Personal: Nannette Holmberg made a name for herself in fashion design before she ever thought about her current business/hobby. She began sewing her own clothes in grade school. When she started at Utah State University, she entered the Make It Yourself With Wool contest and went on to the national finals. As a Fashion Design major, she studied in New York City at The Fashion Institute of Technology. Nannette originally designed for McCall Pattern Company.
She and her husband Dave have one daughter, a son-in-law, and four grandsons. With her daughter Erin, Nannette has an Etsy shop called The Treetop Shoppe. When she’s not working on her business, Nannette enjoys playing the piano and cooking. But she’ll be the first to admit that quilting and sewing takes up much of her time.
Tell us about your business: My husband Dave is the business side of our business and I am the creative side. I am always in my studio playing with new techniques. I have a working studio as well as a studio in my home so I can spend my time sewing 24/7. I have three published books and now have my own line of patterns for my quilts as well as my clothing. I’ve had numerous quilts published. My recent one, “Birds on a Wire” was on the cover of Quiltmania magazine. I teach for quilting and surface design guilds as well as for shops and quilting shows throughout the country.
How did you get involved with quilting? I came into the quilting world through the “back door.” When I first introduced my Faux Chenille® jackets at Houston Quilt Festival in 1997, it wasn’t long before quilting shops picked up the technique, using cotton flannel to make baby quilts. I made my first quilt for Omnigrid for their booth at market in Houston just a few years later. We did the entire booth in chenille including a rug the full size of the booth, upholstering for the furniture and slippers for everyone in the booth with a large backdrop quilt that had a tulip design as the focal point. Their booth won best booth at market that year and I’ve been hooked on quilting ever since. I come from a non-traditional perspective whenever I quilt. I love traditional quilts and incorporate them in my work but with a modern feel. I have evolved to becoming a longarm quilter and love to explore creative ways to use my longarm machine to make everything from my quilts to my Faux Chenille® jackets and embellished handbags.
What is Faux Chenille®? Using an ancient technique of layering, stitching and slashing fabrics, I created the look and luxurious feel of plush chenille in 1994. Because I use fabrics that are light weight and silky in nature, my jackets and wearables have remarkable drape and tactile texture.
How did Chenille-It® Blooming Bias® come about? Eight years ago, I introduced Chenille-It® Blooming Bias®. This product evolved from my Faux Chenille® technique that required layers of fabric to be stitched and cut on the bias to create texture reminiscent of old fashioned chenille quilts. Our product comes on a roll in two different widths, 3/8 inch wide and 5/8 inches wide. You simply stitch it down the center of the tape; wash it, dry it and you’re done! It gives you the look and feel of chenille in just one layer and one washing. You don’t need to brush our product, just wash and dry. Having chenille on a roll opens a whole world of possibilities! It is an amazing and fun product that is very user friendly and easy to use.
What is your favorite quilting tool? My new favorite quilting tool is quilting stencils. There are literally hundreds of them out there. I use the quilting stencils to mark my quilt blocks for designs, then I just follow the designs and stitch our 3/8 inch wide bias tape in place. It gives me unlimited chenille designs and I can use the same design lines when I get to the quilting stage of my quilt.
What is your best advice for quilters? Play and have fun when you quilt. Don’t get bogged down in perfection and don’t be afraid to try new things and explore! That’s when the best things happen. Everything doesn’t work just the way you thought it would and sometimes you will discover things that will make your work soar beyond what you ever could have imagined.
What will you be featuring in your booth? Of course, I will have Chenille-It® Blooming Bias®. My quilts will also be there, running the gamut from traditional to modern, but all with a twist. There will be in the booth step by step instructions on all of my techniques. I will also be featuring my Faux Chenille® jacket patterns and kits using rayons to create soft and luxurious jackets and vests. These jackets are a natural for quilters. My Faux Chenille® patterns include stitching tissues to make the process of using my soft fabrics and fewer layers (just one or two layers in my jackets) easy to do. It’s almost like a paint-by-numbers, no fail process.
What are you looking forward to as a first time vendor at Road? My husband and I have wanted to be part of Road to California for a long time. We are looking forward to sharing what we do and will be introducing some new patterns and quilts that are in the works especially for Road! I think people will be surprised and will discover that there is always something new in the quilting world. That’s what keeps us all building up our stashes. And that’s why my husband and I haven’t had a car in our garage for over 30 years!