pillow cases

I hope you enjoyed tour!  Keep the questions coming as this was a fun blog to write. Hopefully you found it interesting.  Now you need to send me some photos of how fabric is used in your house.  Please post them on the Studioe Facebook page.






Light Watermark Giveaway


Congratulations to Linda for winning the Peppered Cottons giveaway! Today we’re giving away a set of the 18″ x 21″ quarter cuts bundle of our Watermark line, this time of the lighter colorway.  You can view the entire line on our website here.  To enter to win, all you have to do is comment this post.  You can also comment on any link of this post on our Facebook page for an extra entry.  

*Contest ends April 3rd, 8:00 am EST.  Open to US residents only.*


As always, follow us on social media for surprise extra chances to win!


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Watermark Giveaway


Where Did You Learn To Quilt?

These past few weeks we have really been getting to know the fans following Studioe on Facebook. We recently shared some wonderful quilt tips that were shared by the followers here on the blog. Were your tips included? This week we wanted to share how some of you learned to quilt or sew. It was wonderful to read the stories that go along with learning to quilt.


Keep reading and see if anyone learned to quilt the same way you did, and leave a comment telling us how you were taught.


How did you learn to quilt


Darcy Lewis, “My mom taught me when I was 4!”


Beth Sebastian, “Self-taught!”


Nancy Rothschild Bird, “I learned sewing in home ec, quilting self-taught.”


Kim Sherrod, “I learned in Home Ec.”


Janie McCombs, “Self-taught. I am still learning.”


Cecilia Young, “A class at the community college.”


Kim Loar, “I took a beginner quilt class and have never looked back.”


Janet Monahan, “I was self-taught. My mother had a purple Necchi machine and I just made it my own!”


Kathy Uhley-Till, “Sewing started by Mom and home ec in school. Quilting started for me in my 50’s so now it has been 10 plus yrs of learning things about that.”


Suzanne Bake, “From my mom!!”


Vicki Hill, “My mom and grandma taught me basic sewing skills at about 10. I started quilting by myself at about 35.”


Barb Quilts, “Went to a local shop for lessons with my sister.”


Jessica Powers, “Technically, I learned to sew in a home ec class. However, it really didn’t teach me much. Many years later, I decided to try to learn to sew. I would say that I am self-taught (if that is what you would call it, as I really learned to sew from a lot Youtube videos).”


Joyce Carter, “My Mother taught me when I was about 5 years old.”


Lynn Damewood, “My mother taught me when I was 10.”


Nancy Donovan, “I learned in 7th grade home ec class.”


PK Solberg, “My home ec techer taught me to sew. I’m grateful!” 


Christi Scheffel, “My grandmother taught me when I was very small.”


Cheryl Ryan, “My mom sewed, but I remember teaching myself.”

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: 85th Anniversary Contest Revisited


Good Day Studioe Fans,

Today, we are going to play a guessing game.  Can you guess what this supposed to be?


85 bolts photo 185 bolts photo 2


Alright, enough with the guessing.  Yes, it is fabric bolts.  But what do these bolts signify?  These are two photos of approximately 85 bolts of fabric.  Do you know why I am showing you photos of 85 bolts of fabric?  The reason is that if you win our 85th Anniversary contest, you will win 85 bolts of fabric for F-R-E-E!  What a nice ring that has to it!  


If you don’t know about the contest, here is the flyer that we have circulating in the marketplace:


85 flyer


Read the flyer carefully and all the answers to your questions should be right there.  If you have other questions, feel free to email me:  scott@jaftex.com or ask a question on the blog and I will answer.


Check out how many entries we already have!




And don’t be a Debbie Downer and think that you cannot win because someone, somewhere, somehow is going to win this and the 85 bolts will be yours.  Let’s just day dream together and think what it would mean if we could win 85 bolts of fabric. Also, if you don’t win the first prize there are other good “cash prizes.”  Get involved before it is too late!


Good luck!



Another Peppered Cottons Giveaway!

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Congratulations Pat Bacchus for winning our Watermark giveaway! Since you all loved the Peppered Cottons giveaway, we decided to give even more away! To enter this giveaway, all you must do is comment this post telling us what you would make with this fabric. You can also comment any link of this post on the Studioe Facebook page for an extra entry.  Good luck and don’t forget to tell your friends!

*Contest ends March 13th at 8:00 am EST. Open to US residents only.*


 Peppered Cottons


Peppered Cottons



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Designer Interview: Q & A With Sarah Frederking

Sarah Frederking

Today we’re excited to continue the new series on the Studioe blog! Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing exclusive interviews with the designers for Studioe. The designer being interviewed today is the wonderful Sarah Frederking. Learn more about who she is and the wonderful designs she creates. 

Q. Where are you from?  Where did you grow up?  Where do you live?

A.  I grew up in West Hartford, CT and lived out east until I left for college, and landed my first job in Advertising in Chicago right after college. I now live in Berwyn, Il which is about 10 minutes west of Chicago.

Q. Family?  Pets?

A. I have two grown children. My daughter lives in Copenhagen with her husband and my first grandchild, and my son lives in Chicago. I had a wonderful dog Casey for about 15 years, and a cat for 21 years. I absolutely love dogs, but do not have one now.

Q. Background as far as education and jobs?

A. I studied Graphic Design and Advertising in college at Miami University of Ohio. Upon graduating I started as an Art Director at Leo Burnett, and stayed there a few years before leaving to pursue my own business of custom Hand-lettering, I had a wonderful business of creating custom lettering and logotypes for advertising agencies and design studios nationwide for about 20 years until computers took over much of that work.  At that point I turned to surface pattern design, exhibiting at Surtex for many years in a row and gaining licenses in a variety of areas from greeting cards and gift wrap, to kitchen and bath textiles, photo albums and more.

Q. What other products do you license for? 

A. My designs have been licensed for a variety of applications including greeting cards, gift wraps,paper products, photo albums, kitchen and bath textiles, office products, puzzles, rugs, tabletop  and other home accent products.

Q. Do you have any other jobs outside of licensing?

A. I took a position in Product Development for a major food gift manufacturer, and learned a lot about the manufacturing side of bringing products to market but missed doing my own work. Our privately owned company was bought out and with the change came lay-offs so I returned to what I really wanted to do again, which is what made me return to Surtex. So I have been exhibiting at Surtex again for the last two years, and I will be returning again in May.

Q. What inspires your lines?

A. Almost anything inspires my lines. Sometimes it is a simple challenge to myself to try something I hadn’t done before, which is how my farm friends started.  With that I have been doing Novelty items for you, and those have lead to other categories I wouldn’t have seen myself doing in the past,.Sometime it s a texture or a color combination  of something that inspires me to try something in that color story. Because I work in a variety of styles it is hard to say what inspires me overall. It can come from almost anywhere.

Q. Do you have a special place where you get your best work done?

A. I work primarily from my office but go mobile whenever necessary.  I can pack up my laptop, a small Wacom tablet and a couple of hard drives to stay productive on the move. 

Q. Do you have a memorable licensing or designing moments?

A. I have to say, I have had a lot of memorable moments with Megan, because I was absolutely new to quilting and designing for quilting when we met. We’ve had a a few laughs over some of my misconceptions of how it all comes together for quilting, but I am slowly but surely learning as we go along. I also remember when she first suggested that I would need to write a storybook for my first line. That was a new challenge I hadn’t thought of and had not expected. I have enjoyed pulling the books together as we start a series.I can think of a number of times in my licensing history when a customer has asked for something and I’ve had to go do the research on the request before tackling the assignment. Although I have an education in commercial art, I’ve had two major business that were basically built on just diving in and exploring various avenues until you figure it out. I guess that is much of what drives me.


I’ve also had some memorable results that come up in the manufacturing process where you learn how literally certain things might be interpreted. It makes you think as you design to avoid such outcomes depending what you are designing for and how it will be manufactured.

Q. Lessons learned over the years?

A. Wow, many lessons learned over the years.( However, I am talking basically licensing in general vs. quilting.) This is a tough business to break into, and it takes a while to get established, so you need to pay your dues, and it is not the business it once used to be. My former market is entirely different than my new market because my styles and my approach have changed. Research a lot to see what is trending in the market, and try to do your own take on what is out there, bringing something different to your work. Be yourself, as that is where the best work comes from in my mind. I love to explore new looks, and I try not to base if too much off of what is already out there. There are times I come up with things that might be way off base, or other times I hit on something that resonates with people. Someone once said that for every person who passes up your work for their products there is another customer looking for what you do. I like to remind myself of that all the time.

Q. What do you like about fabric?

A. I love the ability to explore different textures and finishes in fabrics and coming up with different color combinations. I love the warmth they bring to a room. I could get really lost in a home textiles show room trying to decide which way I want to go with all the choices. I would also like to explore making three dimensional objects or characters with fabrics. I enjoyed making a christmas stocking for my granddaughter recently, I had not sewn anything or crafted anything in a long time, and that was a lot of fun.

Q. How has your experience been working with our team while creating your lines?  How has your experience been with Studioe in general?

A. I have absolutely loved working with Megan on these lines. She has taught me a lot and has done so with a lot of patience!  We seen to work well collaboratively , and she will challenge me to do things I was not sure I was capable of, so that has been very fun. I also appreciate that Studio e promotes me and my brand along with the lines. 

Q. Do you have expectations when you put out a line?  i.e. what will work and what won’t work?  Are you ever surprised at what is successful and what isn’t?

A. I’m probably still a bit too new to this to comment on what my expectations are, but I try to trust you as the manufacturer when you make certain decisions on the line. I will speak up when I really feel strongly about something, and I appreciate that Megan is always open to listening and allowing me to come up with my thoughts on the lines.We bounce ideas off of one another.

Q. Do you quilt?  If not, what do you do with all the free fabric you get?

A. No, I do not quilt! I have given some of the fabric to friends who do quilt, and have offered it to those who might want to make a quilt or a project of their own. At this point I just love having the bolts of fabric stacked in my office. However as the next few lines come in, I will have to make more room. Fortunately I am at the age where my friends and I are becoming grandparents, so I have a grandchild who benefitted from the first farm friends quilt that my sister made. and we have given several of the storybooks as gifts.


Rebecca’s most recent line with Studioe is the adorable feline collection titled, A Cat Tale. View a few of the pieces below and click here to view the entire collection.


A Cat's Tale


Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: What’s New For March?

Studioe Fabrics is out with 6 new lines for a small March release.  At Jaftex (the parent company), the term release is used to describe the debut of new lines.  Studioe Fabrics typically produces four releases a year, until this year when there will be five.  However, after much debate, next year there will be four again.  That is another story for another blog.  Below, some of the highlights and features of the new March 2015 lines will be discussed. 


A Cat Tale, by Sarah Frederking, features subject matter that many quilters love: cats and sewing.  This line has a 36 panel soft book.  The soft book has all the instructions printed right on the fabric, so you never have to worry about losing the directions or having to call the company for them.  Books are always the best seller when they are in a line.  Are books a top seller in your shop?  How do you display them so the customer knows what it is when they come across it?  Have you ever sewn a book together? 

a cat tale book

Blue Bird, by Jen Brinley, is a peaceful yellow, green and blue line featuring birds and flowers.  My favorite part of this line is the free project with the bird houses. It was very clever and looks like it will be a lot of fun to make.  Unfortunately, there are no birdhouses in my yard.  How about yours?    

Blue Bird Lead Print 

Hugs and kisses, by Studioe Fabrics, is a line inspired by love.  You really can never have too much love!  A line like this should sell all year as love is a full year proposition and it is always in the air. Check out the fun project ideas, they are love-ly.  Sorry for all the cheesy puns and clichés.





Modern mixers 2, by Studioe Fabrics, is a simple line of geometric and basic prints using only one color and white.  There are 5 color combinations in total used with white.  There is a lot to be said about a basic and modern line like this because it shows you that not every pattern has to be ornately detailed using a lot of colors and screens to print.  As I always say in my office, “KISS.”  That stands for keep it simple, so simple that it is stupid.  Simplicity works for Studioe Fabrics because as you can see this is the second version of this line so it must be working.  Hopefully, there will be many more to follow.  If you consider yourself a modern quilter, does this tickle your fancy?  If not, tell us why so we can cater it more to the modern quilter.   

modern mixers 

Prisms, by Studioe Fabrics, is the newest 108″ wide fabric offering.  What you need to know about this line is that it was inspired by light refracting through gems to create a prism affect.  The other important thing to know about this line is that it is the first for Studioe Fabrics where better constructed fabric is produced.  This line is being printed on 60×60 cottons.  Are you able to decipher the a 60×60 construction from a 68×68?   


Sunshine day, by Modern Muse Designs, is a very fun kids line.  It features a 24×44 panel with some precious animals and bugs.  This would be a great line for charity quilts to give to kids in hospitals.  Don’t you agree?  Do you ever make charity quilts? 

sunshine day

So that’s a wrap up for the new March 2015 lines.  Which is your favorite and why? 

Have a great day!  Looks like Spring is in the air and things are certain to pick up.



March Watermark Giveaway


Congratulations to Leslie Bower for winning the Peppered Cottons giveaway! It’s definitely the most popular giveaway we’ve had yet. Today we’re giving away a set of the 18″ x 21″ quarter cuts bundle of our Watermark line. This bundle will be of the darker colorway.  You can view the entire line on our website here.  To enter to win, all you have to do is comment this post.  You can also comment on any link of this post on our Facebook page for an extra entry.  


As always, follow us on social media for surprise extra chances to win!

*Contest ends March 20th at 8:00 am EST. Open to US residents only.*




Watermark Giveaway


If you aren’t already, be sure to follow us on all our social media outlets for the latest updates on all things Studioe.


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Quilt Tips From Our Readers

Hello Studioe fans! A few weeks ago on the Studioe Facebook page, we asked you all to share you top quilting tips for a new quilter. We received such great tips, we wanted to share them all in a blog post! Read what everyone thought was a valuable tip and see if you see yours included!

Tips for the new quilter | 40 plus tips and words of advice from experienced quilters

This chevron pattern is a free quilt pattern you can download here.

When just starting

Janie McCombs, “Quilting is extremely addicting, Love it!”

Barbara Galetin, “There are no rules.”

Sonja McLane, “Make sure to wash larger pieces of material so the color does not run and use color catchers!”

Jacqui Billot, “Measure and practice.”

Cheril Ryan, “Be patient and enjoy the process, not the just finished product (note to self).”

Suzanne Bake, “Take your time!!”

Linda Douglas, “Relax and have fun with your quilting!”

Vicki Hill, “Relax and enjoy the processes.”

Liz Dale, “Be patient with yourself and practice. Triple check before you cut or sew.”

Debra Landon James, “Enjoy what you are about to learn cause it is a very addicting and fulfilling hobby. Love it!”

Choosing A Project

Ivy Gabbad, “Start with something easy.”

WonkyGirl Glass, “Never start with a king-size quilt, start with a smaller throw size.”

Barbara La France Huggins, “Take your time and enjoy the process of putting your quilt together. I would start small like a wall quilt or one for a baby.”

Shirley Haynes Clark, “Practice using scraps at first, and work on an easy pattern. However, I love Scrappy quilts the best.”

The Necessary Tools

Debra Neiman, “Buy and Extra seam ripper, cause they tend to get lost.”

Peggy Gibbs, “I’m not one to give advice on quilting, as I only make the quilt tops, but I would say get a good rotary cutter and use a sharp blade in it.”

Sheri Andresen, “Use quality fabric, it does make a difference.”

Emily Callender, “Know where your pins are or use clips. Your family will thank you.”

Cecilia Young,  “Always use the same brand of rulers on a project.”

The 1/4″ Seam

Vicki Terpstra, “The best advice I would give to a new quilter is to test your ¼” seams. I always assumed mine were good as I was using a ¼” foot, but nope, they weren’t I hadn’t realized my machines foot needed to be moved to the right when using my foot.”

Rose Sabey, “Scant ¼” seams!”

Michele Fetter, “Make sure your quarter of an inch is always consistent. Don’t switch sewing machines on your quilt.”

Anna Lutz-Brown, “Please please remember a quarter of an inch….go buy a quarter inch foot [to] save you a lot of headaches later.”

Thoughts On Making Mistakes

Pat Bacchus, “I am self-taught and most of my quilt go to family members, sometimes I sell them. I tell people the price for the quilt and in doing so I say, ‘the price is the $$$ but the mistakes come free’. Quilts that are made with love are not always perfect. That makes them more cherishable.”

Bernadette Osse Bassett, “Do not be afraid of mistakes, wrong cuts and dull scissors.”

Lisa Wheeler, “Relax, enjoy and do not beat yourself up. Quilts are made from love, not perfection.”

Darcy Lewis, “Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, and don’t let any teacher shame you about that!”

Diana Ross, “Measure twice, cut once.”

JoAnn McLean, “Always check before cutting or rotary cutting.”

Barb Hodge, “No one but God is perfect, so don’t get discouraged. I have always looked at it as putting my own personal touch into a quilt.”

Nancy Rothschild Bird, “There are no quilt police, so you can break the rules if you want!”

Sheila Munro, “Don’t expect perfection the first time. It take time and accuracy which comes with practice so don’t quit.”

Beth Sebastian, “Keep on sewing – you will improve the more you sew!”

Patty Iams McKissock, “Hang in there! When I started I was very insecure about putting colors together, but with practice it gets fun!”

The Quilting Community

Kauaikuuipo Christine G, “Get into a small group of older quilters. Best setting for lots of learning on what to do next.”

PK Solberg, “Join a guild and follow quilting blogs.”

Kathleen Schlarp, “Find a mentor because you have no idea of what you don’t know. For me, it was my sister. Quilting circle are probably ok but then you get lots of possibly contradictory opinions. Be brave and go for it. You will find your way.”

Do you have any other tips to add?

Guest Post: Janice’s Peppered Cottons Quilt

This post was written by Janice Pope, a sales representative for Studioe.


I just finished piecing and quilting my first quilt using the Peppered Cottons designed by Pepper Cory from StudioE. It will not be my last! These shot cottons are a superior quality and the colors are luscious! Some I used were prewashed and some were not. Both were soft and almost cuddly. The pattern I used is College Bound Plus 3. (http://anythingbutboring.com/quilts/) I made the twin width, but one-row shorter. The blocks were 5 across and 6 down, so a large throw size, or nap quilt. (A nap quilt is larger than a lap quilt!)



Shot cottons are made with the warp and weft threads being two different colors. This creates nap in the fabric so that from one direction you see one color more dominantly, and from another direction you see a different color. Other companies have produced these for the quilting industry, but I was never impressed with the hand or the quality before.


Working with these fabrics was such a joy! As a fabric representative, I am handling fabric on a regular basis and it is one of the things that make my job so enjoyable. Working with these fabrics was different because of the lovely colors and hand. The look is almost linen-like and the feel is almost that of brushed cotton. The ones that have not been washed have sheen on them from the ironing process, but the washed ones are not shiny, and are even softer. The edges did unravel, much like a flannel, but it helped to control that by ironing with Best Press. The seams are beautiful and the quilting was beautiful too. I do tend to change my needles often, but I didn’t put in a new needle and there was not one pick or issue in the entire quilt. I used both the “solid” colors as well as the “fancies” which are plaids (large and small), and stripes. I used a contrast threat for the quilting.


Many of these colors are neutrals. I have always thought red was a neutral: but actually, a neutral is made of a color formed by both a warm and a cool color. That yucky green color is a neutral (which I choose as my corner stones) and the sashing/border fabric, which is kind of a purple-blue, is also a neutral. It is formed by combining a warp of fuchsia and a weft of aqua. There are several other neutrals in this line, which you can see online at www.studioefabrics.com. You will have to look in two places, as some are new and some have been around a while. There are 50 colors in all. I used several in this quilt.


If you have not used these luscious fabrics yet, I suggest you give them a try. Because in many of the fabrics you can see both colors used, you will find they are especially easy to match with other fabrics. I used batik for the binding. What fun!