CHAT: Meet Lee of Freshly Pieced

If you are looking for the giveaway, it is here.

Welcome to another great CHAT!
This time we are sitting down with Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced.

Lee’s modern quilting style and wonderful tutorials are what drew me to her blog initially. Her warm and friendly personality along with her fabulous use of fabric and color are what keep me coming back.

150px Summer Sampler Series Badge

Lee, Kate, and Faith are the masterminds behind the lovely Summer Sampler Series. I am sure you’ve seen their amazing work around blogland. They’re showcasing really creative blocks and super techniques- definitely worth checking out.

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a great chat!

ELQ: Tell me a little about yourself (where you are from, family, etc.) 
I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but now I live in Milwaukee with my husband and two daughters, ages 4 and 2. I’ve also lived in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Those are still two of my favorite cities in the U.S.

ELQ: When did you begin sewing and how did you get into quilting?
About 8 or 9 years ago, I saw an episode of Martha Stewart Living featuring Denyse Schmidt. At the time, I hadn’t sewn a single stitch in my life and had never even given much thought to quilting. But I was just completely blown away by Denyse’s work. It didn’t look anything like the quilting I was familiar with—it seemed so fresh and different. For some reason, I was just really taken by it. I thought, “I have GOT to learn to do that!” 

But as you probably know, sewing can be an intimidating habit to get into, especially when you’re starting from scratch. I wasn’t in a position to spend time and money on a hobby that I knew so little about—what if I didn’t like it? A few years went by, but I didn’t forget about Denyse’s quilts. Then, right around the time I quit work to stay home with my oldest daughter, my newly retired mother decided to get back into sewing after a long hiatus. She got a new machine and gave me her old one. So I finally had the time and ability to try it out. Needless to say, I liked it. A lot. : )
ELQ: I love hearing about how you got into quilting. It seems so many of us started the same way. 

ELQ: Your Supernova Quilt makes it apparent that you have a great eye for quilt design.  How does your graphic design background influence your quilting? 
I like to tell people that quilting IS graphic design, just in the form of fabric. So many of the same concepts apply: Color, shape, negative space, balance, repetition, etc. And since I started quilting right around the time that I quit working, it seemed like a natural progression. Basically, I’m just designing in a different media now. You’d be surprised at how many of the same thought processes I use as when I’m designing a logo or a business card or whatever.

I seem to get a lot of comments about my use of color, so that might be where my design background is most obvious. And I guess that makes sense—I was choosing color palettes long before I ever sat down at a sewing machine. It’s definitely one of my favorite parts of quilting.
ELQ: I definitely think you have a fabulous eye for color and design. I am sure your graphic design work was just as fabulous. 

ELQ: How did the Summer Sampler series come about? 
Funny you should ask! It was kind of a fluke, actually—but a happy one! Kate (of Swim, Bike, Quilt) originally had the idea for a modern quilt-along based on traditional blocks, with a little history of each block mixed in. She emailed me about collaborating with her on it, because she thought she had seen a post on my blog about the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman. She thought we could base the blocks on patterns from that book. Only problem was, it wasn’t me who had posted about the Encyclopedia! But I told Kate it sounded like a really interesting idea, so if she ever wanted any additional help with it, to keep me in mind. I didn’t hear anything more about it until a month ago—she and Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts (the blogger who actually did post about the Brackman book) were going ahead with it and wanted me to join in. So most of the credit goes to Kate and Faith, but I’m so happy to be a part of it! It’s been so much fun and I think I’ve learned as much as the participants.
ELQ: Sounds serendipitous and y’all have done an outstanding job with the QAL. It’s been so fun seeing each of you make the blocks with different fabrics. Really showcases your personalities and all the possibilites! 

ELQ: So I’m curious- why do you blog and how did you get started? 
Why do I blog? Ah, the eternal question. I think my husband and family wonder about that every day! But really, I love it. It’s a lot of work, but it doesn’t usually feel like work, because I enjoy it so much. My degree is in journalism. I switched to design about 12 years ago, but before that I spent a few years as a reporter and editor, so writing comes naturally to me. And there can be no better training for a blogger than having a daily newspaper deadline. It’s been a long time, but to this day I can put words on the page in very short order.

I originally started my blog mostly for my own purposes, to keep track of what I was working on, lessons learned, etc. But since then, it’s morphed into much more than that. I love the connection it gives me to this whole world of modern quilters. When I started my blog, I didn’t have any “real-life” quilting friends. But now I have this whole group of friends to whom I can show my latest project and see what they’re working on. We can inspire each other. That creative give-and-take has always been a part of quilting. These days, it’s just moved online.
ELQ: Thanks for sharing your reasons and motivation. I love learning about what makes people tick. :) Your reasons for blogging are very similar to my own and I imagine a lot of others feel the same way. 

ELQ: Any tips for bloggers out there? 

I don’t think there’s any one formula for blogging success. But always keep in mind why most people read quilting blogs: For inspiration. When it comes right down to it, I think readers mostly just want to see pictures of quilts. Quilts, bags, wall-hangings, dresses, placemats—anything they could potentially make. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the most successful bloggers also tend to be the most prolific sewers. So I guess my advice is, if you want to be a successful blogger, GO SEW! Even if you don’t get much done, take a picture and write a post about it anyway. That’s how my WIP Wednesday posts originally started, and people have really responded to that.
ELQ: That is great advice. I know I find inspiration in seeing what everyone is doing and I love your WIP link-up! 

ELQ: Where do you find your inspiration? 
I see quilts everywhere I look. It’s a little ridiculous, actually—it just shows the level my obsession has reached. : ) There’s this one sound barrier on the freeway near my house, and every time I drive past it, I’m like, “That needs to be a quilt!” I also recently came across a book of Chinese lattice designs, and that gave me several quilt ideas. Anything geometric is fair game, really.

And of course, online, it’s all about Flickr, Pinterest, and other blogs. Inspiration for days.
ELQ: So agreed! 

ELQ: What is your most favorite quilt or sewing project you’ve completed? 
Oooh, tough one. Well, I guess it would have to be my Warm/Cool quilt top. It’s very scrappy, and some of my favorite prints ever are in there. In fact, I used up my last treasured bits of some of them for that quilt. I never collected anything before I started buying fabric, but I really do think of my stash as a collection. (Maybe that’s a way of justifying it? LOL.) The problem is that it’s a collection that gets used up. So that quilt is like a monument to my fabric collection. A memorial to beloved prints of times gone by.
ELQ: That quilt is one of my favorites. It’s beautiful and yes, such a fabulous way to use favorite fabrics to treasure forever. 
ELQ: What’s your favorite sewing tool? 
This sounds weird, but I use cuticle scissors instead of a seam ripper. They’re tiny, sharp, and the blades are curved, which I find handy to get under stitches. And no need for a trip to Joanne’s—you can buy them at any Walgreens.
ELQ: So clever! That’s a great tip. 

ELQ: What makes you happy?  
My kids’ sweet faces. My husband’s sense of humor (and his tolerance of my fabric spending!). A glass of wine on my patio on a summer evening. A good book. Traveling. Weather that allows me to have doors and windows open. Big trees. A new Denyse Schmidt or Joel Dewberry fabric line. All the usual.
ELQ: Oh such wonderful answers- makes me smile just reading them. 

Thanks Lee for chatting with me! I loved learning a bit more about you. 
Hope you all enjoyed it too! 

*All pictures courtesy of Lee Heinrich. 


  1. 1


    I love Lee’s blog and so many of her quilts are in my “To be Made” folder. She is such an inspiration! I love her use of color and the combinations of fabrics she uses. Thanks for chatting with her, it was fun to get to know her a bit more!

  2. 2


    I loooooved learning more about Lee. Her journalism background is evident in her beautifully written blog! And of course so is her design background.

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    Aw, I love Lee’s blog, and it’s so great to hear more of her sewing and quilting history! Plus, Lee’s happy things and mine have a lot in common :) Thanks for sharing this chat!

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    Lee’s blog is on my sidebar and I love to see what she is up to each week! She is always inspiring to me! Thanks so much for allowing us to know her a little better! :)

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