I loved learning a little bit more about Lindsey Neill from Pen and Paper Patterns. Enjoy the interview [and check out the video of Lindsey talking about her design inspiration for the Firefly Quilt!]

Find Lindsey Here:
Pen and Paper Patterns Shop
Pen and Paper Patterns Blog
Pen and Paper Patterns Instagram

You can purchase the Firefly Quilt Pattern here, or join Pattern Drop [and get the pattern as part of your subscription for the month of July] for a discount!


1. What inspired you to start creating and selling quilt patterns?
I have been a creative entrepreneur in one form or another since I was 19 so I guess I just naturally gravitate toward turning my creative interests into little side businesses. I did reach a point in 2010, while selling invitations on Etsy, where I was feeling extremely burnt out and my shop wasn’t doing so great. I desperately wanted a job where I could clock-in and clock-out and not have it consume every second of my day.  I reached out to the local craft store I had been purchasing my paper from and asked if they were hiring. They weren’t at the time, but contacted me about 6 months later asking if I was interested in a part-time job there.
They had recently started selling fabric in their shop too and while I had dabbled in sewing before working there I still was very much a novice. Thankfully they offered a free beginning quilt class to all their employees and I jumped at the opportunity. I was pretty much hooked on sewing after the first class and definitely would not be doing what I am today had I not taken it. Working there led me to eventually teaching classes, helping with store displays, doing online tutorials, and managing their social media accounts. Because of those opportunities and my obsession with all things sewing, it felt like a natural progression into pattern design. I sold my first pattern at the store as part of a Christmas display and then several months later I released what felt like my first “official” pattern, Rainy Day. I continued to work at the store until they closed in July of 2016 while still designing patterns.
A shot of Lindsey’s sewing space–isn’t it lovely?
2. Tell me a little about your workspace–do you write patterns and sew in the same space?
For the last year or so I have been sewing in what originally was designated as the formal dining room in my house. It is right off our front door and is open to the rest of the downstairs. There are some negatives to that, but overall I really love having my own space and I know how lucky I am to have it too. For a while I had my sewing machine set up in our master bedroom and, let me tell you, that is not an ideal situation haha. My husband, kids and I all share an office space upstairs in our loft. We have 4 computers set up there. It isn’t the cutest looking room in my house, but it is the most productive and used area for sure! I do all of my pattern designing and computer work up there. Someday I hope to have my computer and sewing machine all in one room, but for now, the set up works really great for me.
Fabric Palette for Lindsey’s Sewology Pattern
3. I would love to know more about your love of solids
Solids are great because:
1) They are usually really inexpensive. I can make a quilt top in solids for the fraction of what it would cost to make a top in prints. As a pattern designer on a very tight budget that is essential and super appealing to me.
2) I do consider myself a modern quilter and solids definitely lend themselves to that aesthetic. They give a very clean and sharp look to the quilt as well
3) Variety. If I have a color in mind I can almost always find a solids manufacturer who carries that same exact shade. When you work with prints you also have to factor in the scale of the print and the directionality…using solids eliminates that potential hurdle for me.
4. What do you wish you could have told your creative self 5, 10, or 15 years ago?
Love this question! First I would say, trust the process. It’s going to take time and more time than you’ll want it to. But, eventually, you’ll reach a place in your creative journey where you’ll feel like you’re doing something right. That people finally “get”  you and the “it” you’re doing will bring you so much joy and purpose to your life. And that all of those experiences you went through, that felt like failures and wasted time, are necessary for shaping who you are today – not only a creative person but as a wife, mom, friend, etc.
Fierce Feathered Star block from @threadedquilting‘s #snowflakesampler pattern
5. Your quilt photographs are always so beautiful. Can you share 3 tips for better quilt photography?
Thank you! Natural light and a decent camera are really all you need I think! There are so many great resources online for learning how to use your camera and what equipment you can buy to improve your photos too. Honestly, I only know the bare minimum when it comes to my camera and photography in general. Usually, I’m just winging it and I’m also snapping five times more photos than what’s necessary just to ensure at least one turns out okay haha I also think it helps to edit your photos whether with an app on your phone or a program on your computer. I don’t think filters are necessary either. I think adjusting the exposure is sometimes all you need to do!
6. What is your favorite part of the creative process.
My favorite part is right before the design process when you have that light bulb moment and it feels like you just thought of the best idea ever haha That excitement and the eventual planning is so fun to me. And of course, I LOVE bringing those ideas to life with fabric too.