Justine Foster is the owner of Love & Stitches Designs and the creator of the Bag Lady (or Gents) Carrying Bag pattern & DVD and the Marilyn I & II pattern. Justine also creates single needle original carrying bags. You can be the happy owner of a Justine Single Needle Original, Love & Stitches Designs Bag Lady Carrying Bag, any size, or Marilyn, Marilyn II evening bag, already made, or custom made to your specifications.
I am a Native Californian, born in Santa Barbara, and lived in both Southern and Northern California. Currently I live in Cotati, a little town in Sonoma County, the wine country of California. I have two grown sons, Bruce and Wayne, and share my life with my husband, (as of September 21, 2002) David. He often accompanies me to out of town classes, and when I do shows. I have been a nurse since 1967, having worked 14 years in intensive care units, in clinics, and currently work 4 days a week as a telephone advice nurse.
I began sewing when I was in junior high, as soon as I could take Home Economics. I strictly did sewing of clothes, on a not too frequent basis until around 1986, when I discovered quilting. Like many quilters, I seldom do clothes anymore. I was first exposed to quilting (you know, like a disease - quilt pox) through my former roommate, Bev. I could not understand this obsession she developed, and she couldn't understand why I wasn't interested.
My first quilt was an appliquéd wall hanging made of upholstery fabrics, suede, and sheets. I was trying to make a wall hanging that looked like a woven wall hanging that I saw and fell in love with. It depicted the Sonoma County mountains at sunset. I layered the fabrics, beginning with the back piece, and layering out to the smaller pieces of fabric - difficult to describe, and even more difficult to quilt. I used a HUGE tapestry needle, and metallic thread, brought the needle straight up and straight down through the fabric. I did have a "real quilter's hoop" made of balsa wood. Actually I went through two before the project was done. I ended up with a wall hanging of which I was quite proud.
Then, in 1990, David introduced me to the computer, and Compuserve's Quilters Forum. From that moment on I was hooked by the delight of the quilters and what they said about their art. I began to experiment and joined in with great enthusiasm with block swaps and chatter. It was in the chat rooms of the quilter's forum that I developed the expression, "Love and Stitches", rather than "Love and Kisses". I organized and headed up two Round Robins, the first called "The Continental Drift" and the second, the International Round Robin - "Beyond the Borders". A Round Robin that started 1996 with 11 quilters all around the globe, and believe it or not is not quite finished - but will soon be when the last quilt makes it way home to Tatiana in Paris. (I know, because I just had it quilted after its long, wayward journey brought it back to me. The quilting by Louisa turned out fabulous, it will be worth the wait, Tatiana)
After moving to Cotati, I found The Quilted Angel, a fabulous quilt shop in Petaluma, California, and became a frequent visitor and customer. I joined the Petaluma Quilt Guild, and got involved, becoming the president of the guild in 1995 - 96. I made a several jackets, and a number of quilts of all sizes. In my involvement with the guild I took on the opportunity quilt for two years in a row. With each quilt that I designed I wanted to make a bag in which to carry the quilt. The first year's quilt blocks were on point, and I had found a pattern for a bag made with on point blocks. The Second year I designed Paper Pieced Victorian Houses that were 12-inch blocks. Creating the patterns and getting the blocks made and completed into a quilt took two years, throwing off the Ways and Means for that year. There was not a bag pattern that I could find for 12-inch blocks that would showcase the left over blocks of Victorian Houses, and designs that were on the quilt, so I sat down and drew one up, and made the bag. It turned out HUGE! I didn't think anyone would be interested in a bag that large, but during the Great Petaluma Quilt Show, of 1998, quilters saw the bag and wanted to know where I got the pattern. The rest is, as they say, history. To make the bag pattern more usable I scaled down the pattern into 6-inch blocks and 9-inch blocks. Instead of just using pieced blocks I started using panels of fabulous fabric, because so many students didn't want to take the time to make pieced blocks, but wanted to make the bag. In 1999 Love & Stitches Designs became a real business. Then, a little over a year ago I purchased an embroidery machine, and have discovered a whole new motif, and new audience for the bags.
About a year ago, a friend named Marilyn saw the Bag Lady Carrying Bag that I used every day and said, "I want one just like it except I need it to be about 8 or 9 inches long and about 6 inches high, and I want to be able to take it to the ballet. - so, the Marilyn & Marilyn II pattern was born.
I have several other bag patterns in my head. I am hoping to catch up with myself soon and start designing again. Thank you for your interest in Love & Stitches Designs. I know you will be very happy with your Bag Lady Carrying Bag and your Marilyn and Marilyn II. I would love to hear your comments (both positive and negative - if there are negative I want to turn them to positive for you).
About The Quilted Angel - This is the most incredible store, with about 4500 bolts of fabulous fabrics, as well as all the most up to date gadgets, and gizmos that a quilter could possibly want. It is truly a "destination quilt store", and if you cannot go there in person yet, (because you must someday go there) you must visit their website which is attached to ours. The Quilted Angel has classes to learn everything you might ever want to learn in quilting, as well as things you may not yet know you want to learn. I wish you could all meet Susie Ernst, the owner of and the original Quilted and quilting, and quilters, Angel. An astute business woman in her own right, she very generously assisted me get started. I want to take this moment to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Susie, for all you do.
©2000 - Bag Lady (or Gents) Carrying Bag Patterns
©2000 - The Marilyn I & Marilyn II Patterns
©2006 -Love & Stitches Designs DVD (video)