Jenny Doan and Crafty Gemini Retreats // 2015

jenny and vanessa web

This past couple of weeks, we had a special visitor in Hamilton at MSQC! Vanessa Vargas Wilson, the Crafty Gemini, was here for two back to back Jenny Doan/Crafty Gemini quilting retreats and these gals seriously had a blast!

jenny disappearing class

There’s always plenty of time for sewing and shopping when you’re here for a retreat, but this one was packed full of some fantastic classes as well! Jenny taught the retreaters how to make various disappearing blocks and then showed them how to turn them into a tablerunner. 🙂

These gals are sisters who all love to sew and quilt! They came with their own matching t-shirts and even their own catch phrases! It was so fun to meet them!


Vanessa taught a class on how to make this adorabe ‘Any Which Way’ quilt using paper piecing!

any which way

Jenny even tried this one out because she wanted to improve her paper piecing skills! Those arrows are looking good, Jenny! 🙂

jenny any which way

Vanessa did something that was so fun! She brought a Polaroid camera and took a special photo with each of the retreaters and signed it for them! What a fun little souvenir to take home! 🙂


We hope you had a wonderful time, retreaters!



2nd round retreaters mural

If you are hoping to visit Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, Missouri, check out our complete list of events and retreats here: MSQC Retreats & Events

ModBLOCK Contributor: Meet Crafty Gemini

We are so very happy to share this Q&A with Crafty Gemini with you! We just love Vanessa! So much, that we’ve done a few tutorials with her and we even have two retreats scheduled with her!! It was great to hear her answers and learn a little more about her! We hope you enjoy!

Meet Vanessa of Crafty Gemini


Vanessa’s project in ModBLOCK is the ‘Improv Tote’

tote5 copy

What is your sewing/quilting/crafting/art background?

I’m mostly self-taught. I learned to sew while in law school because I was looking for a creative outlet and asked my mom to teach me how to use a sewing machine. I took off from there.

How did you get started in this business? 

I kinda fell into it. I began teaching people how to quilt because I didn’t want to make commissioned works. Then started uploading my lessons via video to YouTube and it took off from there.

Tell us about your collection(s) and /or pattern style. 

I like to design patterns that are quick and easy to make. As a business owner, homesteader and homeschooling mom of two I don’t have time for intricate quilts or piecing techniques. I like to design quilt tops I can whip up in a few days at the most.

What are you inspired by?

I’m inspired by shapes and color mostly. I like to imagine how things would look if I turn them this way or that way and what if I outlined it in this color. Things like that. It’s all a challenging little puzzle so I like to play around and experiment mostly and let the design talk to me.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as modern sprinkled with traditional.  I like to take traditional blocks and make them more modern by increasing the size, using bold solid fabrics, turning them in a different way, etc.  But I just really love the geometric and abstract look of modern quilts. I also find the modern quilts I enjoy to make can be whipped up a lot quicker than most traditional quilts. I love timesavers!

What are some of your greatest challenges in your design process?

Getting the design to look like what I see in my head. I often get sidetracked as I’m experimenting with blocks and placement and completely stray from my initial idea. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing!

Do you have an online presence on social media: Facebook? YouTube? Pinterest? IG?





Are there any releases or upcoming information that you would like included in your article?

In January I launched a subscription based service just for quilters. It will have new project based video courses, tips & tricks videos, live sewing sessions, etc. All the info is on my site:

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? 

Sing! I am so impressed by people who can sing effortlessly. I love music and dancing but I cannot for the life of me sing.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? 

Overhauled my entire diet, implemented natural remedies and healed myself from needing gallbladder surgery. Phew! I lost 70 lbs in the process and that was no easy task.

Who are your creative inspirations, heros? 

This is tough because I’ve always been one to march to the beat of my own drum. Design wise I really just do my own thing.  But as an instructor someone I look up to and try to learn from is Georgia Bonesteel. When I first started quilting I fell in love with her tv show and really appreciated how comfortable she was in front of the camera, how clear and concise her lessons were and how much fun and enthusiasm she exuded as she taught you how to do even the most simple technique. I’m always working on my presentation skills and tweaking my instructional style and watching her helped with that.

Do you have a signature color? If not, what would it be?

My signature color would have to be aquamarine. I love anything in that teal, aqua family.

What trends or colors do you predict being hot in 2015? 

I’m not big on trends or knowing what’s going on. But I saw a lot of jewel tones at Quilt Market this Fall so maybe that’s something.

What is your favorite fabric line of all time? 

Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I like all fabrics and feel like I can find a project for every collection I’ve ever owned. I’m really digging Cotton & Steel and Carolyn Friedlander’s lines right now.

What is your favorite tool you use all the time?

I like the Simplicity EZ Quilting Leftie-Rightie Rulers. I love that I can measure from either end without having to flip the ruler around.

What is unusual or unique about your style/art/patterns? 

I like to make stuff that comes together quickly and easily with no fussing. I love all colors and the brighter they are the better. So, when it comes to color selection I’m not the one to ask for tips! I don’t even look at color. I only look at contrast.

What projects do hope to see made with your collection? OR What upcoming fabric lines would you choose to use with your patterns?

I really want to design a few quilts with the Cotton & Steel collections. Just have to come up with a design first!

Is there a experience or accomplishment you are most proud of?

I’m proud of a lot of things! But in the quilting game I would have to say getting my second ever published quilt design on the cover of Modern Quilts Unlimited was pretty amazing! After having so many designs rejected from different publications to have MQU choose mine for the cover felt great!

Thanks Vanessa!  Can’t wait to see you for our combined retreat! 🙂