Leanne Anderson of The Whole Country Caboodle has a new line, "God Gave Me To You" arriving at your local quilt shop this January. It is a beautiful line designed with some whimsical critters and happy, lovable colors. We love them all but here are a few of our favorites. You can see the line in full here.
We also chatted with her recently! Enjoy!
HG: How long have you been designing?
LA: I started designing in 1992. My first line of patterns were specifically appliqué for the craft industry, we specialized in sweatshirt and denim shirt designs. In 1994 I was asked to submit some artwork to a different fabric company and ultimately was chosen to design fabric for them. I was with that company for 14 years before coming to Henry Glass.
HG: Do you sew?
LA: Yes, I so sew. My degree is in Home Economics in Business. I love to sew and make new models for the prototypes of the new patterns. I would love to sew more but don’t always have the time between designing and other tasks.
She sent along a few images from her shop. One is a view looking out from the deck, another is of the studio. She has her studio on the top floor. It is 1,750 sq. ft. of work space! She has taken up the front portion of her retail store, Patchwork & Primitives.
HG: Do you come from a long line of quilters?
LA: No, I don’t come from a long line or quilters, but do from a long line of seamstresses. My mom and my grandmother made all of my clothes growing up. My grandmother was a professional seamstress and taught in the community college adult education area.
HG: How do you design your fabrics? [paint, computer, etc.]
LA: I hand draw my characters and then scan into the computer to work with. We work with Photoshop; it’s a wonderful program. When I first started, I used any medium I could get my hands on to get the look that I wanted. I have used color pencils, acrylics, watercolors, dyes, you name it, and I’ve probably tried it. My daughter works in graphic design so she has been a huge help in transitioning to other methods.
HG: Tell us a little about your family.
LA: I am married to a wonderful man Ed…for the past 32 years. We have 3 children, Shelby is 28, is married to Tim and they have little Toby who will be 2 in December. They are expecting a little girl the end of November. Shelby is a Physical Therapist and Tim is the Director of Worship Ministries at a large church in Cedar Falls.
My son Taylor is 27 and a 5th grade teacher. He is married to Amy who is a kindergarten teacher. They have my second grandchild Leighton who will be one October 22. Kaytlyn, my youngest daughter is 24. Kate does the graphic design work for the student ministry department in the church we attend and then works for me part-time as well. She is extremely valuable to my business. My greatest job in life has been raising our children. They are amazing young people whom have made me extremely proud. Now for the icing on the cake, they have made me a grandma…or “Nana” as they call me and there is nothing greater!! Much of my inspiration for my fabric comes from my grandchildren and children.
HG: Where is your studio?
LA: My husband and I built a large building on the property we live on, so that is my design studio. It also houses an “Occasional Business” that my daughters and daughter-in-law own called “Patchwork & Primitives.” We are open the first Thursday, Friday Saturday of the month. We repurpose old furniture, old junk, have specialty coffees, homemade lotions, gift items, and of course, my fabric, patterns and kits. It has been a ton of fun working with my girls in this
HG: Can we have a peek?
LA: Yes, you may have a peek …
HG: Are you self-taught or did you go to art school?
LA: I started off in college as an art major, but did not like the department, that is when I transferred to the Home Economics department. I love working with fabric, I would say that I am self taught when it comes to figuring out how to design the fabric…no one gave me any pointers on that. I wish I would have had Lisa Loessel to work with when I first started, but I know to really appreciate her now with all they do for me on my collections.
HG: Do you do other hobbies like knitting, photography, etc,?
LA: My hobbies include boating, spending time with family and junking…It’s the thrill of the hunt that makes it so much fun. I also work in High Ministry. I have been a High School Youth Director for over 20 years. God has truly given me a passion in two areas, fabric & design and High School students. It gives me great diversion and makes me have a genuine appreciation for both areas.
HG: What inspires you?
LA: I know this sounds a bit cheesy, but God inspires me. He has given me so much…my talents, my family and my business. I believe that God has gifted me with these talents and I want to give credit to Him. I have been labeled somewhat of the “Religious” designer. If you know me, you know how important my faith is to me. Henry Glass has given me an opportunity to design fabric with either a Christian or an inspirational message…they are truly an answer to prayer. With that said, my children and grandchildren also give me a great deal of inspiration. “Baby & Me” was created when I found out Toby was coming and “God Gave Me You” was inspired by both of my grandchildren. They are truly God-given. [HG: not cheesy all!]
HG: What is your favorite color?
LA: My favorite color is red…but I love working with many colors. That is what is so much fun when it comes to seeing how a collection comes to life giving it color. I am so blessed to be able to work with a design team at Henry Glass that is so gifted in this area. They are able to make my characters come to life of cloth…which is such a gift. I am very grateful to them and to Robert, for all they have done for me.
HG: If you quilt, what is your favorite technique?
LA: I don’t profess to be a polished quilter. I am more likely to do a quick-easy project than something really detailed. I know my favorite quilt block is the log cabin because you can use so many fabrics.
Thank you, Leanne, for joining us and opening up part of your designing life to us and to our readers. Tell us what inspires you! We'll randomly pick a name and send some fabric from our stash to inspire you to sew something today! Entries by midnight January 13, 2013. Good luck!