Today we are visiting with Doug Leko of Antler Quilt designs about his newest book, Tabletastic III.
Doug has flet like part of the Moda family since we first met him at spring quilt market in Minneapolis 2006. He was there with his mother who had a quilt quilt shop at the time. After school and weekends, Doug worked at the quilt shop, taught classes and started designing quilts, ,all at the young age of 16. He began designing patterns for Moda’s designer, Holly Taylor and was published in many magazines and books. Fast forward and Doug officially joined the Moda team as a sales professional May 2018. WHile Doug has many other habboies and interests, we think it is safe to say he eats, sleeps and breathes quilting.
We asked Doug a few questions about his self publishing journey.
Q. Your 3rd Tabletastic book is about to launch, can you tell me how you got started on table runners?
I have always loved Table Runners and Toppers! After it’s any large project, I find it’s always nice to work on a smaller project before transitioning onto the next project. Table Runner and Toppers are great “quick finish” project and I find they are like cholate, one is never enough! Whether you are using them to decorate in your house, or you are giving them away as gift, I often feel Table Runners and Toppers are perfect every occasion!
Q When was your first Tabletastic book published?
The first Tabletastic book debuted just at the start of the world pandemic in March of 2020, that was sure scary. I had self published this book (which is HUGE undertaking and is months of hard work editing, sewing, photography, writing the book) and I was so unsure if it was even going to sell. I was thrilled when customers were asking when is your next book going to be ready. I knew then it was going to be a big success.
Q. How many tablerunners/ table toppers have you made?
As of this year (2022) I have released the 3rd book in the Tabletastic series. Each book consists of 14 Table Runners and 6 Toppers. So, in all you have 42 different Table Runner designs and 18 different Topper designs to choose from. I really tried to make sure each design can stand on its own and that all 3 books look different.
Table Runners and Toppers are perfect for using that scrap bin under your cutting table or those pre-cuts you have been hanging onto for years! The more fabrics you use, the better!
Tabletastic I-Stock # AQD 0415
Tabletastic iI-Stock # AQD 0416
Tabletastic III- Stock # AQD 0417
Ask for all of these books from your favorite independent quilt retailer.
Q. What do you feel like is the perfect size table runner?
This question I struggled with all 3 books, everyone has a different size table. What is the right size? Often, I see quilters adjusting the design to fit their table size, which is perfect! I have a large farmhouse table, so I perfect the large Table Runners and Toppers. I have seen the table toppers be used as wallhangings and even a few table toppers made to create a larger quilt with the design.
Q. Do you have a favorite project? If so why?
I have two favorites in this book, actually they all are my favorite, but if I had to pick an absolute favorite it would be these two.
Q. Do you decorate or use the table runners in different ways? Pillows? Wall hangings? etc?
Yes, each of the Table Runners and Toppers can be used in so many different ways! The most common way I’ve seen them used is turned into large quilts. They make many repeats of the design they like best or they combine different designs and form their own quilt. Bench-pillows, wall hanging, trivets, BOMS are just some of the ideas that use with the Table Runners and Toppers.
Q. Your style is so diverse and cover many looks. How do you choose what fabrics to use for the designs ?
When I started with the original Tabletastic book, I wanted to show each design in two colorways. I know as quilters it helps so much to see the design in many different colorings. Some that we wouldn’t normally choose or think of and others in colors that we have in our homes and stashes. I love to play with color and fabrics. Sometimes I will pick my own colors or I will expand a fabric line that I fell in love with. There are many projects in this book that started with the number it says you’ll need in the pattern, but I expanded it about double or triple the amount needed, just so I had more variety in the colors, and prints used.
Q. You are also a Moda Sales representative and get to see many quilt stores and are surrounded by textiles at work and home. Are there other places that you find your inspiration?
That is one thing about being a sale representative is all the inspiration all day long! But I love to travel and see the world, and often there is no better place for inspiration than that. Whether it is the architecture of old buildings and churches or the brick pattern in the town square of an old city. The colors that come from walking through a street market with all the spices and produce always catch my eye. It never ends, and often I create most of my designs after traveling and relaxing!
Q. What is your favorite part of the quilting process?
Piecing is my favorite part of the quilting process! I love to chain piece, to make stacks of pieces, sew them together in a long chain, then clip them apart, pressing them all and having a large pile and head back to the sewing machine, it’s simply my favorite part.
Q. What is your favorite notion or tool?
I have to be bias here and say my Simple Folded Corners Ruler, Stock AQDR-1. It’s perfect for many things throughout the piecing process, from trimming your pieces before you sew, to not having to mark lines to sew on, to trimming pieces.
Simple Folded Corners ruler Eliminates the task of drawing a line on your squares to make flying geese units, half squares triangles, snowball blocks and any other unit that uses connector corners. Shown above Stock # AQDR-1 8-1/2″ ruler cuts 12 different sizes
Smaller ruler also available – AQDR-2 –Seven different sizes to choose from, 1/2″ to 3-1/2″ finished folded corner.
Q. Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us?
I have been working on another Stashastic book with martingale, which will debut in Dec’22/Jan’23. If you loved the first Stashastic and all of the Tabletastics 1, 2 & 3 books, then I think you’ll love Stashtastic 2 book.
Q. When is Tabletastic III going to be available in stores?
Like so many things in our world, there has been a shortage on paper, but the book is at the printer and on task to be in stores May 2022.
Q. Where can we follow you?
Instagram – @dougleko
Facebook- Doug Leko