Featured Designers: Jo & Kelli Kramer
Photo: Here is Kelli with her beagle, Puppycat and Jo with her beagle, Gracie. Gracie recently passed away and now Ruby is Jo’s new beagle puppy. She is a handful! You can read all about us and the beagles on our blog.
How did you get into quilting?
Kelli: One word—Mom. A while back I was quite wrapped up in the teenage going out scene and so one day when I told mom that maybe I wanted to sew a quilt, she decided to take me fabric shopping the next day. After choosing some Iowa Hawkeye fabric and a simple disappearing nine patch pattern I was off. I’m pretty sure that when I called her a few days later and asked for her help in choosing a larger quilt with a bit more complex pattern, her jaw hit the floor!
Jo: My Mom taught to sew and that lead me to quilting. I didn’t become a quilt addict until about 5 years ago.
How/when/why did you transition from a quilter to a designer?
Kelli: I have sleep apnea, so in order to keep myself tuned in during class and meetings, I have always doodled. Once mom introduced me to quilting, I began doodling quilt block ideas and layout designs. I started making “mock blocks” after I ventured outside of my comfort zone into fat quarters and yardage rather than my previous favorite, precuts.
Jo: Like Kelli, I am a doodler. I am also a gal that will try most anything once. I tried designing and was successful so now I just keep trying. Currently Kelli and I have two quilts featured in the newly released book, Sweet Celebrations with the Moda Bake Shop Chefs. We also have many quilts featured at Moda Bake Shop. We also have a quilt that is slated to be published in an upcoming Quiltmaker magazine.
Which quilt is your favourite? Did you design it? Why is it your favourite?
Kelli: I have lots of favorite quilts, but I would have to say that my favorite quilt of all time is my “Grandma quilt.”
Prior to my Grandma’s passing in 1990, she made a quilt for each of her grandchildren. Each quit depicts a scene representative of each grandchild’s life at the time. My quilt shows me with my doll Sara and my dog Kujo. Chickens and goats add to the farm scene. She even stitched in electrical lines in the background!
Jo: My favourite quilt in on my bed. It’s Paducka Nine Patch. It’s from Pat Spech’s book Nickel Quilts.
How many UFOs do you currently have?
Kelli: Well, honestly I don’t know. And I’m not sure I want to. I know that I have at least 18 tops that need to be finished (borders and quilting) and I know that I probably have 6-8 quilts that are in various stages of completion.
Jo: I am guessing about 12. I am not brave enough to count.
What size of quilt do you prefer to make/design?
Kelli: They always say that bigger is better right? Sometimes mom has to rein me in to remind me that there is a size limit on the quilt machine. Over all though, my favorite quilts are at least 80″ x 80″.
Jo: I spent years making lap sized quilts as I could quilt them on my regular sewing machine. After I purchased my first machine for machine quilting, that was the end of lap quilts. Everything is typically 80″ x 80″ or larger unless it’s a baby quilt.
What colour do you use most often in your quilts?
Kelli: I don’t really have a particular color that I use a lot. My favorite fabric style is reproductions prints, but if I had to pick my favorite quilt color, it would probably be brown. Quilts with brown in them seem more cozy to me.
Favourite one-sentence tip for a new quilter:
Kelli: Don’t be afraid of seam rippers or “unsewers” as mom and I call them. If you can’t fudge it, it’s probably best in the long run to rip it out and redo it.
Jo: Make sure your seam truly is 1/4″.
Favourite size and brand of rotary cutter:
Kelli: When I first started sewing, I went to Wal-mart with the intention of buying a rotary cutter. When I got there, I was a bit appalled at the price. Being the cheap skate that I am, I purchased the 60mm rotary cutter as it was on sale. Unfortunately, I later came to find that the 60mm blades are often more expensive than the 45mm. So the $3.00 that I saved when purchasing on sale have been spent many times over on the more expensive blades.
Jo: My favourite is honestly anything with a sharp blade. I’m not picky. I generally uses a 45mm.
Favourite quote or mantra:
Kelli: When in doubt, sew a quilt.
Jo: If you dream it, you can achieve it.
Block Party #28 – Happy Fall Beagle Block
Here’s Jo and Kelli’s block, Happy Fall Beagle Block. It’s another great block to use up scraps with a tiny bit of embroidery too. Head over to their blog to download the tutorial.
See the previous free quilt blocks!
Jo and Kelli are giving away an autographed copy of Sweet Celebrations with the Moda Bake Shop Chefs. Head over to their blog to enter the give-away.