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Celebrating 21 Years!

 

 

Stellar Sojourn

 

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 from there!

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, "Stellar Sojourn."

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," explains Kathy.

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?!"

 

From there, Kathy recreated the design in a quilting software program, then played with the colors and changed the borders. The resulting quilt is spectacular! From the central "Lone Star" motif, diamonds radiate out into an outer border of 20 "Virginia Star" blocks utilizing a dazzling palette of fuchsia, hot pink, coral, gold, pinks, tans and browns, for a rich, warm feel. (So spectacular that we chose to feature this quilt on the cover of our Spring 2000 Amish Country News!)

Today, "Stellar Sojourn" hangs on the wall of Kathy’s bedroom, a tribute to almost a year’s worth of love and dedication to her art. I imagine it’s the first thing Kathy sees every morning. Even on cloudy days, sunlight fills the room through a vibrant and colorful quilt that Kathy says, "Makes me smile whenever I look at it!"

Amish Country News Cover Article 
by Carla Wolfe (2000)

 

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