Ty Pennington

By Cynthia Van Hazinga

Impressions in Fabric

Look who’s taking the quilting world by storm with his powerful, personal style!

He’s a force of nature, a man so curious, multi-talented, and open to new ideas it may make your head spin. He’s got so much raw energy it’s  contagious and so much native style everyone wants to be like him.

Millions have followed modelhandsome Ty (that’s short for Tygert) on television, first as a deft and quirky carpenter on TLC’s “Trading Spaces,” then on the hugely popular “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” in which Ty and his crew transform deserving families’ homes and lives in a mere seven days. What’s more, he’s written a book (“Ty’s Tricks: Home Repair Secrets Plus Cheap and Easy Projects to Transform Any Room”) and another, “How Good Design Can Change Your Life”, published a magazine, and partnered with Sears to sell bedding, furniture and other home items he’s designed. We’re not surprised, then, though very pleased, to see his design talent turned to creating fabrics—both for interior decoration, and yes! in cotton suitable for quilting.

Calling All Quilters

Ty’s own studies, and his strong natural inclination, have always been in design, especially graphic design with its repeated patterns. No surprise, his exciting new fabric line, “Impressions,” from Westminster Lifestyle Fabrics, is based on strong graphic elements. It is made up of eight strong patterns in great colors including persimmon, chartreuse and spice, and there’s a second line in the works.

Ty’s patterns are bold, abstract, modern, a bit edgy, and immediately intriguing. Some years ago, Atlanta born
Ty (who loves to travel) learned about the Balinese method of making batiks with wooden blocks. The process fascinated him, and he began to experiment with making blocks of wood and rubber to stamp designs on canvas. He liked the effect and took it to the design table to get an organic feel with added texture. “I fiddle,” he says, “until I get that Eureka moment!”


Seeing things anew and creatively recycling them is Ty’s operating style, and nothing is closer to a definition of the quilting process. He’s got a deep respect for the process of quilting, honed by seeing what imaginative quilters can do with his fabrics. “It’s Top: All from Ty’s “Impressions” line with Westminster Lifestyle. Fabrics: Blossom, Foliage, Kimono, Asian Floral and Moorish. Room makeovers: Pillows in different prints make an eye-catching combination, above. so awesome,” he says, calling quilting an art that begins with cloth and then goes in many different directions. As a young kid, he took old curtains from his parents’ bedroom, cut them up and made pillows. Today’s quilters, taking off from the traditional, have opened his eyes to many different possibilities. “Quilts are cool and so much fun.”

Ty also celebrates the effect of quilts on home decor. “They personalize any space,” he says; “they make a statement.” Color is key. “I love color,” says the man who also adores nature, photographs it, sees patterns, and transforms them into design. “I love icy blue, especially with a rich plum, and coral and persimmon to make it pop!”

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