User Manuals…

As a general rule, I like User Manuals.

I don’t actually read them but I like knowing I have them… just in case.


When it comes to something like my computer, television and toaster, I read just enough to get me set up and plugged in.  I’ll figure out the rest if and when I need to.

Given that I write quilt patterns – what are essentially user manuals – this probably meets the definition of “irony”.

I confess that I did have to pull out the manual for my car when the defroster kept fogging up the car windows instead of keeping them clear. Given that I hadn’t used it much while living in Arizona, I considered the possibility that it might be broken. Nope… it was an “operator error” problem. In my defense, living in warmer climates meant that turning on the AC button was automatic. Apparently that just confuses the defroster. I’m glad the seat-warmer has just the one button.

Other than that little hitch, my move has gone well. I’ve found several different routes to work, all sorts of cool restaurants and markets, a place to get my hair done, and pretty much every kind of store I need to know how to find. As for getting settled in my apartment, I have only a dozen or so boxes left but they can wait because I know what’s in them – quilts and some office stuff. And because I still need to get a bookcase or two so I have someplace to put everything.

And yesterday, I actually set up the sewing machine and sewed.  I didn’t need the manual for my machine… but almost as I hadn’t sewn since sometime before Thanksgiving.  While everything was unpacked, it’s not all put away yet so I did have to go hunting for a whatever or two.


While my job didn’t come with a user manual, it did come with a Help Line and Tech Support. There’s been a phone system to learn and a different e-mail program to figure out, that last one has been particularly useful. There’s been new terminology to learn and in between curiosity-trips to the warehouse, I’ve been working on an upcoming project and compiling a list of possible topics to write about here.

And that got me wondering… if you were writing the “user manual” for this blog, what should it include? While I’ve got a long list of ideas, I know you’ll think of all sorts of things that would never occur to me. (Like not turning on the AC button when using the defroster.)

Fabric – Moda Fabrics. Done – it’s already on the list. But what is it you’d like to know? Is there something specific?


For example, this is V & Co.’s gorgeous new collection, Color Theory.  I saw it being rolled into/onto bolts in the warehouse and it’s getting ready to ship.  Would you like to know where Vanessa gets her inspiration?  How long it takes from her idea to actual fabric?

United Notions – every possible notion, pattern and book you can think of is in a big warehouse about 100 yards away. How tempting – distracting – would that be for you? As someone who loves “sewing/quilting stuff” as much as fabric, I’ve already got a few things put aside that I’ll share soon.

What else?

Is there anything – more – you’d like to know about my job?  While there are things I’m working on now that I can’t share, there probably isn’t much that you won’t see or know about eventually.  But I can address one thing now – no, I don’t get to take home a yard of everything.

At least not the first week.

So will you help me with a list of blog topics? It’s a “user manual” I promise to read in its entirety.

While you do that, I’m going to go look for my list of logins and passwords.

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44 thoughts on “User Manuals…

  1. Love your blog. My question is about public domain patterns, i think thats what they are called. How do you know when a block pattern is no longer under copy right?

  2. Hi Carrie.
    How about a “users manual” on inches versus centimeters? Being Portuguese, I have always used the Metric System, common in Europe. Now, since 2008 I had to learn Inch System and I feel OK with it when cutting my patches. However, when I want to buy fabric….. Oh dear! My calculator goes absolutely mad and me too!
    Wish you all the best with your job. How I would love to visit the warehouse……
    Ana Maria

  3. What does Moda look for when someone wants to submit a fabirc line idea?
    What is the process? (Did I miss a link on the website?)
    Do you already have to have name recognition? e.g. V&Co was a popular blog well before Vanessa “got to” (Not sure how that worked out) design a fabric line.

  4. I would be interested to learn more about the process to get the fabric from drawings to ready for shipping – it would be great to learn about the people who work on it before it gets to our quilt shop.

  5. Hi Carrie-
    So fun to “hear” your voice on this blog! I love the interviews with the designers and also like sneak peaks into what is trendy, new fabrics/patterns coming out–any inside scoop you can give us on the other side! Looking forward to a fun 2015 reading this blog.

  6. I am really interested in exactly how all of the precuts are measured, cut, and folded. I would love to see that process. Also, why aren’t all of the lines sold as scrap bags – is that the designer’s choice to decline selling their lines in that form? I love scrap bags as there are so many fun projects to make from them. Thanks for this opportunity, Carrie!

  7. I would love to find out when fabrics are “gone”. As in, boy 8 love. This fabric and will it come back onto the Market..ever? Could fabrics have a date on the bolt so I,as a consumer of high quality quilt fabrics, would know when the bolts were issued? Then maybe I could figure out if it’s new, old or way older? Thus improving the knowledge I need when making a this just impossible?

  8. I would like general guidance on how to request permission to use information in quilt guild educational programs. For example–a real request here–our guild is doing a program this February on re-sizing quilt blocks. Moda did a great designer blog hop called :”Size Matters.” I printed out a copy of each of the accompany block instructions for re-sizing for myself when the series was running. I can’t seem to locate the series in one place to share with members. Can this material be shared in an educational meeting? Could I run a set of the booklet for the members (50); or share the file? What is permitted and to whom does the request go too? Thanks for your help!

    1. EXCELLENT questions, Lynn … I have the same ones for our guild. WHO within the Moda organization do you contact for this permission? I’ve send numerous e-mails to Customer Service and …. crickets …..

      Do not want to violate copyright laws so hope there is an answer to these questions!

  9. It looks like you’re having a great time and getting all settled. I laughed when I read that you’ve found several routes to work. On one of his first days at work, my son said his boss was going to tell him an alternate way to work — the freeway is just too slow! Have Fun!!!

  10. There are times when I would like more detail on items when ordering. Recently I called because I wasn’t sure if a pattern was included in a kit. The last kit I purchased pattern was not included. This one I was told they think so. Some shops do not purchase whole lines. It would be great to know by number what Moda solids match. I, like some, have to inquire on line. It would be great to ask for specifics by number solids. Is it comon or a given that if a solid that is line specific does it then become a new Bella solid? Recently I wanted to order a bolt of a solid cream and couldn’t find it in my Bella solid color card. I emailed Camille and found out it was line specific. I love the direction your part of Moda fabrics blog is going.

  11. I wish there was a better system for pairing bella solids with the fabric line. All to often via the computer I think the background of a print is white so I purchase a white Bella solid to go with it only to find out it’s actually cream and my bella solid doesn’t look right.-I would love to know the whole process how a fabric goes from designers idea to fabric in my sewing room.

  12. Love your blog. It must be heaven with all the fabrics – and hell, not being able to take ALL of them home!

  13. I’d be interested in knowing how Moda’s system works from point of order to shipment. How do they determine what patterns and notions they will carry?

    No matter what direction you go, AWESOME blog!

  14. You can discuss project ideas. Lately I’ve been asking myself, “Can I really make myself a quilt every year?” haha…what else can we do with our fabric that we love so much?
    Gift ideas, handmade is always heartfelt.
    Home decor ideas, wall hangings, cloth napkins, place settings, etc.
    Donations ideas for both people and animals.
    Moda Bakeshop Manual would be cute 🙂

  15. I am crazy the direction this blog is going. I’m looking forward to many, many informative posts. Just share it all; I’m curious about everything. 🙂

  16. I’d like to know a little about who decides what colors to use… I know Pantone does a color of the year and there are color forecasts in garment sewing, is it different for quilts? I know what colors I like and I can usually find them, but then I’m not always buying the ‘in’ colors. Great blog, nice to hear your viewpoint and your voice again!

  17. I love that Moda has such varied artists designing fabrics–from Barbara Brackman repro’s to Minick and Simpson patriotic and everything in between. I would be very interested in the process some of the designer use to come up with a new line.
    I’m also curious to know if we will still see new Miss Rosie patterns or books popping up in the future! Congrats on your new adventure!

  18. I was wondering if some years Moda sets a theme for fabrics. Sometimes several quilters all have fabric lines with boats or sewing. Is that coincidence? Is it because they are friends and have bounced ideas off of each other or did Moda set a theme for thinking on?

  19. YES! Make more patterns for FAT EIGHTS BUNDLES! Lordy I love those little stacks of fabric! If I were to open my closet right now, likely there will be a pile of at least 12 fall on my feet. Okay – I know it is sounding a bit like hoarding territory….and it is getting pretty close, so please write some nice patterns for fat eights bundles and tutorials with tons of pictures on the blog.

  20. I so love it that you now work for Moda it’s just the perfect match!
    What I really like to know and see would be more about the fabric like where the material comes from (Egypt?), what happns from the cotton picking over the bleaching (is it?) and then the printing and the shipping. And how do you (Moda) know how many from one collection and fabric you need?
    Are you telling the designers what would be great or are the coming to you with their ideas? And then who has the last word at deciding which colors and prints are actually in the collection? I know there’re strick-offs that never made it into the collection.
    Lots of questions I think you’ll be busy to anwser them all:-)

  21. I just love Moda fabrics and Pre-cuts – I would like to know what Bella Solids match up to Moda Fabric collections – I live very rurally and do not have access to any quilt store within reason (at least a 2 hr drive one-way) and though I have a color card – I don’t have all the Moda collections to see what Solids match up – it would make it so much easier for those of us that cannot get into a local store to see what solids will match. Although, I must confess that I do order and collect (hoard) my favorite Moda collections – and I haven’t met a collection that I didn’t like.

  22. Congrats on your new job, a quilter’s dream job for sure. First, I too would like to have more information on matching the solids in precuts to yardage. It is very difficult sometimes to match the number included with the charm packs, layer cakes etc. to say bella solids (white, snow, ivory).

    Secondly, I would to love to see the entire process of fabric manufacturing. From design to printing to distribution etc etc.

    Thank you and have fun!

  23. Lots of my questions have already been posted but I am curious as to how Moda determines that a line will “sell” before they go ahead and produce it. Also, I would love to see more 30s designs made with more co-ordinating solid colors. Love your blog!

  24. I’d love to hear more about the trends in fabric design. I know with interior design, a lot comes from fashion trends. What do you see on the horizon for fabric– more botanical themes? Certain palettes?

  25. A few things I would like to see in the “user manuel”….would love to see how sketches turn into fabrics….like deb strain’s calligraphy on instagram…does she have to draw it perfectly or does something happen in between paper and fabric to “clean things up”? (hope that makes sense!)…also how about a color guide for bella solids for “fabric themes” like 19th century reproductions, bonnie and camille colors, brights, neutrals, fig tree colors, blackbird designs colors, jan patek colors – I could go on, but I know you get the idea….and to go with collections too. It’s very difficult to try and figure out color combos with so many options and not having all the pieces to see…hope this makes sense!!! Congratulations on the new job….so excited for you and us…the moda groupies!!! Thanks for all the great information so far!!!

  26. How are colors determined? Over the past year I have been asked to sew projects with purple as a major part of the color palette (usually it’s a teal, purple & gray scheme) . It’s so hard to find great purples these days. Please add a good range of purple!

  27. I do read my sewing machine manuals, but I know there`s more I can do to oil and clean my machine than the manual tells me. I would love to learn more about home machine maintenance so that I don`t have to take my machine in to be tuned up quite so often.
    And how do they determine the ‘color of the year’ and is it important to us as fabric purchasers ?

  28. Hi Carrie, Good to see you blogging again. I am so happy you have moved to Texas! .I would like to see everyting that is trending, and hear all about how Moda tracks all these trends. Is is just about what is happening in the blogging world or do you take surveys from your Customers? I also have a love of notions so any news on what is new and how to use new notions would be wonderful. I just love new tools . Thanks! Hope you are all settled in soon and call Dallas “Home” soon.

  29. From the look of the comments above mine you’re going to have quite a bit of content for those User Manuals. 😉 I’m thinking we all want you to stay at Moda and be gainfully employed so the more we can lineup to be included in those manuals the better!! LOL… I’ll add my .02 to the list… This isn’t so much User Manual related — but it would be awesome to have a “Compatibility Guide” for each new line of fabric. Show how well the fabric line “jives” with the various and sundry Moda Basics (Grunge, Bellas, Marbles, Crackles, Muslins, Dots)…. Now that I have this in writing.. it seems like a daunting task – but maybe even just identify one of two of each of the Basic lines that “work well/coordinate” with the new fabric line. It would be so helpful for those of us that are trying to order coordinating Moda’s online. Loving all you share here on the blog and on IG / FB too! Hope we can meet at Market this spring. Take good care…

  30. I want the skinny on the Moda Home vintage look linens. I drool over them when I hit that part of their website. Who picks the designs? When are they going to produce a round tablecloth for my lovely antique pedestal table? (I love the square ones, but those corners hanging off the edge annoy diners who aren’t positioned correctly.) Are they ever going to do umbrellas again? Hope this doesn’t take you to the dark corner of the warehouse!

  31. I would love to hear about getting organized. You do such a wonderful job with baskets, and your work space is always so wonderfully clear of clutter! Also new fabric lines and patterns that go along with it. A detailed tour of market would also be wonderful. Glad you are moved in and blogging. You made my day!

  32. I love your blog and I am so happy to find your new location. Congrats on the new job. I also would love to be able to know more about how the production process works. How are the color ways chosen? Anything that concerns color choices for a new line. Love your quilts. I am starting a small one as you have inspired me. It is cold in Okla. too. Keep writing.

  33. Are fabric collections ever re-issued? Edyta Sitar has a very popular class with thousands of students on Craftsy that uses fabric from her Jelly Bean collection, but that fabric is almost impossible to find now. When fabric collections are extremely popular, it would be wonderful if they could be made available again.

  34. I would love to see photos of how quilts are displayed and used in the various designers and others’ homes. Sometimes, it’s just the inspiration I need to keep going on my projects. Will you continue to design quilt patterns? Karen L.

  35. I’d like to see some of the same things as others have already posted – such as which solids/marbles coordinate with a new line. I’d also like to see the “run” date on the bolt. I found an older piece of Moda fabric once and had all the info from the selvage. I tried to request from Moda what colors were used in the line and no one was able to help. Maybe Moda could start a database of the specific colors used in all their fabrics and have someone whose job it is to answer those kinds of customer inquiries. I’d also like to suggest that the Moda Bakeshop add a way to search by precut type not just project type. For instance I have some jelly rolls but I’m not sure what I want to use them for. If I could search by “jelly roll” it would be easier. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to tell you what we’d like to read about.

  36. Lots of good comments and ideas above. I second them. Would also like to know if you’ll still be designing quilts and writing patterns? I hope, I hope . . . Must be amazing to be working with all the Modal wonderfulness!

  37. user manuals are greatly overrated.(once you figure out how to turn on the remote for the cable TV that is…) …I like tinkering with stuff and going off on a tangent…makes life much more interesting…same with quilting…get out of the box and do the weird makes me happy!

  38. I’m just hoping you’ll share all the wonderful adventures in Moda-land! Keep giving sneak peeks and hints … it’s fun stuff!

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