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Designer Profile: Meet Scott Flanagan.

Scott Flanagan and his designs are a frequent visitor to the pages of Quiltmaker, McCall's Quilting and McCall's Quick Quilts. I've been in awe of his ability to take color, a collection of fabrics and traditional blocks to create a stunning design--every time. I would love to shadow him around for a week to see how he approaches designing his quilts. Since I'm not likely to have that chance, I figured the next best thing I could do would be to interview him. Here's what I found out about Scott.

The young 7-year-old Scott Flanagan started sewing by learning from his maternal grandmother, who made quilts for the Lutheran World Relief. He came from an artistic family, with a father who does woodworking (as did his grandparents) and laser engraving, and a mom who was a garment sewer. Scott started quilting in 2002, making a special quilt as a gift for a beloved choir director.

Scott grew up in Longmont, Colorado and moved to Fremont, Nebraska for college in 2003. He started college with a desire to be an architect; and then, after finding out about all the calculus and physics classes, he switched to study for a degree in business. From that point, his career plan became more flexible. Scott started working at the local quilt shop, Country Traditions, in 2007 where he became the Pfaff/Handi Quilter sales representative after graduating from Midland University. Although he thought he'd work at that job for only a couple of years before finding a 'real' job, he is still there 10 years later. Scott branched out to start his own design company, 4th & Main Designs, in 2011.

Scott's most creative time of day, and when he gets most sewing done, is morning through mid-day. If he has a weekend off he powers through to finish a quilt. For example, with Sodalite Cabins, he cut out fabric on Friday night and had the quilt finished by 9:00 a.m. on Monday!

Scott normally works on only one project at a time. As we can attest to, Scott admits he is constantly designing, or contemplating, design ideas-most often in the evening after work. Sometimes his designs are created by playing with only one block and other times he has a specific goal for a quilt and works around that goal. For example, he has submitted several designs to Quiltmaker and McCall's Quilting using Jelly Rolls for a design challenge; then trying the same design using a charm pack. If he doesn't feel super creative he reaches out to Pinterest to look at projects, or visits with family and friends to help spark ideas. Quite often, he gets multiple ideas for quilts from one spark and ends up designing 2 or 3 more.

Sodalite Cabins: The Backstory

Scott told us Sodalite Cabins was influenced by a love of sampler style quilts using stars and Log Cabins, and wanting to find a way to incorporate them so they looked woven together. He didn't have any other goal in mind for this design--other than the challenge of sewing a precise 1/4" seam for all the blocks. Scott likes the graphic nature of the design of Sodalite Cabins and how the stars float on top of the strong diagonal lines created by the Log Cabins. Plus, he likes the fact that the design can be created in any color combination and still look striking.

The Lob Cabin block is significant to Scott because it was the first quilt block his grandma taught him to piece, using the Eleanor Burns Quilt-In-A-Day book. His grandmother made a Log Cabin quilt for almost all of her friends and family as wedding and graduation gifts.

What's in a name? Our editors often select the quilt name for our publications. I thought the colors in Scott's quilt reminded me of the sparkling blues and purples, mixed with the creamy brownish color found in a geode. I searched for a name of a rock formation and discovered that low-silica igneous rocks may have large masses of sodalite, a mineral which has a rich blue color, ranging from clear to violet. I found it is primarily used as a gemstone or for architectural decoration. Isn't life interesting when all the moons come together? I came upon this name for Scott's quilt, and Scott had a goal to become an architect. Perhaps he really did achieve his early goal... as an architect of quilts.

Written by: Tricia Patterson, Managing Editor, Quiltmaker
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Author:Patterson, Tricia
Date:Dec 16, 2017
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