Aurifil 2015 Designer of the Month Joanna Figueroa

Aurifil Feb 2015 Designer of the Month  Joanna Figueroa collage

Welcome to our 2015 Designer of the Month program,  I’m Designer/Radio show host PatSloan!

Our fantastic year of Mini’s rolls into February with Joanna Figueroa the designer behind Figtree & Co.  Joanna has an amazing style and I feel pretty lucky to be on the Moda design team with her. Her beautiful soft colored fabric always make their way into my stash.   Her company is based in a small town named San Leandro in the San Francisco Bay Area. Joanna told me it’s a great little place, now I want to visit!.

I chatted with Joanna about minis, sew and flip and other fun things on 10/24/11 and 10/6/14 at my All Quilting podcast

And let me give you a heads up, you are about to see the most beautiful photos of quilts you have ever seen. Joanna is an amazing photographer…

Pat Sloan Perfect Colors3

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

Let’s get to know Joanna!


When was your FIRST quilt sighting? 

My first “official” sighting was the first year I was married and I was garage sale shopping one Saturday morning. I will never forget walking up to this one house in our neighborhood- we lived in Pasadena in Southern California then- and spotting this small bubblegum pink, scrappy wishbone quilt laying on a blanket with a bunch of old clothes.

I remember casually picking it up and asking the lady what she wanted for it. When she said $7, I remember feeling this overwhelming sentiment of “score!!!!/she doesn’t know what she has here” as I casually pulled out the $7 and handed them to her. That was my first vintage quilt. I still love it more than most of the others I have gathered over the years. My first quilt class was soon to follow. I was hooked.


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

The first thing I am always drawn to in a quilt is the color and the palette and how the palette makes me feel or what it makes me think of. Its all about the color for me. It is also the first thing that I think about when planning out a new quilt. For me the design almost always comes next.

In terms of quilt shows, the other thing that I am most drawn to other than the color palette is vintage quilts or samplers of any kind. I absolutely love samplers. I think it might be because there is so much to look at and be inspired by and perhaps to be slightly intimidated by. If there is a vintage section of a quilt show… I could spend all day there. There is something about vintage quilts that capture my imagination in a way that modern quilts do not. I think it makes me feel a part of their history.


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

My first career was working with urban youth. I helped to design inner-city programs, worked with youth programs, assisted in revitalization programs in urban settings. I loved the work but it was probably not something that I could have done for my whole life. It required a committed energy that I did not have once I started having my own kids.


Even though I had a full time career before designing, I always did art on the side. Always. I started making and selling art when I was 7 and never stopped. The medium certainly changed. I started with drawing and painting, moved to graphic design and ceramics in high school. In college I had a minor in art and I focused on papermaking and printmaking. I have made stationary, jewelry and everything in between. Chances are if its art, I’ve tried it and loved some aspect of it. Quilting and fabric design were like a “coming home” experience for me and it incorporates all of my favorite parts about doing art. I can’t imagine not doing it.


What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown?

There aren’t a lot of places to visit in our town. Like I said, it’s a small, mostly bedroom community. But our favorite place for date night is a wonderful restaurant called Paradiso, which luckily happens to be right down the street from our neighborhood. We walk when we go and they know us there by name. They have an amazing spicy shrimp appetizer, mussels in wine sauce and fantastic basil cocktails!


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

My studio is my favorite place to be in and it has all of my inspiration pieces in it- fabric, wallpaper, ephemera, vintage fruit and veggie labels, vintage travel posters, vintage ribbon and buttons and lots of little momentos. I am kind of a crazy collector and am always falling in love with some or another vintage goodie.

Right now the thing I am trying to change is… the whole thing! I am in the midst of cleaning, organizing, moving things and generally updating it. Who knows when I will be done with that!


Do you have a GREAT storage, organization, or label making tip?

I live to organize my goodies. Its kind of an obsession. But here’s my problem. I like my storage to be pretty and visible. If I put it away, I might as well give it away because I will never use it. So all of my fabric is on open shelving sorted by color.

The newest collections are stacked separately by collection until most of it gets used and then the rest gets incorporated. My little things are in pretty bowls and jars. My favorite ephemera and vintage pieces are on the walls. My vintage fabrics for inspiration are stacked separately on top of my bookshelves where I can always see them. Other than that, I do have a lot of “creative chaos” that I am always looking to organize. It’s a never ending process for me!

What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?
Oh my goodness, I hate these “favorite” questions LOL!! The cream neutral 2000 is my favorite and I use it for every bit of piecing I do.


After that I love them all- especially the ones in my signature collection- but I guess if I had to name my favorites based on how often I am using them these days I would have to say the tomato red #2255 and the citron green #5015. But I can’t leave out the orange #2214. So I guess that is not three anymore LOL! And if you asked me in a few months I might just say the aqua #2880 and the caramel #2930.


Anything else you’d like to share? 
My current book is called WITH FABRIC & THREAD and its one of those books that I would hope you would go back to again and again both for the projects and for the pictures! We did all the photography for it in house with the help of family and friends and it was quite a labor of love. Not sure that I have the energy and time to ever do that again but I certainly love the result!


Also our brand new patterns that go with our upcoming fabric collection, Aloha Girl, are finally all back from the printer and available for purchase. We can’t wait until the fabric gets here next month so we can see what you all will do with it!


What about your Month Inspired your Quilt Block?

I thought for a long time about what I wanted to do for my MINI. I am kind of obsessed with the MINI thing lately. We have a whole collection of MINI patterns that are small versions of our favorite large scale quilts. I am working on a “Make it Mini” column for American Patchwork & Quilting where I take a standard sized quilt somewhere in each issue and make it into a mini. The feature is usually on the last page of the magazine. You should check it out… it has been a lot of fun!


So for this mini, I decided to work on a current trend and create a Fig Tree “rainbow” of blocks going from yellow to navy, using all of my favorite Fig Tree fabrics from a few of the last collections. I also love linen and linen-feeling fabrics so decided to use that as a background to really make the colors pop. I called it Chubby Churn Dashes for fun! Now I really want to make a full size quilt just like it!


DOWNLOAD the Mini churndash pattern

Visit the Figtree Blog HERE for MORE photos of this adorable quilt!



And a few on the light side… 

  • The Book you are currently reading – I am currently reading “The Miniaturist” for my bookclub. But I am behind on several others including Euphoria and Orphan Train.
  • Favorite TV show – I love a good crime drama show that isn’t too intense and that gets nicely “tied up for me with a pretty little bow at the end” and I look for marathons when I am working on a big project. I love both oldies and current shows. Favorites right now include Law & Order: SVU, Remington Steels, Elementary and The Mentalist.


  • Are you a Dog or Cat person? – Most definitely a dog person. Our beagle, Lucy, is a total clown and definitely fits perfectly into our crazy family!
  • The snack you crave – Nutella. Anything with nutella and I’m good.
  • The Color you have always LOVED.…. Butter Yellow. It has always been my favorite color.


All the links that you want to share.

pat sloan feb mini blocks

Here are my blocks.. come see how they turned in my mini HERE

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 shygirlinok… 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

Sign up for the Aurifil Newsletter… scroll to the NEWSLETTER box

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  2. Hi—I love this new pattern and can’t wait to start it!! Also, Jan from Sew and Sow says Hi and thanks Aurifil for the awesome giveaway opportunity. 🙂

  3. Hi Alex and Everyone at Aurifil: Something arrived at my door today that was a most wonderful surprise, a case of Aurifil thread that is just spectacular. (I’m not worthy). Instead of Christmas in December, or July for that matter, I am having Christmas in February. Thank you for sponsoring the “8,000 likes” celebration held by The Bad Ass Quilters Society in December. The prize is beautiful and greatly appreciated and will be put to use immediately. My quilting, sewing and artistry will never be the same EVER!!!!

  4. HOW serendipitous that I am just finishing a quilt with Fig Tree fabrics and have leftovers to make the Feb. Block! Thank you for interviewing Joanna Figueroa. I gravitate to her color sense and can’t wait to put the quilt on the bed for Summer.

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