17 October 2017

An interview with..... Amber Johnson of Gigi's Thimble Quilt Patterns

Over the past couple of years I have 'met' some really, really lovely people in the quilting community across the world...through running Pretty Fabrics and Trims and also through social media. Personally, I have found Instagram in particular to be a complete joy.... being able to share a love of sewing and quilting with like minded people is truly wonderful and turns what can be quite an insular hobby in to a very sociable one.  Earlier this year, a thought crossed my mind about how some of these people discovered their love of quilting, so I decided to pluck up the courage and ask the question (and a few other questions whilst I was at it!)..and I thought it would be nice to share this with you.

Today I'm sharing my little interview with Amber Johnson.  Amber is an author, a blogger at A Little Bit Biased and writes and sells quilt patterns in her shop Gigi's Thimbles, you can also find Amber on Instagram HERE, and just to say....she's also extremely lovely!   As I am sure you already know.... the quilting community is extremely generous and I was tickled pink when Amber kindly agreed to not only answer my questions, but also to write a little quilty pattern for my readers, which I'll link to at the bottom of this post....but for now, here some of Amber's beautiful patterns for you to enjoy...

Rustic Pines....Part of  the 5 Fat Quarter Fun series....a FREE pattern on Amber's Blog...this one is made up in a mix of gorgeous wovens from Snowfall, which you can find HERE

Pearl Quilt available as both a Paper Pattern or PDF Pattern in Amber's shop...imagine this one made up in beautiful Sevenberry prints available HERE!

Smooth Sailing Quilt available as both a Paper Pattern or PDF Pattern in Amber's shop..this one would look fabulous made in Ann's Arbor, which you can find HERE
and here's the little interview.......

Who or what inspired you to start quilting?
I was inspired to start quilting when I was visiting my grandmother one afternoon, about 18 years ago.  She was an avid quilter and I was a newlywed.  My husband travelled a lot for his job, we didn't have children yet and my immediate family lived a few states away.  I needed a hobby and asked her if she would teach me how to quilt.  She was thrilled to have someone else in the family interested in quilting.  I sketched out an idea I had in my mind and she took me shopping for fabric.  We spent several afternoons together going over quilt-making basics and making my first few blocks.  Then I was left to my own accord to finish the quilt top.  It took me 3 years...ha!

You have been writing and selling quilt patterns since 2009 and have also written a gorgeous book 'Vintage Vibe' .  How best would you describe your style?
Thanks for your sweet words about my book, Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics.  I kind of think that title captures my style perfectly (the book title is based off a very vintagy, two-color quilt in the book called, Vintage Vibe).  I have been drawn to old, vintage things for as long as I can remember and an old, vintage quilt that is soft, wrinkly and hand-quilted makes my heart sing!  But I also love combining modern colors and fabrics with classic quilt blocks.  Mixing the old with the new, I guess that's me. 

Vintage Vibe....Amber's gorgeous book!

Do you use specific software for your quilt designs or do you use a pen and graph paper?
I use EQ7 to design my quilts and then write the instructions up in Word.  It's been fun getting more and more familiar with both programs over the years.  I get excited as I learn and improve my skills in that department.  

Which of your patterns would be most suited towards a beginner quilter?
One of my best selling patterns is Square Dance and it's a great one for beginners.  It's charm pack friendly and comes with instructions for 4 different size quilts. 

Square Dance Quilt available as both a Paper Pattern or PDF Pattern in Amber's shop
 Do you have a long list of works in progress (like me!) or are you more disciplined and complete a project before starting on the next?
I usually have a handful of projects going at once but it does kind of drive me nuts if I have much more than that.  There was one time a couple of years ago (I think it was right after I finished my book) that I got really ambitious and finished all of my works-in-progress!  It felt so good for a minute and then suddenly, I felt all the creativity leave my soul!  Whenever I thought about starting a new project I thought, "Is it worth it?"   It was kind-of a sad place to be.  I think there's something to be said for having projects at different stages.  It keeps the creative juices flowing.  

What is next on the quilty agenda for you?
What's on the quilty agenda next?  Well, I have a few more quilt patterns bouncing around in my head so I'll try to get those on paper.  I also want to push myself to start gathering ideas for some possible fabric designs.  Not sure if anything will come of it but I really want to push myself to learn and do something new.

As I mentioned earlier, Amber kindly designed a lovely Table Topper called Gather Round.  You can download a FREE copy of it on her blog HERE.  The pattern is charm pack friendly .....perfect if you love that scrappy feel, or you could as I did, use a mix of fat quarters.......

The table topper measures 27" square and was a really lovely project to make up..perfect for beginners as it is a mix of squares and half square triangles.  In fact Poppy, helped me sew the squares together!

I chose to machine quilt, which I did in a crosshatch design....
...and look how gorgeous it would be if you were to make up multiple blocks (with the help of a little photo editing!) and sew them together... isn't Amber clever!!!

I hope that you have enjoyed today's post and learning a bit more about Amber, make sure you pop over to her blog and to see her version of the Gather Round Table Topper. Thank you so much Amber for agreeing to work with me today and for sharing so generously!

See you again very soon.... I have another finish to share!!!  Whoop Whoop I'm on a roll!!


  1. How sweet, I love this table topper! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I loved the rustic pines quilt as soon as I saw it on Instagram, bought the snowfall fabrics from you and am about halfway through - hoping to finish it soon


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