Interview with Amanda Murphy

I am really excited to share this interview I had with Amanda Murphy. 

About six months ago I reviewed her book Color Essentials. Amanda is also the author of Modern Holiday: Deck the Halls with 18 Sewing Projects Quilts, Stockings, Decorations & More.

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about yourself and your sewing and quilting career.

1.    Tell us about your family, kiddos, husband, pets.
I live with my husband and two kids in North Carolina. 

2.    I read that you started quilting at an early age.
Well, I started sewing at an early age, but I didnt start quilting until    after my kids were born – about a dozen years ago.

3.   Tell us the story of how did you get started? Did someone influence you?  What was the tween Amanda like?
As a child my two favorite subjects were art and math, so I guess the fact that I like quilting and fabric design is no big surprise!  I also always loved history – decorative arts museum are my favorite.

4.   Where did you grow up? Where did you attend college, and did your major in fine arts help you with your quilting career ?
I grew up in Virginia and attended college at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA.  I was actually an industrial design major but ended up working in print multimedia.  That experience has definitely helped me in terms of being able to keep up a website, put design patterns, etc.

5.   What inspired you to write Modern Holiday and Color Essentials? Are there any other books on the horizon?
Modern Holiday was inspired in part by all those gorgeous holiday fabrics that are now available!  I wanted to do a holiday book that was very graphic in nature – bold and fun.   
    Color Essentials is reflective of the work I did with color in college and also the incredible range of colors in the Kona cotton line. It walks the line between art and quilting for me. (And there are more projects on the horizon, but I cant talk about them yet.)

6.   Tell us about your relationship with Craftsy. How did it begin?
Craftsy originally recruited me at Market to teach classes in machine embroidery.  Now I also teach an appliqué class!

7.  Tell us about your classes with Craftsy, in particular your newest one.
I have two classes in the machine embroidery category – Elegant     Machine Embroidered Bags and Elegant Machine Embroidered Quilts.  It is so fun to pick threads to match quilting fabrics to make something really unique.
My 20 Fresh Appliqué Techniques is just that!  I teach your a variety of techniques that will really make your machine appliqué sing!  


Some are traditional and some are more unusual.  We make 4 small projects – all with a modern flair.  And we learn to embellish with thread and stitches beautifully!


8.   Are appliquéand embroidery your favorite sewing and surface techniques and what draws you to them?
They are some of my favorite techniques – yes.  I tend to love whatever I am working on at the moment!  Im fortunate to work in such a creative industry.

 9. Please show and tell us about your favorite project to date? 
My favorite project to date is my most recent quilt, Flower Power!  It uses a lot of the stitches and techniques I teach in my Craftsy class.  (A coordinating pillow is part of the class.)

10. How did you begin your business Amanda Murphy Design, and how did you grow it?

    I began by sending some design ideas to fabric companies and then started designing patterns. The books, the classes, and my relationship with BERNINA followed.
Modern Lace Fabric – Cool Tones Designed By Amanda Murphy                              
Modern Lace Fabric – Warm Tones Designed By Amanda Murphy

11.What do you see as emerging trends in fabric and quilting in the next 1-2 years?
I see a merging of the modern and traditional movements.  The modern aesthetic is definitely having an influence in the traditional quilting world and the techniques familiar to traditional quilters are seeping into the modern movement.  Also, the embracing of technology by the quilting community is bound to continue and it will be interesting to see where it leads.

Thank you so much for spending this time with us.

Thanks for having me.

Amanda has generously offered a give-a-way; a free link to her recent Craftsy class – 20 Fresh Applique Techniques.  In order to enter, please leave a comment in my comment box telling us what your favorite pattern line is

I will announce the winner on this blog on Friday, July 18 in the morning, EST. Please be sure to leave me your e-mail address so we can get in touch with the winner. Good luck!!
On Another note, Plum & June’s New Quilter’s Blog Hop is containing. I participated and posted on June 3rd. There are many more great quilt bloggers to meet, so please click on the Plum & June Button on my sidebar.

Color Essentials Crisp & Vibrant Quilts by Amanda Murphy

I just finished reading Amanda Murphy’s new book, Color Essentials; Crisp & Vibrant Quilts; 12 Modern Projects Featuring Precut Solids, published by Stash Books, This impressive book offers quilters an easy to understand learning process about color. Many creative  ways are illustrated when looking at the color wheel, and provide infinite options for making color choices for any quilt project.

The book begins with Amanda presenting the color wheel with the equivalent Kona solids, and makes a smooth and sensible transition to color schemes by featuring photos of warm palettes, cool palettes, and analogues palettes. She then introduces the concept of a “poison color,” to the color schemes, to introduce the idea of movement, and how adding them, can make a quilt look more interesting. I never thought of it that way, and am “wowed” by this. I am looking at projects that I plan to make, in a whole new and exciting way.

Then the reader is introduced to the Kona Sunrise Palette of 42 colors, which consist mostly of hot and warm shades, with a few cool hues. By adding some cooler green shades, it provides the palate with some great ways to create accents and pop to the project. Amanda also suggests 6 background shades that are great choices with this palette.

Three other palettes are introduced following the same format as described above. They include; Kona Sunset Palette, Kona Bright Palette, and Kona Pastel Palette. I have to admit my vision and thinking is bubbling over with so many new ideas. 

We are then introduced to 8 more Robert Kaufman – Kona palettes that are fat quarter bundles. They tend to be a bit more analogous, and includes some neutral hues. All 12 of these bundles are offered for purchase as jelly rolls and charm packs, as well as fat quarter bundles.

Twelve projects,with concise instructions, that are easy to follow are introduced. They are photographed beautifully, and show a quilter how they can make these projects,using their own color schemes. Of course the beauty of this is, it offers the reader confidence building skills by auditioning the palettes with the poison colors, and background suggestions. As I am auditioning with these new schemes, I am discovering unlimited possibilities.

All twelve projects are nothing short of spectacular. My personal favorites are Lollipop, Iridescence, and Confetti. Other projects include, place mats, pillows and table runners. And an outstanding feature is that Amanda displays the projects finished in three other colors schemes.

Two copies of the book are pictured above.  The second one focuses on spools of green and pink thread. It’s not the thread that I’m trying to emphasize here. I learned something about adding pink and green fabric to projects that I never knew, and is very cool.

This is a book that will become a permanent part of my quilting library.  Thanks Amanda!!