Quilt Story Saturday – My Illuminated Journey

Illuminated Journey quilt pattern by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler

Illuminated Journey quilt pattern by The Quilt Rambler, Karen OvertonWelcome 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…


Karen Overton and Tom Russell at Houston International Quilt Festival 2011 celebrating our projects being published in Lonestars III, A Legacy of Texas Quilts.


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!

The original Illuminated Journey quilts by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler
Deb Tucker and Karen Overton with her two versions of Illuminated Journey November 2014


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!

Caleb Willis, Island Batik President and CEO with Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler at Fall Market 2017

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! 

My P3’s – Pattern Proofing Peeps –  Trish, Donna and Dianne helped me proof my pattern Illuminated Journey


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! 

Cruising in 2015 with Cactus Quilts, Karen Overton enjoyed teaching her pattern Illuminated Journey


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!

Illuminated Journey – on top of the world – well, at least at a higher elevation than normal!


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!

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


Illuminated Journey by The Quilt Rambler photo credit Overton Photography
Illuminated Journey, photo credit Overton Photography


Lindsie Bergevin, Design by Lindsie


Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler,  and Leslie Meltzer, 50 Sq Ft Studios, at Fall Market 2017


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!

Illuminated Journey pattern has been updated and reprinted. This is the original quilt and pattern
The original Illuminated Journey and pattern created in 2014


Illuminated Journey has been updated and revised in 2018

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!

illuminated Journey can be ordered from Hancock of Paducah and AQS
Illuminated Journey pattern and kit is available from AQS and Hancock’s of Paducah.


This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, thanks for sharing my journey – Hope you will make your own Illuminated Journey!

10/30/14 Fall Market

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 
Thank you for being 
a true friend.

You are missed.












10 thoughts on “Quilt Story Saturday – My Illuminated Journey

  1. Susan the Farm Quilter says:

    Beautiful quilt!! Congratulations on all the exciting news!!! Have a blast on the quilting cruise…on my bucket list!!

  2. Kathleen McCormick says:

    What a wonderful story! I love this pattern, and I have used the rapid fire rulers and they are a dream. Good luck with your patterns and wishing you more “chance” encounters that add to your quilting story.

  3. Brenda A says:

    Love your quilting story, Karen. I haven’t tried the ruler, but I can see it in my foreseeable future as stars are just the bomb to me!! I love your pattern. Thanks for sharing your story…I’m glad to have found you along my quilt journey!

    • TheQuiltRambler says:

      Oh you are so sweet Brenda – I do hope you will give the Lemoyne star ruler a try – it’s so addicting- you can “Tuckerize” any pattern and make it so much better!

  4. Sandra Walker says:

    Isn’t it amazing where quilting can take us these days? Wonderful story from early beginnings to now with more patterns in the works! I love that name, Mint Chocolate Chip

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