Artist’s Spotlight: Amy Barickman

Meet Amy Barickman, founder of Indygo Junction and author of Vintage Notions: An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion & FUN! Through her YouTube videos, blog, website, and e-newsletter, Amy inspires fabric arts enthusiasts to learn from the past and experiment with new products and techniques for creating in vintage made modern style. Now you have the opportunity to learn more about Amy and her work! Join us on Missouri Star LIVE March 8th, 2022 at 11:00 am cst for a special segment with Amy herself – but in the meantime, get to know her little more with this exclusive interview!

What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

I sew more than I quilt,  I love stitching by hand and paper piecing. My favorite part of the creative process is design development and choosing fabrics for a project. With my new Fold and Go Folio pattern I went “all in” on variations in the styling and created both a sewing case and a jewelry case and included two sizes. As far as fabric options, we have created versions in vintage feed sacks, as well as modern Tula Pink prints. This pattern is perfect for upcycling – think neckties and gingham shirts! And preserving treasured fabrics like vintage embroidered linens and quilt blocks.

Who are your favorite fabric designers?

There are sooo many I love. Recently I sourced fabric for the Fold & Go Folio from the following designers- Freespirit: Tula Pink and Kaffe Fassett  ; Art Gallery Fabrics: Bonnie Christine ; Moda: French General ; Riley Blake: J Wecker Frisch.

If you would like to see some of those fabulous fabrics and learn more about all the possibilities for this pattern check out this video I filmed at QuiltCon. 

What notion or sewing tool are you most dependent on?

Seam Ripper. I love to upcycle fabric I find at the thrift shop – jeans, dress shirts (especially gingham), ties, and wool jackets, so a good seam ripper is a necessity. By the way the Fold & Go Folio has a sleeve for a seam ripper.

How were you introduced to sewing and quilting?

My mother was a home ec teacher and a talented seamstress. She has taught me so much over the years and we are working together, still today developing new patterns and products. The early sewing patterns I developed for my original pattern company, Indygo Junction, were for Teddy Bears, inspired by my mom teaching teddy bear making in her retail store in West Des Moines, Iowa. She owned a gift and craft store for much of my childhood and also a quilt shop for several years. My passion for the creative needle arts business is in my genes- thanks mom! 

Here is a fun replay of a Facebook Live event we hosted on Crazy Quilts!

What do you do to find inspiration/encourage your creativity?

I have an extensive collection of vintage magazines, books and patterns focused on fashion, sewing and quilting. I also collect notions and  handmade needle arts from buttons to embroidery and quilts. I reference my collection daily in my quest for developing vintage made modern patterns, books, and fabrics.  My collection of Mary Brooks Picken and Woman’s Institute content dated 1916-1950’s, has been by far the most inspirational in my development of products.  My book Vintage Notions: An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion & FUN was inspired by the correspondence school’s lessons and stories.

I created a 12 episode YouTube series sharing the book chapter by chapter. In the series I share many textile treasures from my collection that were featured in the book as well as patterns and many ideas for upcycling fabrics. Click HERE for the Playlist.

What occupation would you like to try if sewing/making wasn’t an option?

A nature photographer. I love finding unique color, pattern and design in nature and capturing those images. I am looking forward to the colors in Spring flowers and my chance to share those images on Instagram. Crocus should be popping up soon in Kansas City!

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Not sure I have one. But I do have a few favorites that are “nonfictional”.

A hobby of mine is researching characters in the history of sewing and quilting. I found that Amelia Earhardt had a connection to the legacy of needle arts. Here are a couple blog posts sharing my discovery and a visit to her childhood home. I was so excited when I learned she carried a sewing box on her long flights.

What fabric have you been hoarding/saving the longest?

Feedsacks!  To justify my hoarding,  I actually created a course on my site about the history of Feedsacks that includes sewing projects, videos, and a PDF with historical articles and heirloom art to print. See my current courses HERE.

Describe your perfect day.

A morning walk on a nature trail followed by shopping for vintage fabrics and embroidery  at the Glenwood Antique Mall or First Fridays in Kansas City’s West Bottoms. Followed by a meal at one of my favorite restaurants in midtown, Tailleur on Main or sister restaurant, The Russell.

Don’t forget to join us for Missouri Star LIVE on March 8th, 2022 at 11:00 am cst to learn more about Amy (and maybe to win a special giveaway prize from Amy herself)! In the meantime, be sure to follow Amy on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. You can learn more about her and her projects as well on her website and blog.

Can’t get enough? We can’t blame you!

Amy is now offering online DIY courses based on her collection of vintage fabrics and notions at Grow your appreciation and knowledge while you create practical projects. Each “Primer” course includes sewing patterns and technique tutorials. Amy shares fascinating history lessons including field trips to museum exhibits.   Be inspired by Amy’s interviews with textile experts as well as artists and makers! You will access both printable PDFs and videos content the user-friendly platform Don’t forget to keep up with Amy’s continued journey curating vintage treasures and never miss a new pattern or book by signing up for her newsletter HERE!

Artist Spotlight: Marla Arna Jackson

Meet Marla Arna Jackson, self-taught fiber artist, painter, doll maker, indigo dyer, shibori dyer, portrait artist, seamstress, and author. Marla is the Founder and Executive Director of Marla Quilts Inc. African American Quilt Museum and Textile Academy, whose goal is to be “an impetus for developing artistic skills, enhancing individual and communal expression, and furthering intellectual awareness.” We had the honor to get to know her a little more as an artist and as a person – and we loved her so much that she’ll be taking over the Missouri Star Instagram on February 23rd, 2022 to share a little more of her passion with our quilting community! Before Marla’s Instagram Takeover, take the opportunity to get to know her a little better yourself!

What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

I am a portrait artist, most of my quilts are inspired by historical figures and my favorite part is researching and the visualization while I’m creating. I never know where the process will take me until I’m standing in front of the fabric. I don’t really enjoy the sewing, the applique, the quilting part as much as I love seeing my vision come to life.

I love learning everything I learn from the Civil War to Civil Rights, research is a major part of my process. I use pre-civil war fabrics, tapestries, fabrics like silks wools, cotton, African fabrics.

Who are your favorite fabric designers?

My favorite fabrics come from Vlisco in Holland, I love the vibrant color and patterns. I don’t know any others by name.

What notion or sewing tool are you most dependent on?

Scissors, I create my images for my quilts as I go with my scissors. No patterns, just my imagination, my hands and my scissors. I don’t measure nothing, I just go for it.

How were you introduced to sewing and quilting?

My mom introduced me to sewing, and my grandmothers and great grandmother taught me the technical parts of sewing and quilting. All of us kids helped my mother sew while she was pregnant, we worked the feet pedals for her. I’ve always loved doing it my way though, I got kicked out of two sewing classes in high school for not following the rules.

What was the most frustrating sewing project you ever worked on?

Putting in a fly zipper into pants – I’d gotten in trouble and as punishment for getting kicked out of sewing class my mom made me put in a fly zipper in 15 minutes. I finished it in 5 minutes. Later I was glad she taught me but I sure was mad while I was doing it.

What do you do to find inspiration/encourage your creativity?

Meditation, quieting my mind and tapping into my imagination.

What occupation would you like to try if sewing/making wasn’t an option?

Costume Designer.

Who is your favorite fictional character?

When I was a little girl I preferred watching the news over cartoons and stories and stuff, but I did like Shirley Temple and Annie Oakley- cowgirl boots, hat, and holster, that was me all dressed up.

What fabric have you been hoarding/saving the longest?

African fabrics and Asian fabrics.

Describe your perfect day.

Hot tea when I’m feeling good, teaching my students how to sew and quilt and research and bring history to life through quilts.

Don’t forget to join us on Instagram on February 23rd, 2022 as Marla (who you can follow @iammarlajackson) takes over the Missouri Star Instagram (don’t forget to follow us too @missouriquiltco)! Can’t wait? We can’t blame you – it’s going to be so much fun! Learn more about Marla and Marla Quilts Inc. by checking out her website and her blog If you’re looking for even more inspiration, be sure to follow her on Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube as well!

Artist Spotlight: Amy Latta

Meet Amy Latta!

Amy Latta is passionate about inspiring her online community by sharing honest inspiration for everyday life. On her award-winning blog, you’ll find easy-to-follow hand lettering tutorials, along with all kinds of craft and DIY projects anyone can create. Amy recently stopped by to teach us some hand lettering, show off some new fabric markers, and design some beautiful quilt labels that you can DIY for your next project! Before the tutorial comes out, let’s learn more about Amy – from her creative journey and process to her inspiration and more!

How did you become fascinated with hand-writing and beautiful penmanship?

I have loved creating art ever since I was little – I was the girl who doodled all over the pages of my notebooks in school and tried to take the prettiest notes possible. I learned traditional calligraphy with a pointed pen as a teenager and have always enjoyed playing around with different font styles. When brush script, which is the current most popular form of hand lettering, started to become really popular a few years ago, I absolutely loved the look of it and determined that I was going to teach myself to do it. The contrast of thick and thin lines inside every letter makes it so unique, and it’s definitely my favorite artistic way to write. 

Do you play with fabric in your craft life? How do you use it?

I sure do! I know how to sew, so sometimes I make fun fabric projects like cute bandanas for my dog or Halloween costumes for my kids. During the beginning of the pandemic, I sewed hundreds of fabric masks for the nurses at local hospitals, and it felt amazing to be able to use my crafting skills to help other people in a real time of need. I also use felt a lot, making DIY ornaments and plush toys.

What crafting tool are you most dependent on?

Since lettering is my specialty, it would probably be my markers, but when it comes to general crafting, I often find myself in need of a hot glue gun and a paintbrush. I also absolutely love my Cricut machine! It allows me to cut my lettered designs out of all kinds of materials like vinyl, fabric, felt, infusible ink, iron-on, leather, and more, which means I can make a huge variety of projects.

What was the most frustrating project you ever worked on? How did you stay motivated and creatively present to finish it?

If I’m being honest, it was an attempt at wood burning, and I failed so terribly that I threw it across the room and then into the trash. Nowadays, I have a scorch marker that lets me wood burn without the difficult equipment, though, so I have indeed been able to hand letter on wood! I know that finishing strong and staying motivated is important, and I have definitely done that during my fair share of projects (I often find that when I’m frustrated, I just need to walk away for awhile, then come back with a fresh attitude). But I also think there’s wisdom in knowing when to let a project go too. You don’t have to do everything. 

What do you do to find inspiration/encourage your creativity?

I am an incredibly visual person, so I am most inspired by what I see. Sometimes that might be something in a store or something on Pinterest, and when I see it, I am inspired to try creating a personalized version of it for myself. Other times, I see materials, like a particular fabric or wooden sign or flowers and I start to envision what they could become.

What occupation would you like to try if making wasn’t an option?

I would go back to my previous occupation as a ballroom, Latin, and swing dance instructor. It was indescribably fun! I loved everything about it: the dancing, the learning, and the teaching. The thing I didn’t love was the hours, which kept me away from my family in the evenings. I stopped teaching dance when my son was 2 years old because I knew that as my kids got older and started school, those evenings would be the only real time we had together and I didn’t want to miss them. As I was navigating being a stay-at-home-mom, I stumbled across a craft blog and that’s what led me to start this whole venture with my website and everything that followed. No matter what my occupation, though, I would never stop creating on the side.

Who is your favorite fictional character?

I actually majored in English in college, and taught English in the public school system for four  years, so I am a major book nerd. I have tons of beloved characters, and it’s so hard to choose just one! I guess if I had to choose, I’d pick Elizabeth Bennett from Pride & Prejudice.

What craft material have you been hoarding the longest?

So, you are assuming that I’m a hoarder. LOL. I prefer “collector.” I’m not sure what material I’ve had the longest, but I definitely “collect” markers, wooden surfaces, vinyl, metal stamping supplies, and paint. When I reorganized my craft studio in February, I literally donated boxes and bags full of paint and other supplies to the local elementary school as well as giving some away to friends, and I still have more than I need.

Describe your perfect day.

It would definitely start with sleeping in! I am NOT a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, and right now my kids’ school schedule means I have to be up by 6 AM every day. I’d sleep in, then ease into the day with some coffee on the couch, snuggling my cat and dog while doing my daily devotion and catching up on email. Then, I’d take a few hours to leisurely create something just for the joy of it. I might work on a paint by number or start a new project. After lunch, I’d film a television segment to share crafty ideas. For dinner, my husband would cook one of his absolutely incredible from-scratch meals like Mongolian Beef or Orange Chicken and fried rice, then our family would take a walk on the beach…because my perfect day would include living somewhere near the ocean. We’d catch up on the boys’ days at school and spend some quality time together. Then, we’d play a game together as a family – probably Super Smash Bros or Mario Kart 8 if my boys had their choice. We’d finish the day with my husband and I watching a Hallmark Christmas movie together. What could be better?

What’s your dream project? What’s the “maybe some day…” creation you have in mind?

I would absolutely LOVE to do a hand lettered mural on the wall or even the chalkboard of a local spot. Ideally, I’d do a coffee-themed one in our local Starbucks. At one point, our church also toyed with the idea of a lettering piece on the back wall, but it hasn’t come to anything yet. I just think doing something on such a large scale would push and challenge me, and it would be amazing to see it there in the community inspiring other people.

The other dream project I have – and I’m not just saying this because you are the quilt people – is to create a handmade quilt. It’s one of the only art & craft type things I’ve never attempted, and I know how much time and love goes into creating one. I feel like it would be such a huge accomplishment and I would be so proud of myself for actually taking on such a big, new project.

To learn more about Amy and to see more of what she creates, follow her on her Instagram @amylattacreations, visit her website, and join her on her Facebook page!

Artist Spotlight: Laura Piland

Meet Laura Piland of Slice of Pi quilts and the your host for Creating for Kids: Nursery from Missouri Star!
Meet Laura Piland of Slice of Pi quilts and the your host for Creating for Kids: Nursery from Missouri Star!

Meet Laura Piland. Laura is a quilt pattern designer and homeschooling mom of three young boys. She’s also an ex-math teacher – and with a last name like Piland – there’s a strong love of pi in her house! She has been designing and publishing patterns since 2016. Her work has been included in magazines, newspapers, and quilting industry publications. Laura loves to travel to guilds and quilt shops and share her love of quilting with others!

What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

I absolutely love the thrill of starting a new project! From coming up with a design idea to figuring out how to stitch it to picking out the perfect fabric! (Don’t ask me about finishing all the things I start though! Ha!)

Who are your favorite fabric designers?

Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew is at the top of that list! She’s such a wonderful human in real life, and I love seeing what she designs next! I also have quite a collection of fabric by Karen Lewis. I can not resist her tiny white screen printed shapes on solid fabrics! But if we’re talking what fabrics I *use* the most (instead of collect), then that would definitely be Island Batik fabrics! I love the saturation of color in their fabrics, and they’re a dream to work with!

What notion or sewing tool are you most dependent on?

My Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine!! It sews FAST! If I’m sewing on another machine, I’m thinking about my Juki the whole time!

How were you introduced to sewing and quilting?

I first learned to sew when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I made a couple garments for a 4-H project, but really didn’t like the process at all. My mom and both grandmothers quilted, but I had no interest whatsoever. It wasn’t until my 20s that I was inspired to try making a quilt after a friend had a baby. Then I couldn’t stop!

What was the most frustrating sewing project you ever worked on?

I often have projects that go to time-out for a bit! I get the most frustrated when using basting spray on a quilt (I always use pins now!) or if sewing something 3-D (like a bag or garment). I have to read the directions ten times before doing each step!

What fabric have you been hoarding the longest?

The Honeymoon collection from Sarah Watts is at the top of my hoarding list. (I do have several other fabrics that are older, but they don’t get the same “hoarding” title!) I’ve made a *few* hexies from the collection that will one day be a quilt just for me, and I have yardage of a couple of the prints that I save for super special projects.

What do you do to find inspiration/encourage your creativity?

I love searching Pinterest for new quilty ideas and inspiration! I have many more ideas than time! But spending a day with quilty friends always motivates me to get sewing!

What occupation would you like to try if sewing/making wasn’t an option?

I seriously can not imagine not being able to quilt! This is my dream job! That said, I used to be a middle school math teacher, and I do still love to teach. I suppose that would still be my second choice!

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Ooh! I think that would have to be Ms. Frizzle! Her field trip shenanigans are great, and her themed dresses are exactly something I would make too! I’ve even dressed up as her for a few Halloweens!

Describe your perfect day. 

It would have to start with donuts! (A maple longjohn and a bear claw to be exact!) Add in some quilty friends and a sunny 75 degree day at a lake house. A bit of stitching and lots of laughter would really make it a day to remember!

Want to learn more about Laura? Head over to her website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram!

Meet the Maker at Nancy’s Notions

Joi Mahon, Sewist at Nancy’s Notions

When and how did you first start sewing?
I started sewing somewhere between age 5-7. I would go to my grandma’s farm and read all of her Hershner’s catalogs and I would look at photos and try to figure out how projects and patterns were created. I guess I started teaching myself at an early age how to think creatively  and to figure out how things are put together. I hand sewed a lot for several years and started using a sewing machine around age 11. I think I was the only kid who asked for gift cards to House of Fabrics for Christmas.

What advice would you give to someone who just started sewing/making their own clothing?
I encourage my students to gain a love of sewing first before perfection. Too many people are hard on themselves when they are learning and get frustrated in our instant result society. IF you are taking piano lessons you don’t expect to master the piano after one class or retreat and you don’t skip the intermediate recital just because you are not a maestro. I want new sewists to love and be proud of their first projects. Mastery comes with repetition, and remember no one sewist is a master of every fabric and technique.

What are your must-have tools in your studio?
Several different types of quality scissors as they are all for different things, true tailor’s chalk, and my industrial iron. You need an iron that can provide heat and pressure for professional results.

What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
I am super creative so ideas come pretty easy, but I find I read fabric and design around the strengths of an individual fabric; how it will drape, how it will hang, how the grain can be manipulated for fit and function. Additionally, I love problem solving so when someone poses a project scenario I just love tossing out all sorts of idea (not all are good) and the creative process.

How did you become the face of Nancy’s Notion’s Wardrobe Builder?
It’s such an honor and I loved talking to Nancy about her favorite type of sewing and I loved when she would comment on my work. Last year I was reaching out to Jenny about an idea and she said that she had an idea for me and had the team contact me. We had several planning and brainstorming meetings and WB was born. I am so excited about this program because we have such a beautiful blend of quality hand picked fabrics that work so well with our monthly projects, we have a fantastic team working behind the scenes and I love teaching technique. My approach is very much making sewing approachable for all skill levels while being able to toss in my personal experiences and professional techniques.

Check out Nancy’s Notions Wardrobe Builder! >