You can't think of English Paper Piecing without the name "Karen Styles" running through your mind. The Queen of Somerset Quilting took time away from her stitching to answer some burning questions for us, like what's in her sewing case? And very importantly... will we see her again in Paducah in 2024? Read on to find out!
What is it about Reproduction Fabrics that inspires you?
My love for reproduction fabrics is based on the softer, muted colour range of quilts from the 19th century, and the knowledge that many of these fabric designs were originally printed in the 1800’s and worn as garments by the women of our past. I find myself seeking out reproduction fabrics to use in my own antique inspired quilts to give a warm and nostalgic feel to my work.
You have travelled all over, teaching, and sharing your love of quilting. Where is your favorite place to travel for fun?
I have been very lucky to have added holiday locations around many of my overseas teaching trips. Most of these have been to visit family and friends in many lovely locations from the US to Europe and the UK. Family and friends are important to me, and I feel grateful everyday that my passion of patchwork has given me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.
Tell us about your most memorable quilting student- good or bad!
There have been many memorable students over my 25 years of teaching. In the start of my career, I specialised mostly in beginners. I still love working with students who are new to a technique, or simply patchwork itself. There is nothing quite so exciting for me as the magic ‘light bulb’ moment when they discover how amazing patchwork can be.
What advice would you give a new quilter interested in EPP?
I would say to both new and advanced quilters to give something different a go! The accuracy and portability of EPP make it a wonderful project to take with you wherever you are, at a sewing bee or while traveling or simply staying at home. A make sure to sit quiet and place a few stitches every day!
We always love to know- what notions are in your personal sewing case?
My sewing case is always filled with a large variety of useful tools. At least 2 pairs of scissors (1 small and 1 medium) a complete package of new needles and there is always a handmade pincushion along with an assortment of neutral-coloured threads. You may even find the odd half made star a day star or two.
Describe a typical morning in your work life.
Every morning starts with a hot cup of tea, or two… I am from an English heritage and tea is a big part of my day. If I could I would then start stitching! My mind is always thinking of the next project. Recently I have been trying to ‘tidy’ my studio space but with my second cup in hand I have started to pull more fabric instead of putting any away.
Are you a thread baster or glue baster?
This is a leading question… I did start out as a thread baster but quickly moved on to glue. There is a time and place for both, but I do enjoy the quicker method of glue for my personal use.
Will we see a new BOM from you anytime soon?
I am currently working on a collection of EPP blocks that would make a fabulous sampler project. As with a lot of my EPP, and traditional pieced projects, these sampler blocks would be classed as a ‘Beyond the Basics’ group of techniques. There is more to EPP than just hexagons, maybe there will be a new BOM coming soon… watch this space.
I know you’ve joined us for Quilt Week Paducah in the past, can we expect to find you here in April 2024?
Quilt week is a wonderful event and yes, I have been there several times now teaching and demonstrating for the Paper Pieces team. Look out in 2024 for a series of EPP technique classes and maybe even a basic hand piecing project or two!