It seems to be the story of every serious quilter I’ve met, and it always
starts the same… "I’ve always been artsy and crafty, truly enjoying
doing things with my hands." Quilting just happened to be something that
caught this woman’s interest and "Bam!" She excelled at it!
For Kathy Riley of Holbrook, New York, it was the same, but those other
crafty things (cross stitching and embroidery) seemed to fall to the wayside
after short periods of interest. Interestingly, Kathy got her start in quilting
through a book club! "Let’s Make a Patchwork Quilt" book title
caught her eye—it just looked neat to her. Kathy ordered the book, then
checked out other quilting books from her local library and everything ballooned
That was back in 1983 when Kathy was experiencing a painful personal loss and
her newfound interest in quilting helped to drive her and get her out of bed
each morning. Today, Kathy is a strong and joyful woman, a talented quilter who
has excelled in her craft to the point of a 1999 Quilters’ Heritage
Celebration first place achievement for her pieced traditional quilt,
What Kathy enjoys most about the art form is the handquilting that goes into
a piece. "At the quilting stage, when all of the fabric is put away, all
the scraps swept up, and the chore of cutting, sewing and trimming is over,
there is a peacefulness, almost meditative, about taking a two-dimensional
design drawn on the fabric and making it become 3-D in your very hands,"
Kathy also enjoys playing with colors. "I want a quilt to catch my
eye!" exclaims Kathy. And in her own pieces she ensures this with bright
and invigorating colors—blended with her favorite color, brown. "I get
teased because I love the color brown," laughs Kathy, "but there is
just something about it. It’s warm and rich and a great blender."
Her masterpiece, "Stellar Sojourn," was inspired when looking
through an antique quilt book. The piece caught her eye. It was very simple, and
strictly indigo blue and white, but it sparkled and had a vibrance about it.
Kathy thought, "If it’s doing that in just blue and white, what’s it
going to do when I get a hold of it?!"