We first connected with Monique Jacobs of Open Gate Quilts back in 2018. It started with a delightful virtual introduction that led to a meeting at Spring Quilt Market in 2019. We met with Monique and her husband Mark along with the amazing team at Maywood Studio. It was clear straight away that Monique was wonderfully talented, motivated, and best of all, genuine. We dove right in and released Monique’s debut collection, Amour, in March of 2020.
It wasn’t the year any of us expected, but Monique pushed forward, hosting her regular Facebook Live events, launching the Open Gate Quilts Subscription Box, and working hard to build an active quilting community.
We were delighted to partner with her on a second collection, Flower & Vine. Featuring 6 Large Spools of Aurifil’s versatile 50wt thread, the carefully curated set is the perfect partner to Monique’s latest fabric line with Maywood Studio in addition to a wide range of fabulous patterns including the Flower Garden BOM & the Around Town BOM.
HOT TIP: Flower & Vine is a free quilt pattern available via Maywood Studio, courtesy of Monique. Grab it HERE.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Flower & Vine
6 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2430 – 4644 – 5008 – 2024 – 2450 – 5019
Thanks so much for taking the time to share some of your story with us. For our readers who are meeting you for the first time, could you tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in this creative textile world?
I started quilting 32 years ago. My sister-in-law mentioned that she likes quilts and I thought “Me too! I think I’ll take a class.” So, I did and fell in love. In 2004 I had started designing my own patterns and a couple of friends encouraged me to start a company. I gave it a shot and I’ve been going ever since. I have a degree in math and as I was designing, I felt a need for some different rulers so I designed several different rulers. Then in 2008, I again was looking at different fabrics and didn’t find what I wanted so I decided to try designing fabric. I came up with a proposal and sent it to Maywood Studio, they loved it and I’ve been with them ever since.
You’re a key designer within the Maywood Studio family — what do you love most about working with them?
I love the ability to do different styles of design. I have designed everything from batiks to traditional to transitional. They will reprint fabric as well. It is wonderful for quilt shops because if they make a sample and it sells well, they can continue to order fabric for kits. It’s also great for me too because I can continue to design with that fabric line and not worry that the fabric will not be there when I publish my pattern.
Like many creatives in this business, you hold a variety of roles– fabric designer, pattern designer, quilter, maker… Is there a faction of the business that brings you the most joy?
I would say that designing fabric is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a very involved process but I enjoy every part of it. Initial concept, color selection, designing prints, figuring out what prints will be in the line, designing quilts for the line, and finally getting fabrics…love it all!
What is your favorite quilting technique? Favorite block to make?
I really don’t have a favorite quilting technique. I love it all and I love trying new techniques.
What inspired you to create your latest fabric collection, Flower & Vine?
I wanted to create a line that wasn’t traditional and more transitional. The stylized flowers and leaves give it a more whimsical look and less traditional. The colors are one of my biggest inspiration and how I begin designing fabric lines. It helps me to see what the line will look like in the end.
If you had to choose a favorite quilt made with Flower & Vine, which one would it be?
Oh, that’s hard! I would say that the current quilt I’m working on is my favorite! Actually, Around Town Block of the Month is one of my favorites. It is a BOM that I have designed to work with 6 different shops. Each month for 7 months, a shop will send out a kit for a block. I will be sending the first block out on May 1st. The quilt is designed with houses and trees. Flower & Vine was perfect for both the houses and trees and I love how it turned out! [Learn more HERE]
Your coordinating thread collection features 6 Large Spools of Aurifil’s 50 thread in 6 stunning hues. How do you use your thread within your quilts?
So many ways! I use it for piecing, appliqué, binding, quilting, bags, top-stitching, everything! The thread collection is such a wonderful selection of colors that it can be used for everything in a quilt.
When did you first discover Aurifil and what makes it your go-to thread?
I first discovered Aurifil several years ago. I was hand sewing a binding and picked up a spool at my local quilt shop. When I was sewing, I couldn’t believe how smoothly the thread glided through the fabric. It didn’t shred or have any knots. I was sold! Now I use it for hand sewing, piecing and quilting! It’s truly the best!
Do you have a favorite color and weight?
For piecing I like either a grey or a beige, depending on the project. For quilting, I love the Forty3 (40wt 3ply). I use both 50wt and 40wt. I find they both sew wonderfully.
What are your top tips for working with Aurifil 50wt?
In my sewing machine, I like to use a Microtex 70 or 80 needle. It is a sharp needle and is wonderful for accurate piecing. Aurifil is my go to thread for binding because it doesn’t knot when you are hand sewing and is very smooth.
This has been a wild year, full of challenges and surprise adjustments. What have you gained from the experience? Have you developed new avenues for connecting with your customers?
It has been full of challenges! I have learned that you need to adapt to what is going on in the world. Quilters have turned to the internet for ideas and products. Luckily, we had established our Facebook Live every Thursday night at 7:00 pm central, and we continue to do that. We have gained more followers and continue to keep fresh, new content. I do projects, tips, tutorials, and giveaways and show what is new for Open Gate. I also started selling more items using my current fabric lines on my website ~ opengatequilts.com. This includes quilt kits, patterns, books, rulers, and my Flower & Vine Aurifil Thread Collection. Another program that I started was a monthly subscription box. It has been so much fun to design new projects and gather notions. I include a spool of Aurifil 50wt thread in each box. I coordinate the thread to go with the projects and include all the tools and supplies needed for the projects. Each month includes a larger project, a smaller quick project, a monthly notion that I like and use, a spool of Aurifil thread, and a new Open Gate Pattern or a new fabric fat quarter. All of these things have really helped us keep in business and even thrive.
Where can fans find your fabrics, patterns, and threads?
Either check with your local quilt store or www.opengatequilts.com
What’s up next for you in 2021? Are there any upcoming must-see virtual events?
Oh yes! I am keeping very busy! Starting April 26, 2021, I will host a 5-week Facebook Live teaching a tutorial on the free pattern for Flower & Vine. It starts at 7:00pm central time each week. I will show everything from fabric selection and placement to gathering supplies, cutting, appliqué, piecing, quilting, and binding. The Flower & Vine thread set is perfect for this quilt because it is so versatile in its uses and colors. Can’t wait to start! Find us on Facebook at OpenGateQuilts.
Tip: Monique is selling kits for the Flower & Vine quilt along with her Aurifil Thread Collection! It makes it so handy to get everything all at once. Head HERE to grab yours now so you’ll be ready to go next week.
Thank you SO much to Monique for joining us today! Don’t forget to join her for her Facebook Live on Thursday at 7pmCST!
Monique Jacobs (Dillard) of Loves Park, IL (USA), was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada). Her love of quilting was encouraged by relatives in Canada who taught her the art of handwork and sewing. She parlayed her degree in mathematics into a genuine understanding of the need for an accurate 1/4” seam, squared blocks and precise cutting. She was a regular teacher at her local quilt shop for 15 years until her budding quilt design business – Open Gate – steered her career toward a national audience. These days, you can find Monique teaching across the United States at quilt guilds and weekend retreats. Monique’s classes always fill up fast with fans from previous classes and students eager to learn from this talented designer.
Monique has 150 (and counting) Open Gate patterns and 5 rulers (Fit to be Geese©, Mini Fit to be Geese©, and Fit to be Quarter©. Fit to be Quarter 2.5©, Fit to be Quarter 6.5 & Companion©) She has written 3 books with C&T Publishing, Fat Quarter Winners, Traditional Fat Quarter Quilts, and Diamond Traditions. All 3 books feature traditional, Americana inspired fat quarter quilts. She finds inspiration for her traditional designs everywhere and is inspired by fabrics, textiles and tapestries. Several trips to Europe have resulted in not only new beautiful quilt pattern designs, but also her fabric collections with Maywood Studio.
Mark and Monique got married in 2016 in San Diego. Mark became involved with the business long before they were married. He plays an essential roll in promoting and continuing to grow the business. His research and social media support includes filming Thursday night Facebook Live events, posting on Facebook and Instagram and helping with all aspects of Open Gate Quilts. All of this while holding down a full time job elsewhere!