Welcome to my Blog! I use this blog to write out questions that come into my head when designing new quilt patterns, new batik designs for Anthology Fabrics or have a crazy 3 a.m. inspiration that causes me to get derailed from what I am supposed to be doing. I like discussion on topics, so if something I write brings to mind an opinion, an observation or just an I agree/disagree, let me know!
Born in Wisconsin, definitely a “Cheesehead”! Now living in Upstate NY, which is Jets, Bills, Giants or Patriots country — you take a pick! Love the Fall because of the changing season, the cold snap that brings in football season, comfort food and the “happiest time of the year” — quoting that infamous Staples commercial. I have 3 kids, can you tell :) I draw inspiration always from my kids, I sew with any football game on that I can find – it’s soothing background noise — plus I can’t hear the kids then, especially when my husband is in charge and I’m supposed to “not listen” to things like flour going all over because he’s making cookies, adding flour to the batter with the mixer going at full speed, Madison and Olivia screaming with
I started quilting when I worked at Eagle’s Eye. We designed for 3 seasons, researching the Market, collecting sample fabrics — printed velvets, wool flannels etc. They were then discarded at the end of the season and we started all over again. These swatches were generally the size of a fat quarter. I did not know that you were supposed to use 100% cotton fabrics in your quilts. One of my first quilts I no longer have because I chose to use wool flannels mixed with cotton flannel, all cut with templates and hand quilted. Husband, being an always helpful soul, washed it on high heat — again is there anything but high heat or speed??
I venture occasionally into areas of quilting that are a little non-traditional because of my background. I am self taught, but absorb so much from quilters around me. The first time I walked into a quilt shop was like an “Alleluia” moment. All the color palettes were right in front of you! I still like to “shop the Market” before I start designing. I get inspired by visiting with a Color Forecaster, walking the streets of NYC, the old buildings, right next to the new, the trim shops, Mood Fabrics with all it’s hustle and bustle and the train ride home, sketching, with a large coffee and a decadent treat: a crazy good donut from Doughnut Plant — just a few blocks over from a quilt shop of course
In the Classroom –
I have taught many classes in shops, guilds and at shows — my most popular being The Entourage and Madison’s Star. The Entourage class uses bargello as reverse applique and is a seasonal favorite. Madison’s Star is a two-part class and is a favorite among shop owners and guilds. Check out the blogspot, Quilting Tales, for a review by a fellow teacher, and my Karen Gibbs Facebook page for classroom results.
Making this type of bargello derives from the same concept as sweater design — using a background and then the movement of little rectangles of color needing to be connected from one segment to the next, for sweaters, because it is cheaper to mass produce that way, for quilting because we adore strip sets! I am also intrigued by color and the
play of one color against another. In art school, I enjoyed my color theory classes the most. Try flipping through a magazine, finding a color palette in a room that you just love, then recreating that in paint. Actually mixing the paint to achieve those colors, but also making sure the use of color in your textile design reflected the same proportions that those colors were used in the inspiration piece.
I am currently a batik designer for Anthology Fabrics. I find it wonderfully exciting to see the sketches I do, made into beautiful batik prints each season. I’m finding I love batiks, the saturation of color
you’re able to achieve, the quality of the fabric, and the exploration of new and different techniques.
Now flipping to the end of the quilt making process. I am a longarm quilter and have been for approx 13 years. Initially, after having the first two kids, I did not want to return to work and leave them, so I looked for something I could do from home. Instead of buying a second car, we purchased a longarm machine. I just pushed those kids around Saratoga Springs in a jogger walker. I got myself volunteered somehow to be the Community Service director of the quilt guild and quilted every donation quilt that year — all 238 of them for practice. Freemotion is my niche – that and a fast turnaround. I like the creativity and uniqueness of the freemotion quilting. Textures, being big right now, are right up my alley — just put on a good book on tape and I can “pebble” anything!
I have taught classes on my longarm, thinking that would be a fun thing to do. These were generally 4-hours classes; started by loosening up with large sketching, followed up with line drawing using the machine for control, identifying shapes in quilting motifs, keeping the integrity of those shapes with continuous line quilting, consistency in motifs and negative space when quilting etc…
So that’s a little bit about me, always changing, getting into something new. This past fall I was able to go as staff with Anthology Fabrics on their Bali Expedition Tour. I’ll get some photos up soon! Keep an eye out for upcoming dates for the next tour. What a unique experience!