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Life is too short not to have chickens.

I'm a chicken, glamper, gardening, 
sewing and crafting junkie

Hello!  My name is Joanne Hillestad and I have been sewing for years and years. As a very small girl growing up in Duluth, Minnesota, my sister and I were always making something. Fabric is just one medium I love to play with. As a teen, clothes were #1. When I married and later a baby was on the way, I switched to baby blankets, clothes and home decor. Once it was determined I wasn't going to be blessed with a baby girl (which is not a sad thing at all), I had to find a way to express my creative side.  I made fancy bags with a thousand pockets for little cars and a play mat with a road on it to drive them around, tried to solve the Lego storage issues, sleeping bags for stuffed animals, etc.  Then one day my Mom-in-law, Nancy, told me about the quilts she was making. Bam! Shazam! Zippity Doo Dah... I was hooked!


I worked for 22 years as a database analyst in the direct mail industry.  But I always wanted to do something different.  On my birthday in 2013, I woke up knowing that I had to follow my dreams.  That was the day The Fat Quarter Gypsy was born.  I started out designing quilts, which I still love to do.  But then in April of 2015, I had this idea for a springy thread catcher.  Once the Fat Quarter Pop Up came to life everything changed and my business took a design turn towards dimensional products.


In the fall of 2018, Swirly Girls Design was added to my quilty family.  This was a great acquisition.  It gave me the perfect way to revive my love of quilt design.  

In 2019, I decided to change the name of Fat Quarter Gypsy to something that better represented where my designs have evolved.  Part of the change was a merge of my two pattern lines into our family business Nu Design, Inc.  Nu Design is a wire-forming business.  Now you can see why I design patterns that use wire frames, springs and the like! 

In 2020, I settled on the name Sew Organized Design.  The official switch over is set for the Fall of 2021.  

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