Road to California 2020-25th Anniversary Show was the first time for vendor One Sister Designs to have a booth and meet their fans. Janet Nesbitt and her husband, Tom, were “thrilled” to be at the show. So thrilled, that they cancelled a scheduled vacation in Cabo in order to attend Road 2020.
Farm Girl to Engineer
Janet was raised on a farm in Washington State. She learned to sew through 4H. When she came across a McCalls quilt pattern that had stars in the design, Janet wanted to try to recreate it for herself. So she adapted the pattern, cutting out her own stars using tissue paper and scissors.
Janet left the farm to attend college and graduated in civil engineering. Later, her young family moved to the Seattle area in the 1980’s where she worked for the Navy and began taking sewing classes. Janet had all boys and quickly realized that there was no cute boy stuff, so she began designing her own boy baby quilts.
In 1990, Janet realized for the first time that she was a “designer.” She took an applique class taught by Sue Linker, the creator of Sunbonnet Sue. Ms. Linker gave permission to Janet to change Sunbonnet Sue from a girl to a boy and put him in various farm themes. “Sue really taught me a lot” about pattern designing, recalled Janet.
Buggy Barn to One Sister Designs
Janet’s first sewing business venture was Buggy Barn, a quilt store in Reardon, Washington. It really was located in a barn, 25 miles from “civilization” near Spokane. Under this name, Janet partnered with her sister and together they published 36 pattern books as well as designed fabrics.
When her sister left their business, Janet closed Buggy Barn and rebranded to One Sister Designs, an online-only retailer and wholesaler for her full line of unique quilt patterns and books.
In 2000, Janet began designing fabric for Henry Glass. She does 5 fabric lines a year for them. Janet says a unique sense of color is the inspiration for her fabric lines, mixing prints and plaids. “I have to have plaids—plaids are my florals.” Her standard formula for her fabric lines is a big and small plaid, a word design, and a stripe.
“Crazy” Piecing Technique
Using her engineering background, Janet and One Sister Designs has developed a popular “crazy” piecing technique. This trademark piecing method is easy and forgiving, ensuring quilting success for piecers of all levels. The method consists of:
- Tracing the quilt block pattern, found in every One Sister Designs book, on to freezer paper;
- Putting the freezer paper on to a stack of 12-15 squares of fabric and cutting out the pattern on the lines, then
- Taking the freezer paper off, and shuffling the fabric squares before
- Lastly, stitching all the pieces together.
This method provides that no two-quilt block’s material will look exactly the same.
“Meeting all the people” is why One Sister Designs goes to 4 – 5 shows a year. They still open their barn occasionally to accommodate their customers.
To find out where One Sister Designs will be next, visit their website.