After a year of “thinking about it,” Karen decided to accept Renae’s suggestion to undertake a joint project. They weren’t strangers; their paths had crossed numerous times at various shows so they knew each other and knew each other’s work.
Colorful pottery and tile designs Karen saw while often vacationing in Mexico were her inspiration. Although proficient on a computer, Karen says it is difficult for her to envision how the finished product will appear from a 3″ image on a screen so she sticks with her tried-and-true system of sketching each individual panel to size with pencil and paper until she is satisfied with the results. She then lays out the panels and determines how to fill in any remaining areas. The geometric square on the right is an example. One of her final challenges was the upper right-hand corner, which Karen decided to fill with the eye-popping colorful sun. Using primarily commercial fabrics along with an occasional hand dyed, Karen then hand-appliquéd all the tiny and intricate pieces to the subtle mosaic background of fabrics. After completing the top, Karen shipped it from her home in Pennsylvania to Renae in Utah.
Renae says when she received the quilt top, she “just looked at it for a while” before beginning the quilting on her Innova longarm. She carefully decided on varying designs for each individual section. In some of the larger areas, she used 1000 denier silk thread (available on a card, not a spool) to replicate some of the pieced designs, and for most of the remaining background she primarily used YLI 100 wt. silk thread, explaining her goal as a quilter is to have her work “fill, not fight” with the design of the quilt; she wants her work to add not subtract interest. Initially a printed fabric was planned for the back, but Renae says this is where her work shines, so they changed it to a solid.
The quilt top took Karen a year to design and appliqué and Renae an additional year to quilt. Karen has over 250 quilts to her credit, which have received multiple prestigious recognitions including eight Best of Show awards. Her work has been featured in many magazines and calendars and she has thirteen cover quilts to her credit!
Renae continually looks for new ways to challenge herself personally and professionally and believes her physical, emotional, and spiritual conditions have a great effect on her quilting. Many of her quilts are entered in competitions, she has won numerous quilting awards, and she says her biggest thrill is exploring the unlimited possibilities which quilting offers as well as the friends she makes along the way.
And here it is!