Quilt designer Liza Prior Lucy certainly has what we’d class as as dream job, partnering with Kaffe Fassett on creating quilts for their book collaborations, and running Glorious Color, an online shop selling Kaffe Fassett quilt fabrics amongst others.
We’re very excited to have Liza on board for issue 1 of Today’s Quilter – she’s designed a quilt for our free Kaffe Fassett supplement, using his range of striped fabrics. We thought we’d sit down for a chat with her about her background and how she started working with the king of colour.
How did you first learn to quilt, and what is it about the craft you love?
I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t making something with my hands. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania where my mother and nana both knitted, and they passed their love on to me.
My earliest crafts involved making pot holders and long snakes from yarn wrapped around nails on a spool. I used to loop for hours! I made my first quilt when I got to college, sewing 25 bandanas together and backing it with red corduroy.
Could you tell us a bit about your background? How did you start working for Kaffe Fassett?
For several years after college needlepoint and knitting were my passions. It wasn’t until I became a mother, in 1990, that I decided I needed to make a quilt for my baby. By then Kaffe and I were friends – we were both working for the Rowan Yarn Company, him as the lead designer and I as a sales representative.
The way he worked with colour changed how I, and legions of other knitters approached the craft. It was revolutionary! I approached my first quilt with no fear of colour, largely because of what Kaffe had taught me. I was instantly hooked.
Quiltmaking became an addiction. I began trying to persuade Kaffe to make quilts with me. I told him that if he designed them, I’d make them. I even began sending him small quilt tops in the mail, were based on his knitting designs. Eventually I wore him down, and we’ve been happily making glorious quilts ever since.
What’s the best part of your job?
Collaborating with all three of the fabric artists – Kaffe, Philip Jacobs, and Brandon Mably – and working with the team that puts our books together. It is a joy to be surrounded by creative energy and generous people.
What tools and materials could you not live without?
My flannel design wall is essential. I don’t take a stitch until I place the patches on it and position them where they look best. I use a reducing glass to look at my composition on the wall which helps me assess the project as a whole.
I also love my Bernina sewing machine – I have a 550 Quilters Edition and the precise, even stitch makes piecing so simple. The rotary cutter, rulers, and matt are tools I love. As for my stash, other than the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics, I also collect Indigos and ethnic fabrics such as Ikats and African tie dyed damasks.
Which quilt designers are you really excited about at the moment?
My favorites outside of our team are Kim McLean, Sue Benner, Karen Stone, Susan Carlson, Sue Spargo, and any number of anonymous Amish women from the late 1800s.
What upcoming projects are you currently working on?
Kaffe and I have just about finished a book, focused on flowers, that’ll come out in late 2016. I’m currently working on editing my patterns, which is the least enjoyable part of this job. All those details and numbers! We are also working on a project with ethnic fabrics, going back to 1960s style. Stay tuned!
Photographs: Debbie Patterson