December 2014 Designer of the Month

aurifil 2014 Dec designer of the month Carrie Nelson

Welcome to our December Block of the Month! I’m Designer/Radio show host PatSloan! Our Designer this month is Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company, I bet you have a few of her patterns in your collection!.  Carrie had a booth next to mine at a trade show and we have been friends every since!  I am always thrilled to get to know more about each designer when I interview them. Carrie has been living in Arizona and is trading the South West life for the bright lights of the city of Dallas Texas where she will be working for Moda Fabrics… so excited to have her there!

I have had the pleasure of having Carrie on my All Quilting podcast June 25, 2012 and May 2, 2011 . You can go HERE and scroll back on the player to listen

Pat Sloan Perfect Neutrals3

We continue our MONTHLY thread BOX giveaway (seriously folks… you could win a box of my thread which is over $120.00 value.. for making a quilt block… you have to join in!). We will pick one random winner that has made a  block from our 2014 designers and that random person receives a FULL BOX of my Aurifil thread as the prize! Winners are all contacted via Flickr email and posted at our FLICK GROUP HERE

And we have an added feature this year of a machine quilting tip from Natalia Bonner. Look for that at the end of each interview!

Let’s get to know Carrie!


When was your FIRST quilt sighting?

The first time I can really recall seeing and remembering quilts was around the time of the bicentennial – the USA’s, not mine! Quilts were being shown in all the ladies’ magazines – long ago before the Internet – and every manner of “American” art was being celebrated. Quilts were a huge part of that and yes, it did inspire me. I’d grown up sewing clothes, bags, pillows and all sorts of things so I already loved fabric and fabric stores. I could sew so I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make a quilt. :::snort:::

Lesson learned. It’s sewing but it’s definitely different. Still, I was hooked from the first quilt. Okay, block.


Do you still have your first project you ever made?

The first “quilt” project was a pillow I tried – emphasis on “tried” – to make using cardboard templates cut with scissors. It defied classification as a geometric shape when it was finished so, no, I don’t still have that.

My second attempt was slightly better. I was living in Dallas, Texas at the time and there were several terrific quilt shops within a few miles of me. I started hanging around and I had to either take a class or be arrested for vagrancy so I signed up for two classes, one for hand-piecing and one for machine-piecing. I don’t have the hand-pieced block I made… probably because it was epically “not pretty”. I probably should have kept it as some kind of memento since it took me about 9 hours to make a 12” block.


But I do have the first actual quilt I made – the result of my machine-piecing class. It was made using a new-fangled gadget called a rotary cutter, and the design came from Blanche and Helen Young’s book, Sunshine and Shadows quilts. At one point, it looked more like a wind-sock than a quilt because I used all solid fabrics – Amish quilts were hugely popular at the time – in primary Crayola colors. I machine quilted it – and learned not to baste a quilt on a shag carpet – with red thread.


When you go to a quilt show, what types of quilts are you drawn to?

Everything. Any style, genre, or method of construction – it doesn’t matter. I like quilts that have something to say, and it doesn’t matter to me if they’re perfectly or elaborately pieced, or even overly challenging. I love those quilts that have the same sense of expression that a great painting or piece of music has – you feel something when you look at it, you essentially learn something about the person who made it. More often than not, my favorite quilts at shows are those that say “I made this – this is me. I love it and I’m going to show it to the world!”


We all have parts of the process we ‘prefer’ more than others. What part of quilt making do you ‘Prefer’ most and why? And which the least, and why?

The actual sewing part will always be my favorite – seeing it start to come together. I love that point where you think you’ve made a horrible mistake… that these fabrics look awful together. But you keep going, sometimes on faith that your original idea was a good one. There are times when I have made a mistake – seriously! – and I like that part too. The reason I got into quilting, and eventually this business, is that I actually like taking the time to make stuff.

Least favorite – it makes it sound like I don’t like this part. I do, it’s just not as high on the list as everything else I like about making quilts. So here goes – stitching the binding onto the quilt. I love the hand-sewing it down part – and I like making the binding. It’s the actually sewing the binding onto the quilt that is not high on my list. It’s cumbersome, I have miles of binding that keeps trying to twist and then I have to make a nice, neat join. I’m so close to being done but first I have to wrestle a quilt and keep from getting tangled.

But I do it because I’m just a little bit persnickety about bindings.

pattern 1

Did you have a career prior to making art, and what was it?

I’ve had a few “careers”. I worked as a secretary for a defense contractor, that’s what led me back to college to finish my degree. And because Political Science majors aren’t qualified for much other than law school, I did that too. It was while I was trying to figure out how not to have to practice law when a local quilt shop asked me to teach a class.

That led to writing instructions and eventually patterns, and to this day, I still never imagined this as anything more than a way of subsidizing my quilting hobby.


What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown?

True confession. I don’t have a “hometown” in the way that most folks think of it – that connection to a place on a map that will always be “home”. Because of my Dad’s work, we moved frequently until I was nine. That’s when we moved to Alamo, a little ‘burg in the San Francisco Bay Area. Living there for more than ten years meant I got to spend a lot of time in San Francisco – BART was just starting and going into the city to spend the day was something I did often as a teenager.

So San Francisco and Northern California will always be one of my favorite places to be but I always seem to find something about every place I go that makes me feel like I belong there. I’m odd that way… and I’m sure it has something to do with moving a lot when I was growing up.

6a00e553ddaaff883401bb07a26628970d-800wiDo you have a tip or trick to make your quilt making easier?


Seriously. It’s that simple. Enjoy the process. It isn’t a race – she who makes the most quilts doesn’t win any kind of prize. (Trust me, I’ve checked.) And can we get this on the record – perfection is overrated. My quilts are a reflection of me – some quilts, or some parts of them, are pretty darn awesome, if I do say so myself. (Yeah, yeah… I just did.)

And other quilts – and even some parts of the awesome quilts – are a little less than wonderful, maybe even a lot less. That’s life. The quilts that we make are our “art”, and whether they’re simple or elaborate, what we choose to make says a lot about us – it is our voice, a reflection of who we are. So my quilting is made easier by accepting that some days are better and easier than others.

Really. Every single one of us has had days sewing where no matter what we do, it’s going to turn out perfectly. We could be blindfolded and sewing with our feet, but the points are still perfect.

Every. Single. One.

And there are days where nothing is going to work… nada. Zip. Zilch. But you slog through it, you work around it, or you find something else to do and you come back to it later. Making stuff is so much more about the journey than the destination.


What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?

White (2021). Beige-tan (2324). Gray (2600). Okay, those are the three I use the most. And yes, I do buy the big cones.

As for the colors that just look pretty sitting on the table or in my jar… my three favorites – current favorites – are 1231, 2270 and 1148. (Okay, so all three came in one of the awesome Aurifil thread sets that a designer-friend sent me. But I still love these colors.)


What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it?

Big. Organized. Cluttered. Functional. Eclectic. A bit like me. I sew in what used to be the living room and dining room – yes, lucky me, it’s the biggest room in the house. It was rarely used so I took out the carpets, refinished the concrete floors, put in bookcases and closets from Ikea and made myself at home.


I sew on a big dining table – I spent years looking for the “perfect” sewing machine table / cabinet and by the time I found what might be “it”, I’d gotten used to having my sewing machine on a table.

I have a lot of books – reference, how-to’s, instructional and inspirational. I have jars and boxes of “supplies”, including thread that is too old to actually be used. But it’s too pretty to throw away so it’s now decorative. I have quilts out and there’s usually some kind of wire basket holding a “work in progress”. My friends will tell you that I have an unhealthy addiction to wire baskets – I’ve never met one I didn’t want to take home.


I like having tools I use all the time within reach so there is a plate rack with rulers and a tray or dish with rotary cutters ready. And I have bins of fabric for inspiration – some is separated by color, some by collection or designer, and some is kept together because it’s all going to be part of a planned project. And okay, there might be a bin or six that is filled with fabric I don’t know where else to put. It all looks a bit more organized than it really is… and that’s a bit like me too.

If I could change one thing, I wish I had more natural light. While I have a big window, unfortunately it’s a direct southern exposure so the room can get very warm, very quickly, especially in the summer in Arizona


If you could train with, or work with, or follow one person for a day, who would it be?

Jen Kingwell. Or Kathy Doughty. Jane Davidson! Or Sarah Fielke. Or Kim MacLean. And the list goes on… with a common thread that should be obvious by now. I’m in love with what the Australian quilters are doing. They are fearless when it comes to mixing pattern, fabric and color, and they don’t follow any rules for styles or types of fabric. I especially love that they’re so not interested in “fast and easy”. While they have awesome skills and technique, they also don’t seem as caught up with “perfect” as we seem to be. As a group, their quilts are joyous and happy… and coincidentally, so are they!


What woman Inspired your Quilt Block?

My first and best answer is my Mom. But my inspiration also comes from both of my grandmothers and my dearest friends. Just as it has been for the other designers this year, I’ve been blessed to have had many smart, strong, independent women in my life, women who taught me to always choose my own direction.

As for how that relates to my block, as I write this, my life is going off in a new direction.


CLICK HERE to DOWNLAD the Aurifil 2014 December Block  

NOTE –  There will be a setting pattern later in December and it’s amazing! If you can’t wait, you might like to use the setting I created for the 2013 BOM HERE

And a few on the light side…
The Book you are currently reading: I just finished Deadline by John Sandford – I love his books! I also want to tout three terrific books I read this past summer by John Hart, an American mystery novelist. They are Down River, The Last Child and Iron House – The Last Child was my favorite. And no, they aren’t a series, they can be read in any order. I loved them.

Last Movie you Watched: You have to ask? Skyfall. And I won’t see another movie until December of 2015 when Bond 24 is released. I’m kidding! I saw The Judge and loved it – both Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall are great.

WSCheesePlateYour current favorite Song: Because it’s December… Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and I’ll Be Home for Christmas. I love most holiday music, but these two are my most favorite, they always make me pause and listen. For non-holiday, Rumble and Sway by Jamie N Commons always gets me dancing – and Stompa by Serena Ryder.
The snack you crave: Cheese and crackers. If I’m really getting the munchies and I don’t want to stop for a meal, I love making up a little cheese plate like one you’d get at a café. Crackers, a slice or two of a baguette, some fruit, nuts, maybe a little jam or chutney, and of course, some cheese – that’ll do.


**** and Carrie told me this is her OTHER favorite snack.. I MUST find some to try!

The Color you have always LOVED: Redgreenaquayellowpinkblackgray. :::snort::: It’s Red. No, Green. Okay, it’s Green. No. Red. Definitely. Yes, it’s definitely Blue. (It’s Red. Really. But don’t ask me again tomorrow.)

Visit Carrie at

machine quilting tip for aurifil number 12

The very talented Natalia Bonner has a Machine Quilting tip for you each month. Natalia will be quilting the final top for the Aurifil Gallery in Milan Italy!

Visit Natalia at

pat sloan 2014 aurifil dec block

I tried out 2 centers for this block, and did a photo tutorial of making it. COME HERE to see it!

Are you on Facebook? I have a new group with the most incredible show and tell going on! You should see it! JOIN me HERE … I’d love to meet you!

1 Watermak-Needle-Black

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The winner this month is Bev… She wins a Thread kit!

EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block.. that person will receive a special Aurifil thread prize! Winners are all contacted via Flickr email and posted at our FLICKR PAGE  HERE

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  1. Looks a lovely block Carrie, but I was most interested in your analysis of Australian quilting. As an Aussie I can relate to your thinking. Couldn’t agree more, I do feel we’re fearless, free, don’t feel the need to churn out quilt after quilt the quick and easy way, (or what I call production line quilting) and we loooove colour. We’re not afraid to use it. Maybe it has something to do with the light in this country, we have plenty of it. Thanks for a great Dec block, I’m off to study pattern and make a start.

  2. Thanks Carrie for the beautiful block and awesome read this month. This would make a great quilt for my dh who is afraid to fly on airlines, but is a pilot of his own small two seat plane 🙂

    Have followed your blog for years and wish you well in the new venture in life.

  3. It is now December 28, and I am still waiting for the layout and finishing instructions for the 2014 BOM. When will this finally be available?

  4. Carrie, I love your block and your responses to Pat’s questions, especially about relaxing and that quiltmaking is not a race but a process to be enjoyed. (I’ve got that part posted in my quilting room!)While not an Aussie, but with Aussie cousins, I also agree with you about the wonderfully creative Australian quilters and their fabrics.

  5. Is there going to be a post about how to set the BOM for 2014? Thanks so much- it’s been great fun.


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