Category: Favorites (Page 1 of 3)

Image of Quick Trip Quilt

Tropical Trip/Quick Trip by Eleanor Burns

Get a taste of Karla’s favorites when it comes to all things quilting.

Find Karla’s favorites here – from her most beloved quilts to her highly recommended quilting tools.

All the best things.

Karla shares her quilt show pics as well as best summer reads, recipes, retreat checklists and a whole lot more!


Find quilt magazine reviews, tool recommendations, and summer books (and quilts) recommendations.

Quilters who are favorites.

Read blog posts about top quilting names and winners in the quilting world. Do you love to see a quilt author break into the Hallmark movie genre? Find that here, too!




AQ Magazine Review

AQ Magazine, also known as American Quilter, features a stunning black and white quilt with a splash of mint green on it’s cover. Get a review of this issue right here.

As you read on the cover of AQ Magazine, their motto is: Discover, Inspire, Create.

You’ll likely enjoy the first article in this issue is called, “Give Your Quilt a Bath”! It gives you step by step guidance on how to bathe a quilt that just can’t go into a washing machine. I found the specific instructions (with illustrations) from how to submerse to how to remove the quilt very helpful.

Inside AQ Magazine, you’ll also find seven “irresistible” quilt patterns, some “how-to” articles, and features by contributors. The seven quilt patterns include three “easy”, three “intermediate”, and one “challenging”.

American Quilter is a perk of membership with AQS (American Quilter Society), but is also available on the newsstand. This March 2021 newsstand issue is $6.99.

You’ll find a feature display of MJ Kinman’s “Bourbon Diamonds” which is as interesting as the quilts are beautiful. You might recall the exhibit featured at The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky in 2020.

One regular contributor, Gail Garber, discusses the use of color versus contrast with many photo examples.

I hope you find this review of AQ Magazine helpful. Because I’ve found American Quilter to be a high-quality publication, I started with this issue. I can say from a personal standpoint, the company is delightful to work with. I’ll leave a few pics of Merle’s Bouquet here. It was a lot of fun to have her featured in this quality magazine!

Image of AQ Magazine Cover
Image of Quilt in AQ Magazine
Image of Quilt and Focus Fabric
Merle’s Bouquet Pattern and Focus Fabric Kit

Look for more reviews and new patterns coming soon!

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A Quilter Who Inspires

Behind every quilter is a quilter who inspires them.

Maybe it’s a grandmother, mother, aunt, uncle, neighbor, or friend. Maybe the quilter is someone you’ve never met but viewed on Instagram or Pinterest or read about in a magazine. While quilting inspiration is everywhere…the tiles of a building or the view of a garden…those who inspire us can turn our likes into passion.

Is there a quilter who inspires you?

Here is one quilter who inspires me: Kathy Doughty. I met Kathy once, very briefly in Houston at quilt market. (I’m certain she does not remember me.) I was very familiar with her work and sought out her booth.

Image of a Quilter who Inspires
Kathy Doughty

I used to say that I’d love to live in a house I could get lost in (with twists and turns and secret stairways). Well, I’m kinda the same way about quilts. I’ve mentioned before that I love and appreciate all kinds of quilt styles: traditional, modern, primitive, one- color, two-color, appliqued, pieced…etc….

But the quilts that really spark my interest are quilts I can get lost in!

Kathy Doughty is a quilter who inspires me because I get lost in her quilts. Your brain can’t grab the full story of her quilts at first glance. When you look at Kathy’s quilts, you are drawn back in to study, to make sense of the design. You have to ponder the quilts to figure out how the fabric motifs and colors work together.

It’s not obvious, like, for example, in my grandmother’s two-color lilac and white quilt. While I cherish everything about the family heirloom quilt, it tells me it’s whole story at first glance. It’s very calm and peaceful.

When Kathy was interviewed for American Patchwork and Quilting magazine (June 2017), she responded to a question about fabric and color choices with,

“I like to make quilts that have secondary patterns and are not digestible in a glance.”

Kathy Doughty

I just rediscovered this article when going through old magazines, wondering why I’d kept this one- THIS is why! Kathy is unafraid of color and pattern, but she has a healthy respect for design. Maybe one reason Kathy inspires me is because her ability to combine color and pattern to the degree she does still alludes me. I guess something achieved wouldn’t be very inspirational, would it?

Kathy has a number of books that feature her vividly and interesting quilts. I keep her books handy, where I see them often. Just opening these books to revisit the quilt photos gives me inspiration to try new combinations, new colors – to step out of my comfort zone, and expand the horizons of my own little quilting world.

Kathy Doughty’s shop, Material Obsession, is located in Australia. Here’s the link to her shop – check it out!

Kathy is also a fabric designer and, as you might expect, her designs are vibrant and full of interest!

Here is her latest fabric line: New Vintage!

To see another quilter who inspires, click HERE for “Quilt Week Faves”

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SHOP Creative Bee Studios – More than 40 designs that use BOTH beautiful sides of fabric! #usebothsides

Quilting Accountability-for FUN

Have you ever said to a friend: I’m starting a diet – ask me next week if I’m still on it.?

Well, friends, I’m asking you to ask me if I’ve completed this project!

Here is my latest on-the-go, in-the-wings, relax-time project. I may have bitten off more than I can chew! It’s EPP (English Paper Piecing) – to the MAX!

Sometimes I need my friends to keep me accountable, so ask me!

First, this design is from the great Willyne Hammerstein’s book, Millefiori Quilts. The pattern is called La Passacaglia! Willyne’s quilts are just amazing and LARGE EPP projects – this one uses just five shapes to make the book cover quilt you see here.

Image of New Quilt Project

And you can see my start – LOTS to go!

Instead of using papers that have to be removed, I like to use Apliquick fusible – a very light-weight material that you fuse onto the reverse side of your shapes. When it cools, it is just stiff enough to hold its shape as you fold the fabric over it. A touch of a glue stick holds the seam allowances in place as you stitch your shapes together. The fusible is so light, there’s no need to remove anything – a big plus, I think!

Because the pre-cut Appliquick only comes in hexagon shapes, I purchased yardage of it. Then found these wonderful Custom Quilt Set templates by Cabin in the Woods, made specifically for the La Passacaglia.

Image of Templates Kit

As you can see, each template has the center cut out, so you can use the inner template to cut your fusible and the outer template for the fabric. These templates are nice and thick, so they are easy to hang on to and you can use them as quilting templates, too.

Image of Templates

This project is one I suspect will take years – or a decade! But I will say it is addicting and, like hand-quilting, goes faster than you might think. But I only plan to work on it while traveling or when I want a bit of evening handwork to do. Stay tuned for updates as this quilt grows. Full disclosure: I’m not totally committed to it being as large as the pattern says, which is 144 x 176 cm (57 x 69 inches), but that would be quite COOL! We’ll just have to see…as time goes by. See the portion I’m working on now for perspective!

Image of Quilt

Stay tuned for updates – follow me on Facebook @ Creative Bee Studios and tell share your next challenging project with us all!

See a small update to this project here!

SHOP Creative Bee Studios #usebothsides patterns and kits! New designs and announcements coming SOON!

Quilt Retreat Checklists

It’s time to dust off those quilt retreat checklists! YAY!

Over the years I’ve compiled lists of items to take on retreats and some are more unusual than others! Compare your retreat checklists to mine and make sure you don’t leave home without a thing!

Image of Tool Holder for retreat checklist

Also, check out these previous blog posts in case you are wondering about some of these items: Quilt Retreat Take-Alongs 2019 AND Quilt Retreat Checklist 2018 AND Quilt Retreat Take-Alongs 2017

First, let’s hit the basics:

To begin, you want your sewing machine! Basic supplies also include your instruction manual, needles, thread, scissors, seam ripper, extra light bulb, and make-up applicator style Q-tips.

Next, double check that you have your foot pedal and electrical cord with your machine!

Now add some fun and creative stuff to make your work space just right!

You might consider extra lighting, electrical strips, and extension cords. Remember to bring charging cords for phones, tablets, fitness trackers, etc.

Don’t forget your design wall or make-do with a fleece blanket or flannel-backed table cloth. You’ll need painter’s tape or push pins to hang the fleece or tablecloth. Throw in your 1/4 inch seam guide and 3M removable tape, rotary mat and blades. Bring your portable iron and ironing surface. Add in cutting and specialty rulers, fabric spray, and various scissors (depending on your projects).

Toss your guild directory in your bag so you can get to know the new members at retreat!

Finally, remember to pack your personal items. These should include comfortable clothing, pajamas, walking shoes, pain reliever, and maybe a back massager. I personally also throw in DVDs, a book and book light, a personal heater, and my yoga workout, so I don’t leave retreat in pain!

Need an easy quilt project? SHOP Creative Bee Studios and use BOTH beautiful sides of your fabric!

Traditional Christmas Colors or NOT for Quilting

Christmas traditions abound. It is a season filled with activities we do over and over. Traditional Christmas colors are a big part of that tradition. It’s the things you do every year, without fail. Like rules, you don’t mess with tradition!

But families change. Kids grow up. Christmas traditions (including colors) do change.

What do traditional Christmas colors have to do with quilting?

I always took pride in our Christmas traditions from decorations to cookies. We listened to certain music and watched specific Christmas movies. We always baked the same cookie recipes. I actually used to think I had to use every decoration we owned each year.

Well, a few years back, aqua became the new Christmas color…wait, what? That’s not even one of the traditional Christmas colors!

It took me a moment…but only a moment, to embrace that idea. I threw that red and green tradition (rule) out the window!

(To be fair, aqua happens to be my favorite color.)

Therefore, I stopped using my quilts of traditional Christmas colors of red and green anymore. As quilters, you’ll understand, I had to make new ones with all the pretty blues!

I think a lot of people embraced the blue Christmas – for one or two seasons. However, for me it was a NEW tradition!

In other words, I found that my comforting traditions were holding me back. Similarly, the rules I’d embraced as a quilter were doing the same.

For example, last year I realized that the beloved tradition I’d started at our old house of making St. Lucia Bread, hadn’t risen properly one time at our new house – ten years in a row! (I’d tried all the yeast tricks, too.)

I made the original “JOY” quilt pattern using a vintage ornament fabric that was very classic Christmas colors. Therefore, in a need to show how a variety of fabrics could be used for this pattern, I stitched this new JOY – using both beautiful sides of a digital aqua Hoffman panel!

Image of JOY Quilt Hanging not using Christmas tradition colors
JOY Quilt Pattern

Fast forward to grown kids, job schedules, tight budgets, and limited time together. We changed Christmas traditions this year. We are brainstorming about how to make our time fun and meaningful. What’s interesting is that the more we talk about setting aside our old traditions (rules), the more creative we have become in our brainstorming. A weight was lifted.

Seriously, how is this post about quilting?

Now, when I first started quilting, I was all about the rules (traditions). I wanted to learn every single one of them. Some were paramount to good technique and skill-building and very important. Others were just plain silly. I heard a quilter say one day, “Rules are meant to be broken”.

It was then I realized I had ingested each one of those rules. I realized that some rules (traditions) were limiting my joy for quilting and my creativity for fear of breaking them.

Therefore, I’ve noticed now that I watch for the rule-breakers in quilting. Their work excites and inspires me, regardless if the technique is traditional or contemporary.

If you know me personally, you know I embrace tradition. If you are familiar with Lutherans, I am a “page 5 of the old, OLD hymnal” kind of gal!

So, don’t let your need for traditions RULE your world…whether it’s Christmas or quilting.

Image of Christmas Tradition JOY Quilt
Shop JOY Quilt Pattern

In conclusion: This 2020 Christmas Traditions update shows that I still love aqua – but now I include red! Here is the NEW pattern, JOYFUL! See how her borders sparkle? #usebothsides

Image of Joyful Quilt Pattern

Step Inside the Yellow Door Quilt Store

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In the heart of Indiana is a bright yellow door. Inside is a quilt store.

Enter the Yellow Door Quilt Store to find a cute little quilt shop filled with fun, beautiful fabric (and some cool patterns)!

Image of front of Yellow Door Quilt Store

Take a peek inside the Yellow Door Quilt Store!

Located south of Indianapolis, in Nashville, IN, the Yellow Door Quilt Store carries unique and bright fabrics. They might have a modern flare, but there’s definitely something for everyone!

Initially, I met the owner, Mary Beth, when I popped in to her booth at the Paducah quilt show. I think she noticed I was looking at both sides of her fabrics. As usually happens when I’m auditioning both sides, a lively conversation ensued. I knew right away her fabrics would work beautifully with my patterns.

We hit it off and Mary Beth now offers a number of my designs in her booth and shop!

You’ll likely find bright, bold, and interesting fabrics at the Yellow Door Quilt Store which might include Kaffe Fassett Collective, Marcia Derse, Kathy Doughty, Jane Sasseman, and Alexander Henry. Regardless of your favorite quilting and fabric style, I’m certain everyone will enjoy a visit to the Yellow Door!

Additionally, it was Mary Beth’s who suggest I make a sugar skull pattern using both sides of one focus fabric.

It was certainly a milestone to send the first printing of the Flora Quilt Pattern (sugar skull) to Mary Beth, even though she already carried a number of my titles. It’s fun when a shop owner is excited about using both beautiful sides!

Basically, Flora is a fast, easy pattern made with fusible applique and broderie perse. First, trace and cut the skull shape from a full-size paper template. Next, press the fusible template onto the RIGHT side of the floral fabric. Finally, cut Flora’s flower garland from the floral motif itself, arranged on the quilt and fused. Learn more about broderie perse HERE.

Flora is made with BOTH beautiful sides of a floral fabric. Click HERE for link to Flora Focus Fabric Kit.

Image of Mary Beth
Give Mary Beth a shout-out on her Facebook Live!

Furthermore, you simply MUST experience Mary Beth’s “Hootie Hoo” Facebook Live sessions!

Grab a hot cup of coffee and stay in your jammies to shop!

Visit Mary Beth online HERE or in her quilt store!

SHOP more than 50 unique quilt patterns that use both beautiful sides of fabric!

Read about The Quilt Shop in Chamberlain, South Dakota!

Creative Bee Studios #usebothsides

Margie’s Sew Much Fun

Clearly this is a shout-out to Margie’s Sew Much Fun Quilt Shop owner, Margie!

Margie’s Sew Much Fun quilt shop is loaded with fabric, machine, patterns and more!

Image from Margie's Sew Much Fun Quilt Shop Online

Located in the Florida panhandle, in Crestview, Margie’s quilt shop has been serving her community since 1971.

Image of Margie's Sew Much Fun Quilt Shop

Clearly, Margie will show you a fun time in her quilt shop. She stocks over 3500 bolts of fabulous fabric and both Bernina and Janome machines. Additionally, she carries patterns that use BOTH beautiful sides of fabric!

Also, find Bernina and Bernette products, including a Studio Frame long arm machine.

Moreover, I am happy to say that Margie is a repeat customer of #usebothsides patterns. You can tell from the name of her quilt shop and our delightful phone conversations, she’s got a fun shop YOU really need to visit!

As you might guess, Margie chooses coastal theme patterns for her shop.

Here are two such patterns, made with both beautiful sides of fabric: Sally and Fiona.

Sally is made with both beautiful sides of a seashell focus fabric on a scrappy background. The sea horse body is cut from a paper template. The seashell coral is made by cutting the sea shells from the fabric motif. Both the seashell coral and the floating bubbles are the REVERSE side. Even the binding is made with the focus fabric.

So take a trip to Margie’s or visit her online at

Tell her Karla sent you!

Enjoy your quilting journey, Karla

South Dakota Quilt Shop

Do your adventures include visiting a quilt shop?

When our daughter landed her first job out of college, we had no idea that her new adventure would become one for us, too. I didn’t expect it to influence the quilt patterns I’d design or what quilt shop my carry them!

Because she’d landed the lead role and we’d never been to South Dakota before, we took a road trip summer to The Black HIlls of South Dakota. Of course, along the way we stopped at quilt shops. That’s how I met the owner of the Quilt Shop in Chamberlain, SD. It was just on our list and close to the highway! See And…dance by the light of the moon, South Dakota Quilts & More and OKLAHOMA Backroads in South Dakota .

OKLAHOMA! at the Black Hills Playhouse

The owner, Sonya, and I brainstormed pattern ideas for her clientele and soon I was designing bison and other wildlife patterns. She carries LOTS of fun fabric with beautiful reverses!

The following summer Jacq landed Sophie in Mamma Mia and off we went again! If you get a chance, stop in Chamberlain, SD – its simply loaded with fabric and has wonderful local art and craft as well.

These are some pics of patterns and fabrics she carries.

Sophie and Donna in Mamma Mia at the Black Hills Playhouse, Custer, SD

We were able to visit Chamberlain again and drop off some new designs!

Here’s a big shout-out to Sonja in Chamberlain…and many thanks!

Step inside the Yellow Door Quilt Store in Nashville, Indiana.

Shop Creative Bee Studios Etsy Shop for more than 50 quilt patterns that use BOTH beautiful sides!

Enjoy your quilting journey!

Summer Books & Quilts

Summer books and quilts are a part of my life. It’s just not summer for me without a good book to read and a good quilt to enjoy.

My all-time favorite summer book is this one:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

A Reese’s Book Club selection.

Image of Book

When I read this summer book (while snuggled under my quilt), I feel like I’m learning more about nature while being entertained and intrigued with the storyline. I yearn to be outdoors, to breathe in the sounds and smells of nature and to study my surroundings. I’ve read Where the Crawdads Sing numerous times as well as listened to it while on trips.

When I first read it I was at a loss for words for more than 24 hours after finishing it. I hadn’t planned on sharing the quilt shown below yet, but I need to – I guess it’s my feeble attempt to thank Delia Owens for the insight into a habitat I knew nothing about while enjoying a fantastic and enlightening book.

Summer quilts are also a favorite!

This guy was hanging around me at sunrise on Pensacola Beach. He might have been disappointed that I wasn’t a fisherman, but he let me grab some awesome photos. I found the feather focus fabric later that day at A & E (Pharmacy) Fabrics.

Making use of “value”, the light on his face and throat is made using the REVERSE side of the feather fabric. The borders are, too!

Image of Crane on Beach
Image of Quilt of Crane

Lord Stanley got his name for several reasons: 1) He’s a Great Blue, 2) We are big fans of the Blue Angels 3) The Saint Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup (Lord Stanley) that year!

See “Sunrise Quilts”, too!

Shop Creative Bee Studios Etsy Shop HERE for all the #usebothsides patterns!

Quilt Week Faves

Quilt shows are packed with fabulousness!

One artist, Mary W. Kerr, had a featured spot during quilt show week in Paducah, Kentucky. Her fantastic quilts, featured in her book, Twisted, hung in the Rotary for Quilt Week.

First, its difficult to know what quilts to share when it comes to quilt shows. There are just so many! Therefore, this time, I chose to focus on an artist. Mary W. Kerr’s collection was outstanding in concept and variety. Here are just a few that made me stop, take out my phone and grab a shot. Hope you like them, too!

Mary likes to use vintage fragments in her quilts.

She’s always been drawn to antiques and orphaned blocks. Mary also likes the colors, designs and quilting of the modern era of this craft. In her book, Twisted, the culmination of the two styles are on beautiful display.

Oje De Dios by Mary W. Kerr, quilted by Candace West

Oje De Dios by Mary W. Kerr, quilted by Candace West was featured with Mary’s whole series at the Rotary. She takes pieces of old quilts, blocks, or parts of quilts and incorporates them into new works with a modern flare. She gave each quilter freedom to do whatever they wanted for the quilting.

Below is Homespun, quilted by Donna Ferrill James. The wonky star was made from a worn quilt with lots of various designs in it. Mary was able to salvage parts by hand-piecing the star points. She used other workable parts as part of the backing.

Homespun by Mary W. Kerr, quilted by Donna Ferrill James

Similarly, Fan Flower, shown below, is a combination of individual vintage blocks made modern through quilting. Vicki Maloney quilted this piece. Mary purchased three fan blocks at an antiques shop and came up with the flower concept. Vicki worked her magic using those three blocks!

Fan Flower by Mary W. Kerr, quilted by Vicki Maloney

Additionally, I like how Mary combines the old with the new. Not only does she combine old blocks with new fabric, but also the color selections and techniques, too.

With this in mind, I recall having a book about how to combine hand and machine quilting. Seems like another interesting concept to explore!

See Mary W. Kerr’s work and get her book Twisted HERE.

Maybe I should take a look at it and see where it takes me. Quilt show aren’t just about prizes, ribbons, and vendors, are they?

Without a doubt, quilt shows are about inspiration, aspirations, goals, achievements, sparking ideas…and happiness.

Learn more about Kate’s Bouquet HERE.

Enjoy your quilting journey!

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