Sunday, July 14, 2019

Good Things Happen When You Join a Quilt Guild! Out-of-Print Book Miracles and Workshops With Karen Kay Buckley

What an amazing week this has been quilt-wise, and all because I joined the Charlotte Quilters' Guild a few months ago!  On Monday, our Southside Stitchers Bee met at Christa's house, where I got lots of needleturn applique stitched down, ate a few too many homemade chocolate chip cookies, and got a tour of Christa's professional longarm quilting studio, Cotton Berry Quilts.    Christa is letting me borrow a set of Handi-Quilter Groovy Boards to try out with my longarm machine for my next charity outreach quilt, to see it that works better for me than trying to follow a paper pantograph, and I'm really looking forward to that.  

But then, at our guild meeting on Wednesday night, the internationally renowned appliqué goddess Karen Kay Buckley came to do a lecture and trunk show about innovative border treatments, and I had the opportunity to take her hand and machine appliqué workshops on Thursday and Friday.  I learned so much, bought lots of nifty new gadgets and gizmos, and now I'm pretty sure we're BFFs.

Me and My New Bestie, Karen Kay Buckley
Seriously, if you ever have the opportunity to take a class with Karen, don't pass it up.  These were among the best workshops I've ever taken.  Karen has a legit teaching background and it shows -- she knows how to create a project that is accessible to beginners but also rewarding and engaging for those with more experience, and she packed a LOT into each 6-hour workshop because she knows how to write tight lesson plans, how much time to allow for each step, and exactly how much instruction students can process and retain before attempting to repeat what has been demonstrated.  I learned:
  • A better, cleaner, and more precise way to hand stitch outer and inner points
  • That my Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors can cut FOUR LAYERS of fabric without distortion, thanks to their micro serrated blade.  You know all of those leaves I've been cutting out ONE at a time for my Frankenwhiggish Rose project?  I will but cutting them FOUR at a time from now on!  This is like coming out of the Dark Ages into the Renaissance, you guys!  You can get Karen's scissors and everything else I purchased at class on her web site here, but I'm also giving you (affiliate) Amazon links in this post since Amazon Prime day is right around the corner.  
  • A cool way to accurately transfer appliqué designs onto ANY color fabric
  • A better way to use pins for positioning appliqué so that my thread doesn't get caught up on the pins
  • And so much more.  My notebook overfloweth with new ideas and inspiration!

Class Photo from Friday's Machine Appliqué Workshop

And, what nifty new gadgets and gizmos did I BUY, you may ask?  These are my favorite new goodies:

  • I already owned Karen's Perfect Circles templates, but I purchased her Perfect Leaves, Perfect Ovals, and Perfect Stems sets.
  • The pattern for Majestic Mosaic, Karen's AQS Best of Show quilt from 2015.  I'm not planning to recreate Karen and longarm quilter Renae Haddadin's masterpiece (as if that were a possibility!), but I'm fascinated by the way she designed the quilt with those unusual interlocking shaped frames around the block, and I'm looking forward to studying the pattern instructions to learn how Karen created that effect.
  • Karen has some EXTREMELY fine pins that glide in and out of fabric, even batiks, effortlessly and without distortion.  After testing them in the hand stitched appliqué class, I bought both sizes of her pins.
  • She also introduced us to a June Tailor glue pen that I'd never seen before.  At home, my fabric glue sticks were the same size and shape as the glue sticks elementary students use -- not great for applying the glue precisely where you want it to go.  The glue sticks Karen had us using in class were glue pens with a diameter of about the same size as our seam allowances.  So much easier to control!  I couldn't find this one on Amazon but if your local shop doesn't have it either, you can order it from Karen's web site here.
  • I bought Karen's Adjustable Perfect Adjustable Square for trimming down completed applique blocks.  Several quilters on a Yahoo! applique forum had recommended it to me, but it was pricey and I wasn't sure how well it worked or whether I'd actually use it until Karen demonstrated for me on one of my completed Frankenwhiggish blocks.  Well, I think it's a really cool design created by someone who intimately knows the terror of taking a rotary cutter to the edge of a block she's spent a gazillion hours hand stitching, and if it saves me from miscutting and destroying just one block in my lifetime, it's money well spent!  I especially like the puzzle-like assembly that allows the ruler to adjust to any size quilt block and the little holes for creating vertical, horizontal and diagonal alignment lines with thread for precisely centering traditional, symmetrical blocks like my Frankenwhig Roses.
I'm really enjoying my project from the machine appliqué workshop, which surprised me because when I first saw the pattern, I didn't immediately see how I could tweak it to make it my own.  However, I stumbled onto a fat quarter of ombre background fabric in my stash that reminds me of a sunrise, and I'm really digging the effect.  Interestingly, I found it MUCH easier to accurately stitch the appliqué by machine this time around compared to when I took a workshop with Harriet Hargrave on a similar technique six years ago.  I think that all of the stitch-in-the-ditch quilting skills I've developed since then are transferring over to machine appliqué, because in both situations your goal is for the machine needle to rub right up against the folded appliqué edge or raised seam allowance without biting into it.  

My "Circles Squared" Machine Applique In Progress

I'm definitely going to finish that piece, but the hand stitched one I'm not sure about.  I've only got two pieces stitched down and two more ready to stitch for that one, and my Frankenwhiggish needleturn project has got to be my hand stitching priority until the dang thing is finished or it never WILL get finished!  

My "Fiesta Mexico Block 3" Hand Stitched Applique In Progress
Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you -- guess what ELSE happened at our guild meeting on Wednesday evening?  Check out THIS amazing good fortune:

I Found the Holy Grail!!!
That is a real life, honest-to-goodness copy of Karen K. Stone's out of print (and insanely hard to find below $100) Karen K. Stone Quilts book, which contains the directions for her Cinco de Mayo quilt that I'm planning to make for Anders' high school graduation.  That book is in MY hot little hand, in MY studio, and it didn't cost me a penny.  Why, you ask?  Because this copy came from the Charlotte Quilters Guild library, and as a guild member I get to check it out for two months, completely for free.  Happy, happy, joy, joy!!  My guild membership for the next four years just paid for itself.  I'm SKIPPING over here.

Well, it's after MIDNIGHT now and I have to get up in not very many hours to get ready for church!  I would be tempted to skip the 9 AM Traditional service and just show up for the 10:45 Contemporary service, but alas -- our minister of music has chosen a BEAUTIFUL anthem for the early service and if I don't drag my booty out of bed in time, I won't get to sing it with the choir.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

I'm linking up today's post with:


·      Slow Sunday Stitching at  
·      Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·      Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag:
·      BOMs Away at Katie Mae Quilts: 


SJSM said...

It appears you found the elixir for your quilt mojo, your quilt Guild! Inspiration and education to help you be a better quilter and perhaps more efficient thus quicker in building your masterpieces. It looks like you had such fun. Can’t wait to see how you incorporated all this new knowledge.

Gretchen Weaver said...

So glad you found the pattern! Of course you can return in it in 2 months then check it out again the next month. The class with Karen Kay Buckley sounds great, very informative. Happy Stitching!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

that is so neat that you found a copy of that book to use - why people try to sell for such an outrageous price is beyond me. I'm so glad that your quilt guild is working for you - I had so hoped to find something like that in my area and had no luck what so ever I do envy you that. I have Karen's ovals and circles - I have had the circles for years and years and love them - I haven't really used the ovals much and didn't know she had stems. I have the little scissors but really didn't like them as much as others that I have but that is just me I'm sure. I think I would like your guild a lot more than I did the one I tried!

chrisknits said...

I am so glad you took the step to join the guild, you are reaping the benefits!!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

This is fun to watch your joy at having joined a quilt guild! I have been a member of my local Guild for 20 years and the joy and new friendships it has given me are too many to count. And I love all the educational workshops it offers also. Good to see that you found a good home!

Debbie said...

So happy you have found your book and it is "priceless"! Har har!

Anyway, I took a few lectures from Karen Buckley. I agree, totally amazing. I love your wall hanging and the ombre fabric is just perfect for it. Can't wait to see it completed.

CathieJ said...

So glad you are enjoying your quilt guild. I love that they have a library and you found a book that you've been wanting to use. Yay.

Quilter Kathy said...

You are so lucky! I have never even seen a photo of Karen, let alone been lucky enough to see her in real life!
Enjoy your hand stitching!

Bonnie said...

It's been a long time since I took classes from Karen Kay Buckley. But I definitely remember picking her up from the airport and helping her woman-handle her suitcases to my car. And, I love that you have found that quilt guild membership is wonderful. I actually belong to 3 from the last few places we've lived. I still participate in the two farthest away but not as often as I'd like to. But, oh the good times, great education and fabulous quilts I've seen because of those memberships. A good guid is so worthwhile. I hope you continue to enjoy yourself. And, wow. Who would have thought a book would be so expensive even if it is out of print. Have a great quilty week.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Oh what fun you had!! and so inspriational!! I bet you are all pumped up!!!

Jill said...

What a great week. It's so nice that you found a great quilt guild that brings in national speakers. Appreciate all that you shared!

Susie H said...

I loved my class with Karen Kay Buckley too. She is truly wonderful. I REALLY LOVE your picture with her -- can tell exactly how happy you are standing with the amazing KKB!

The Joyful Quilter said...

I only have one set of groovy boards, but use my Circlelord template boards ALL THE TIME!! I find that I have MUCH greater success than with pantos. Good luck!

dq said...

Befriending other quilters is such an amazing experience. Your post was an exhilarating read.

Lynette said...

Boy, am I jealous of a meeting with Karen Kay Buckley!!! You lucky lady. She is one of my three all-time favorite applique quilt makers (along with Sue Garman and Pearl Pereira). :) I use her Perfect Circles *all* *the* *time* for berries and such on my appliques, and I'm maybe 1/3 through the applique work on her Fiesta Mexico quilt. I was just thinking this morning that I'll pull that one back out after the next Octopus Garden block gets finished!