Becoming a designer :: Susan from Canadian Abroad ::

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Happy Sunday everyone! And welcome to a new series on the blog - becoming a designer. I have seen a lot of bloggers I have followed for a bit time becoming designer - publishing their own patterns or being published in magazines. Isn't it wonderful! You should also see me telling Mr MiH that I follow/met the person who has published a new pattern. I am super excited! So I was wondering how it happens. How do you suddenly become a designer? What does it take? 

Today I am talking to Susan from Canadian Abroad, who is an amazing quilter, so no wonder she now has many designs in magazine. I actually met Susan and have been following her blog (and IG account) ever since. She shares her story and tips here. I hope you enjoy it! 

- Susan, tell us, when did you build the confidence to design your own pattern?

I don't come from a family with any history of quilting (or sewing for that matter). It was a hobby I landed on when my girls were younger and I wanted something to do that was just for myself. Seeing as I knew no quilters,and only took a few basic classes at a local quilt shop, I used to look for inspiration online and would work out the maths to a pattern I liked myself. This morphed into modifying patterns I liked and then just dreaming up my own came from that. 

- Did you approach a publisher with a new pattern? 

I was lucky, the publisher approached me. When Love Patchwork & Quilting was launched over two years ago the editor looked for possible contributors in the online community and - maybe because I was already doing my own thing - she saw something in my work that she thought would appeal to the magazine readers. 

- What elements of designing quilts do you enjoy the most? 

I love doodling out patterns. Most often I see them in my head first, but sometimes they just develop as I go along. I also love piecing a quilt. Basting and quilting are my least favourite parts.

- What remuneration can you expect from publishing in a magazine? 

Remuneration can from £0 to about £350 for a quilt. While it may surprise many people to find this out, some smaller magazines do not pay at all, or just a minimal fee, and people submit patterns to them as a stepping stone, or just for the joy of seeing a pattern of theirs in print.

- Which designers/magazines do you look at to be inspired for your own designs?
I don't focus on any one designer or magazine but think that if you want a good place to find inspiration then follow some of the modern quilt guild sites on Instagram or follow their blogs. This gives you a wonderful overview of many people's quilts and lots of original ideas.

Thanks Susan for sharing your experience and inspire others to design - for their blog or magazines! 


  1. I love Susan's work! Nice to read about her process :)

  2. I'm proud to say that Susan is my oldest online quilting friend and I love her and her work. I won't remind her that she once said, "Well it's not like I'll ever make any money from this hobby" ;-) wishing her continued success.

  3. Lovely to read your interview with Susan . She has such an original sense of style

  4. what a great new series! I love these quilts, they are so stunning


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