Just One Quilt: Karen’s Story

Watch Karen’s Story here

I first met Karen at a printing evening at Chirpy in Leeds shortly after the release of her first book Screenprinting at Home in 2014.

We bumped it to each other again at quilt shows and in recent months have spent a bit more time together – including our trip to QuiltCon in Nashville in February this year.

The Brits do QuiltCon

Karen has a very gentle personality and genuine style. Her printed textiles are not over-complicated but fresh, classy and playful. I really admire how her quilting is always evolving and she is curious to develop her knowledge and try new techniques.

At Karen’s home it was great to see her first quilt, and many others she has made in the past 10 years or so. The joy of working with different textures of fabric is evident in all of them, and with recent experiments in natural dyeing I am excited to see what happens next! A field trip to Japan is on our wishlist.

Like me, Karen’s hobby has become her working life too and it’s good to have a support network when you are your own boss and deciding how to move forward creatively when there are so many paths to take.

Karen’s view of the quilting community is the part of the film which has stayed in my mind the most since we recorded the interview. It’s true that most people want to escape their work by Friday night – and yet many of us want to spend time together. I’m grateful that so many friendships have developed through my love of sewing and Karen describes that feeling so well.

I also have to give a mention to Scout the dog – who was not under any circumstances going to allow us to film Karen without including him!


Let me know what you think about the film, it’s so good when people take the time to say hello and comment.


Jenni x


  1. Nancy Iannelli says:

    Love this! So nice to hear Karen’s voice and her approach to quilting. I’m only maybe three years into quilting but enjoy the process, love the fabric selection and loath the quilting part, I hate to admit. I too love more simple patterns that either accent colors or fabrics I especially love.
    As Karen knows I’ve got a little obsession with her fabrics. I’ve decided to participate in the 100 blocks by gnome angel and decided on Karen’s fabrics for the quilt! Can’t wait to see it all come together.

    1. Jenni Smith says:

      Hi Nancy,

      It’s a shame you don’t love the quilting part. Have you tried doing it by hand? I always try to convince people to give it a go. I enjoy having a quilt to pick up and stitch a little bit, without the anxiety of thinking something may go wrong on the machine. It’s really not as time consuming as you think!

  2. Pris Phillips says:

    This was lovely to read and watch! So fun to get to know our IG community a bit better! (And being American, the British accent is charming!) Mama_Pris

    1. Jenni Smith says:

      Hi Pris,

      I’m glad you enjoyed watching the film. Karen is from the same county as me but our accents are very different!!

  3. Dorothy Braidwood says:

    Lovely to hear Karen’s and her sentiments about her creative life differs from her mathematical one. Gives me hope. I’m a process person so really need to concentrate on completing too rather than always wanting to try something new. It’s difficult though when it’s all so exciting!

    1. Jenni Smith says:

      I’m certainly not a mathematician, though. I do actually enjoy that sometimes when designing quilt projects!

  4. Barbara OConnor says:

    I so enjoyed this interview with Karen Lewis and Scout. Her gentle voice and her comments about her quilting life is so calming and interesting, I wish the interview could have been longer. I’ve seen this quilt (background) before in a book and I’m now determined to make it.

    1. Jenni Smith says:

      Thanks Barbara, the quilt is from Karen’s book Wabi Sabi sewing and I really hope you do have a go at it!

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