About the Author



            How I Got Started Making Patterns 


As one who taught school for many, many years, I've become quite the expert at giving instructions. So, you’d think I’d also do a great job of following instructions. Not true! I can't follow a recipe without changing it and I can't follow a quilt pattern, either.  It isn't because I don’t know how, it's all about needing to tweak everything till it’s quite my own. A few years ago I gave up on buying quilt patterns and books. It’s so much easier to take elements of this idea and elements of that one and design my own. 

Early last August, my niece, who was living in Italy, was frustrated that she couldn't find a pattern for a particular vintage style child's apron. Her four-year-old was going to be Goldilocks for Halloween. I can't resist a challenge, so I told her I'd design a pattern for her. I had no clue what a job I undertaken! First I had to draw out a pattern. I also had to make the apron to make sure it worked. I took tons of photos along the way, scanned the pieces and sent her a PDF pattern. So much work, but what a feeling of accomplishment!

I was a Craftsy member and I knew that many of their patterns are made by ordinary people, like me. Why not give it try, I thought. Just for fun. Oh wow!! What fun! A little unexpected business took off, and I've made tons of online friends. 

So that’s what I’ve been up to almost every day for the past year.

My Sewing Teacher

Like so many of us who sew, I learned basic sewing skills from my mother. When I was five years old she handed me the first of many threaded needles and a dishtowel stamped with a simple flower in an embroidery hoop. Mother had been embroidering pillowcases and dishtowels so, naturally, I wanted to make pretty pictures with thread, too. My love of sewing was born.

Mother was an amazing seamstress. Sewing was, in those days, a way to save money on clothing, not just an expensive hobby as it has become in recent years. So my mother made most of the clothes for herself, my sister, and me. She also stitched curtains and reupholstered chairs and couches. She was a perfectionist and her work was flawless. She did have her sewing prejudices, though. Quilts were not allowed in our home. In mother's eyes, those of a child of the great depression of the 1930s, quilts were a symbol of poverty.  


My mother and me. I'm wearing a blue snowsuit made by my mother.



When I was in fifth grade my sister started kindergarten. For the first time since becoming a mother, our mom had a bit of free time during the day. Money was tight, so Mother applied for a job with the local Singer store. She took some of the items she had made to the interview and was hired on the spot to teach dressmaking classes. She was thrilled that she also got a discount on sewing machines. 

That first Christmas after she started work I discovered that Santa had left me a sewing machine under the tree. It was identical to the little sewing machine at the top of this blog. It made a beautiful chain stitch and I was quickly into the business of making doll clothes for our dolls. 

My private sewing lessons continued through high school. Mother was so patient, but she didn't allow me skip any corners. "Iron every seam as you sew", she told me. "The inside of your sewing should look just as clean as the inside." I took these lessons to heart.

My high school graduation gift was a Singer featherweight.  It provided my college wardrobe and a bit of extra money making skirts and dresses for other girls. As the years went on I stitched my first maternity clothes on that little machine, and then it produced baby clothes for both of my children. Even though it was eventually replaced by bigger, more versatile machines, I still treasure the lightweight beauty in the little black box. 

  
Mother is gone now, but in my heart she is with me every time I sit down to play with my fabrics, even when I'm working on a new quilt.

15 comments:

  1. Do you offer your patterns wholesale? They are adorable!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Cheryl. The patterns are only available through the Craftsy website as downloadable PDF files. I have not published them in paper format or for resale. My business is very new and very small. If, at some future point, a strong enough customer base is established I might consider wholesale publication. For now printing is simply too costly.

      Delete
  2. I love your patterns,Karen! I bought some of them and I want to make some mug rugs to give as Christmas presents.
    You draw very well

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Charo! It makes me feel so good to know that people are enjoying my little creations. I hope your Christmas mug rugs turn out beautifully and that your work is truly appreciated.

      Delete
  3. Hi karen I bought the gingerbread table runner I wondered if you mind that i sell them when i have made them? , and that i use the applique to put on other items for sale too? i am just a hobby sewist but i do like to sell a few bits to buy more stuff to make other things .
    I simlpy love your designs

    christine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi again, Christine. I just now checked my blog and found your comment. I'm delighted that you'll be selling some of my little designs.

      Delete
  4. I just purchased your calico cats mug rug pattern from Crafsty. I was just wondering why you placed the three hexagons under the two cats. Any particular reason?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The hexagons are merely a design element to lend balance and interest to the cats. They also give them a place to sit, but they definitely are not essential. I'm sure the cats would do fine without them. The best things about patterns like this is the fact that they are more suggestions than rules. There are no quilt police watching if you follow the design as is. Use your own creative instincts and tastes to switch things up to suit you. That's the best thing about quilting. I love it when I discover that someone has taken a design and made it their own. I hope you'll send photos of what you finally decide on for the cats. Happy Stitching.

      Delete
  5. I plan on trying to find material that looks like a fence. See what happens. I'll post when I'm done.
    Micki

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A fence would be great. I like that idea. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. Hi Karen,
      I just finished the two cats mug rug. I made some changes and now the cats are sitting on a fence looking at a star-filled sky. How do I get a picture of it to you?

      Delete
    3. I'm glad you figured it out. I wish I knew how to allow photos from readers to be uploaded somewhere on my blog.

      Delete
  6. Hi Karen

    We have a little black cat that is dying of Cancer of the mouth and I have just seen your scalloped wall hanging and would love to make it as a keepsake of Pusskins, please could you tell me how I go about buying the pattern (if it is for sale that is) regards Laura

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Karen

    How would I go about ordering your cat wallhanging. We have a black cat (Pusskins) who is into everything just like the cats in your wallhanging. I would love to buy the pattern and make the quilt as a keepsake for Pusskins who has Cancer of the mouth and we don't know how much longer we have with him. Have you got a shop or a website where I could get the BOM? It really is a beautiful piece of work. Regards Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura. I'm so sorry to hear about Pusskins. I'm sure you will miss him terribly. Pets enrich our lives so much, and each of them has a special place in our hearts.

      All of my patterns, including the cat quilt, are sold through the Craftsy website. They are in the PDF format. You would purchase the pattern and download it from the website. This could be done at the time of purchase or later. No one sends the pattern to you, but the download is very easy.

      You would have to join Craftsy in order to purchase the patterns. The process is quite simple, and there are no fees. It's also good to know that emails and advertising won't come to you unless you ask for them. You can also drop your membership at any time.

      This quilt was made as a block of the month quilt, so it come in six individual patterns. Four of the patterns sell for $3.00 each and the other two are free. These are the links to those patterns:

      https://www.craftsy.com/quilting/patterns/b-o-m-2016-kitty-craft-blocks-1a-1b/284785
      https://www.craftsy.com/quilting/patterns/b-o-m-2016-kitty-craft-blocks-2a-b-c/291333
      https://www.craftsy.com/quilting/patterns/b-o-m-2016-kitty-craft-blocks-3a-3b/296710
      https://www.craftsy.com/quilting/patterns/b-o-m-2016-kitty-craft-blocks-4a-b-c/301828
      https://www.craftsy.com/quilting/patterns/b-o-m-2016-kitty-craft-blocks-5/307933
      https://www.craftsy.com/quilting/patterns/b-o-m-2016-border-and-assembly-only/307937

      If you have any other questions at any time, please feel free to contact me through my email, klee2strings@gmail.com

      Wishing you well.
      Karen

      Delete