My Crazy, Quilty Life

Karlee Porter Workshop!

Karlee - aka the Graffiti Quilter - made the trip to Edmonton from Utah to teach a workshop.

If you don't know her work, the link I've provided (above) will take you to her gallery.
Jaw. Dropping.

Here is one of my favourites. In person, it absolutely shimmers. It was made for a competition sponsored by Swarovski, so is loaded with crystals! I think the design is brilliant. It won first place in the contest, so I guess I'm not alone in that thinking!

Shimmering Symphony, by Karlee Porter.

Karlee is a generous teacher, allowing us to browse her personal journals & sketchbooks, take photos at will, and handle her quilts - even this one!

Here is a detail of Shimmering Symphony.

Detail, Shimmering Symphony by Karlee Porter.
The next is obviously a professional photo.
The quilt was draped over a sofa - my feet are just a bonus. Ha!

Russian Mosque, by Karlee Porter

What a treat to be "up close and personal" with Karlee's quilts.

After we drew for a few hours, we were sent to the machines to try out some designs. This (photo below) was my first attempt at stitching graffiti-style.

Graffiti quilting attempt #1, by Carole @

Even though it's always a challenge to use unfamiliar equipment, I'm so glad that Sparrow Studioz offered a hands-on experience. Karlee's coaching was invaluable. I shamelessly eavesdropped as she helped others in the room, and was able to ask for advice if I felt stuck.

Here is the piece I did on day two . . . on another unfamiliar machine. This one hated me.

Oh, well. The point was to learn - not to worry about perfection - and learn I did!!!

Graffiti quilting, Day 2, by Carole @

People often question Karlee about the practicality of this kind of quilting. Can it be translated for use on a full-sized quilt?

The answer is YES, very effectively!

Here, you can see the stitching on the back of a larger quilt. It is scaled way up, and there is far less over-stitching, but the idea of "smashing" designs together, graffiti-style, is the same as before.

Karlee Porter, quilt back

This is what the front of the quilt looks like - sorry for the blurriness, but Karlee moved just as I snapped. I didn't want to stop the trunk show and ask for a re-take!

Karlee Porter, quilt front

After a bit of practice, this will be an option my clients can choose! (So exciting!!!) I think it looks fantastic over simple piecing.

Thanks for a fabulous class, Karlee!!!

Carole (left) & Karlee (right)

Bargello Workshop

Before heading out to become a student in Karlee's class, I spent a day being a teacher. I love experiencing both roles - especially in the same week!

Starting with strips pieced before class began helped speed things along on workshop day. The ladies were able to dive right in, slicing and dicing . . .

Organizing and labeling . . .

Laying out strips . . .

And sewing strips together . . .

By two p.m. several runners were at the halfway point, and by the end of the day the ladies were well on their way to finished tops!

This is a sorry-looking photo of my class sample, but it gives an idea of the final design.

Fresh off the Frame!

With one thing and another, it had been a month since I hit the frame, so this finish felt particularly great!

Client quilt,

The quilt had been handed over to me with the comment, "Have fun!".

So I did! 

I experimented with the borders, running the quilting around the corners as though the piecing continued in the same way.

I didn't want to mark the quilt for fear the marks wouldn't come out, so I used basting stitches to help me visualize where to quilt.

To keep the cost reasonable I chose to free-hand fill the spaces right up to the seams instead of stitching in every ditch (though I did what was necessary to help control the quilt).

Fingers crossed that my client will be happy when she sees her quilt . . . !!!

I love my crazy, quilty life!!! 

Tomorrow my beautiful daughter will help me get a decent "head shot" for my professional portfolio.  Should only take about a million tries. I'm hoping we manage something that won't make me cringe, so fingers crossed for that, too! Ha!

Quilt Canada is coming soooonnn!!! More excitement. 
In the meantime, 

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. I love hearing from you, so don't be shy. Tell me what you think!
P.P.S. Check out my sidebar to see where the parties are. There's something fun every day of the week!


  1. Wow! That is some pretty cool quilting. I especially like the graffiti quilting. Heck - they're all neat!

  2. Cool quilting! I love all the colors used. Well done Carole!

  3. What amazing work Karlee does and how special to be in her class. It looks pretty challenging but you did really well. Aren't Bargello classes so much fun as the quilts are always so dramatic and fun to make.

  4. I love your attempt at graffiti quilt style. You shouldn't be so disparaging - its terrific.
    Nice work on that client quilt too.

  5. I love this graffiti quilting, can't wait until I have just the right quilt for you to "practice" on!

  6. How awesome to get to have class time with Karlee. I think your practice samples look great, and I look forward to seeing you do more of it! I hope the photo shoot goes well today. :)

  7. Having tried some graffiti quilting myself this past week, I really enjoyed that part of your post - I'd really enjoy a class like that! Neat stuff!

  8. My goodness Carole - You are a natural at this graffiti quilting! Looking forward to seeing what you can create when you have a cooperative sewing machine. Karlee's class looks like a lot of fun and she has tremendous talent.

    Your Bargello class looks like a blast! You are very well organized if your students can get that far along so quickly.

    The latest Fresh Off the Frame quilt is sure to leave your client thrilled!

  9. Your ladies look like they made so much progress, they must have been very happy with your workshop. And the graffiti quilting looks amazing, although I think it makes me think of tattoos as much as graffiti.

  10. Hello Carole,

    I love Karlee's quilting. It must have been such an inspiring class with her. You did brilliantly, especially as you had to experiment on an unfamiliar machine. I shall have to try it one day, but will have to rename it. Graffiti just calls to mind rude words scrawled on walls.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv


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