Quilting as a lifestyle
Karen has always been drawn to quilts and remembers sleeping under a quilt made by her grandmother which she still owns. Being a quilter was put on the back burner while she pursued a career in education – teaching Chemistry and Physics, working with the Gifted and Talented program, and being a school administrator. But the desire to create quilts was always there.
In 1995, Karen purchased a book on quilt-making and has not looked back since!
She soon discovered the wonderful world of quilt shops and quilt guilds and even Internet quilting. Karen became an avid machine piecer and appliquer turning out many quilt tops each year. Some of these she quilted herself on her domestic sewing machine, and some she sent out to be quilted by a longarm quilting service. In 2005, Karen purchased her first longarm quilting machine and a new world opened up to her.
By 2006 she had quilted many of her own quilt tops and those of friends, and began quilting as a service for others. Much to her delight, she and others she quilted for immediately began winning ribbons at quilt shows. This spurred Karen to pursue longarm quilting as a full time business. in 2007, Quilting with Karen, was born..
Karen is active in quilting groups and organizations because she understands that quilting has always been a social activity since the beginning of the quilting bee. She belongs to Cobblestone Quilters Guild in Charleston, SC, where she has served on numerous positions on the Board including President and Quilt Show Chairperson.
She is also a member of Quilters of SC, and has been on their board since 2005. Currently she serves as president of this statewide organization of over 600 hundred quilters. In addition, she is a member of the WV State Guild, the National Quilters Association, the American Quilters Society, South Carolina Girls with Longarms, and the International Machine Quilters Association.
Karen is proud that many of her quilts and quilts she has quilted for others have won ribbons in shows throughout the state and beyond. Her Cracked Pots won First Place in Individual Bed Pieced and Best Machine Quilting at the 2010 Cobblestone Quilters Show, and that her collaboration on a Southern Album with June Bohac won Best of Show at the 2012 Cobblestone Quilters Show.
While ribbons and awards are nice, Karen believes that the best reward from quilting is spreading the love and joy of quilting and giving comfort and aid to others. To this end, she has been and continues to be active in many volunteer and charitable endeavors involving quilting.
Karen volunteers at the Wadmalaw Island Community Center twice a month and teaches piecing to the members.
She donates quilts to organizations including the Quilts of Valor, Project Linus, and other guild-sponsored groups.
Karen and her group of fellow quilters donated hand-made quilts for each bed in a Habitat for Humanity house.
And as President of Quilters of SC, she encouraged the guild to provide quilts for critically ill children across the state. The result: QSC delivered 395 quilts to the four children’s hospitals in the state!