Life is just a bowl of thimbleberries
I can’t fathom the quilting industry over the past two decades without Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries fame. Dare I compare her influence to that of Oprah’s on daytime TV? Jensen’s company, headquartered in Hutchinson, Minn., is recognized worldwide as a leader in quilting, sewing and home decorating. Many of us learned to use our rotary cutters on her classic patterns, known for their clear illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions. She describes her style as upscale country.
Jensen says she started her business 22 years ago with a line of quilting patterns. Within a few years, she added fabric designs produced by RJR Fabrics, rounding out her product line for independent quilt shops. At this point in Jensen’s career, she generally designs eight fabric collections a year, along with more patterns and project books.
One of her recent book titles is “Block by Block to Beautiful Quilts,” presenting some of her most popular traditional motifs in a variety of color options and patterns.
Thimbleberries’ fans will have an opportunity to meet Jensen when she presents two trunk shows Oct. 16 at Quilters’ Corner in Grand Junction. She will also sign books that day at the store, 421 Colorado Ave. Two different sessions are planned, one at 9 a.m. and another at 2 p.m. The fee for each presentation is $15.
A highlight will be Jensen’s preview of quilts for her Thimbleberries Club 2011. These are to include a new look and a new concept with a feature called “Border Blast.” She’ll have fresh fabric collections — Northern Lights and Southern Skies — to go with the offerings.
Jensen explains that the annual Thimbleberries Quilt Club has been a mainstay of her company through the years. Shops offer it to their customers, and the design is based on a larger project, “much like a block of the month quilt,” she says.
But the quilter receives other exclusive projects that aren’t available to the general public, usually through monthly meetings at the shop.
“The club promotes group interaction, instruction, friendship, fellowship and laughter: all very important parts of the world of quilt making,” Jensen says.
Her quilt clubs are available in more than 500 retail shops, with more than 50,000 quilters participating.
You can preview Jensen’s fabric collections for 2011 online at http://www.rjrfabrics.com. Thimbleberries fabrics are 100 percent cotton with distinctive designs in what Jensen describes as “a timeless color palette” that can be mixed and matched.
Autumn Sunset is her fall fabric line, which coordinates with a Gallery Print panel of seasonal mums, pumpkins and more.
Over the years, Jensen has added other products, such as thread, quilting stencils and note cards.
She has written more than three dozen books through a variety of publishers. Some of her titles are “Making Your House a Home,” “Oh Sew Cozy Flannel Quilts” and “Classic Country Christmas.”
Her books are full of photographs with ideas on how to decorate a home with familiar pieces from the past, blending those with quilted items for a warm and inviting environment.
If you’d like to receive tips and inspiration for your quilting and craft projects on a regular basis, sign up for Jensen’s biweekly newsletter, “Catching Up,” through http://www.thimbleberries.com.
In a recent version, she tells how she decorated canned goods as candleholders, turning them into clever additions to her fall decor.
I always look forward to more ideas from the woman behind the Thimbleberries legend.
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E-mail Sherida.Warner @gjsentinel.com.