Success no trouble for Kansas quilt designer
The now-famous Kansas Troubles quilt block immortalizes the bad times prior to the Civil War. Yet it‘s meant nothing but good times for a native of the Sunflower State, Lynne Hagmeier.
When she was a fledgling businesswoman in the late 1980s, she and her two partners adopted the name Kansas Troubles Quilters after Hagmeier’s favorite antique block. It also fit because the three creative pals often elicited the good-natured comment from their husbands that “Here comes trouble.”
Partners have come and gone since that time, but Hagmeier has built from those beginnings a thriving enterprise as a nationally known fabric and quilt designer.
Her old-fashioned style and warm earthy colors have a universal appeal. It wasn’t long before Moda, a fabric manufacturer, offered her a job as one of their designers, a position she has made the most of for almost 10 years.
She has written and self-published patterns that include historical fiction based on a character named Lilly who “pieced the trail to Kansas” in a chapter-of- the-month format that was “hugely popular in the late 1990s,” Hagmeier says.
Using vintage fabrics, many from her antique quilt collection, as inspiration, she re-colors and re-invents small florals and geometric patterns in her new lines of traditional fabric.
Hagmeier describes her style as timeless and seasonless, resulting in quilts that she “loves and lives with every day” at her rural home in the small town of Bennington in north central Kansas.
Colors are barn red—her favorite color — navy, dark greens, sunflower golds and butterscotch tans. Annually, Hagmeier introduces a spring, fall and Christmas line.
“I usually do an eggplant purple with black in the spring, and for fall, I go with pumpkin and chocolately brown,” she says.
Hagmeier watches color trends in the market but isn’t overly swayed by them. Her fans won’t be seeing any pinks and blues in her collections, for example.
Coming up next is her “Summer’s End” collection due in August, and she has a project to go with the new fabrics.
Hagmeier also travels and teaches, and this Friday and Saturday, she will be in Grand Junction as a guest instructor for Quilters’ Corner, 421 Colorado Ave.
On Friday from 7 to 9 p.m., she’ll present a Kansas Troubles trunk show of more than 50 quilts and tell stories of her quilting history. The cost is $15.
On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Hagmeier will teach an intermediate level class on her “Five & Dime” quilt. The cost is $30.
The quilt class involves a simple technique of raw-edge applique, and the pattern incorporates precut fabrics, from which Moda has built an entire specialty. These include 5-inch charm packets, 10-inch layer cakes, and 21⁄2 -inch strips called jelly rolls, all marketed under the brand Moda’s Bake Shop.
Hagmeier takes advantage of this invention and tries to feature them in every fabric line she introduces.
“It’s an efficient way to have a scrappy line of fabrics without a big investment” for the consumer, Hagmeier says.
She likes nothing more than taking a 10-inch square of fabric and seeing how many ways she can slice and dice it and sew it into a nifty design.
“Something fast and easy. My brain adapts to that method,” Hagmeier says. “I lay in bed at night thinking about (new ideas).”
Jokingly noting that she‘s “very allergic to needleturn appliqu&233;,” she admits to being fixated on the raw-edge method.
Pre-pinked edges made by the factory on precut fabrics work well for this. She stitches the appliqued pieces close to the edge so they won’t ravel.
“It’s easy but may look more complicated. It’s a way to take traditional patterns, making them look a little more primitive, adding texture and dimension,” Hagmeier says.
She’ll also teach her “Five & Dime” pattern on a quilting cruise scheduled for the eastern Caribbean in January. It will be Hagmeier’s third cruise on which she’s been an instructor.
“It’s just a party,” she says of the cruises. “I teach three out of seven days, and there is nothing more fun than traveling with a bunch of quilters.”
Her husband, Robert, will accompany her. He spends most of his working hours helping her run Kansas Troubles.
Hagmeier admits that the business can be a bit crazy at times when deadlines are pressing, etc., but overall she says, “This is the best job on the planet.”
Next up, she’s producing a Kansas Troubles anniversary quilt to mark her 10 years with Moda Fabrics. The queen-size quilt and the new fabrics for it will debut at fall quilt market in Houston.
But don’t expect any trouble from this Midwest farm girl.
E-mail Sherida.Warner@ gjsentinel.com.