Welcome back to Quilt Story Saturday. I can’t wait to share the story behind the story of my quilt pattern Illuminated Journey in print now and ready for distribution! The process has indeed been a journey, so settle in for a little while and join me as I share my journey with you!
"Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien
What’s A Journey Without Friends:
I’ve always said my claim to fame is I know famous people. Well, within the quilting world anyway! Early in my longarm career as Quilts ‘N Kaboodle, I enjoyed the company of many renown longarm quilters and through these associations met other “famous quilters.” Some who really are humble and don’t consider themselves famous at all… My friend Tom Russell was that way. I met Tom in 2006 when he attended a longarm workshop I was hosting with a well-known teacher. We just seemed to have a connection and through the years would enjoy running into each other at quilt shows, occasionally we’d get together and share a meal, and we’d talk on the phone a lot or email since he lived “across the great divide” – I was south of Houston to his north side living. Tom was one of my encouragers and when he would visit the studio I’d always ask his opinion on a current project so it wasn’t unusual to ask for his help concerning a quilt I was designing…
Somewhere around 2011 or 2012 I met Deb Tucker of Studio 180 Design and fell in love with her Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star Ruler. Each year at Houston International Quilt Festival I’d go hang around her booth to see (and purchase) the latest tool or pattern. If you’ve been with me for any length of time you will know that I’m now a Certified Instructor with Studio 180 Design and that I will be forever indebted to her, Jeff and Sue for taking me in as a Harvey refugee. Tuckerland is a wonderful place to be stranded…
So as part of my ramble about Illuminated Journey‘s creation, it did begin with playing around with Deb’s tools. Enter an invitation from Carla at Cactus Quilts in Texas City to be one of her teachers on her upcoming quilting cruise in 2015. Have I mentioned how much I love cruising! I remember running my design by Tom to seek his opinion and then I was excited to show it to Deb at the 2014 Houston Quilt Festival – a lot happens at festival – if you haven’t been then you simply must add it to your bucket list!
You may notice there are two versions in the photo above. I decided against the one with the diamond border as it was a little fussy and might be frustrating to my cruising quilters, opting instead to teach the piano key border. Oh, and did I mention that the fabrics chosen were from Island Batik – one package of their 2.5″ strip precuts plus one yard of fabric is all you need for this beauty. I neglected to mention that around 2011 or 2012 I met Caleb Willis with Island Batik at Fall Market and was very pleased that he had time to talk to me as I didn’t “have an appointment” and I wasn’t a “shop owner” but only a teacher. Caleb treated me like I was his biggest buyer, so kind. I was later surprised and humbled to find that he is the President and CEO of the company!
Let The (Illuminated) Journey Begin!
I’ve always said I get by with a little help from my friends! Well, it was time to write a pattern for the cruise, and I needed help! I needed pattern testers that would see if my written instructions could produce a quilt. I called in three girlfriends whom I dubbed my “P-3’s”. Which stood for pattern proofing peeps and there were three of them! Trish, a seasoned quilter who “quilts by picture”, Donna who said she would focus on the written word and Dianne who was a relatively a new quilter. Oh, the story the studio walls could tell!
Illuminated Journey travels!
I totally enjoyed teaching my pattern Illuminated Journey on Carla’s cruise. The students were great! We sewed until midnight! You can do that on a cruise you know!
Fast forward to May 2017 when I traveled with my friend Dianne to Arizona to teach Illuminated Journey – that was a fun trip as I’ve never been to Arizona before!
The (Illuminated) Journey Takes A New Direction
"Life is a walk. Each day we take steps. Our tomorrow is determined by the steps we take today" Stormie Omartian Just Enough Light For The Step I'm On
Somewhere along the journey, I found myself submitting my pattern to Island Batik for consideration for their Fall Market 2017 Collection of fabrics. I remade Illuminated Journey in the fabric collection Paisley Dot
The design was accepted, and the quilt was shipped to the corporate offices in California to be photographed. It will be a part of their traveling trunk show and will be returned by fall of this year. Well, that meant a pattern redo!
Enter my new friends who have made me look good! First I have to thank our oldest son Eric for his photography that I used on the cover. Then I truly need to thank Lindsie Bergevin and Leslie Meltzer for their expertise. Lindsie is my graphic artist who created my branding, designed the cover, drew all the illustrations and basically put the pattern in its present form with the help of Leslie who is a copy/text editor. Oh, my did these ladies work hard for me! My original pattern had photographs, was in a format that dictated almost starting from scratch, and seriously in need of a makeover! I can’t thank them enough!
The Illuminated Journey
As I look at my pattern in its infancy and where it is as of today I am truly pinching myself! The pattern is printed and almost ready to ship….that is another story for another time as there were printing issues on top of issues…that was then this is now!
The Journey Continues
Illuminated Journey is the beginning of my new pattern line offerings from The Quilt Rambler. The next pattern Mint Chocolate Chip is on the drawing board and should be released by the end of March. There are a couple of more “secret quilts” in the works to come out around Spring Market 2018. So many things happening at once! Coming soon will be online shopping here on The Quilt Rambler website…in the meantime, you can find my pattern and kit from these fine online suppliers. And ask your local quilt shop to consider carrying Illuminated Journey – and they can ask me to teach a workshop too!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, thanks for sharing my journey – Hope you will make your own Illuminated Journey!
Tom Russell, December 13, 1961 - January 18, 2015 I will forever be grateful that our paths crossed in this journey. Thank you for being my encourager. Thank you for being a true friend. You are missed.