Meet Jenni, Fabric Designer and Art Director for Connecting Threads
3.20.2013

I love my job!!  It’s by far the best job I’ve ever had!  It’s creative, fun and fulfilling and I am very lucky to do what I do!!

I’m often inspired or have visions of patterns in my dreams, so when I wake I sketch them as to not forget them. Below is an example of me in inspiration mode:)

I generally have a broad idea of what it is that I want to design and most times I will try to start with the “focal print” which is the main print that will tie all the coordinates together. It is also in the beginnings stages that I develop the color palette that I’m wanting to use. But I also keep in mind the other collections slated within the same cycle, as well as previous and upcoming cycles to make sure I don’t duplicate a feeling or a color palette.

Overall, with each collection, there is a general template to follow:

  • Have a focal, often times a secondary focal
  • Have coordinating prints that vary
  • From a variety of scales
  • Condensed grounds to more open grounds
  • Multi-colored prints as well as tonal prints
  • A variety of movement from linear to tossed
  • Light, medium to dark values
  • Prints that work best for backings

My goal is to create a story with the collection.

I also pay close attention to customer requests and comments. I try my hardest to create something for everyone, as well as fulfilling requests that would reach a mass market.

I’m beyond elated that our top selling collection of all time has been my Rhapsody of Reds collection, with Symphony of Blues also in the top ranking.  I think these collections epitomize designs and colors that are loved by so many different people, young and old, traditional and modern.  A win win for everyone!!

Homefront was a fun collection to create, which is a retro throwback to the 1940’s.

Shimmering Frost was a twist on a previous collection before my time that did well.

This leads me to the topic of Quality Control.

We at CT take this very seriously. First, I feel very proud to work at a company that provides great style and design along with high quality goods for excellent prices. We do not want to put subpar goods out there, so we are on top of all aspects internally to achieve the highest quality. Checking strike offs starts the process, then I check production yardage to make sure it is the same.On all our re-orders which primarily apply to our Quilter’s Candy Basics, we have the factory send us swatches of new batches, so they stay consistent with previous printing runs of the same print/colors. As you can imagine, this is a very important step!

Once all strike offs are approved, the factory prints our sample yardage which is then sent to us to create all our sample quilts and kits for the upcoming catalogs.

In between designing the collections and overseeing the process I am also providing art direction for the photo shoots. 

This means:

  • Developing a theme and style for how to shoot each collection
  • Researching and organizing the shoot locations
  • Gathering and providing props
  • Working closely with the Catalog Manager to go into a shoot with layouts already in mind that will work for the predesigned layout of the catalog
  • Presenting and styling all the kits/quilts for Photography
  • Working closely with Photography, directing each shot about layout, angles, lighting.
  • After photo shoots, approving color corrections on all photos.

Below are some of my favorite photos.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about what I do here at Connecting Threads! Stay tuned for more staff blog posts in the coming weeks.


25 comments

  1. Stephanie - March 20, 2013

    You laying on the quilts like the Princess and the Pea is fitting. It was a pleasure to meet you last year and it’s always exciting to see what clever color combinations and designs you come up with “next.” I think photo shoots are super fun and I love the care CT takes in finding just the right props.

    Reply
  2. Jenni - March 20, 2013

    Ha! Thanks Stephanie. You are sweet.

    Reply
  3. karenthequilter - March 20, 2013

    Great bio Jenni! Hey, I recognize the backyard in one of those shots :)

    Reply
  4. Kathy Ramsay - March 20, 2013

    I am always drawn to your collections when I open the catalog from Connecting Threads.

    Reply
  5. Jenni - March 20, 2013

    Thanks Karen! You are so righ, that’s your old backyardt!! That was a fun day!

    Reply
  6. Lyne Lalonde - March 20, 2013

    I have already finished two projects with this gorgeous red fabrics you design. It is just perfect for someone in love with traditional white red and black quilt. Homefront is my favorite for the moment. I have to admit being a fabric addict also nicely called a collector.

    Reply
  7. Jenni - March 20, 2013

    Thanks so much Lyne! Have you uploaded pictures of your finished quilts, we’d love to see them! And I love “fabric collector”…what a great thing to be a collector of:)

    Reply
  8. Darlene Abbott - March 20, 2013

    Jenni, it is so delightful to see the variety of designs that you create, but it is your use of color variations that really excites me. Your creativity is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your gift. I am so PROUD of you. Mom

    Reply
  9. Kathryn Smith - March 20, 2013

    I always marvel at the creativity fabric designers have. I love to sew and create but have no idea how to do what you do. Andi can’t do what I do without ya’all! Thank you and keep them coming (I particularly can’t get enough strawberries, hint hint).

    Reply
  10. sharon csizmadia - March 21, 2013

    Hi Jenni, You do a great gob at what you do. I really love the combination of colors you come up with. I really love the collections that all in the same color like your blues and reds .the only problem is ,by the time I am able to order some for me they are gone. I wish I had your Job ,it sounds like a great job and I would feel like I was in Haven . Keep on doing the grate job you do . Excited to see what your next collection is like,keep up the great job,and God bless.

    Reply
  11. Karen Sanders - March 21, 2013

    What a joy to meet and get inside the head of a fabric designer and art director. So much thought and hard work goes on before we (the quilters and crafters)can get our hands on the beautiful fabric. Have you or would you consider designing a line of Christian fabrics that aren’t cartoonie? Sweet dreams.

    Reply
  12. Jenni - March 21, 2013

    Mom! I love you, thank you for your sweet comments and passing on the creative gene to me:) XOXO

    Reply
  13. Jenni - March 21, 2013

    Kathryn,
    Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy my work. WE here at CT couldn’t do what we do, without all you wonderful sewists and quilters!
    Sharon,
    Thank you! And keep an eye out as there are many more collections down the pike with the reds and blues. All the comments I get are well received!!
    Karen,
    Thank you! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my work. Thank you for the suggestion!!

    Reply
  14. Sue - March 21, 2013

    Really enjoyed the visit at Tualatin Vally Quilter Guilds. You all did a great job. I won one of the door prizes and got the Batiks. Love, love love them. Thanks for your hard work! You are welcome back anytime!!!!!

    Reply
  15. Jenni - March 21, 2013

    Sue, thank you so much! You all were so welcoming and we really enjoyed the experience!!

    Reply
  16. Sandie @crazyboutquilts - March 21, 2013

    How fun! I dream of playing with such wonderful fabrics. :-)

    Reply
  17. Marjorie Smith - March 21, 2013

    Just love your fabric designs. I wanted to do your “Just Desserts” quilt from the Winter 2012 cataloglue. I ordered the fabric then lost the picture so I can’t remember what it looked like. I ordered the cupcake wall hanging, but would love to find that quilt picture again. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  18. Jenni - March 22, 2013

    Sandie, Thanks so much!!

    Reply
  19. Jenni - March 22, 2013

    Marjorie,
    Is it Parisian Pastries by chance?
    http://www.connectingthreads.com/Patterns/Parisian_Pastries_Pattern__D55604.HTML
    We have that pattern on our website.
    There was also “Sugar and Spice Baby Quilt” & “Love and Comfort Throw”, but unfortunately we don’t have those patterns.
    I found “Love and Comfort” by Daniela Stout online…
    http://www.cozyquilt.com/aspx/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=1881
    I hope that helps:)

    Reply
  20. Marjorie Smith - March 22, 2013

    Just found the pattern for quilt made from “Just Desserts” line of fabric. I’m so excited! Know granddaughter will love it! Your collections are the best!
    I’m so excited! Know granddaughter will love it! Your collections are the best!

    Reply
  21. Ginger - March 22, 2013

    Love your collections Jenni! And thanks for doing some “boy-ish” collections.
    Maybe you can talk them into reprinting Rhapsody of Reds. I know I would buy some more. :-)

    Reply
  22. shannon - March 26, 2013

    jenni i absolutely LOVE the new botanical collection. pretty yet some modern graphics as well. great variety!! lovin’ the faux linen as well!!

    Reply
  23. Jenni - March 26, 2013

    Marjorie, I’m so glad!!!

    Reply
  24. Jenni - March 26, 2013

    Ginger, thank you so much! And we have even more planned throughout the year that are gender neutral, we definitely know how important that is. I’ll see what I can do about Rhapsody of Reds….I have a good feeling:)

    Reply
  25. Jenni - March 26, 2013

    Shannon,
    Thank you so much! I’m really loving it too!

    Reply

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