Next month the first fabric collection by Kimberly Einmo for Benartex, Rooville will reach stores. It’s a fun, refreshing line filled with colorful kangaroos, koalas, tropical plants and feather flurries. Kimberly is a household name of the quilting industry, so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to get to know her, and her work, better.

  • Rooville was inspired by your experience in Australia, tell us more about your time over there and your encounters with the ‘roos.

We lived in the center of the Australian Outback, in Alice Springs, for a little over a year while my husband was working to support the US military at the joint US/Australia site of Pine Gap. Alice Springs is very remote and quite a small community with only about 22,000 people. To give you an idea of how remote it is, it takes thirty hours to drive (or a 3½ hour flight) to Sydney!

We lived in a home which backed to protected grounds (what the Aussies called crown land) and we were fortunate to have kangaroos come and visit us every single day! Sometimes only a couple would come to eat and rest. On other days we’d see up to twenty or more! We put out special “Roo food” and troughs of water for them because food and water are very hard to find in the Outback. Roo food is similar to rabbit food, and we bought it from a local grain merchant in town. I looked forward to the Roo visits every day and I felt like I had a front row seat in a National Geographic documentary to observe and photograph the Roos! Our kitties also enjoyed getting nose-to-nose close to the Roos, but through the glass, of course!

A couple of fun facts about the military site of Pine Gap. It was built there in the late 1960’s as a strategic military site and they chose the site because at that time, no long-range missiles could reach it. There’s also a Netflix series about Pine Gap.


  • When in AU did you have the opportunity to meet local quilters? If yes tell us anything you learned, exchange experiences with them.

There was a lovely, albeit very small group of quilters in Alice Springs comprised of Australians and Americans. The ladies were all very nice. They held a monthly meeting and did some other quilt related activities, including a small quilt show at the local community center. One of the most fun things we did was ice dyeing! I enjoyed learning the technique very much and it was exciting to see how different everyone’s fabric turned out. I also had the opportunity to attend a quilt show in Sydney and it was wonderful! The creativity of the Australian quilters is amazing! Quilting is truly universal.

  • When and how did you discover your passion for quilting?

My mother enrolled me in a local 4-H group at the age of 7 because she thought I should learn to sew. She later confessed that because she was “vertically challenged,” (she was only 5’ 1” tall) she wanted me to learn to sew so I would hem her skirts and pants. (She hated sewing!) I loved everything about sewing and I made many of my own clothes and home dec items up through high school.

In 1991, my husband and I moved to the Alexandria, VA area where one day, while walking home from work, I walked past a quilt shop. At that moment, it felt as though the heavens parted, the angels sang, the sun shone down, and I found my true calling in life. I walked inside and signed up for a six-week beginner’s course to learn all the basic skills for quilting (including how to draft patterns, cut templates, and to piece, applique and quilt by hand.) Within two weeks, I was working at the shop, and later that year I was designing my own quilt patterns and teaching classes.

From that point on, I could teach wherever the military sent us in the world. I have met so many amazing people and have loved sharing my joy and passion for quilting with everyone!

All Kimberly’s patterns for Rooville are available at her online store.
  • What’s your process when creating a fabric line? What is your favorite part and what’s the most challenging?

I start with an idea, (such as my love, admiration, and respect for the kangaroos,) and I explore the concept with the amazing artist at Benartex, Jessica Wang. We discuss colors, textures, and ideas. I share all sorts of images with her such as photos, artwork, and drawings. This is the most fun and creative part of designing a line and I enjoy every moment.

For me, though, the most challenging task is to narrow down all the color and print selections to a specific number of prints for the line. I tend to want to have more colorways of each fabric print than allowed. So, the culling process is the most difficult.

  • Now you’re back in the States, did you organize your new sewing room? Tell us about some of its features and your personal preferences/tips to organize it.

I absolutely love the challenge of creating a dedicated quilting studio, and I’ve done so in almost every house we’ve lived in. We’ve moved 23 times in 35 years, (we’re a military family!) and I’ve had a sewing room in each of the last 20 homes. So, I’ve learned a lot about the most efficient use of space. I present a lecture called “Creative Spaces” on how to set up your own sewing studio in whatever area you have available to use, and how to make it functional so you can be your most creative self. I always advocate using the room with the best natural light if possible; this is typically a formal living or dining room (and many times those rooms are only used once or twice a year!) So, if you have such a room in your home, you might want to take it over as your quilting room.

When we moved back to the US from Australia earlier this year and we relocated to Colorado, the house we bought had a large “man cave” which was the only available space for my quilting studio. I found it a true challenge to figure out how to turn what had been a dark, media-sports-style-bar area with very low ceilings into a light, bright, cheerful place for me to feel inspired!

We painted the walls and ceiling bright white, replaced the plush, heavy carpets with easy-to-clean luxury vinyl that looks like hardwood, swapped all the canned lights with Tru-color light bulbs, and added cabinetry for storage. We made a large design wall (from white flannel) which is permanently hung on the wall behind my ironing station. Everything in the room is on castors so furniture can be easily moved around to accommodate friends who come to sew with me or when we set-up to film videos in the studio. We hung brightly colored quilts on the walls, and I have many of the trinkets from our travels around the world on display in the hutch on my desk. These items make me smile every day because of the wonderful memories associated with them. A room that once seemed like a dungeon is now a colorful, inviting, and personal space.

In the back room (which is essentially underground since it is part of a walk-out basement), my engineer husband helped me create a “LOG” room (in military terms, that stands for Logistics, or “War” Room). He designed an amazing island/workstation where I can either sit to work or stand and cut at just the right height. We added lots of cabinetry to store my stash, and everything is organized, labeled, and ready for whatever I might need to design and create!

Before ...

... and after.

  • How does your calendar look like for fall? Are you going to do any classes, workshops, retreats and/or QALs with your new line?

Things are very busy right now! I’m working with Janome to prepare for a new machine launch plus I’ll be teaching a full week of already sold-out classes at Quilt Festival in Houston at the end of October. In between, I continue to write my Stray Threads column (it appears in every issue of American Quilter Magazine) and I’m working on a brand-new machine embroidery collection to accompany the release of Rooville. (I’m collaborating with the talented Katie Bartz!) Plus, I’m already creating new quilt designs for my next fabric line with Benartex, and there’s never any shortage of deadlines and things to do!

Kimberly Einmo is an author, award-winning quilter, fabric designer, international instructor, quilt judge, the National Spokesperson for Janome-America, and CRAFTSY/Blueprint class host. She has written six best-selling books published by the American Quilter’s Society, created a signature line of quilting rulers, and she writes a column called Stray Threads, in every issue of American Quilter Magazine. Kimberly is a featured artist for the Electric Quilt Company with EQ companion software products.


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