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Brigitte Heitland: Juggling Summer

Brigitte Heitland: Juggling Summer

Written by: 
Linzee McCray

There’s a cliché that quilters are either right-brain people or left-brain people. The stereotype suggests that left-brainers love the math of rulers and the geometry of quilting but panic at choosing fabrics. Right-brained stitchers, on the other hand, whimper when it’s time to figure out yardage but revel in giving quilt patterns a personal tweak via color and texture. And then there are the talented few who seem to be have both sides of their brain working in tandem.

Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic is one of those lucky souls. With her new fabric line Juggling Summer, it’s readily apparent that she’s in touch with her artistic side. But she spent years in a decidedly left-brain field: accounting.

“I had taken studies in interior design and textile design when I was in school,” says Brigitte, who hails from Germany. “But the funny part is, I was a little bit of a rebel and became an accountant instead.”

Though she tried to deny her right-brain tendencies, Brigitte was fascinated when she stumbled upon a book of quilts. “I’d never even heard the word ‘quilt’ before,” she says. But she was hooked, and to support her new habit she opened an online fabric shop. “Then I couldn’t help but get a long arm machine and to pay for that I started an online quilting business,” she says with a laugh. Encouraged by a fabric rep, Brigitte reached back to her textile design days and started creating fabric through Spoonflower. Last year she brought her fabrics and quilts to Quilt Market, where Moda found her.  

This spring, Brigitte was back at Market with quilts made from the Juggling Summer line that are minimal and modern, yet warm and soothing. In addition to the patterns themselves, her quilts are notable for their organic long-arming patterns. “There is a full tradition of quilting out there, but I need to translate that into a contemporary language,” she says. “So, for example, London Tube has rounded off stripes and so I used corresponding lines in the quilting.”

Sounds like the perfect combination of logic and artistry, doesn’t it?

For more about Brigitte, visit her blog (in English and German).
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