About Lisa Shepard Stewart

Hi - I'm the Marketing Manager for Marcus, and I handle the online content and general marketing communications, including our blog and most of the social media... We hope you'll enjoy the blog and we welcome your comments! - lisa

Quick Q&A: Pam Buda’s “Conestoga Crossing”

PamBuda2016You might have noticed that our new CONESTOGA CROSSING BOM starts this month at your local quilt shops, so we went behind the scenes with Pam Buda to learn more about her project:
Q.  Tell us about your inspiration for Conestoga Crossing. Did the quilt design influence the fabric prints and colors, or vice-versa?
A. The inspiration came from a working vacation my husband and I took to Idaho and Wyoming a few years ago.  I’m very interested in the pioneer women who made this arduous journey, which was much tougher than we think.  We followed the Oregon Trail for many miles, enjoying stops along the way with markers and information about the Trail.  A park ranger also guided us into the foothills so we could see the wagon ruts that were still there and walk them as they did so many years ago! 
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Which came first? The quilt design influenced the fabric choices for sure.  I wanted to focus on red, black, gold and green as the primary colors, then decided to add just a few blues for a bit more color.  I wanted several pretty light print tone-on-tones, especially for the big center of the quilt, but also added light prairie style prints that really represent the 1800’s when the Westward migration was happening. 
 Conestogabasket
Q.  The quilt features a border of basket blocks – is this common to the era of the Oregon Trail?
A.  Block quilts are truly an American invention and they slowly came into being in the first half of the nineteenth century.  The means of sharing information, even in published newspapers and books, was so very slow that it took a long time for blocks to be seen and for creative women to begin to play and invent them.  The Basket blocks in particular were likely around toward the latter half of the nineteenth century, and they are still as popular today as they were then.
 
Q. The overall design is so outstanding, it just might attract someone who’s never done a BOM program. Any advice or tips for a first-time BOM quilter?
 
A. My advice is to be organized and take your time with it.  Conestoga Crossing may look difficult but is relatively easy to piece and assemble.  If you’ve made a few quilts, you’ll be just fine piecing this one.  Keep all extra fabric you may accumulate each month for any mistakes that may happen, and definitely seek out advice from your local quilt shop.  There’s so much support there, not to mention loads of gorgeous Marcus fabrics! 
 
Q.  Aside from a gorgeous quilt, what do you want quilters to gain from this BOM  experience?
The patterns include historical information on the California/Oregon Trail experience from its beginning to end.  Quilters will surely gain a real sense of what it was like to leave home and arrive in Independence, MO, the beginning of the Trail, walking the thousands of miles, cooking, camping, birth, sickness, and death.  How they dealt with different challenges along the way like homesickness, dealing with bad weather, broken wagons, crossing rivers.  Not surprisingly, friendships were made among families.  Eventually each family had to make the decision to go to California or Oregon, possibly separating from new friends.  And finally, arriving at the end of the Trail. I hope you all enjoy the history, the Prairie fabrics and quilt blocks that take you back to the days of the Oregon Trail! 
 

January Buzz: The Rainbow Fish

rainbowfishscalesIf these first days of 2017 are any indication, January is all about THE RAINBOW FISH hitting the quilt shops!  And we’re not surprised by all of the excitement caused by Marcus Pfister’s friendly, lovable character.  In fact, just as I began to write this post, Pati shared this note from one of our sales reps discussing her customer’s experience with the “Scales” (Style 9752-0750)

“Janet made up a pillowcase of The Rainbow Fish, washed it, dried it, ironed it, and brought it in to the store.  She said there wasn’t a single piece of glitter that came off, and the fabric has a lovely hand.  She was really impressed with the quality of the metallic and printing overall, and ordered more of the line today.  I had some customers who thought the glitter wouldn’t make a nice pillow surface, but it was a beautiful, soft pillowcase.”

And the rest of the prints are equally beautiful, some with touches of metallic shimmer. We even have three quilt projects, available through your local quilt shops:

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Look for the collection in stores now, and ask for Rainbow Fish books in selected shops!

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See What Danyella Did with Meadow Storm!

Today we welcome a guest post from Danyella Nava of Made Sew Modern – enjoy!

vfw-danyellaI first met Victoria (Findlay Wolfe) when she came to Albuquerque, NM to teach a workshop that my local guild had organized back in June of 2016. I took her Double Wedding Ring workshop and totally fell in love with a classic technique! My first impression of Victoria was that she was such a fun, creative being, and I was so very excited to learn from her. 

My experience with Victoria did not stop there. I also joined her for a dinner and a lecture, and her deep love and passion for quilting continued to shine. I found that Victoria was incredibly humble. She was excited to share her knowledge with everyone and was open to conversation. I felt that she really took the time to get to know me by listening so intently over the few days I got to spend with her.

 Around the same time, Victoria’s fabric line, MOSTLY MANOR, had come out a few months before, and the quilt shop I work for had carried a few of the pieces from that line. The first thing I noticed about Mostly Manor was the bright and bold colors and how playful the prints were. It was one of my most favorite fabrics that we were carrying by Marcus, and I immediately knew I had to have some in my stash. 
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When MEADOW STORM came out, it was no different. When I received a fat quarter bundle of the fabric, I just couldn’t wait to open it up and get started on something. I decided to give my first try at designing a quilt, and use this fabric for it. It definitely did not disappoint. I appreciated the quality of the fabric that Marcus Fabrics produces, it makes working with a new pattern very easy. In my opinion, it is always much more difficult when working with a poor quality of fabric. It was also so tough to choose a favorite! It was a tie between the black and white Manor Stripe I used in the border or the Sun Shower dots in orchid. I just absolutely love the boldness and richness of that orchid color! I have also found that it can be tough to find a really good black and white stripe, so I was jumping with joy when I got my hands on that piece. I even ordered extra just so I could keep a piece for myself!
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One thing that stands out to me about Victoria’s fabric lines is how well they play with each other. The quilt shop I work for also swooned over her fabric, so naturally we had to use her fabric lines to create kits that people could purchase. It was so incredibly easy to mix and match her prints between both Mostly Manor and Meadow Storm! I just love when fabric lines can be versatile with one another.
I just can’t wait to get my hands on her newest line, LIGHT WORK, coming to shops this month! 
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 Danyella Nava / MadeSewModern

Behind the Scenes: The Story of ELIZABETH’S DOWRY

Look at what literally just arrived on my desk…it’s Today’s Quilter, our favorite UK quilting magazine, with a big BONUS!

todaysquiltersupp1Issue Seventeen was packaged with a special supplement all about our ELIZABETH’S DOWRY fabric collaboration!  With input from The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles and Karen Styles of Somerset Patchwork, it not only outlines the journey of how this unique collection came to be, but also offers great projects and insights to help you make the most of this historic collection.todaysquiltersupp2

Like the magazine, this special publication is beautifully done — a true collector’s item.  Of course, having contributed to one of the articles, we knew it was in the works, but it’s always sew exciting to see the finished product in real life!

To order your own copy:  Visit Today’s Quilter and check out their special offer for new US subscribers, now thru February 28, 2017.

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Meet Aurifil’s 2017 Design Team

Sarah-NewFeb16Congratulations to Marcus’ own Sarah J Maxwell and the many other talented designers who were chosen for the 2017 Aurifil Design Team!  Pat Sloan, who heads the program for the rockstar thread company, recently announced the team and their upcoming group BOM project.

Did we mention that thread giveaways are also involved? We can’t wait to see what “Sarah and friends” come up with next year…Learn more

2017 Aurifil Design Team

2017 Aurifil Design Team

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You’ll Love Our Chill-Chasing Neck Warmer!

neckwarmercomp2So, who’s down to the wire on stitching up quick holiday gifts?  Here’s one FREE PROJECT you’ll love!  It’s really a perfect “anytime” gift for him or her, so if you don’t quite finish for the holidays, don’t worry, they’ll enjoy wearing these all season long.  We suggest you cut several at once and sew assembly-line style  ; )   It also makes a great beginner sewing project for all ages.

Simply choose your favorite combination of PRIMO PLAID FLANNEL and Marcus WOOL to create this easy Neck Warmer.  Here we used Primo Plaid Flannel #J369-0113 and Wool in Oatmeal Heather #7746-0148…by the way, we love it when our president, Stephanie, volunteers to model, but I digress… Finish with hook-and-loop tape closure and a decorative button.  Then wrap and adjust it as desired.  For a softer hand and worry-free laundering later, consider felting the wool before you begin (easy felting steps are included).  Just remember to make one or two for yourself, too!

We Love Pantone’s GREENERY for 2017!

Like many of you, we fully approve of Pantone’s pick as Color of the Year for 2017 – it’s called GREENERY, and it gives us a sense of freshness, renewal and hope.  The world’s foremost color authority chose Greenery, also known as 15-0343, for these reasons:

“Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”  Read more

If you’re lovinGreenery as much as we are, breathe deeply and rest assured we’ve got it covered, from Centennial Solids and Wools to designer prints and batiks:

greenery-swatchespantone17

A Quick Q&A on CLARET, with Paula Barnes

claretcompWe caught up with Paula to chat about her new CLARET collection. Here’s what she shared with us:

Q. The line is inspired by quilts of the 1800s.  What made Claret such a popular color during that time??

A. Claret became popular in the 1800’s to some extent because the synthetic dye used to produce the color was a stable dye.  This made the color more available, and more affordable, which of course, contributed to its wide appeal.

Q.  And how was it commonly used at the time?PaulaBarnes-SP15

A.  You’d often find the Claret color paired with shirting in quilts. Many quilts were made with Claret, Indigo and Cadet blue (blues included in my INDIGO line).  Red and Grey were popular for the time period.

Q.  The depth of the color is striking, definitely a stashworthy choice for all red lovers.

A.  Yes, it is definitely a darker red color, similar to the French red wine from the Bordeaux region thus giving it is name.

We can only imagine the joys of stitching a Claret quilt while sipping a fine Claret wine!  Paula introduced her INDIGO line a few months ago, then followed up with CLARET.  You’ll find that they work beautifully together now, just as they did in the 1800s. Look for the collection in your favorite quilt shops beginning February 2017!

Quilts on the Rooftop

There’s nothing like a cool and sunny autumn day to take advantage of the views from the rooftop of our office building!  So Pati and Effie grabbed an armful of quilts and headed “north”…

radiantroofAbove: “Radiant Stars” BOM done in RADIANT REFLECTIONS, coming soon from Material Girlfriends!

Below: Pati wraps up in AGED MUSLINS and Madison Cottage Designs‘ “Persimmon Bars” pattern…
agedmuslinpatiroof

Signature style quilts by our talented fabric designers, aka the Marcus Makers. Can you spot the style of your favorite Marcus designers?makersquiltsroof16

…and below, a blend of subtle PRIMO PLAID FLANNELS, with touches of WOOL applique, designed by Pastthyme Patterns.

flannelsroof

macysbwayrooftop

Finally, the view down below, where Broadway meets 6th Avenue…Macy’s…Herald Square…tiny people…

We’ve Got CHEDDARS!

cheddarcheeseThese familiar golden yellow-orange tones are a longtime Reproduction favorite, and Cheddar in its many variations is enjoying a resurgence this season!  It’s a rich, warm, inviting color and like the food it’s named after, the category ranges from muted golds to deeper orange tones.   In Repro quilts, cheddar generally used as a highlight against darker blues, greens, reds, plums and browns.

Like the quilters long before them, modern quilters have also embraced the color as a special accent, giving life to the colors around it in simply pieced designs.  We love Pam Buda’s new take on the color, pairing it with taupe-grey neutrals for a look that bridges tradition and trend in ANTIQUE COTTON CALICOS: Cheddar and Friends!

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