An Interview With Linda Zokan of Thistledown

I’ve been “chatting” with Linda for the last week or so.  She is a creative, upbeat, friendly person.  Just the kind of company you’d want if you sat down to quilt for a while.  Join us as I ask her a few questions about her life quilting and designing patterns….

Your patterns are many and varied.  Do you have a favorite type of quilting… piecing, applique, paper piecing… or are you like a mom and ‘love them all equally’? 

That’s a tough one.  I know that many quilters and designers have a defined style or favorite type of quilting, but as you can see by looking through my designs, I enjoy a wide range of styles and techniques.  I enjoy working with both cotton and wool and I enjoy machine piecing, hand applique, fusible applique and hand embroidery.  I really like hand blanket stitching.  I’m also not afraid to use color.  When asked to name my design style, I guess my response would be playful.  Or perhaps I should call it QADDD style (quilt attention deficit design disorder).  My playful style can be seen in many of my designs, such as Peek-a-Boo Puss, Whoo’s Hanging Out, and Tag Sale,

but especially in my BFF (best friends forever) paper doll quilt pattern series.  Everyone is having so much fun with these patterns. 

The fun is not only in being able to sort through your stash for just the right fabrics but from being able to dress and re-dress the best friends using my Swap-plique technique.  My simple swap-plique technique allows you to create repositionable appliques.  All of the paper doll patterns are designed so you can swap outfits, hairdo’s and accessories between all four patterns.  They are too much fun and a real delight to make and to give to a special little girl in your life.

What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

As a designer my favorite part is seeing a finished quilt or project that someone made from one of my patterns.  I enjoy inspiring others and hopefully some of my designs will inspire new quilters and crafters to become a part of this wonderful creative community.  I love sharing my enthusiasm and that’s why I am hosting a “Stitch-a-long with Linda”.  It is just beginning to get underway so I encourage everyone to join in.  The quilt that we’ll be making is going to finish at appox. 40″ x 60″.  I have the yardage requirements and my fabric picks posted. 

(You can find the “Stitch-a-long with Linda” on her blog Thistledown & Co. )

I really do enjoy all phases of designing and making a quilt – even the binding!  I do wish I had time to do more handquilting.  But I am not ready to give up sleeping.  Cleaning maybe, but not sleeping.

Quilters always like to hear about other quilters’ sewing areas.  I guess it’s our version of a ‘man-cave’…. but so much better!  Can you tell us about your studio?   

You mean at this moment – oh gosh it’s kind of messy at the moment because I am working on several things right now.

  Actually I love my studio.  I am blessed with a very sweet and supportive husband.  He agreed to the complete takeover of what was once our living room, so I could turn it into my current studio. 

Now mind you, we never used the living room much because we do our living in the family room, kitchen and out on our large deck.  we live in Florida so we use the deck a lot.  My work space consists of a long counter (from the home improvement store) with file cabinets underneath, a cutting table, an ironing table, a small drawer chest, and bookcases that house my fabric collection, etc.

 I do need to add some more overhead lighting and I want to paint one wall a bright fun color.  Other than that and the pins in the carpet hazard, it works for me. 

I have a view out the patio doors to the deck area and there are several other large windows so I can keep an eye on the butterflies and squirrels outside.

What comes first for you – the design or the fabrics?

That depends…. sometimes there may be a particular fabric that catches my eye and inspires me to design a new pattern.  Garden Terrace, Peek-a-Boo Puss and Take It or Leave It were designed around the fabric when I was designing quilts for Cranston Fabrics for Quilt Market. 

I would have to say that more often than not however, an idea for a new pattern  or product just kind of pops into my head when I least expect it.  The idea for my printable fabric CD Push-button Prints came to me in the middle of designing my Florida Album patterns.  Like that wasn’t keeping me busy enough – Hahahaha. 

Then I designed the mini quilts Lenny the Lizard and Bertie the Butterfly that use the fabrics that you can print from the CD.   My line of Earthknit patterns came after I decided to “upcycle” or repurpose my leftover batting into yarn to knit with – waste not, want not.  So there’s always something percolating in my head.

My real life BFFs also are a great source of inspiration.  We get together regularly and just talk creative, laugh, and share.  Not only do our play dates bring out my muse, they keep me centered too.  Lucky is the person that has quilters as friends.

You are so right, Linda.   There is something special about a quilter friend.   Thanks for spending some friendly time with us talking quilts!

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!