Meet Ann, Assistant Quilt Pattern Designer at Connecting Threads

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10 comments » Behind the Scenes, fun

Hi, I’m Ann. I feel blessed to have had my dream job at Connecting Threads (CT) for almost two years. Most of my role revolves around the development, editing, maintenance, and archiving of quilt patterns.

Pattern Development
The main part of my job is to find patterns in our archives that would work well with new fabric collections and rewrite them. I currently draft and design in Adobe Illustrator (seen on the right monitor behind me) and write patterns in Adobe InDesign (on the left monitor). If a pattern was written in a previous program, it becomes a major rewrite. I occasionally update outmoded techniques in patterns. If possible, I try to have one or two of my own designs in each catalog.

In addition to writing patterns, I incorporate suggestions from sample sewers and pattern proofers into ongoing edits of patterns throughout the catalog cycles. This means that while preparing some finalized patterns for the May 2013 catalog launch on the web (coming up pretty soon), I am making changes in patterns for July, September, and October, writing patterns for October and November recolors, planning pattern yardage requirements for Winter 2014 and developing project ideas for the March 2014 catalog. Whew!

Department Assistant
As the assistant to the department, I facilitate the department’s functions by:
•    Archiving CT patterns, outside vendor patterns, and free and pay CT downloads (the patterns are stored in binders seen above my head in the photo)
•    Putting  patterns and kit inserts on the Customer Service drive for customer support
•    Drafting new Kit Builder designs and blogging about them
•    Turning on free and pay downloads of CT patterns for the catalog web launch
•    Running errands to buy sewing supplies

Other tasks, also done by many CT staff members, include helping to write blog posts, make samples, write book reviews, inspect and fold new fabric collections, cut fabric for kits for sewers, and test products. We all participate in internal focus groups to give input on future collections, and brainstorm about key words, collection names, and ideas for projects.

Tutorials & Quilt Alongs
I love to teach! Most of my professional and volunteer work over the years involved some aspect of teaching, including quilting classes at local quilt shops. For the six years prior to working at Connecting Threads, I was a volunteer quilting instructor at a women’s prison as part of the Coffee Creek Quilters and wrote over 50 patterns for the students to use. This was excellent preparation for writing instructional patterns such as the Perfect Points Sampler and Mystery Quilt 2013 (both were quilt alongs on Quilt with Us) and tutorials like Binding Basics and Perfect Points and the Positioning Pin (on the CT website).

    
  Perfect Points Sampler – 2012 Quilt Along for National Quilt Month

Why I Love my Job!
•    We are a small group of 12, but we have lots of fun while producing a catalog about every 6-8 weeks!
•    I am proud of CT’s consistent ability to offer quality products at excellent prices
•    A designer by nature, I like coming up with ideas that someone else sews, so I can spend time dreaming of new ideas!
•    Due to the catalog cycle, the pace is steady and busy; I am never bored and usually not too stressed.
•    The ongoing exposure to new ideas, techniques and products is exciting; I am doing more hand sewing such as English paper piecing and embroidery
•    I love being surrounded by color and creativity all day – every day (photos show the fabric and color swatches hanging in my cubicle)

    


10 responses to “Meet Ann, Assistant Quilt Pattern Designer at Connecting Threads”

  1. Stephanie Says:
    05/01/2013 6:48 am

    A friendly and fun place to create ‘cuz it sure is less like work when you enjoy it so much! Nice getting to know more about the inner workings of CT and the great folks who work there.

    Reply
  2. Fran Smeby Says:
    05/01/2013 11:25 am

    I saw this article on Facebook and was happy to meet and learn about Ann. It is interesting to see all she has to do in her job and that she loves it so much. I have been sewing since 10 years old and am still doing it at 71. It has been a long career that has given me years of satisfaction. I have recently been quilting and love the products from Connecting Threads and their wonderful catalogs. Keep it up and send us more articles like this.

    Reply
  3. Peggy Buckwalter Says:
    05/01/2013 11:36 am

    I would like to learn more. I don’t remember my password and don’t know my website. Can you help me?

    Reply
  4. Kathi McNeel Says:
    05/01/2013 3:26 pm

    Y’all are great! I always look forward to your emails and catalogs. I use your thread exclusively and have been collecting and enjoying your kits and fabrics for years. I know you will always give us a good deal. It’s fun to feel like I am a part of your family. You make us all feel special!

    Reply
  5. Sharon Bailey Says:
    05/01/2013 4:50 pm

    I am interested in your Charm packs, how many per pack, prices etc,, Thank you Sharon

    Reply
  6. Ann Says:
    05/01/2013 8:50 pm

    Hi Ann, great to meet a member of the CT staff (and my namesake), Its amazing how much work goes on behind the scenes to produce those beautiful patterns, and its lovely to know they don’t go away forever, but can work again with new fabrics. Are you ever distracted by the treasury of patterns filed above your head?

    Reply
  7. Jill Ellert Says:
    05/02/2013 2:41 am

    Hi Ann,
    I am currently deployed in Afghanistan. My husband sends me your catalogs so I can get my quilting fix! In your Sept 2012 issue there was an excusive “Autumn Leaves Table Runner Kit” which I have never seen on your website. Is it still available??? Or, is the pattern available by itself? I just can’t figure out how to piece this puppy and am dying to learn from the expert! Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

    Reply
  8. Amanda Best Says:
    05/02/2013 11:14 am

    Ann, I think you truly do have a dream job! You do a fabulous job on all the patterns, tutorials, etc… Keep up the great work, and keep on having fun!

    Reply
  9. Ann Says:
    05/02/2013 2:45 pm

    Thanks for all of your comments!
    Jill, I sent a personal response to your email address. Please let me know if you do not receive it.
    Ann, yes there are lots of distractions here for new project ideas…which is a problem with my “quilt project ADD”…I have lots of UFOs!
    Peggy, the CT website is: http://www.connectingthreads.com
    There are direct links to the CT website and Quilt with Us in the text above. It should be fairly easy to reset your password. Hope that helps.

    Reply
  10. Sandy Says:
    05/09/2013 12:33 pm

    I love the pattern “hugs and kisses” but don’t seem to get the kit ordered in time. Do you sell the pattern by itself? Thanks.

    Reply

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