With the planning and precision of an engineer, classic and modern quilter Cheryl Brickey designs beginner-friendly patterns that appear complex. She enjoys the challenge of designing for those pre-cut packets, such as 5-inch charm pack squares, that so many quilters collect. And collect and collect. Cheryl unlocks the mystery of using a curated selection of fabric to make a quilt that lets the maker’s hand shine.
Where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration everywhere, from nature, to architecture, to vintage textiles. So much so that I even have a quilt pattern I designed called Scrappy Tiles that was inspired by the bathroom floor tiles where I work.
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What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
I am a chemical engineer and I think that the engineering side of my brain does influence my quilts. I tend to use strong geometric shapes and designs and have good contrast between the designs and the background so that the shapes really pop.
What is the most important takeaway you want readers to gain from your books, especially your new title, Just One Charm Pack Quilts?
I hope that Just One Charm Pack Quilts enables quilters to use their stash of saved charm packs and make them into beautiful quilts. Charm packs are so cute and such a great way of getting a little bit of each fabric from a designer’s new collection. I would impulse buy them each time I was shopping for fabric. But when it came time to use the charm packs, one charm pack never seemed like enough fabric to make a full quilt.
Most charm pack patterns required 2 or 3 packs, sometimes matching packs. So my stack of charm packs slowly grew and grew. I wanted my charm packs to go into quilts, so I wrote Just One Charm Pack Quilts. The book contains 18 patterns that are the Hamburger Helper for charm packs by adding in an additional fabric and background fabric to stretch the charm pack into a full quilt. The quilt patterns are very beginner friendly and are perfect for babies, kids, small adult lap quilts, wall hangings, table toppers, and more. For even more inspiration, I show each pattern in two different colorways.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
I turned the spare bedroom of our house into my sewing room about 8 years ago. It is not very large and is usually pretty messy, but I appreciate having a space of my own for creating.
Do you use a sketchbook or journal? Paper or digital? How does that help your work develop?
I do have a sketchbook, but I quickly move from paper to EQ8. EQ8 is a digital quilt drawing program that allows me to quickly change parts of a block, layouts, colors, and more. Once I get started in EQ8, the resultant quilt sometimes evolves and looks very different than what I started with.
What plays in the background while you work? Silence? Music, audiobooks, podcasts, movies? If so, what kind?
I have two children, one in high school and one in middle school, so I appreciate the quiet when I can get it. Normally, I sew and quilt in silence. But I do tend to watch Netflix when ironing or sewing bindings on by hand.
When it comes to creating, are you more of a planner or an improviser?
I am a chemical engineer, so I tend to like to have everything planned out before I begin a quilt. I will use EQ8 to test out different fabric and color placements so I have a good idea what the quilt will look like before making the first fabric cut.
Do you think that creativity comes naturally to people, or do you think creativity is a skill that people can learn?
I think that everyone is creative, so people just need to find their niche and medium that they enjoy creating in.
Tell us about your website. What do you hope people will gain by visiting?
I use my blog, Meadow Mist Designs, to inspire quilters and create connections in the quilting community. I host a yearly, free mystery quilt-along on my blog. This year’s project is called the Macaron Mystery. I post my quilt finishes, works in progress, tutorials, and more. I also host an active Facebook group where everyone shares their mystery quilt progress and more.
Do you lecture or teach workshops? How can students/organizers get in touch with you to schedule an event?
I enjoy teaching and meeting with quilters all over the country. I have a page on my blog that shows my current lectures and workshops and how to get in touch with me.
What’s next for you?
I am working on a number of new collaborations and quilt designs. I am excited to share them with everyone over the next few months.
Interview posted August 2021
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