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Interview with Rachel from Rachel Rossi Designs

Rachel Rossi is a recent addition to the One Thimble family, bringing us the Timber! quilt pattern in Issue 14. She is a quilt designer based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with modern quilt patterns that keep the tradition of quilting alive in a new and exciting way. With fresh & fun patterns and tutorials, you’re sure to be inspired over at her blog! But first, let’s get to know her a little better…

Tell me a little about your business and how you got into designing/sewing.

I’ve been sewing since I was a very little girl. I begged my mom to let me use the sewing machine when I was 3…in her infinite mommy wisdom, she didn’t let me use the machine. She did give me some of her scrap fabric (I can still see the floral print in my head) and showed me how to sew by hand. Before we knew it, everyone in my life—all of my grandmothers, teachers, and farm kittens—had tiny hand sewn pillows in all sorts of shapes and sizes!

My parents encouraged all of my creative experiments throughout my childhood, helping me try things like vending at a craft show that my school put on every year, but I always came back to sewing. My grandmother taught me how to quilt and when my mom opened up her own quilt shop during my middle school years, I hopped right in and began creating all sorts of quilts with my mom. I’ll always cherish those moments!

I started my blog when I was in college. Interior design was my college major and I was pursuing that career hard, so it made sense for me to blog about my adventures house flipping and the awesome things I was learning about. After a while I found myself designing and sewing all sorts of things for family, friends, and clients—I decided that it was time to officially make the switch and focus on my first love: quilting and sewing!

I’ve been designing and selling my own sewing and quilting patterns and haven’t thought about turning back for a second! I create for the people I love and am able to share it with others—how fun of a job is that?! I still touch on interior design and DIY on my blog from time to time, since it’s something I’m passionate about and love sharing with others.

What/where/who inspires you?

Quilting is an age-old tradition (especially here in the Lancaster area!) that I have found has an incredible power to connect people across generations. I learned to quilt from my grandmother—our first project was a log cabin block that we turned into a pillow. She also showed me how to quilt by hand (as much as I love the idea of hunkering down for weeks at a time to quilt something, I take my quilts to be longarmed…shhhh! don’t tell!), and poured countless hours into making an incredible quilt for me that I will forever cherish! My mother learned to quilt with some ladies from our church. And together, we all have shared projects and cherished moments. This tradition and connection is an incredible gift that I want to keep alive for my children and for generations to come. My entire business is inspired by keeping that tradition alive in a fresh and modern way!

I want to work, create for, and inspire people who are run-of-the-mill, ordinary people like myself. So, in turn, my inspiration comes from my run-of-the-mill, ordinary life! I’m inspired by the ordinary, beautiful world that we live in and the special people that surround me. For example: my Timber! quilt was originally a project for my sweet nephew and his woodland themed big-boy room. Head in the Clouds is near and dear to my heart because it was created for my little girl! I’m working on a quilt right now inspired by a recent trip to my husband’s alma mater & their incredible collection of ancient pottery. My interests and hobbies run far and wide—in turn, my inspiration comes from all over the place!

What’s your best tip for people getting started with quilting?

My best tip for starting with quilting, other than having the right tools, would be to find other quilters. There’s no better way to learn than from someone who has years of experience, failures, and successes behind them. There’s also nothing better than entering into a thriving and welcoming community! Once you start asking around, it won’t take long to find them: aunts, mothers, grandmothers…if you don’t have any luck with your own, reach out and snag a friend’s mother or grandmother—quilters are everywhere once you start looking for them. If you can’t find another quilter organically, head to the quilt store and ask about quilting classes! It’s a great way to meet other creative people and to pick up the skills you need to become a quilter yourself.

I love teaching people to sew and inspiring them to create things that they never thought they could! I often find myself packing up my sewing machine so that I can help a friend learn how to hem curtains, thread their grandmother’s sewing machine, or teach kids how to sew for the first time! It’s incredibly rewarding and most sewists and quilters would love to share their knowledge with you.

What’s your favourite pattern/ thing you have sewn? What you are working on now?

There’s always a steady stream pile of projects awaiting me in my studio. Some for work, some for home, some for friends and family, and a bunch that belong to each of those categories!

I love trying new things by other designers, I think it really helps me discover and create new techniques. I especially enjoy small, quick projects! I did a pattern review on the Diva Frame Wallet by Sew Many Creations & absolutely love using my wallet every time I’m out and about. It just goes to show how much I love projects that I can use every day and would love to create some more of those in my product lines. These sort of ideas usually hit me from the middle of nowhere (like my Bucket Brigade or Gatherings patterns!) and I can’t wait for the next idea to pop into my head.

As much as I love the fun accessories, designing quilts is my passion. So, this year I will be trying to crank out a Christmas quilt along with the pottery-inspired quilt design that I mentioned earlier. I’m also looking to expand on a new product that I designed last year called Grow With Me. This new idea is what I’m calling a fitted crib quilt. I designed this when I realized that my sweet little baby wouldn’t be safe wrapped up in a quilt in her crib, but it broke my heart to not be able to provide the comfort and warmth that a quilt so instantly gives. That’s when I came up with Grow With Me! It’s a pieced baby quilt, turned into a fitted sheet. When baby outgrows her crib, you can trim off the corners, bind, and have a great little quilt for your baby to snuggle or to save for her baby box!

Along with my new designs I’ll be vending at my first trade shows this year and am so excited to get out and meet new quilting and sewing friends! As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve still got my blog and all the great tutorials that I create for my fantastic readers to work on!

When the day is done, I do like to do some sewing for fun; for instance, I just began working with a local newborn photographer to create gorgeous little newborn outfits, accessories, and wraps! It’s a fun challenge to create these teeny tiny little pieces of art. It also allows me to stroll through great vintage and antique stores for the perfect trimmings, which I always love doing!

…did I mention that I also have a two month old? You could say things are a bit busy around my little studio!

What’s something people might not know about you?

I have a few blog posts about gardening, but you might not know that I can garden the heck out of the dirt in my back yard, the funny part is that even though I can make it look like the Garden of Eden out back, I can’t seem to keep a house plant alive! It’s only March and I’ve already got this summer’s garden planned (as-in: a floor plan of what plants go where, a really adorable little inspiration drawing, and a loose schedule of when everything gets planted). From veggies to flowers to flower boxes, we are ready for summer! I spend every second that I can outside and can’t wait to introduce my little girl to the dirt, sun, and beauty of nature!

Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know me a little better! I’d love it if you took a stroll over to my blog or joined my thriving community on Facebook and Instagram!

Timber! Quilt pattern cover You can purchase Rachel’s pattern for the Timber! Quilt as a single PDF HERE purchase Issue 14 which contains this pattern HERE.

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