A Look Behind Center Street Quilts!

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.

FFP Blocks

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.

Center Street Quilts sewing space

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.”

Merry Little Trees Quilt

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.”

Fleetwood Tote Moon Garden

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!

Behind the Collection with Mah-Jing Wong, JUKI Designer Ambassador

Join us today as we go behind the collection with JUKI Design Ambassador Mah-Jing Wong! Inspired by Marvel and Anime, we get to see his studio and discuss his designs and looks.

Follow below for a transcribed version of our look behind the collection with Mah-Jing Wong.

JUKI: What inspired you to create a collection based on the anime ‘Sailor Moon?

Mah-Jing Wong: Alright, so this time around it wasn’t just Sailor Moon that inspired the collection. I did a little bit of Sailor Moon and Marvel X-Men. I blended the two together and created my own cartoon which is GALAXIA X and she is the powerful superhero from the sailorverse. So this time around I kind of created my own thing, you know?

JUKI: How did you decide what style and cut to create the fashion pieces?

Mah-Jing Wong: Well, this time around I wanted to keep the same silhouette and just kind of build on there. Because it’s our fall collection it’s a little more coverage, it’s a little colder outside we have jackets, skirts, some joggers, and oversized tops. We still have our sheer dresses, but they have a little more coverage within them.

JUKI: What was your favorite outfit to design and create for this collection?

Mah-Jing Wong: Now my favorite outfit, that is so hard to choose! Kinda like picking your favorite child is hard to do! I guess, maybe our GALAXIA dress which is the color block dress with the green patch over the breast. Awe man that one was super sick and it was very sexy to you know?

JUKI: Let’s talk about the modeling! How do the models bring your work to life? What vision did you see when creating this collection?

Well this time around our house model, which is my wife Stacy, she’s just absolutely amazing. We really want to channel LAness pose, high fashion pose. So we did bleached brows on some of the photos, really sleek and wet hair. She did some really out-of-this-world-like poses, I mean I’m not her so I can’t go do poses, but she’s absolutely amazing, and she really helps to bring the clothes to life.

She is GALAXIA X you know?

JUKI: What future plans do you have in store for the Anime collection?

Mah-Jing Wong: Well, just to continue to push to the masses and get some really cool placement and you know, drop our own cartoon which is something I really want to work on. Maybe a comic book. I mean the sky is the limit with fashion and Mah-jing Wong because the good thing about us is we’re so multi-fashionst, and multi-talented, that I really want to touch all areas especially when it comes to animation.

So you never know what you may see from us.

To learn more about Mah-Jing Wong join us here!

Interested in Mah-Jing Wong’s machine? Check it out here!

To find a JUKI dealer near you visit us here.

Quilting in a Social Media Age

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

From finding inspiration to posting your finished projects, social media has become one of the new quilting hubs for the community. With millions of posts on social media with hashtags for quilting, there are infinite ideas and inspiration to go around. We know that when you lack a creative spark sometimes running to Instagram and Pinterest is the best way to get that inspiration you need, but the fun is in the community itself that has continued to grow each day.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Forming friendships with similar interests is exciting! You can do this by joining quilting and sewing groups where you can find answers to questions you need. Additionally, you can experience the same excitement for new projects or machines. Quilting parties, what was once a social event that women hosted for friends and family members as a way to meet in the early 1800-1900s, has become a worldwide connected project. Hashtags like #100daysofquilting and #quilter have brought thousands of people together to showcase art from all around the world. We at JUKI love when sewing and quilting artists like you use our hashtags like #lovemyjuki and #jukisewingmachine, this allows us to see and share what you create!

Social media for quilting is like a research hub and can be for more than sharing projects; there are features on how to sell your quilting, how to gain a following, and even one day taking this from a past time into a career.  Each day new and old members of the community have an opportunity to use social media for their goals. Whether it be gaining a following, sponsorship, or making a side income from selling your pieces; social media has given artists the platform to grow in their skills and passions.

At JUKI, we use social media every day to learn more about our JUKI Lovers and their projects. By being able to share our products, helpful tips, and more, we’ve created platforms that allow us to connect with you. What would you like to see more of on our social media?