Design Wall Tuesday: A Patchwork Treble Clef


Welcome to the new and improved Design Wall Tuesday series! Each week we’ll spotlight a different member of the Quilting Company Team in order to share with you our wide variety of experiences, styles and projects.

Mary Kate Karr-PetrasName: Mary Kate Karr-Petras
Title: Features Editor
I live in: the Denver metro area
I started quilting: about 22 years ago—no wait, 23 years ago!
My home life includes: my husband, our two elementary school-age daughters, and one energetic husky

What I’ve Made

I sometimes feel that I should have a lot more finished quilts to show for the fact that I started learning to quilt in 1995 from books and magazines (you young whippersnappers don’t know how good you have it with this whole internet thing!), but there have been periods in my life when I was focusing on other pursuits and wasn’t sewing at all. These days, what with a full-time job and young kids who want a lot of my time when I’m home, I usually quilt in the evenings after bedtime. My typical soundtrack for sewing includes podcasts, audiobooks, and streaming upbeat music stations; current faves include 1980s New Wave and occasionally 1970s light “yacht rock” that’s heavy on Ambrosia and England Dan.

I wouldn’t say I have a signature style but I do lean more toward traditional piecing. I’ve done some foundation-piecing and applique (hand, machine and fusible), but most of my projects are based in traditional patchwork.

For instance, over the past three years I’ve made a series of seasonal pillow shams. I didn’t set out to make a series, but once I got started I just kept going. Right now the only season I’m missing is Halloween, but not for long—stay tuned!

My collection of seasonal 16” pillow shams, 2015–2017

My collection of seasonal 16” pillow shams, 2015–2017

So far I’ve done all my own quilting because I enjoy it, from hand to domestic machine to learning to longarm. I particularly enjoy big stitch hand quilting though I haven’t done much lately; I have a few UFOs I intend to quilt with big stitches using perle cotton thread, and I guess I should just get them basted already so they’re ready when the mood strikes me.

What I’m Making

I’m trying to overcome sewing inertia and rediscover my quilt mojo by starting with something small, so I’ve got an original design for a pieced treble clef block on my design board. Some of these pieces are very, very small, but I’m intrigued by the possibility of being able to create a musical score in patchwork. I like the idea of being able to create a quilted line of music, say, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” I think it could be pretty cool.

I started with the treble clef because it’s typically the first musical symbol you read on a piece of sheet music, and it took a few tries to come up with a design I could live with. Its complexity made me work through a few challenges of creating curved shapes with straight lines, which should make it easier to design other symbols if I decide to keep going.

I’m cutting patches for a test version of a treble clef pieced block

I’m cutting patches for a test version of a treble clef pieced block

Thanks for stopping by The Quilting Company this week. Be sure to come back next Tuesday for stories and projects from another member of our team!

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