2015 Featured Quilter – Karen Kirkland

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2015 Featured Quilter – Karen Kirkland

Karen Kirkland

I began my quilting journey in Iowa, the state where I was born and raised. I didn’t begin quilting until 1991, after having graduated from college with a degree in accounting, passing the CPA exam (on the first try!) and starting a family. I worked for many years as a CPA in public accounting, specializing in banking and internal controls, and in private industry as a bank comptroller and internal audit director. I discovered my passion for quilting a bit accidentally when I walked into a quilt shop in Valley Junction, a trendy and “artsy” shopping district in West Des Moines, where I signed up for my first quilting class.

After completing my “beginners’ project”, a table runner, and making many new friends, I signed up for another class. Which of course led to others; soon followed by the realization that I was going to need a new sewing machine! And accessories! And lots and lots of fabric! Every machine stitch I made for the next 23 years was done on that first machine, a Bernina 1130S.

My love of quilting was energized by those early quilting group friends, which included a number of notable and accomplished quilters whose encouragement and work was inspiring to me. I was motivated to create quilts that were equally beautiful and well crafted. I’ve always been goal oriented and once I commit to a project I feel driven (my husband says “madly consumed”) to see the end result. I think the reason I like quilting so much is the combination of creativity and tangible accomplishment.

I enjoy working with a variety of styles and techniques. Some quilts are a creative challenge, some are a technical challenge; and some are both, particularly original works where you need to figure it all out yourself. Over the years I’ve mostly chosen projects that look interesting or fun to do, many for gifts and/or to commemorate special events in the lives of family and friends. I have award-winning quilts that I’m very proud of, but I’m most gratified by the quilts I’ve made as gifts for family and friends.

I have always quilted for my own enjoyment, as a fun, creative, stress-relieving hobby. After moving to South Carolina in 2007, and “retired” from my professional life, I became much more active in local guilds and interest groups and now have a new group of quilting friends to learn and share with. I’m currently a member of Swamp Fox Quilters, Coastal Carolina Quilters, AQS, SAQA and the Quilters of South Carolina. And it’s only recently that I’ve begun showing my work or participating in “challenges” and the like. So it’s certainly unexpected that I find myself doing a show like this – so much for stress-relieving! I hope you enjoy seeing my quilt projects as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them.

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