From her beautiful quilt projects to pattern creations that we love to try our hand at, today we’re spotlighting Kristina Brinkerhoff, owner of Center Street Quilts! If you’re a quilter who loves finding new inspiration for your future projects or a creator looking for new patterns to try your hand at, you’ll love Center Street Quilts’ shop and blog! Follow along as we cover Kristina’s journey in quilting and design patterns creating, what inspired her to become a pattern designer and how her platform grew to where it is today.
Like many of us quilters and sewists, Kristina’s journey starts right home. Surrounded by women who loved being creative, she watched them at work as they designed sewing projects and spent hours crocheting and knitting. Memories of Kristina’s childhood include playing under those big quilt frames, surrounded by tying and hand quilting around her. These little moments led to her interest in the hobby, starting with her first quilt at 13.
During a slow-moving summer, Kristina, at 13, asked her mother to help her make her first quilt. The research wasn’t as easy back then as it is today, so they went to their local quilt shops with a plan in hand! It was here she chose her first quilt fabric, a 30s reproduction fabric and a simple pinwheel block. By the end of summer, she had undergone quilting training. From learning quilt planning to cutting and sewing, she even began creating her own designs. Sewing on and off the years, Kristina was able to focus her time on the hobby regularly after getting married.
Inspired by day-to-day life, she found ideas in nature, art, books, and even tattoos! Kristina loved keeping a sketchbook on hand because of this, ready to draw down a design when the idea made its way into her mind. But, beyond the inspiration she found in life, her other hobbies encouraged her to keep designing and sewing. Crocheting, knitting, paper crafts, and drawing; were all projects that brought out the creativeness in her.
“It can be extremely liberating and ignite ideas by changing things up and working on projects that are different than normal.”
When she does sew, Kristina uses her TL-2000Qi. Purchased back in 2016, she chose this machine, not for its fancy features but because it offered power and reliability in her creative process, becoming her go-to sewing machine! With its accuracy for piecing quilt blocks and the motor strength’s ability to sew through thick seams, this machine has helped create pieces from quilts to her beautiful bags.
When asked what recommendations she has for quilters purchasing a new machine, Kristina recommends not focusing on the features and whistles but instead on a machine with power and reliability. Below are three other features Kristina recommends for quilters and creators alike.
- An ample throat space. (Good for quilting quilts and maneuvering bags.)
- The ability to lower the feed dogs. (Needed for free motion quilting.)
- The option of stopping the machine with the needle down. (Super valuable for quilting and bag making, so your project doesn’t slip as you adjust your hands.)
Whether you’re choosing your first machine or looking to upgrade, having the space to create and the power to build those quilts can be the ticket to a better sewing experience.
Kristina isn’t always sewing and quilting, though! When she’s not building a new project, you can find her designing her shop’s next pattern. What first was a challenge that involved a whirlwind of decisions, all the different ways to make a quilt block, size options, color variations, and more have now become a game of balance.
“I’ve learned to balance ease of construction with the aesthetic I’m looking for, but it still takes me plenty of samples to decide on the end product.”
One thing Kristina loves about pattern creation, no matter the challenges the process comes with, is picking her fabric! Enjoying the opportunity to play with color schemes and choose her favorite fabric patterns, Kristina only wishes there was more time to see all the potential fabric options for quilts and bag making. Don’t we all!
With quilting and pattern creation under her belt, it was only a matter of time before Kristina began moving her hobby into a potential business. During this time, the name ‘Center Street Quilts’ was created! Based on an address from Kristina and her husband’s old family home, the Center Street home witnessed countless hours of sewing and creating to get done.
Center Street Quilts is an online pattern shop where quilters like you can find fun new patterns to try your hand at! When we spoke with Kristina about how she decided what patterns to create and sell, she focused on her love for the hobby and process.
“From the day I started Center Street Quilts, I decided if I was going to succeed as a business, I’d have to LOVE what I was doing.”
While this hasn’t always equated to the best financial decisions, she says, like a request to add products for paper crafting to her shop, the idea of loving what she’s doing has helped her be creative and stay true to herself.
One of the ways so many customers have learned about her shop is through her work on social media platforms. With over 100k followers, Kristina mentions it’s been astonishing and supportive to see how many fellow creators and quilt lovers are interested in her creations. With the quilting and sewing community growing each day, she focuses on how enjoyable it’s been having a small corner of the world where she can share her work with her followers and creators.
If you’re looking to make your own corner online, Kristina reminds us to not underestimate the power of a beautiful photo! Focusing on clear, bright photos that showcase your product well will get you farther than 10 mediocre ones, allowing your work to look its best! She also advises interacting with your community! Reach out to fellow creators, uplift, comment on others’ projects, and get involved in the community and online events. Above showcasing your work, these interactions will help you make lifelong friends in a hobby you love!
Kristina also reminds us to love what we’re doing. With the flows of social media constantly changing, it’s important to find fulfillment and joy in what you’re creating!
“If you find fulfillment and joy in what you’re creating, and that joy is the primary reason you create, then opening an online shop or starting social media pages will be a much more peaceful process.”
As for Kristina’s online shop and quilting journey, many hopes and dreams are still to be brought to life! From several bag patterns in the works to a dream of providing online courses for beginner quilters to share her knowledge, we can’t wait to see where ‘Center Street Quilts goes. From her journey in quilting to her advice for content creators, we had a great time getting to know Kristina and her shop Center Street Quilts!
If you’ve enjoyed learning about Kristina and her journey in quilting, follow along and check out her blog, socials, and e-shop below!
Etsy shop: Shop patterns here!
Center Street Quilt’s blog with free tutorials and patterns: find here!
Instagram: follow along here!