Designer Spotlights · Quilt As Desired · Rose Cards · villa rosa designs

VRD Designer Spotlight Interview with Shankari Paradee of Sewl Sister

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

I am sew excited to be interviewing Villa Rosa Designs’s NEWEST Designer, Shankari Paradee. of Sewl Sister www.sewlsister.com today.

Shankari Paradee of Sewl Sister

Tricia: Hello Shakari! Welcome to Villa Rosa Quilts!

Shankari: Hi Everyone! Glad to be here.

Tricia: Let’s get started!

Shankari: All right, let’s go!

Tricia: How did you meet Pat Fryer, the owner and “Rose Queen” of Villa Rosa Designs, or how did you become part of the VRD family of designers?

Shankari: I went to a quilt retreat in Texas, where I met Catherine Cureton of Running Doe Quilts.  She has several patterns with Villa Rosa Designs and encouraged me to connect with Pat.  It took us a minute to get together as we all had busy schedules but we made it happen!

Tricia: How did you discover quilting?  How long have you been quilting?

Shankari: I’ve been sewing since I was a little girl, starting with hand sewing doll clothes.  I grew up with sewing in my family.  When I moved to Oklahoma from Canada in 2006, my parents gifted me a beautiful 1960’s Viking sewing machine.  I pieced and quilted my first quilt on that machine. I now own a long arm and started my long arm journey in 2016.

Tricia: What’s your favorite quilt block(s)?

Shankari: Friendship block is one of my favorites.  I love the half-square triangle block because it’s such a simple block and you can use it to make so many other different blocks.

Friendship Star Block

Tricia: I really like that block too. And you’re right — there are sew many different variations. How did you make the leap from being a quilter to becoming a quilt designer?

Shankari: Once I got comfortable with piecing, I felt confident to venture out into the design world.  I’ve only been designing for a couple of years and I have learned so much!

Tricia: You’re right — being a designer is all about learning, isn’t it? Can you tell us a little bit about your design process?

Shankari: Sometimes, I just doodle a design and it turns into a quilt design.  Sometimes, I am looking for a specific style or feel and I go with my instincts on what I feel looks good.  I also talk to other quilty friends to see what their thoughts are on my design.  It’s always nice to have perspective.

Tricia: What is your favorite/least favorite part of the quilt-making process?

Shankari: I like it all and I think my least favorite would have to be binding.

Tricia: I am with you, Shankari! Binding is not my favorite part of designing and making quilts. What are your top 3 favorite quilting tools?  Why?

Shankari: I love my rotary cutter, it makes cutting fabric so much easier. I could not live without various sized cutting mats.  I can use smaller ones while traveling and teaching classes and I have two large ones on my sewing table. Binding clips are a life-saver!  They help make the binding process easier.

Tricia: For me, I couldn’t live without my computer, Electric Quilt software, or my rotary cutter! What are you working on now?  Any new patterns in the works?  Can you give us a sneak peek?

Shankari: I am working on a pattern for VRD coming up and I have another one coming up with a group of quilters that will be out in celebration of Jelly Roll Day in September.  You can always check out my Instagram for sneaky peeks! LOL! @hellosewlsister

Tricia: These are Shankari’s Rose Card patterns, you can purchase them HERE.

Shankari’s current patterns at Villa Rosa Designs

Tricia: You just had 2 new patterns come out in July, didn’t you?

Shankari: Yes, I did — Dainty Machines and Optic.

Tricia: Great patterns! You can find them here for purchase — Dainty Machines and Optic. Let’s shift gears a little bit — what’s your favorite book? 

Shankari: Right now — One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Tricia: Type of music/musician? 

Shankari: Ed Sheeran

Tricia: Movie? 

Shankari: Sense and Sensibility

Tricia: Hah! I’m a Janite too! TV show?

Shankari: Downton Abbey

Tricia: Me too! What do you do when you are not quilting/designing?

Shankari: I’m usually running around with my kids or spending time with my family. 😊  I also moonlight as a cardiac nurse.

Tricia: Kiddos and nursing? When do you even have time for quilting? Do you have any advice to quilters who want to become quilt designers? 

Shankari: Don’t get bogged down by other designers and what they are doing.  It’s easy to feel like you’re just another quilter in the quilt pond, and there’s room for all of us.  Just design from your heart and “sewl”.  Design what feels good for you and you can’t go wrong.

Tricia: Anything else you’d like us to know about you? 

Shankari: I love to work with scraps and I’m on a mission to create a world with no landfill fabric.  I like to keep my quilt patterns as least wasteful as possible on fabric, and use simple cuts of fabric. I love teaching sewing and quilt-piecing.  If I can do it, you can too and I can teach you how. I have at least 8 sewing machines to my name, maybe that’s not too many?! Feel free to reach out and connect with me on social media or email:

www.sewlsister.com

www.instagram.com/hellosewlsister

www.facebook.com/hellosewlsister

Hellosewlsister@gmail.com

Tricia: Thank you sew much, Shankari, for taking the time to tell us about yourself. We are all looking forward to your upcoming VRD patterns!

Shankari: Thanks for having me on the blog!

There you have it, Quilty Friends!

How cool is it to get to know the quilt designers behind the VRD Rose Card patterns? Stay tuned for more Designer Spotlight Interviews coming soon.

Well, that’s it for this week.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD

Quilting Partners · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

Let’s Design a Quilt Together — A Peek into My Quilt Design Process

Hello Quilty Friends!

It’s Thursday again! Here’s hoping your week has been going well. Mine has been good and fast — just the way I love my quilt projects to be! LOL!

A lot of people ask about my design process so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about my process. Keep in mind that all designers have their own way of doing things and this post is only about my process.

Sometimes it’s like I eat, sleep, and breathe quilts and quilting! Not only do I read/flip through quilt books and magazines, I also look online for new trends. I talk to my quilt friends about what they are doing. I teach a quilt class once a month. I design patterns, write instructions, make quilts, take photos of quilts. I look at and get inspired by fabric. I jot down ideas and even do rough sketches of quilt blocks (which I promptly lose most of the time). I have even been known to wake up in the middle of the night with a new idea for a quilt. Whew!

Inspiration comes in a lot of different forms for me. Sometimes I see a fabric or collection and an idea pops into my head. Sometimes I start with a favorite quilt block and a quilt develops out of that. I have quite a few quilt block references that I use for ideas. Here are a few books in my library:

The first 2 books are by Barbara Brackman. The one on the left is the first edition of the 2nd book and is out of print and can be hard to find. I have both of them and love them both. The newer edition has even more blocks in it than the first edition! Barbara Brackman is one of the most renowned quilt historians of our time! You can visit her blog, Material Culture, HERE.

I also have Barbara Brackman’s software program, Blockbase, which works with Electric Quilt. You can find Blockbase HERE.

The third book, 5500 Quilt Block Designs, is by well-known quilter and author Maggie Malone. I have only known about this book since 2021 when a friend of mine showed it to me and I was so impressed, I had to grab a copy for myself. This book is out of print so it can be harder to find as well.

I have talked about Electric Quilt software before in an earlier post, but I want to mention it again here because I really couldn’t design quilts without it! Some designers sit down with a ruler and graph paper to draft quilt patterns, but I am an Electric Quilt user because it makes designing quilts a lot easier for me. You can find Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8) software HERE.

If you are interested in designing your own quilts, I totally recommend EQ8 if you’re into computers. If you’re not into computers, graph paper and a ruler might be your new BFF.

Once I get an idea, it’s time to play — which usually means I head to my computer and EQ8. I play with blocks, try different color combinations, download different fabrics to try all before I actually make anything at all. Some designers start by making the project and then work backwards to create the pattern and instructions. I do my designing on my computer and then make the project once I know what I am going to do. At least this is what I do probably 99% of the time. That’s one of the fun things about being a designer — I can try different ways of doing things. They don’t always work out for me, but that’s okay, there’s always another way to try.

Let me show you an example of my design process. For this example, I’m gong to start with my favorite quilt block, the Shoo Fly block.

When I am starting with the quilt design before I select the actual fabrics, I usually design in red, black, white, and grey. I don’t know exactly why I do that, but I think it probably has to do with the high contrast so I get a good sense of the pattern before I add actual fabric.

So, let’s make a wall quilt using 4 Shoo Fly blocks. It will look something like this:

Hmmmmm. This doesn’t really excite me. How about you? Let’s tweak it a little bit and see what happens next. We’ll add a bit more color, too.

Okay, this is better, don’t you think? By adding a sashing between the blocks, I was able to put another Shoo Fly block in the center. I changed the colors of the larger blocks to black and grey with the smaller center Shoo Fly block in red. It definitely has a lot more interest, doesn’t it? But it’s not quite there. Let’s tweak it a little bit more, shall we?

Now we’re getting somewhere! I got rid of the grey and went with plain black. Then I added 2 narrow blocky borders so I could continue to build out with more Shoo Fly blocks. Now I think we need a border.

Yay! A finished quilt design. I added an outer plain black border and a red binding. Pretty zippy, isn’t it? Now we’re gong to add some real fabric to the design.

Here are 3 different versions of our Shoo Fly quilt using Hoffman’s Paisley in Love batik collection. Of the 3, I think the last one with the white background is my favorite. I like the contrast, but I think I need to do a little more tweaking with the design, so back to the drawing board (or EQ8).

What are your thoughts? How would you improve this design? Any ideas?

Well, I hope you enjoyed a peek into my design process. Who knows? You might see this design as a VRD Rose Card some day.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.

Always,

Tricia @VRD