Carrie Nelson: Expect the Unexpected

Carrie Nelson is a fan of variety—in her life and in her education. And her new book, Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites, makes clear she feels that way about quilting, too.

[Let’s start by saying that Carrie is not 100 percent comfortable with me taking over the blog and singing her praises…probably not even 15 percent comfortable. But when someone is so talented and so interesting, Cutting Table readers deserve to know more about the woman behind the scenes. So I told her to take a deep breath and let me have at it. Here goes.]

Wayne and Gordy

Since January 2015, Carrie’s been a part of Moda’s team, handling social media and brainstorming along with the staff members who think up all the great stuff Moda has to offer. Case in point? Those Cake Mixes, the great new 42-page pads of stitching designs for turning layer cakes into stunning quilts. Carrie (AKA Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co.) said she was looking at quilts and trying to imagine how to create them from charm squares. When that didn’t work, she switched to layer cakes and voilà, she had it, and now so do we.


That Carrie was even thinking about this particular “how-to” demonstrates one side of her brain, which is very analytical. Her office is colorful, but her desk is tidy. She’s known for her clear pattern instructions. “I want to make sure I include anything I’d tell anyone if I were teaching a class,” she says. And she has a law degree—yup, Carrie was an attorney in another part of her life.

Scarlet Begonia

But she’s also done lots of other things and lived in other places. She’s studied fashion and textile design in San Francisco and Los Angeles, political science in Arizona, and law in Texas. She’s good at math, but also good with color, texture, pattern, and design. Those inclinations led her to create her own patterns, which she first took to Quilt Market in 2002. The following year she designed and stitched a quilt for Moda, which was so popular that it was turned into a kit that included her pattern. “That provided huge visibility,” she says. “After Market, everything changed.” Her patterns were picked up by a distributor and Hancock Fabrics had a feature on Miss Rosie’s patterns in their catalog. She’d been freelancing for law firms up to that point, doing research and writing memos and briefs, but realized Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company was becoming a full time business. And while she had some other jobs along the way, her focus was on teaching and creating quilt patterns.

Opening Day

So, I think we could say that with a life filled with experiences as diverse and stimulating as Carrie’s, it’s not surprising that she leans towards variety in her quilts. “I can look at and love minimalist things, but they’re not what I want to make,” she says. “I like when there’s a lot going on, when it’s colorful and a wonderful mix.” Her new book—Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites: 12 Captivating Scrappy Quilts, published by Martingalereflects that fact right in the title. It contains some of her best-known and well-loved (but no longer in print) patterns and provides options for using your stash or combining new fabrics as Carrie does so successfully at Moda. “I always think that fabric collections provided instant scrappiness, and you can add others in or take some out,” she says.

Cracked Pots

If you aren’t familiar with Miss Rosie’s quilt patterns, or if you are but want to re-visit some favorites, check out her new book. (After writing this post and spending time with the book, there are at least four quilts I’m dying to make and Carrie’s sense of fun and personality shine through the pages, making just reading it a pleasure, too.)

Three Barns

Carrie shared a quote with me while we chatted about this post and it expresses both the appeal of scrappiness, and about having lived an unconventional life. “I like messy people; those who don’t fit in a box or stay between the lines.” I’m not sure I’d call Carrie messy, but I’d certainly agree that she doesn’t fit in any box I know of…and those of us who love to quilt are ever so grateful.

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55 thoughts on “Carrie Nelson: Expect the Unexpected

  1. This book sounds wonderful and I too already see a few quilts I would like to make, just from this sneak peek! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Love these quilts! Thanks so much for hijacking the blog today and tooting Carrie”‘s horn 😉

  3. I ordered it as soon as I saw it on is all that is wonderful and more…have my favorites picked out to make and am so glad to have some of the patterns that are no long in print…thank you Carrie for a wonderful book…love those cake mixes too!

  4. I have all of Carrie’s books and many of her patterns. Love this book. Clear instructions. Wonderful stories. Beautiful patterns – especially Opening Day. You have a gift, Carrie. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, your creative…all with a healthy dose of humor.

  5. The quilts are wonderful and very inviting. Thanks for the skinny on Carrie. Just love her sense of design and sense of humor.

  6. Thanks for telling us so much more about Carrie. I love everything she does! I have made so many of her quilts and some twice! I love the fact that she uses tons of colors, fabrics and prints to make one quilt. I have this book and am currently making ‘Cracked Pots’ and have plans for almost every other quilt in the book – ‘Wayne and Gordy’ being next! Way to go Carrie! Nothing makes my day better than seeing you have some new pattern!

  7. i love Carrie’s patterns and am looking forward to getting this book. I’ve never taken a class with her but the comments on her patterns make you feel like she is right there!

  8. Great post! I love the book and have just started Stella Blue (and have a list of others I’d like to make). Thanks for sharing this insight into the amazing individual that is Carrie.

  9. I just got this book and absolutely love it! On some patterns she has two photos of the same quilt in different color schemes. The extra photo really helps me envision what I might enjoy!

  10. This is a wonderful book full of great past wonders! I finished Due South and getting ready to make another. Her instructions are perfect and the results just as grand! Thanks for giving us a taste of who Carrie is.

  11. I loved learning more about Carrie! I’ve made several of her Schnibbles patterns, and now I see that I NEED this new book!

  12. Wow, thank you for all the wonderful things I learned about Carrie! Have always loved her Schnibbles patterns and KNOW that Cracked Pots will be the first quilt I make from her new book. Great post! Allison in Plano, Texas

  13. I love that Carrie let you inside her life. I’ve know her for many years. I need to add she has a very giving heart. She holds nothing back. If she knows new quilting tips, you know them. Congratulations Carrie on your new book. Can’t wait to get a copy. Wishing more books to come. Thank you Carrie and Linzee.

  14. I love this book and all the patterns that coming tumbling out of Carrie’s brain. “Lucy” in Orange, black and grey is my absolute favorite and is a welcome sign that Fall has arrived. Looking forward to trying out her laycake triangles soon.

  15. Carrie is simply incredible and I wish that I had a tenth of her imagination in putting my quilts together.

  16. Amen, sista! Love the quote & thoroughly enjoy Carrie’s writing style. I have had her new book on the top of my list for awhile now. I know I want to make every quilt included inside! The purchase of this masterpiece will be my reward for completing the remainder of my WIP(down to 4! Yay!), a promise to my husband (who is a little more inside-the-box. Lol)

  17. I had the good fortune to take a class (Raise the Roof) from Carrie at Buggy Barn many years ago. She is a very talented teacher with loads of helpful tips and just as many good stories about naming her quilts. Moda is very lucky to have her on their team. Looking forward to many more “bucket list” quilts!

  18. Definitely, a multi talented person. Thanks for sharing her lovely quilts and her background story.

  19. OMG, I have to have this book! I love all of the quilts featured in this post and have already put a few on my to do list. Thanks, Carrie, for another beautiful quilt book!

  20. thank you for Carrie’s story – I have to say I can hardly wait each day if there is a post by her – I love her….and the stories are fun and delightful – she is definitely I would pick for a friend and invite for snacks and laughs…..this book is a must for me….and thank you again for sharing her story…

  21. I just received my copy of this book last week and am so excited to make almost every single quilt! Like so many others I have loved Miss Rosie’s Quilt patterns as well as Schnibbles for years. They were a big part of inspiring me to start quilting. Thank you for the glimpse into who Carrie is. I know she is a blessing here!

  22. Have to get this book to add to all the rest. Please, Please – next book have Rose Pistola !! It is one of my favourites. Toulouse was quite accurate in colours you used at the time. Reminded me of a lovely Gander we had years ago. But that is another story. Keep up the good work. Have enjoyed your journey!!!

  23. I am a very big fan of Miss Rosie’s quilt patterns. I absolutely love my Birdseye quilt I made using her pattern. Thank you!

  24. I had the good fortune to know Carrie when we both lived in Arizona. Love her patterns and directions………..and, reading her directions is just like listening to her talk. Looking forward to the new book.

  25. I love Carrie and her new book is amazing! I think Carrie has created her own box and it’s labeled ‘Amazing talented generous amusing quilter with endless ideas’:-)

  26. I have lots of patterns and a book by Carrie-looks like I’ll be adding another one to my collection! Some of those things I knew about her, but a lot I did not. What a fun read!! No wonder she is such an interesting, talented, fun person!!!

  27. I just bought two of Carrie’s Schnibbles books. It is so fun just reading them! Her personality shines through so very well. Usually when one needs to buy a used book, the price is quite low, but not with Carrie’s books. The price floats near its original price if not higher. That is fine because of how talented Carrie is. I just knew if I waited longer, the prices would only go up! My husband looked over my shoulder as I was reading and kept saying, “I like this one…I like this one. These colors are so cheerful.” I should have handed him the book and a stack of post-its to mark all the quilts he wanted made!

  28. Thank you for this blog post today! I have been a Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company fan for years!! I love Carrie’s sense of humor and quirky way of looking at life… I connect with that! It’s how I think too. 🙂 I “NEED” this book… and will be adding it to my collection soon!! 🙂 Warmly, Pris in Idaho

  29. I just ordered the book! I love several of the quilts I saw and am sure that I’ll enjoy the rest of the book. I can hardly wait till it arrives.

  30. Love these quilts!! Everything about all of them!! I have to get a copy of this book, soon….I want to make them all….I am predominantly a hand piecer (and a hand quilter), so I need to get started sooner, rather than later, since they will take a while…
    Thanks for sharing all of Carrie’s quilts with us!

  31. If it has Carrie’s name on it then I must have it! I have so many projects planned, I think the “Halloween” Lucy is going to the top of the list! I love her writing voice, and consider her a friend and kindred spirit, even though I’ve never met her. Keep being awesome Carrie, the world needs you.

  32. I tried to sign up for Carie’s posts but the system says I have opted out of subscription emails. I have not done so. Please add me to her posts.

    1. “…Carrie is not 100 percent comfortable with me taking over the blog and singing her praises…” – I know my sister and she prefers letting her actions/work speak for her instead of anyone singing her praises (it is a Nelson family trait, although our father would blurt out his accomplishments on rare occasions). Other things others might want to know about my sis: (1) having lived in Columbia and Venezuela as a a child, she is fluent in Spanish, (2) she is a sports NUT (especially hockey and baseball) and has an encyclopedic knowledge of players and events going back at least several decades, and (3) she’s got a lead foot, both with a car’s gas pedal as well as a sewing machine’s pedal!

    2. Carrie… I came back to this blog to make this comment (so I hope you get it!!)… How about you doing a blog post telling us about Linzee?!! We enjoy her posts very much, but don’t know anything about her!! Or at least I don’t! And after all… what’s that saying… turnabout’s fair play?!!

  33. What a lovely tribute to Carrie you have shared – I really enjoyed learning more about her. I have to agree this is a fabulous book and there are so many quilts to inspire! She is definitely a very talented woman with a vary unique gift!!

  34. I’m sorry I didn’t comment yesterday as many other readers did. I was so excited about the new book I immediately got in touch with my local Shop (Scrappy Quilter) owner (Jo Carlton) and asked if she was going to have this book on her shelves. She looked it up while we were on the phone and ordered it! Can’t wait!

  35. So nice to learn more about the talented Carrie. I’ve got the book already and am contemplating which quilt to start first. They are all gorgeous but Lucy might win out since that’s my daughters name. By the way, I saw Carrie’s demonstration on making wide borders on the Jolly Jabber site yesterday and was so impressed with the way she cut the bias strips. I’ve never seen that before and it is simply genius! It would be great to see more how to films from Carrie. Hey Moda, you’ve got a star there.

  36. This new book looks wonderful. I too love Carrie’s blog and sense of humor. All of her quilts are super. Thanks for sharing about Carrie, a very impressive and talented lady.

  37. So great to learn more about Carrie. Thank you, Linzee. And what fun to read such a glowing report from the Golden Child. So happy Carrie is with Moda. Have so many of her patterns, and need to make many more of them. Congratulations, Carrie, on the new book. It will be on my bookshelf soon!

  38. Thanks Linzee! A couple of years ago I started to get serious about trying to quilt…. Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. caught my attention – truthfully, it was not so much the quilts at that time but Miss Rosie herself. Anyone worthy of beautiful Miss Rosie had to have something good to offer — Carrie has certainly lived up to expectations — and her work is continued proof that she was worthy of Miss Rosie. With gratitude!

  39. The quilts shown are beautiful, fun, and so versatile. Can go to family, or friend, easily. Looks like I do need a new booK! Thanks Carrie, win, win, for me! Also, enjoy 1st block of the week. Love the variations of color choice. I’ll bepopping in. Again, thank you!

  40. I have been like a mad woman this last few days madly searching for a particular Miss Rosie pattern when I stumbled across this page. I have just ordered this new book and can’t wait to get it. I am desperately trying to find the ” Eventide” pattern and the ” Madeline” pattern. Can you please tell me if these two patterns are available anywhere or if they are included in any of Carrie’s previous books. Sometimes I think I have been living under a rock, I surely must have been to have missed these beautiful patterns. My ultimate dream is to one day come to America and have the whole American Quilting experience. Thank you for sharing.

  41. Jeepers Carrie! You are one amazing woman and I can’t wait to get my copy of your beautiful book. I am so very grateful for all you do and for the pizazz and spunk you provide to the quilting community! You Go Girl!

  42. My heart is really thumping, I LOVE all these quilts, and thrilled you have another book out! Thank you Carrie, your designs have added a happy, dimension to my life!

  43. Just got this book yesterday, and you are now my favorite! Every page is wonderful, I can’t wait to get started.

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