Harley Sturgis Biker Quilts BIG - The Early Years
If there is such a thing as a stereotypical quilter, Karen Crotty isn't it. Karen is the warehouse manager at the AccuQuilt headquarters. She is the person responsible for making sure that all of your packages get to you on time and in good condition.
Karen is also a long-time bike rider (Harley FXCWC-Rocker-metallic red with black flames) and shorter time quilt maker. However, in that short time Karen has made some really, really big quilts.
Karen grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. Amazingly, neither quilts nor motorcycles had ever been part of her life. From the time she was six years old she was devoted to horses. In fact, she won the 1972 American Quarter Horse Association national high point in Trail Class. It was when she left home that she went from horses to Harleys to hand quilting.
Karen Joins AccuQuilt
She really didn't know anything about quilts at all when she joined the AccuQuilt team. Since AccuQuilt employees are encouraged to learn as much as they can about quilting, Karen took a Sampler Quilt class. The rest is history; she was hooked.
Although Karen didn't have any experience as a quilter (she had never even used a rotary cutter), she did know how to sew. While her children were growing up, she worked as a professional seamstress from her home making bridal gowns and wedding apparel. Quilting was a whole different experience.
More Big Quilts
For her second quilt (quilts), Karen saw a picture of a Wave Quilt that she liked. She sat down and did the math for a 108" X 120" quilt. (She has a queen bed, but likes her quilts to hang to the floor.) Then she gathered her fabrics, her dies, and began cutting the quilt with the GO! fabric cutter.
She finished cutting her quilt 1 1/2 hours later. She looked at her stacks of strips and said, "Holy Smokes." The stacks were enormous! Apparently, Karen's math skills were a little off that day. She had cut enough fabric for two king-sized quilts in 1 1/2 hours!
So she did what any fanatical quiltmaker would do - she made them both. She pieced them and then quilted them on the HandiQuilter long arm machine that AccuQuilt has in its Dream Studio. She gave one quilt to her daughter and kept one for herself.
Karen tried something different for her fourth quilt. It was still a big one (king-sized), but she cross-stitched the top and completely hand quilted it. She didn't use a frame or hoop. It took her seven months to finish the hand quilting.
Recently, Karen brought her latest quilt(s) in for the company's daily "show and tell." It was a show stopper. The quilt was so big that she had to display it from the upstairs balcony. The T-shirt Quilt was made entirely from Harley T-shirts, some dating back to the 1993 Sturgis, South Dakota, Motorcycle Rally. It gets better - when Karen turned the quilt over, there were t-shirts on the back, too.
Karen cut out her T-shirts on a Studio2 cutter. She fused the shirts with Pellon fusible and then quilted the piece on the HandiQuilter long arm.
Outside the Office
When Karen isn't riding, managing the warehouse, or making really big quilts she enjoys being a grandmother to her five grandchildren (four girls and one boy.) She is also building her fabric collection and she's "just crazy about batiks."
Her future projects include a table runner and placemats to celebrate All Saints Day. We can only imagine how large that table is going to be!
Why Quilters Love the GO! Fabric Cutters