On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about hand-dyed fabrics with my guest Karla Overland.

Karla is the owner of Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics in Baxter, Minnesota. She is the “colorist” who creates all the dye formulas and gradations of the gorgeous trademark bundles.  Karla has been sewing since she was a little girl and holds a degree in graphic design. She applies her combined passions to all aspects of Cherrywood; web and print design, color theory, marketing, pattern design, and The Cherrywood Challenge. She has self-published nine exhibit books and over a dozen patterns. Cherrywood travels all over the U.S. vending at quilt shows where Karla also gives presentations and teaches classes. She has taught at the Australasian Quilt Festival in Melbourne, Australia, and hosted a bus tour of The Netherlands, Belgium, and France for The Van Gogh Cherrywood Challenge.

This episode is sponsored by Craftsy.

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We begin this conversation with Karla talking about her childhood and her decision to go into graphic design. Karla talks about how she discovered Cherrywood Fabrics and the process she went through the buy the business. We discuss what the hand-dyed fabric scene was like when Cherrywood was founded and the unique product they were able to bring to the market.

Color cards.

Next, we discussed growing the business which mean relocating and figuring out how to scale. Cherrywood has until now been mainly a B2C business selling direct-to-consumer online and at shows. Karla says she is now putting more emphasis on wholesale and selling to shops.

The washing machine setup.

Karla got a grant to hire an engineer who looked at their entire process of dyeing fabrics and streamlined things. The current setup is very similar to a laundromat. Cherrywood headquarters has three zones: dirty (dye), middle (finished product), and clean (office).

Gradients on display.

We also discuss the uniqueness of The Cherrywood Challenge, a popular quilt show that challenges quilters to create a mini quilt within specific parameters using Cherrywood Fabrics. This show has become an intigral part of Cherrywood’s business and Karla shares some of the lessons she’s learned about putting on a show like this over the years.


Cherrywood Challenge quilt show.

In this conversation, we reference:

And, of course, I ask Karla to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Karla recommends:

Keep up with Cherrywood Fabrics on their website, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

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