In the rural area of Willmar, Minnesota is a busy mother, who is also a designer, author, entrepreneur, and wife. Meet Heather Mulder Peterson, who is many things, but primarily she is mother to two boys, ages 2 and 4, who are in and of themselves a handful. Part angels and part mischief-makers, these two hold court for Heather’s attention, though on the day we got to have a conversation, they were at pre-school for part of the day, so mom could focus on work.
And work she does! Heather is just putting the finishing touches on her 30th book so that she can launch it at International Quilt Market in St. Louis next month.
|Cover of her new book, "The Joyful Stitcher"|
Thirty books! Heather says she just picks a topic that she is interested in, such as appliques, large scale fabrics, projects for pre-cuts, table runners, kid’s projects, pillow shams or whatever unique technique she would like to discover in an in-depth manner. Her process of learning is to do it and document, then share it. She has essentially created a whole library of what has peaked her interest, learned in-depth and documented to share with the rest of the world.
This has been a longer road to arrive at fabric designer than one might think, since she started quilting at just 19 (she learned to sew at 6). She calls herself one of the few kids that spent their college years quilting. Within a year of beginning to quilt, she started designing her own patterns. Her foray into entrepreneurship started soon after that. Anka’sTreasures was born.
|One of her latest books, this one on table runner patterns|
In the beginning, she did pattern design as well as quilting for other people to keep her business afloat. Eventually the pattern business grew and quilting for others receded. She went to quilt market with her patterns and books, and 4 or 5 markets after that is when Henry Glass found her and asked her to design fabric.
With the idea of fabric design on the table, yet another interest of Heather’s was peaked. She had taken art classes in college, was always painting and doodling, but here was a new opportunity to challenge herself. So, she did. Her first collection was a brown work style, with very traditional colors and designs. Gradually her design style has shifted. When her sons came along she developed her first children’s novelty line called Here Fishy, Fishy. Her style has brightened up and prefers bold, trendy and bright palettes.
|"Big Splash", Heather's latest collection, just released in last month will ship in November|
Her latest collection, that was released in March and ships in November is called “Big Splash” and is a clever bold color selection of blue, green, yellow, orange and red with gray as the neutral. It features a signature chevron, which Heather likes to use for another of her sewing interests – Stars. Which are featured in her Starstuck booklet.
|The chevron print from Big Splash shows up nicely with the star technique from her booklet, Starstuck|
Before our interview was over, a central question remained. Where did the name of her business, Anka’s Treasures come from? The woman named Anka was Heather’s Great Grandmother. Heather’s mother’s father was killed while their family was still young. Grandma Anka stepped in and helped raise Heather’s mother and taught her how to make patterns out of feed sacks to make clothing and decorative sewing for the home. This was the same environment that Heather grew up in, with the philosophy of creating something from an idea just takes pursuing it until you make it work. The concept that you can start with essentially nothing and give an idea life is part of Anka's legacy today in the company today. It's the idea of pursuing lots of hard work until you make the result you were looking for appear. Everything that Anka’s Treasures is, is a result of the tenacity of that belief.
Today, Heather and hubby still live in the same area they grew up in. They met 17 years ago at church and eloped to San Francisco. Life for the Peterson’s is both never changing from their firm roots of faith and family and ever-changing by what Heather takes an interest in creating.
Comment below to say give a warm hello to our fabric designer, Heather Mulder Peterson.