This gal had a wonderful opportunity to not only speak with, but interview Doug Leko, founder of Antler Quilt Design, whose new book "Through the Winter Woods" is not a name coincidence with this line :) Doug's book contains a very interesting bio, it talks about how he started quilting at the age of six! (I don't know many of us can say that!) He established Antler Quilt Design at the age of 14 in 2008 (talk about an entrepreneur, I know I could probably get a few pointers from him). Working in his mom's shop has helped him refine his skills, both technical and creative. His work has been published in prominent publications and he enjoys teaching at quilting events.
I spoke with Eileen about how Holly Taylor and Doug Leko became a thing. She told me about how through her job as a sales rep across Minnesota and all of it's surrounding states is what inspired her to create Holly Taylor and how it continued to develop. When calling on a newer shop in Blaine, Minnesota, Eileen was greeted by a polite young boy who proceeded to show his mother Elaine which fabrics he liked. "He was interested in everything, even new notions and what designers I knew. I was amazed at his knowledge at the young age of 12. Over the next 3 or 4 years we became good friends. He would sometimes even stay home from school if he knew I was coming. He was so far ahead of his class already. It was so much fun and after a few years he was doing most of the fabric buying. He taught classes in his mom's shop and soon was writing his own patterns. He loved working with the woodsy Holly Taylor Fabric Lines and named his pattern company Antler Quilt Design. I am so proud of you Doug Leko. Every time I would leave the shop I said the same words to him, 'Someday I will be able to say I knew you when, because you will be famous in the quilt world.' Doug now has a booth at every Quilt Market and teaches all over the country which is why I asked him to do a book for our new Christmas line called “Through the Winter Woods."
Awww, talk about a feel good story. I proceeded to ask Doug some questions of my own, wanting to know more about the book and his future plans...
Yes, I have always loved the north woods! I think that living in MN and growing up here doing things outdoors we grow to love the north woods.
When did you create Antler Quilt Design?
I created AQD in 2008, after Eileen encouraged me to design some quilts that were unique and different than the rest.
How did you meet Eileen?
I met Eileen when my mom and I had a quilt shop and she was the sales rep for Moda/United Notions.
What was your first impression about Holly Taylor?
First impression was love at first sight; I was drawn towards it from the very first time I was in a quilt shop.
Where do you see Holly Taylor going?
I see HT keeping on the same feel and path that they have been on for so many years, but just upping their ideas and designs to make them more unique and coming up with ideas that we haven't seen before.
Do you see yourself continuing with your company as your primary career after high school?
I will continue my designs, but I will have a career in something that will pay the bills. I love the designing and traveling and being creative.
Do you have future plans for Antler Quilt Design that you are willing to share?
I don’t know…
Besides Holly Taylor, who is your next favorite designer?
Primitive Gatherings, Lisa Bongean
If you had more time, what type of project would you have liked to make with "Through the Winter Woods?"
Maybe some other patterns that use more pre-cuts, I have 6 new patterns for Spring 2014 market and they all use pre-cuts, so next year’s book will have several pre-cut friendly projects.
Do you think despite this being a Christmas line that it will work as a year-round line?
Yes, I believe that all the projects in the book would look great no matter the time of year.
Is the book available for sale now?
Yes, Check your local quilt shop or head on over to the Fat Quarter Shop.com to buy your book.
What challenges did you face getting the book ready?
The proofing and making sure that there are not any errors.
What are you most excited about with "Through the Winter Woods" book?
The projects that are in the book, I think that they showcase the line very well. One of my favorites from the book is Starry Night.
Want to know more? Pick up his book, available in your favorite quilt shop! Continue to watch the blog, tweets, facebook posts, and any other social media outlet for what is coming next with Holly Taylor and "Through the Winter Woods."