Guess Who Is Teaming Up to Teach in 2018?

I am over the moon excited to announce that the rambler and the redneck are teaming up to teach this fall at Studio 180 Academy!

What is Studio 180 Academy?

Imagine three days of quilting bliss with  Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design Certified Instructors in a luxurious setting in Zion, Illinois. You can read more about it in my recent post when I shared that Brian and I had submitted a proposal to teach – and guess what! Just this week we were accepted as faculty! 

Things are moving right along towards this September adventure with the class descriptions being made public on the official Studio 180 Academy website in the next few weeks.  Here’s the interesting thing – class size is limited and it fills up fast so I’m letting you, dear reader, know ahead of time to bookmark said website and be ready to push that button to sign up March 1st. If I were you, I’d already be settin’ my alarm!

Who Are You Guys and What Are You Teaching?


Glad you asked! First of all, we are both from the “Class of 2017” Certified Instructors with Studio 180 Design. Ours is the “freshman” class as Deb has offered certified instructor training annually the past 4 years. We met at our training this past summer and just sort of connected. We began collaborating on our class proposal then meet up at Fall Quilt Market to finalize the pattern and fabrics in person. Indeed, it was fun keeping our secret as we shopped for fabrics!

Bolts and Quarters Quilt Shop

Brian McCoy calls himself The Redneck Quilter.  I think he’s kin to the Energizer Bunny! Brian’s the owner of a very successful quilt shop in South Parkersburg WV called Bolts and Quarters Quilt Shop. He does have an abundance of energy, in a good way, not hyper or anything (grin) just very efficient and productive with his time. Brian has a “day job” in addition to teaching and running a quilt shop. I love that his shop keeps evening hours and offers several hundred classes a year. If I lived in the area I would certainly be hanging out! Talk about inspiration!

The Quilt RamblerMe? For those reading my blog for the first time, I’m Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler. As my logo suggests, I love to talk quilts. But I do more than just talk! I’ve been a longarm quilter since 2003 and have been teaching and sharing my passion for quilting well before the “turn of the century“. I have taught in numerous locations including two quilting cruises with a third one booked for 2019.  I love love love Studio 180 Design tools and teaching others how to use them -so it’s truly an honor to be among this year’s staff at Academy.

The Quilts

Yes, I said quilts, plural! Before I explain and share the prototypes, let me whet your whistle with our class description:

Using the Corner Beam, V-block and Square Squared 
tools, students will make twinkling blocks that 
shimmer like crown jewels in the night sky. 
With varied layout and color palette options,
personalize your quilt into a Twilight or 
Midnight rendition of the heavenly stars 
we call Celestial Borealis.

Choices, there should always be choices, right? So, choices there are! Using the same tools making the same units we are offering two different block constructions, two different layouts, and two different color pallets.

Brian’s quilt is entitled Celestial Borealis at Midnight and will be made with the hand dyed fabrics from Kathleen Starr. Here is the EQ8 version of his design. This version offers three different block sizes to complete the quilt.

Teaming Up to Teach, The Quilt Rambler and The Redneck Quilter at Studio 180 Academy 2018
Celestial Borealis At Midnight

Karen’s quilt is entitled Celestial Borealis at Twilight and will be made using fabrics from Island Batik. Here is the EQ8 version of her design.

The Quilt Rambler and The Redneck Quilter are teaming up to teach at 2018 Studio 180 Academy
Celestial Borealis At Twilight

Won’t You Join Us At Studio 180 Academy?

There will be multiple classes to choose from amongst the Certified Instructor faculty. While we’d like for everyone to take our class, we really just like for everyone to join us at Academy! All of the classes will focus on teaching you to be proficient with the Studio 180 Design tools and techniques. There will be open sewing time,  time to just relax, time to shop (who doesn’t love that!), time to get to know other quilters, and of course time to ask away about all the wonderful patterns, tools and technique sheets offered by Studio 180 Design. It’s a guaranteed good time! Take it from the rambler and the redneck – we can’t wait to be there!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, excited to be teaming up to teach with The Redneck Quilter. Hurry and visit the Studio 180 Academy website and get all the details!




















It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

Photo Credit Eric Overton
(Photo Credit, Eric Overton, Dickinson Texas 
after Hurricane Harvey)

How do I say thanks to the many people who have influenced my life this past year? With tears in my eyes, actually.  This wasn’t exactly the post I had planned for today but in going through photos of 2017  I knew this had to be my direction.

Orange Cat Sleeping under quiltsI don’t have words to express what is stirring in my heart at the moment. There are so many people that I don’t have a “photo documentation” of our relationship to share, but my truest friends know that and forgive me for not mentioning their name.

The Best of 2017:

Quilts pieced by The Quilt RamblerMy original intent was to post about my favorite personal quilts of the year. There’s a fun hashtag on Instagram called #bestnine2017 and I had prepared this photo – the first quilt of the year made as a lap quilt for a lady at church in a wheelchair, an autograph quilt for friends moving to Scotland as missionaries, my favorite quilted covered notebooks, my three favorite Island Batik Ambassador challenges, my two patterns introduced this past year and my favorite quilting on a personal quilt (middle bottom). Yep, that was the plan…

And the Nominees Are…

Youngest Quilt Recipient

If you’ve been keeping up with social media you will remember me posting about the recently made baby quilt, a little late…she was born right after Harvey. Well, this is the best kind of thank you note a quilter will ever receive!

Baby quilt made by The Quilt Rambler
To Selah with love

Thoughtful Customer Award

Marcy is a faithful quilter and friend. Not only was she the first one to respond to my call for quilt angels but she was very very patient in waiting for me to finish her quilts, one the day before Christmas and the other two picked up today making them the last customer quilts of 2017. In addition, she saw my plea on facebook for donuts yesterday afternoon and guess what she brought this morning! I do have the best customers/friends. I can’t thank them all enough for believing in me and supporting me during this rollercoaster of a year!

The Quilt Rambler has many quilt angels
Taking home the first load of quilts to be washed post-Harvey
Last two customer quilts of the year, for a special puppy and for a wonderful daughter. Pieced by Marcy quilted by The Quilt Rambler

First Quilt Award

That would go to my sister who made her very first quilt and asked me to quilt it for her! Talk about a perfectionist! You should see how she perfectly matched the graphics on the back seam making it appear to be one large piece of fabric! Way to go Amy!

Perfectly matched – can you see the seam?

She’s a “paper person” and loves Tim Holtz

Guild Member Award – Best Charity Quilt Maker

I’ve talked about my local guild a lot this past year, I have so many dear friends that it would take the entire evening to share how wonderful each of them is…I thought I’d highlight one special lady, Pat, who takes all of our scrap donations and makes the most beautiful charity quilts, generally 3 or 4 a month. I can’t tell you how it has thrilled me to see some of my castaways – makes me feel like I’m contributing in some way. A wise quilter once said, “you bought that fabric to make a quilt, no one said you had to be the one that makes it!”

Take 8 orphan blocks, add scraps (from The Quilt Rambler stash) add a gifted quilter to equal a beautiful charity quilt.
How does she do this? Given a centerpiece, a bunch of purple scraps and some 1930 reproduction strips and it turns out beautiful!

Favorite Customer Quilt

I know we shouldn’t have favorites – I have so many beautiful quilts that grace my longarm as my customers are very creative – however, if there was one that I would have loved to have kept it would be this quilt by Deb Tucker, called Morning Glory. The cool thing is I have purchased the pattern and it’s on my bucket list to make my own!

Hot off the frame, Morning Glory by Deb Tucker quilted by The Quilt Rambler
Custom Quilting by The Quilt Rambler
My signature “feather puffs”

Best Quilting Travel Buddy

Dianne is also a P3 – one of my pattern proofing people

Hands down my friend Dianne has been a blessing this year. Not only did she travel with me to Arizona where I spoke at a guild and taught a workshop she has also been a behind the scene “quilt angel” and “Santa’s elf.”  A true friend indeed and a true friend when I’m in need.  We are looking forward to more travels together in 2018!

Oh, the places we will go!

Best Quilt Consultant

Our youngest son, Jake, is an artist in his own right. I rely on him a lot for his opinions on everything from fabric color choices to confirmations on some of my quilt designs. He’s nice enough to share Oscar, his cat, with me (grin).

We had plans for a mother/son challenge that got put on hold – perhaps 2018!
My favorite photo of Jake taken by his brother Eric

Best Studio Cat

Was there any doubt?

Military Quilt by The Quilt Rambler
Although he’s really not supposed to get on the customer quilts, I do catch him occasionally.

People Who Make Me Look Good Awards

I don’t have a photo of my sweet friend Lindsie Bergevin who created my branding this year for The Quilt Rambler…She and I will be working together with Leslie Meltzer to bring my patterns to print the first of 2018. I am so blessed to have found these ladies! I can hardly contain myself!

Best Hairdresser Award

The lady who really makes me look good is Maria, my hairdresser! I like to tease that I have a good hair day once every 5 weeks – I love how she gets the back so curly! It goes without saying that I have a standing date night when I get my hair done!

Maria makes me look good once every 5 weeks!
Proof that my hair really does have natural curls

Best Photographer

I’m so indebted to our oldest son Eric for his skills as a photographer and videographer. This year I needed his services to photograph my quilts that will be pattern covers (coming 2018) as well as helping with all the fun YouTubes we did earlier in the year. Harvey kinda threw us a curveball, but we’ll be back in 2018!

Overton Photography at work
Overton Photography taking shots of a secret quilt that will be introduced in 2018

Best Photo

I’ve had a lot of fun attempting to take quality photos this year, but alas, I’m limited to my iPhone…however, the really good ones are taken by Eric… this is my all time favorite photo of the year – a candid moment of joy caught on film. Thank you, Eric, for this photo of your dad.

Johnny enjoyed a rare fishing trip – yep, he looks relaxed and refreshed doesn’t he?

Best Vacation

Now that’s a toss up! Tuckerland as a Harvey refugee? or cruise with my husband? Hum… I have to say both were much-needed escapes but hands down the accommodations and food were better in Tuckerland!

Tuckerland is a happy place
A much-needed refreshment – we love cruising!

Best Handyman

Whether he’s taking care of my bike or vehicles, moving things to “higher ground” before the flood or tearing out the walls after Harvey, Johnny is certainly my best handyman.

Best Helpers

It seems like an eternity since we experienced the furry of Hurricane Harvey. So many things were altered by this storm. The true blessing has come with the people who have joined together to help a neighbor, even a stranger, in their time of need. Here are just a few photos of hundreds that represent my thank you to all who have come to us in our hour(s) of need.

Jamie worked for several days with me trying to pack things up so the men could remove the walls, she even brought lunch to feed all the workers
The custom built-in cabinet used to house over 100 personal quilts. So well built that it took several good men to remove it
Eric’s been waiting all his life to have a reason to wear his gas mask!
Jake carried a lot of debris to the curb
Katie has been a huge help to Johnny’s parents during their reconstruction learning how to put up sheetrock and tear out tile. You go, girl!

The Best Family

While there wasn’t time or photos to thank all my friends for a fabulous 2017 I can share a photo of “my family” whom indeed are the bestest!

Celebrating my birthday on the farm with our kids, my mom, sister, and brother-in-law
The entire Overton clan celebrating Christmas even during reconstruction
The best of the bunch! Celebrating our first family dinner in the RV preparing for reconstruction

The Best of Times The Worst of Times

Thank you for scrolling down to the very end. It’s hard to try to contain a whole year in one blog post! The quilting adventure has been grand, the future looks bright with all the quilting potentials. The homefront may look like a wreck after Harvey, but we see the potential there too! Friends, Family, and Fabric (grin) that’s what keeps me moving forward!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, thank you for sharing my 2017. Stay tuned tomorrow when I toast out the year and share my goals for 2018

Day 30 of the #31dayblogchallenge
















What To Gift That Serious Quilter on Your Holiday List

With Christmas fast approaching I thought I’d share the perfect gift for that serious quilter on your holiday list…hum….that could even be YOU!

Have you thought about a Quilt Vacation? Maybe more along the lines of a Quilt Retreat in a beautiful setting surrounded by luxury accommodations and more importantly – sewing machines and fabric! Better yet, classes with instructors!!!

Have I got the perfect gift for you! And the perfect gift to suggest to your best quilting buddy too!


Studio 180 Acadamy is that and more! Think about 3 full days of classroom instruction with Studio 180 Design Certified Instructors!  Work on a specific project (or two), take a class on techniques with the tools, or just spend a day in the open studio with a certified instructor on hand to answer your every question as you use Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design tools.

Last year’s academy was a huge success and plans are already underway for the 2018 classes. Certified Instructors are busy as little elves writing their proposals in hopes that Saint Nick will pick their quilt/project for the upcoming 2018 classes.

I already hinted that my fellow 2017 Certification classmate Brian ( aka “The Redneck Quilter“) and I are working on our proposal – we should know something the first of the year…regardless of who is teaching (after all, only certified instructors will be there), it’s going to be a big event not to be missed!

“Rambler and Redneck” are collaborating on a proposal for Studio 180 Academy


Studio 180 Academy will be held on September 19-22, 2018 at the Illinois Beach Resort & Conference Center.  It’s located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

Think about it! Sewing in these surroundings! All meals are provided too! In addition, there will be a special dinner Friday night with Deb Tucker herself!!!

Illinois Beach Resort

Illinois Beach Resort

As much as I love the beach, cruising, and making new quilting friends I think this lake setting would be so inspiring as a quilt retreat! I know I want to go!!

Watch the website as class offerings will be published in February with registration beginning in March.  Seats are limited!

How about another gift giving idea for the quilter in your life (or for you to hint to your friends and family).  The fine folks at Studio 180 Design have put together a product checklist where you can mark “want it or have it” and then hand that list right over to Santa himself! You can download the PDF here. So many new patterns, technique sheets, and tools – you just have to keep up and this is a perfect list to help you do that!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, helping you to wrap up something special for the favorite quilter in your life, maybe even something for you!












Island Quilters Holiday Party

The Island Quilter’s Guild of Galveston sure know how to throw a good holiday party!

We are a small group, about 90+ members. We call this our “holiday” party, not to be politically correct but out of mutual respect – we have members that celebrate Hanukkah, members who celebrate the birth of Christ, and members who wrap it all up and simply call it Christmas.  And we just love any excuse to get together for fun, food, fellowship and of course quilts!

Show and Tell

One of my favorite parts of going to a quilt guild meeting is most certainly the show and tell! Without further discussion here’s a little eye candy from our gathering Thursday night.

Shirley’s scrappy quilt
Pat takes the guild members’ scraps and makes charity quilts. She also made the delicious “extreme garlic” HST (half square triangles)!
Katy’s daughter works with a lactation organization called Babe
Peggy is known for her bright colorful creations – this was part of a challenge called The Kid Within Me
Marie finished her quilt from my Double Occupancy workshop earlier this year.


 Island Gals Get a Little Wild With Strip Poker

We love saying that ~ sounds so naughty when you are supposed to be nice this time of year. Our party always includes our annual “strip poker” which is not at all what it sounds like!

First of all, it’s not really poker – it’s more like a big game of battle – highest card wins….and we play with “strips” of 2.5-inch fabric…yep, that’s about as wild as we get! We each bring 25 strips to play with. This year’s theme was brights – past themes have been black & whites, blues, holiday theme, etc.  Quilters just love trading fabrics and adding to their stash! Fabrics collected at the end of the night are a good start to a “jelly roll” quilt – in fact, we have a jelly roll sew-in scheduled in January so stay tuned for that!

Debbie took her role as dealer quite seriously, while Pat looks on to make sure she’s not double-dealing (grin)
Winner takes all

We have several tables with “dealers” and we play 5 games at each table. Everyone anties up and places a strip in the center pile…cards are dealt and the high card picks first. In the event there is a tie, then we “battle” with an additional card to see who goes next.  This process is done for four out of the five games with the final game being winner take all. We rotate tables to mix up the fabric and play four sets. Everyone goes home with at least 20 strips, potentially more if they won the winner takes all.  I actually won that twice!


This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, happy to celebrate the holidays with my island girlfriends!





Tropical Dreaming

While others are dreaming of a white Christmas I’m tropical dreaming!



Last night was a “three quilt night”. Burr!

Five Hundred Twenty Seven Day Countdown!

I am sooo excited to announce publicly that I will be teaching on a Stitchin Heaven Quilting Cruise in 2019! The website just went live a few hours ago and I couldn’t wait to blog about this!

Tropical Dreaming of a Quilting Cruise
I couldn’t be more thrilled – hope you will join me!

Perfect Christmas Present For The Quilter in Your Life – YOU!

Imagine yourself on a relaxing cruise surrounded by the beautiful blue sea

The details are all on the website Stitchin Heaven Travel    They offer travel certificates that would make perfect stocking stuffers.

I dearly love cruising.  And it’s so much fun to combine that with quilting! This will be the third opportunity to teach on a quilting cruise and I couldn’t be more excited! Once again I will be teaching an original pattern using Studio 180 Design tools!

The ports of call are familiar to this seasoned cruiser – Cozumel, Jamacia, and Grand Cayman.

Tropical Dreaming with Beautiful Tropical Flowers of Roatan
We visited Roatan this past October and I loved all the tropical flowers!

Quilting Cruises Are The Best Tropical Dreaming!

I’d love to tell you more, and don’t worry! I will – but I need to head out to the Island Quilter’s Guild Holiday Party! More later!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, dreaming of that Tropical Vacation! Hope you will make plans to join me!



What Do You Get When You Add Friends And Fabric?

photo of quilting workshop with Karen Overton

 …A quilting day with friends of course!

pink poka dot suitcases full of quilting supplies for a quilting workshop
Suitcases full of quilts, fabric, sewing supplies added with comfy sewing chair and sewing machine – perfect combination for a quilting workshop

The Quilt Rambler has been on the road again (yes, you can hum the Willie Nelson song while you read along, I don’t mind). You may recall my recent trip to Arizona to teach my pattern Illuminated Journey….well I have to confess that the bags have been in the living room unpacked – full of quilts – for over 2 weeks now! Too many fun things going on to worry about refolding quilts to put back up in the studio! Procrastination paid off somewhat as all I had to do to get ready for this next workshop was to pull out the quilts I didn’t need, add in my work-in-progress demo kit, update the thread kit, etc. – quick packing if I do say so myself!

Save the Date

Several months ago the plans were put into motion to teach my pattern Double Occupancy to my local guild, the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston Texas. I’ve been looking forward to this – nothing like hometown advantage! I can bring my own sewing machine and chair!! Actually, that’s a bonus but the real fun is quilting along with my friends from the guild, ladies that I enjoy having sew-ins and retreats with. We share more than fabric, we share a lot of laughter!

Pattern cover showing Double Occupancy quilt pattern by Karen Overton
Advertised months in advance – we’ve “saved the date”  May 20th for Double Occupancy workshop

Friends and Fabric

Mindy is happily sewing her workshop project
Mindy helped with all the workshop arrangements and notifying students of homework and other details in preparation for a fun day of sewing

It wasn’t long before everyone had their sewing machines set up and all their beautiful precut fabrics neatly pressed, labeled and laid out eager to learn a new technique.

This pattern was designed with precut bundles in mind. Specifically 10″ squares and 2.5″ strips plus background. And of course, my recommended fabric was/is Island Batiks. They have the most gorgeous fabrics, and since the majority of the guild members actually live on Galveston Island (sadly I’m a mainlander) most of us have that tropical island outlook in our fabric choices.

student is sewing colorful fabric in the quilting workshop with Karen Overton
Libby looks like she is enjoying the process

That said, my quilting friends are unique individuals and do have different tastes in fabric choices – which I might add, based on experience, varies from project to project!  I rarely teach a class where it is a mandatory cookie cutter kit – while there are advantages to kits it is nice to offer a student the option of bringing their own fabric as I feel like you need to love the fabric if you are going to put that much time into making a quilt. Who needs another UFO quilt project! But I have to say, I really enjoyed seeing all the island batik fabrics of those who chose to use them! The other fabrics were equally stunning…A little Moda, a little Kaffe…all beautiful!

colorful pile of quilting units made with beautiful island batik fabrics
Island Batik fabrics are perfect for this Double Occupancy pattern

When designing this pattern I preferred the Island Batik precut bundles because there are an equal number of duplicates of the fabrics – 20 coordinated prints times two. I based my pattern off of this feature as only one-half of the package of both 10″ squares and 2.5″ squares is needed to make one quilt. The entire packages (plus background and borders) actually make two quilts! But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself!

Demo a Little, Sew a Lot

Karen Overton teaching her pattern Double Occupancy at a workshop
I love being able to demo the steps with the sewing machine instead of just presenting a handout or visual

I love teaching! And I love learning new techniques and designs. In my early years after I made my very first quilt, I turned around and taught 10 ladies and their daughters from my homeschool group to make the same quilt I just learned. For me, “it’s make – one teach ten!” I love sharing what I am doing with my friends!

ladies carefully watching a quilting workshop demonstration
I have very attentive students during the demo


Double Occupancy uses Studio 180 Design Rapid Fire Hunters Star Ruler in the larger size ruler (there’s a petite size). I demo-ed one step, sent the gals back to the machine to sew, then demo-ed the next step. Following this process most of the day. See one, do one….works for me!


student shows her progress in quilting workshop
Get it, got it – good! Way to go Mindy!
student in quilting workshop
Bonnie looks like she’s making good progress
student sewing in quilting workshop
Keep up the good work Libby!
student sewing in quilting workshop
Christine demonstrates good posture and good concentration (grin)
quilting student in workshop
See Katy, I told you that you were photogenic (and that I wouldn’t leave you out of the photos!)
lady showing her quilting block in a workshop setting
Terri you are just having way too much fun girlfriend!

Double the Fun

As I hinted to earlier – the pattern is designed to make two 68 x 68 quilts from one package of 10″ squares, one package of 2.5″ strips, plus background and border fabric. There are 13 different layout solutions in the pattern and I have personally made 9 of them with the remaining 4 being works in progress ( I work on them at sew-ins or work from them as my classroom demo). Sadly at this time, only the cover quilts are actually quilted.  Just like the old saying “a cobbler’s children have no shoes”, a longarm quilter is generally behind in quilting her own quilts.  I like to call the quilts with the same fabric choices “twins” – two identical fabric kits yet uniquely different. Just like people – no two are really alike. What I have enjoyed as I have taught this class is seeing the students’ completed quilt tops, same fabric + different layout = individual unique quilt. The hunter star is like a log cabin – endless layout possibilities!

Quilting workshop samples
Several quilt samples of Double Occupancy layouts were displayed around the classroom
colorful quilts on display around the workshop classroom floor
More layout choices for the Double Occupancy pattern

Friends Plus Fabric Equals Fun Fellowship

smiling lady at sewing machine
Leah seems to be enjoying the workshop

As the day went on the step by step techniques were demoed and the ladies just sewed and sewed. I like to teach to the individual. It’s been my experience that there are multiple learning styles as well as the speed of sewing that varies by the individual. Because of that, I tell everyone that “where you are is where you are supposed to be“. Sometimes the smoking needles are ready for the next step and other times someone needs a repeat demo. That’s what I’m there for. That and making all the mistakes so they don’t have to.  I can make some whoppers but I show how to work through them, fix them, or forget them! As I like to say “I fired the quilt police a long time ago.”

That’s not to say that I don’t strive for my best and I do teach proper technique, but I do remind my students that they are there to learn a technique and to allow themselves a little learning curve. Most people don’t sew their best in a group setting….for me it’s usually because I’m focused more on the conversations that my perfect quarter inch seam! Quilting is our passion, but we need to be kind to ourselves sometimes and just have fun. My motto that is hanging in my studio says “Striving to do my best with the skills and knowledge I have at the time with the goal of continually improving.”

student looks on as teacher demonstrates sewing technique
Striving to do my best with the skills and knowledge available at the time striving to continually improve. Yep, I love teaching workshops. especailly to students who are eager to learn something new and fun

I do like to introduce students to a sometimes new to them technique of using a pressing stick to press their seams open as I think you just get better results. Regardless of “press to the dark side” or press open, the proper technique of pressing is always an important detail as is good rotary cutting techniques.

lady ironing a quilt block
Bonnie is a very careful presser
Lady pressing quilt blocks
Libby is enjoying her new rotating pressing surface
students in quilting workshop
Trimming is important ladies! And make sure you are having fun doing it
lady cutting out a quilting block
Helena said she was enjoying her new cutting mat, the markings helped her to be more accurate. Good job!

One thing I love about Deb Tucker’s rulers is the success even beginner quilters have when using them – a little wiggle room is added to help with the piecing part and then when the unit is completed it is trimmed to perfection. Genius design makes happy quilters!

Happy Quilters

lady holding a quilt block make in the quilting workshop
Dena’s quilt is going to be fabulous with the Kaffe fabrics!

All too soon it was time to pack back up and head to the mainland leaving my island gals to their own paths home. While a one-day class doesn’t usually produce a finished quilt top I do believe that everyone went home with the knowledge and experience of using this specialty ruler and it is my hope that there will be lots of Double Occupancy quilts in upcoming Island Quilters Quilt show and tell!


photo of quilting workshop with Karen Overton
Double Occupancy Workshop – Island Girl style

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, on the road but not far from home

Do you enjoy quilting with friends? I’d love to have you share your thoughts, please leave a comment below!





3 Reasons Why You Should Join a Quilting Guild

Being a part of a quilting guild is sharing the love

Today we are celebrating National Quilting Day and what better way than to discuss the top three reasons why you should join a quilting guild if you haven’t already done so.


Reason #1 To Join a Quilting Guild: to Meet New Friends

Quilting Guilds are full of fun friendly folk
Joining a quilting guild will forge new friendships

It’s been my experience that quilters are some of the best people you could ever meet. Generally, they tend to be very unselfish and giving. Most quilters make quilts to give away. How many of you have a quilt made by a grandmother, mother or someone special? So, doesn’t that give you a hint of the kind of people you would find in a guild? Yep, a guild provides fun friendly folk that just happen to love quilting.

Quilting Guild Member Denise made this quilt as a gift
Denise made this Olivia quilt for a special family member
Members of Quilting Guilds are contributors to their community
Janielle made this quilted Ark Covering for her local synagogue
The beginnings of a beautiful large pillow top by quilting guild member Leah
Leah is making large quilted throw pillows for her college-age daughter and her roommates

Reason # 2 To Join A Quilting Guild: to be Inspired

Quilting Guild members share their talent and inspire others
Janielle always has a fun project to share. Her energy alone is inspiring

The members of my local quilt guild, The Island Quilters Guild from Galveston, hands down are a very inspiring group of ladies! I don’t even want to add up the years of combined experiences but I can tell you that each and every one in their own way is influencing my quilting journey.


Quilting Guilds are a place to observe and learn new techniques such as Millefiore English Paper Piecing
Jane has been patiently working on her Millefiore English Paper Piecing

I am always learning from my quilting guild friends by observing their fabric combinations, watch them exploring different styles, and observing new techniques. Not to mention seeing the latest notions, fabrics, designs and receiving shopping referrals! Being with my quilting friends is always infectious – in a good way – motiving me to go home and start a new project!

Being a part of a quilting guild provides opportunities for sewing with friends
I love sewing with my guild friends. On the design wall is my pattern Double Occupancy.









Reason # 3 to Join a Quilting Guild: to Share Your Quilting Passion 

Quilting Guilds support local community service projects by donating their time and quilts to those in need
Pat is a true example of unselfishness – she produces multiple quilts each month for community service

Quilt guilds offer a variety of activities from guest speakers, classes, show and share, community service projects, sew ins, retreats, seasonal parties, and for our island guild the annual bus ride from Galveston to the Houston International Quilt Festival for Preview Night each fall!

Quilting guild members share their creative love of quilting with others
Show and Share is my personal favorite thing about quilting guilds and sew ins – such creativity! Denise’s Jack’s Wheel reminded me that I have this pattern in my UFO closet. Time to get back to it!






Each guild has its own flavor and unique personalities. It never ceases to amaze me the talent of numerous seasoned quilters gathered together encouraging each other to sharpen their skills and try something new. I find it refreshing to know that quilting is being shared with the next generation. Bottom line I think it’s just plain fun to gather with folk who enjoy talking about quilting as much as I do.

New members are welcomed in quilting guilds as they celebrate their first quilt
Belonging to a quilting guild is a wonderful way to share your FIRST quilt! Congratulations on a job well done Diana
Taking classes is one benefit of belonging to a local quilting guild
LeMoyne Star Technique Class taught by Karen Overton at Island Quilters Guild

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time

Are you a member of a local or national quilt guild? What do you enjoy most about your guild? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Galentine’s Day 2017 Island Style

Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day? Projects for both were made at this weekend’s Sew In with the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston.

What is Galentine’s Day you say?

According to google search Galentine’s Day was “invented” by a fictional character on a program called Parks & Recreation to be celebrated each February 13th – it’s all about enjoying time with your lady friends, saving the romance for February 14th with your sweetheart.

February’s challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make Kennel Quilts but our bonus challenge is to make something for Galentine’s Day.

Love is Sharing Your Island Batik Fabrics

Knowing that I had an Island Quilters Guild Sew In over the weekend I began pulling fabric from my stash to go along with the Valentine fabric included in my ambassador box. My goal was to include my quilting friends in this project – after all, isn’t that the “true meaning” of Galentine’s Day! Girl time! Only thing better than girl time is girlfriend quilting time!!

Island Time – Island Quilters Guild Style

Janie is enjoying piecing together fabrics cut with the GoCutter
Janie makes quick time of her quarter square triangles cut with the AccuQuilt GoCutter

My Galveston Island girlfriends are the best, not only are they creative accomplished quilters, they are gracious and willing to set aside their own projects for a few hours to “play” in my Island Batik. fabrics.

Without further ramble, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves…sorta….

Sew Many Ideas!

Island Batiks Fabrics in Beautiful Valentine Colors
Ready Set Go – Such A Beautiful Pallet of Batiks to Work With For a Fun Galentine’s / Valentine’s Project

I couldn’t come up with an idea for a mug rug – actually, I had too many ideas! I’d been saving ideas to my Pinterest board but couldn’t seem to narrow it down. When quilting gives you too many decisions just make a purse!

No pattern, just making do. I had a candy wrapper saved from last year – the 150 year anniversary of Sweethearts, which IS my favorite Valentine candy. To protect the candy wrapper I placed a piece of vinyl over it before sewing the sashing strips from my batik stash. On the back, I made patchwork from the fat quarters provided in my Island Batik Ambassador box.

Add a phone pocket to the inside purse lining
Any purse of mine has to have a phone pocket!

I added a phone pocket to the lining piece before using the Fantastico from Superior Threads for the quilting.

Ready to quilt the purse piece using Superior Threads Fantastico, the perfect blend to the Island Batik fabrics

Guild sew ins always include teachable moments….Janie shared with me how to do machine appliqué – something I’m not too well-versed in. I like the way the hearts added to my little purse.

Janie is a willing teacher – she is demonstrating how to use the blanket stitch to go around the heart raw edge appliqué on the Galentine/Valentine purse project
Janie was more than gracious with this teachable moment – that’s what girlfriends do for each other!
Front view of my Galentine/Valentine Purse, perfect for date night
I just love the way the Island Batik fabrics blend together to make this patchwork sing. Enjoyed my first lesson on machine appliqué with the button hole stitch too.

More Projects

Pieced heart block
Dena make a quick project inspired by Missouri Star Quilt Company’s recent heart tutorial

Janie brought her AccuQuilt Go Cutter for our enjoyment. I loved the amazement on Shirley’s face as Janie showed her how a GoCutter worked! Didn’t take Shirley long to make her Galentine’s project.

GoCutter makes quick work of cutting out fabric
Shirley is genuinely amazed as she sees the ease in using the Accuquilt GoCutter in action cutting out the heart appliqué pieces for her Galentine’s Day project
Shirley used the heart die from the GoCutter for her Galentine's Day block
Shirley is all heart when it comes to requests to quilt with friends.
GoCutters are fast and easy to use
Katy used the GoCutter to cut squares for her project
Katy is our resident smoking needle, she makes quick work of any project.
Close up of Katy’s Galentine/Valentine pouch made with beautiful Island Batik fabrics

Our sew-in was a two-day event and I was pleased that more wanted to join in the fun on Saturday.

Braided mug rug made with Island Batik fabrics
Debbie joined the Galentine’s Day project fun with a colorful mug rug made with Island Batik fabrics
Mug Rug and Girl Scout Cookies
Debbie’s granddaughter had a very unique thank you card included with the delivery of the cookies – which look darling on this Galentine’s Day mug rug
Kennel Quilts are fun to make especially in Valentine Fabric from Island Batik
Pam’s Galentine’s Day Kennel Quilt in the Making

Pam decided she wanted to combine the two February challenges and made a Galentine’s Kennel Quilt.

I Have Great Gal-friends to Celebrate Galentine’s Day

We heart Island Batik fabrics
Shirley pieced the block & Karen quilted and bound it. Truly a Galentine’s Day collaboration between friends.
Three Amigas – Happy Galentine’s Day from the Island Quilters Guild and Island Batik Ambassadors!

How will you celebrate Galentine’s Day this year?

Island Batik scraps make a pretty picture themselves
Scrap cutting are the proof of a fun day playing in Island Batik Fabrics

Leave a comment and share!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling YOUR Story One Quilt At A Time




WIP, UFO or working on your PhD?

Quilters seem to have their own lingo. Take for example the acronyms mentioned above. WIP in quilt terms means Work In Progress. Whereas UFO is stretching it a bit to mean UnFinished Object. Here’s an interesting one, PIGS = Projects In Grocery Sacks. But I think my favorite one is PhD – Projects Half Done.  Doesn’t that sound SEW smart!

No matter what you call them, if you are like the majority of quilters I know you probably have a project or two that is in some sort of process of being finished.

Starting The New Year Off Right – Quilting With Friends!

I belong to the Island Quilters Guild in Galveston and one thing that I enjoy about this wonderful group of quilters is gathering with them once a month for our Sew-ins.  A Sew-In differs by definition from a  Quilt Retreat. Generally retreats are overnight adventures whereas a sew in is just a day event or multiple day event as the case may be. Either way there’s lots of sewing and chattering going on as quilters bring whatever project they are working on to the designated facility and work on their projects together. Sewing is always better with friends!


Have Sewing Projects Will Travel

In eager anticipation of this month’s sew in I packed up my belongings, picked out two WIP,  and loaded up the car to head south about 13 miles… about halfway there I realized that I hadn’t packed my thread…SIGH!!!  So back to the studio!

Don’t Forget The Thread

So to avoid matters such as this I have now created my ultimate checklist for Sew Ins and Quilt Retreats. You can download a copy here and print for your use. Never again will I waste precious sewing time due to a forgotten item!

The Quilt Rambler’s Sew In/Retreat Checklist


Nothing Like The Hum of a Sewing Machine

Our weekend for January was a little cold so there weren’t as many in attendance as usual – but our hearts were warmed as we laughed and sewed together. We schedule two days together a month for our sew-ins at a local recreation center, a Friday and a Saturday,  where we have the freedom  to come and go during the course of those two days. Some can only attend a few hours, some are morning folks, some are afternoon folks. Most bring their sewing machine, but on occasion someone will bring handwork, or occasionally someone will just drop by for lunch to visit. Have I mentioned that this is a friendly bunch?

I generally attend both days but this month I was able to attend Saturday only…I thought I’d walk you around the room and show off some of the fun things my quilting friends were working on this weekend.

This is Jane. Her professional background is in embroidery. One of her goals has been to challenge herself in completing an embroidered whole cloth. She brought her PhD to share with the group.

The color of the dupioni silk is so rich and yummy! Jane was explaining that the challenge of this project is lining up the individual designs…if you look closely you will see that this WIP is comprised of rectangle blocks set expertly together to be totally seamless.  Jane’s professionalism shines!

Jane’s Whole Cloth

Jane is also working on a Millefiori quilt and leading a group of like minded quilters in working through this challenging english paper piecing project. I have to admire her dedication to detail, not to mention all the handwork! Each sew-in Jane manages to add a little more to this fabulous piece. I will do my best to keep you updated on her progress.



Moving around the room lets take a look at what Marilyn is working on this weekend..

Marilyn’s Handiwork

Marilyn is our guild president this year.  It’s always interesting to see what a she is working on – especially certain times of the year as Marilyn makes these “out of this world” costumes and pageant dresses. She must have the patience of Job! This weekend she was working on beading and sequence for a bodice of a gown – if I remember correctly this will be for an upcoming Mardi Gras outfit. Amazing….all I have to say is Handwork Rocks Girlfriend!


Debbie knits

This is Debbie, our past guild president. Debbie is best known for her vibrant colorful quilts – you should have been there at the last guild auction when her bags of quilting scraps were well fought over! This weekend Debbie was like me, she didn’t have the luxury of being there both days…she has the privilege of keeping her grandchildren every now and then (who, by the way, all have the cutest quilts made by Debbie)….all that to say, she is so committed to the fellowship of our little group that  even knowing she only had a short while to be with us she made a point to join us and brought a more portable project this time! We were all excited when she walked in around lunchtime to join our happy little band of quilters. I didn’t know Debbie knitted…can’t wait to see the finished project! Maybe next sew in or guild meeting she will bring it for “show and tell.”

This is Katy, also known as a  smokin’ needle. Which by my definition is someone who knows how to put the peddle to the metal and keep that machine hummin’ at lightening speed. Katy is one of those gals who has dozens of UFO’s and manages to finish several quilts whenever we are together. I’ve been on retreats and sew ins with her in the past where she finished up a top and managed to machine quilt it and bind it all in one setting. Did I mention that she’s a smokin’ needle? On this particular morning Katy was working on a row of flying geese  and by lunchtime Katy had this cute little baby quilt sewn together ready to add the baby’s name on the bottom border! Did I mention that she was a smokin’ needle – yep, she’s fast…but better than that, she’s good at what she does!

As someone who “makes a living” in the quilt industry I do my best to take “time off” to work on my own personal projects – this is why I appreciate our guild for hosting these sew ins and I do my best to attend as many as possible.

Karen’s PhD

Last July we had our annual 3 day Island Quilters Guild Sew In. THREE DAYS! I make this a high priority on my calendar to attend each year bringing as many UFO’s, PIGS, WIP, and PhD’s as possible. Last year I actually brought something new to work on the last day of the event. I had recently been cleaning out an area of my studio and found a ruler

and book by Lazy Girl Designs

I made this little top in one day from a  package of 2.5″ inch strips. And then it became a WISP = Work In Slow Process…

Until the January Sew- In that is! By lunchtime I  had added borders and my UFO became a TGIF = Thank Goodness Its Finished.

Karen’s UFO became a TGIF


Pieced backing

Actually it has become what I fondly call a Quilt in Waiting…as in it is a pieced top waiting to be quilted – and then it’s “Finished is Good.”  I ended up with a few pieced blocks that didn’t make it into the quilt top so decided to go ahead and piece them into the backing. Now it’s really ready for the longarm! Hum…wonder how long it will take to work into The Quilt Rambler rotation? Grin. “A cobbler’s kids have no shoes.”

We had a few more join us after lunch….so to continue with the show and share…

This is Pam, she’s a fiber artist/art quilter and recently new to our Galveston guild and to the island itself. She’s not a stranger to quilting or being known among the national quilting scene (she is friends with lots of nationally known quilters.) Pam was working on a little project for the Houston chapter of SAQA – Studio Art Quilt Associates. If I understood her correctly this is a piece that she will be teaching at an upcoming meeting with that guild.  And look!  she did all the handwork, embellishments, quilting and binding at sew in. Yep! Finished is good!

Did I mention that  Katy’s a smokin’ needle? She started another WIP, this time a paper piecing project…I believe she said this was going to be part of a placemat set.  I love the colors – so tropical on such a cold winter’s day.

Sometimes in the excitement of making quilts we lose track of some of the ones that just need to be finished. That’s what’s so wonderful about sew-ins! I have lined up all my UFO’s in a priority order and plan on working through as many as possible this year. Some date back to 1995!

Dena joined us after lunch. She was working on a very old project….seems this was one of her first quilts, part of a sampler class she took years ago at the community college. She was hand-quilting it and is almost finished…If you look closely you can see where she embroidered “Dena’s first quilt 1992 -20__” she said as soon as she finishes she will fill in the blank with the finished year. Talk about a major accomplishment!  Hum…is it considered Vintage or Antique if something is over 25 years old? Just kidding Dena – I think it is beautiful and a great memorial to your many successful years of quilting – looks like you passed your college class and have become a world-class quilter!

Dena’s almost finished quilt

Janielle is another quilter/knitter of the group.  This weekend she was working on finishing up several UFO’s. This first quilt top was pieced from a book called Jelly Roll Jambalaya Quilts 

I’m typically not a “brown” person (preferring bright jewel tones) but I do love batiks and this pattern just spoke to me.  Janielle was layering it to machine quilt and made good progress. She mentioned that this would be a charity quilt.  Through the generosity of our members our guild provides many quilts each year to various local charities.

Janielle’s Charity Quilt

Janielle brought blocks from another project also from the Jelly Roll Jambalaya Quilt book. (I just ordered my copy!)  It wasn’t long before she had these together in a quilt top.


Janielle’s blocks turned quilt top

Janielle did say that she is going to consider adding a border to this top. Her thoughts “some quilts just need a border to frame them in and I think this is one of them.”

Karen’s Second UFO

Not to be accused of being idle, I started on my second WIP after lunch. This is a top I pieced at a retreat last February called Stereo by Jaybird Quilts.

The pattern doesn’t call for a border but I wasn’t as pleased with my color choices as the original pattern so I thought it might look more contained if it had a border….

What do you think?

Karen’s 2nd UFO turned TGIF

All too soon it was time for me to call it a day. The event wasn’t “over” but my time was limited. Sigh. I was so pleased to finish two PhD’s in one setting – that sounds sew smart doesn’t it?

Before I left I noticed Janielle pulled out another WIP, a beautiful Hunter’s Star that I believe she said Pam was quick to call “Dibs” when Janielle said she was probably going to give this one away… Time will tell.

Thanks for joining me for the ramble. I have a nice group of quilting friends from the island – I’m sure you will see more of their beautiful creations as time goes by.

Don’t forget to download your copy of the The Quilt Rambler’s Sew In/Retreat Checklist

Happy Sewing!

This is Karen, The Quilt Rambler, telling your story one quilt at a time!

Please leave a comment below as we’d love to hear from you!