September Monthly Member Spotlight: Karen

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No matter how long you’ve been in the quilting community, you know that no two quilters creative spaces are the same.  We all have our own organized chaos, ideas, and systems that we know work best for us. But get us in another quilters sewing space and we WILL go wild with curiosity.

We have all been there, which is why we’re launching this new online series called Monthly Member Spotlight. It is our pleasure to introduce Karen!

Name: Karen Lowry-Reed

Instagram Name: @sewandsowlife

When did you join VTMQG? I am a charter member. 🙂

What brought you to VTMQG? Phiona invited me, and as a new full-time Vermonter I was looking for kindred spirits, so I showed up!

When did you start quilting? Ooooooh…in the 1960’s? I was in Middle School and I made a quilted poncho. It included a few scraps from maternity dresses my Mumsie made when she was expecting me. Gosh, I wish I knew where it was today.

Why do you quilt? I come from a long line of women who stitch, and I’m delighted that two of my daughters are makers too. (My daughter Lindsey and I collaborated via the USPS, on the stacked coins quilt shown below. We made it for her college roommate, who recently had a baby boy). I love so many aspects of quilting…the thriftiness, the creativity, the narratives we can share with fabric, and the way stitching binds folks together from all corners of the world.

What was your most recent fabric purchase? I’ve been traveling and have gotten into a bit of “trouble”, purchasing fabric from Cambridge, MA to Washington D.C. I bought some charcoal grey “arroyo” Essex to make a “100 acts of sewing” dress no. 1.

What is on your “to make list”?  My “to make” list is very long. We are expecting our first grandchild (a girl) in the fall, so there will definitely be some baby sewing.

What is something you struggle with? Staying focused. I sometimes wander from project to project. I’ve been working on setting priorities and sticking with them.

What do you do when you aren’t quilting? I serve as a volunteer chaplain at our local medical center a few times a month, and my spirit is enriched by that work. My husband and I enjoy gardening on our modest homestead, where my indigo plants are tended with such hope! We enjoy cooking from scratch and we have fun crafting simple furnishings for our home together, too.

What kind of machine do you sew on? I have a Bernina 1080 that I splurged on in the early 1990’s. The two of us have stitched the circumference of the world several times over, I am sure! She is one of my very best friends.

Describe your sewing space in three words? A welcoming sanctuary.

Where do you sew the most? My sewing studio is in our walkout basement, with an amazing view of the mountains. I still pinch myself to make sure that it is real.

What is your most useful (or least useful) notion? I love my Hera marker.

Anything else you’d like to say? One of the things I love best about our guild is that it is intergenerational–filled with women of all ages– connected by a love of fabric, design and
mutual support. I am so grateful to be nestled in your midst.

Show us some photos of your sewing space!

IKEA hack…four kitchen cupboards, with legs and a piece of plywood on top=great cutting table!

Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate.

Cupboards from the kids’ rooms circa 1990’s, with fresh paint for my sewing stash.

My inspiration space. (The basket trimmed with red was my great grandmother’s sewing basket).

A product of Karen’s lovely sewing environment:

Stacked coins baby quilt, before binding. Collaboration with my daughter Lindsey, via the United States Postal Service.

Thanks Karen for sharing with us. Everything about your sewing space has us ready to sew. And your Ikea hack cutting table is such a dream!

And that’s a wrap for September’s Monthly Member Spotlight. See you next month with a whole new member and a whole new sewing space!