Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish has been one of my favorites since I met her at her first Quilt Market, three years ago. She was one of the very first to show modern embroidery patterns at Market and her whimsically wonderful, frequently oversized designs of critters quickly caught on—they’re simple enough for new embroiderers, but so charming that they’ve captured the interest of knowledgeable stitchers, too. She’s since jumped from being a newbie to designing organic fabrics for Clothworks, to signing copies of her new book Sew and Stitch Embroidery.
“We’ve made embroidery the star of the sewing projects,” says Alyssa of the designs that incorporate embroidery floss and yarn and the sweet critters she’s known for. Her favorite project is a quilt featuring a human-sized octopus. “When you pull it up to your chin, it looks like your head is on top of the octopus’s body,” says Alyssa. Alyssa and her husband Jon were a cheerful presence in their Market booth. Look for Sew and Stitch Embroidery (published by F&W Media) later this month.
Alyssa Thomas’s third and newest organic fabric line for Clothworks is Critter Patch. The fabric imagery retains the hand-drawn feel of Alyssa’s embroidery images, and the focus fabric is a veritable peaceable kingdom of friendly foxes, squirrels, owls and hedgehogs. So sweet!
Linzee Kull McCray is a writer and editor with a focus on textiles and crafts. She’s a regular contributor to Etsy’s blog and to Moda’s Cutting Table blog, a contributing editor at Stitch, a columnist for Quilt Country, and her work appears in American Patchwork and Quilting, UPPERCASE, Quilt Sampler, and other publications. When she’s not writing, sewing, or knitting, you can find her rowing on the Iowa River. Visit her blog Pearl the Squirrel.