Observations on Karen Stone's Style

Notes from a Karen Stone Trunk Show, displayed at Country Calico's quilting shop in Plano, Texas, December 10 - 15th, 1996. This article was originally posted to usenet December 11, 1996.


First, I forgot my housemate needed the car for a job interview this morning. So, I missed most of the two hour period she was there for. I did get to stop in for about half an hour, look around, and chat with Karen.

She was very nice. One thing I have learned is that most of these "famous" quilting personalities are just people like us. I was pretty nervous, but she made me feel comfortable talking with her.

The quilts. Everything I saw was wall-hanging size, which I guess is what her patterns make up to be. There were, oh, ten or twelve on display, most were the examples from the pattern covers. The oft-photographed New York Beauty and Lone Star quilts were there, smaller than I expected. I had always thought of them as queen-sized....

She uses the most amazing fabric combinations. I don't think it comes through in the pictures at all. The patterns look so fancy and bright, and she doesn't use metallics. She uses lots of "old fashioned" prints, calicoes, reproductions, and the like. She commented that her fabric at home "looks like old men's pajamas". In the Lone Star quilt nearly every piece is a different fabric. I asked how she bought fabric and she said she buys little pieces of everything she likes rather than large pieces of only a few of them. While I was there she was running around selecting a really chaotic pile of prints, lots of 30's reproductions, lots of calicoes. Looked like the clearance baskets in some shops,the orphans nobody likes. She makes the oddest things work.

The other things I noticed were her finishing details. The backs of some wall-hangings were pieced. Some of the bindings were pieced. She uses narrow bindings, they hardly show sometimes. One of the bindings looked like a strip of loose-woven suit weight silk or linen. Several of them had very narrow black cord set in as piping. (She confessed to finding it on clearance at her local Hancocks and buying the whole reel.)

The quilting on the Lone Star was done with couched embroidery floss in various tones. Reminded me of one of those imported pillows. New York Beauty was heavily quilted, less than 1/4 apart in some areas. Everything she had hanging up was machine quilted, very extensively, using a variety of rich patterns. Mostly she used different thread colors, too. It looked silky, like those machine embroidery spools. I'm not sure, but the heavy quilting may have been an effort to get the things to lie flat. They had waves in them like the Pacific Ocean. :)

Part two: at the Dallas Quilt Guild

This article generates many requests for information on Karen Stone's schedule, contact information, and patterns. I'm sorry to say that I cannot give you any information about her availability for shows or meetings. To contact Karen, look for her information on her published patterns. Her patterns are available in most quilt shops and mail-order catalogs. Foothill Fabrics seems to carry the entire line of patterns at their web site.

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This page last updated on: January 13, 1997.