QP Ambassador Brooke Shankland on flourishing, her quilting journey, and tips for February's block

QP Ambassador Brooke Shankland on flourishing, her quilting journey, and tips for February's block

Brooke Shankland is one of the Quilter's Planner 2024 brand ambassadors and also the block designer for February's block Headwind. Brooke has joined us for our monthly podcast and here on the blog to share her tips and little more about herself.

Brooke Shankland on the Quilter's Planner podcast

A little about Brooke and Eudaimonia Studio

Brooke's business is called Eudaimonia Studio. Eudaimonia means “human flourishing,” and it’s this aim that inspires each of Brooke’s designs as she strives to answer the question of what it means to live well and make the most of life.

Brooke released her first quilt pattern in 2021 and has had her work featured in various publications and subscriptions. She’s best known for her unique modern designs that communicate perspectives on common humanity, mindfulness, and well-being.

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Brooke works from a small in-house studio where she loves using traditional piecing methods, especially half-rectangle triangles. When she’s not sewing, she loves spending time with her partner, Pat, and spunky dog, Ace, enjoying all the outdoor activities the mountains have to offer.

Brooke's Repair quilt pattern was inspired by the concept in Judaism known as tikkun olam, which translates from Hebrew to “repair the world.”

Q&A with Brooke Shankland

We asked Brooke to share with us a little more about herself, her quilting and more. You can find Brooke online at EudaimoniaStudio.com and on Instagram @eudaimoniastudious.

Before we get started, we want to know, what fuels you for quilting? Tea, coffee, water or perhaps something else?

Mostly coffee, tea, and homemade matcha lattes

How would you define your quilting style and aesthetic? What would you say makes your work uniquely yours?

My mom recently called my style “contemplative contemporary,” which seems so fitting. Generally, my designs lean more modern – sometimes minimalist – and each is inspired by some musing, perspective, or philosophical idea that I hope will help others as it’s helped me.

What are your origins in quilting and the creative industry? How did you become the quilter that you are today?

My crafting journey began in crochet, but very quickly evolved to quilting as my excitement about the possibilities of fabric and thread fueled my determination to learn to sew. Never really one to read and follow instructions – to the never-ending frustration of my engineering-minded husband – I was always deviating from patterns and drafting up my own ideas. I adore the problem-solving and math involved in turning a design into patchwork, and the process of creating a design from scratch was so gratifying. Plus, the opportunity to imbue my philosophical musings into my work has felt like such a unique, perfect marriage of two great passions.

Brooke's version of by Lydia Nicholson's (@arvehandmade) fabric star ornaments. Tutorial can be found here on the Suzy Quilts blog.

Where do you seek inspiration? Who and what inspires you?

For me, each design generally involves two types of inspiration: geometric and philosophical. Geometric design, I’ve learned, is just about everywhere – both in nature and civilization. Whenever I notice a striking pattern or collection of shapes, I find myself wondering how it could be pieced into a quilt.

The philosophical inspiration behind my designs comes from much of my academic and personal study of various philosophies, including Buddhism, Stoicism, Transcendentalism, among others. In the end, it’s about concepts that have in some way improved my well-being, which tend to have themes of mindfulness, community, and embracing the human experience.

Tell us about your workspace. What is it you love about it?

In my home, I have a small room – about 80 square feet – that I’ve been fortunate to have as a dedicated sewing and work space. With its low, vaulted ceilings, it feels quaint and cozy. It also has windows that let me look out at the nearby Wasatch mountains and remind me of why I moved to Utah.

When are you the most productive?

Most certainly after I’ve had coffee! The hours of 10am – 2pm are usually my sweet spot, though I’m known to love a good, quiet, late-night sewing session.

How do you use the Quilter’s Planner in your daily life? How has it helped you in your quilting life?

I’m often all over the place, easily excited by new, “bright and shiny” ideas. The Quilter’s Planner allows me to put down on paper my goals and those steps to achieve it, which really helps me follow through. The beauty is that I can leave as much room as I need for spontaneity, not cramming too much into each week or month, and not planning too far out. In order to not feel too stifled, I’ll write out couple major goals each month with a few corresponding action steps each week, which has proven to be a sweet spot for my motivation, productivity, and creativity.

Brooke also shared on Instagram what she finds helpful in the Reference section of the Quilter's Planner.

What is your favorite feature of the Quilter’s Planner?

I really love the “My Favorite Things” page that has several different categorized lists. For example, podcasts and audiobooks are my go-to form of sewing entertainment, so this page is where I keep track of all the ones I’d like to add to my queue. In one of the blank lists, I’ve also added “Fabric collections to try” to note beautiful collections of prints that I’m drooling over, but don’t yet have a project for.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your quilting endeavors? How do you overcome it?

My excitement (read: impatience) sometimes works against me in the mid- to final stages of a project. I’m often eager to get to the finished project – whether to enjoy its completion or so that I can move onto my next intriguing idea. It seems there are always too many ideas and too little time to explore them all, creating quite a sense of overwhelm. I simply continue to tell myself to slow down; this is all a continuous journey, and so enjoy the process. That is more or less the idea behind the Wayfinder design, and is something that I need constant reminding of because it's counter to my nature.

How do you prefer to design? With pen and paper or digitally? If so, what program/app do you use?

I started using pencil and graph paper, but once I started learning Adobe Illustrator, I was hooked. It makes testing out different color schemes a breeze, and I’ve found that playing around and happy accidents yield new, interesting shapes for additional designs. I could honestly mess around with mockups in Illustrator all day long - and sometimes have, ha!

How did you come up with the idea for your quilt block for the Quilter’s Planner sampler quilt?

The idea for the Headwind block came from this concept that opportunity and growth most often come when we’re faced with an opposing force. Larger birds, like airplanes, will often take off into the wind, as this allows them to achieve the lift needed to rise into the sky. My hope is that this block inspires makers to, when faced with adversity, consider the possibilities, and not just the difficulties.

On the left is Brooke's chosen colors for her block Headwind. The photo on the right, by Kitty Wilkin, shows the two colorways used in the QP 2024 Sew-Along Quilt A Quilter's Compass.

You shared with us some tips for piecing your quilt block for the sampler. What do you think is the most important thing to remember when making your block? Do you want to elaborate on any of those tips?

Since this block has several half-rectangle triangles (HRTs), properly trimming those units will go a long way in helping achieve those nice, sharp points throughout the block. I find it helpful to, when trimming HRTs, think about it in its finished state, i.e., with ¼” seam allowance all around its trimmed dimensions. This helps me intuit and visualize where exactly the diagonal seam should intersect on my ruler.

What are your ‘must have’ quilting tools and notions?

Sewing clips are an absolute necessity for me because I use them for so many different things: labeling cuts, “pinning” pieces together for sewing, holding binding in place, among others. Also, a lint roller is never too far, because my sweet pup, Ace, loves to adorn my sewing room with his “glitter” – and it seems no amount of brushing him can prevent it.

What are your favorite tips, tricks or advice for quilting?

To me, the most fun and gratifying projects are the ones where I get outside of my comfort zone. Whether that’s trying a different sewing technique, incorporating a new type of block unit, or exploring a unique color scheme, adding new tools to my toolbox never gets old.

Of course, testing things out with scraps and mocking up a design ahead of time helps instill confidence and prevent regretted use of precious time and fabric. Sewing and quilting offer so many possibilities, and resources abound for those willing to seek them out. Be bold! Experiment, get creative, make mistakes, and grow. Or, “sew and learn,” as a friend and I often say.

Do you attend quilt shows? If so, what are your favorite ones to go to?

I’ve only recently started to, but wish I had sooner! I attended Quilt Market in October 2023 and am so excited to be at QuiltCon this February.

What are you working on right now?

There are a couple quilt designs that I’ve reimagined for smaller projects, such as wall hanging and pillows, so I’m currently working on creating those patterns to add some more diversity to my pattern offerings.

What project are you looking forward to starting, or are avoiding working on?

I have so many design ideas on the “back burner” that I’m eager to bring to life.

Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to your younger self about your creative journey, what would it be?

Be true to your style and inspiration. You offer something unique, so resist the urge to compare and conform.

Brooke's Interconnected quilted pillow pattern includes two sizes and two variations

Quick Fire questions

Cats or dogs? Dogs.

Solids or prints? Gosh, that’s hard, I’ve gone back and forth over the years. I think prints have my heart, though.

Summer or winter? Winter.

By hand or machine? I haven’t yet been able to overcome my hardwiring for efficiency, so I have to say machine. But, I’m working on slowing down to enjoy the process of hand stitching. Also, it just looks so lovely…

Twitter or Threads? Ha! Neither? Threads, if I had to choose.

Go out or stay home? I hate to say it, but stay home 😊

Quilt coat or quilted accessories? Quilt coat.

A book or Netflix? Netflix.

Pins or binding clips? Binding clips.

Plan ahead or be spontaneous? Spontaneous.

Triangles or curves? Ooh, tough one! If I had to choose, probably curves.

Early bird or night owl? I have always, most definitely been a night owl. Early mornings are lovely when I happen to experience them, but unfortunately that’s just not my chronotype.

Seams pressed open or to one side? It really depends! I love the flatness of open seams, but the stability of them when pressed to the side. Open has become my default, with pressing to one side to allow for seam nesting when a design involves matching points, or simply when the seam would otherwise fight you.

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