Needlework designer Belinda Karls-Nace knew at six years old she wanted to create things with a needle and thread. She became obsessed by all hand creations after watching her grandmother do embroidery, knitting, and crocheting. Today, Belinda is the proud owner of Blue Ribbon Designs, a needlework design company she started over 10 years ago. She is happy that her passion for needlework now allows her to make a living with it.
Tell me more about your Quilted Cats and Bats wall hanging that you uploaded to Quilter’s Spotlight. What was the inspiration behind it?
I’m a big fan of AccuQuilt, and I love doing any type of appliqué. Adding new AccuQuilt dies to my collection always sparks my creativity. I seem to have quite a few Halloween fabrics in my stash, so I decided it would be fun to play with the GO! Cat & Bat and GO! Pumpkins. I started by cutting a couple cats and bats and a large pumpkin. Next, I decided I needed a moon, so I grabbed my GO! Circles die. The GO! Rick Rack die was brand new at the time, and I thought it would make the perfect embellishment. I knew I wanted a seasonal quilted piece for my front door, so I did a little measuring to get the size for my appliqué background and started placing all the pieces on my design wall. As with most of my projects, it evolved as I started cutting and playing with fabrics.
What do you love most about the GO! Fabric Cutter?
Probably the accuracy and the convenience. It’s so quick. I just finished four appliqué pieces for a customer. It’s just fun when you do it with the GO! because it’s instant gratification, and it saves a tremendous amount of time. I have both the GO! and GO! Baby fabric cutters as well as the Studio cutter.
Do you have a favorite die you’ve worked with?
The qppliqué shapes are really my favorites. I like the flowers because they’re so easy to use, but I enjoy the traditional piecing shapes, too – both save time.
For those who aren’t familiar with AccuQuilt, which product(s) would you recommend that they try first?
I brag about AccuQuilt a lot. Between the GO! Fabric Cutter and GO! Baby, purchase the one you can afford. If you only have a small space, then GO! Baby. But if you can afford more and have the space, then get the GO! Fabric Cutter. As far as dies, you can make a ton of things with the GO! Value Die—the value die and appliqué of some sort because it shows you how easy it is to cut and to get these shapes.
Who is Belinda Karls-Nace? Describe yourself in three words.
Organized, analytical, obsessive- compulsive.
What’s the name of the last book you read?
The last book I read was, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. In my younger days I was a punk rocker. I have an extensive music collection and all sorts of memorabilia in a designated room. I have over 5,000 vinyl record albums, autographed guitars, pictures, albums, etc. The neighbors are always impressed and say, ”Can we see the music room?”
That’s truly amazing, and I don’t blame them! What additional hobbies do you have?
Everything I do pretty much involves needle and thread, but I love to cook, garden, and play with the dogs—Schatzi, my German Shepherd and Simba, my Shih Tzu. Our German Shepherd wants to play all the time and the Shih Tzu is like whatever, leave me alone. I call Simba the grumpy old man, and Schatzi is the young, energetic child. I train with my German Shepherd for 6-10 miles a day for the breast cancer walk that I volunteer for every year. We have a walking team called Twinkle Toes.
I love that name. Tell me more about your walking team.
This year we have four on our team including myself, and we will walk 60 miles in three days in Dallas this coming November. We do quite a bit of creative fundraising throughout the year, as we are all stitchers, quilters, sewists, and crafters. I design an exclusive needlework pattern each year as a ‘thank you’ to all who donate $15 or more to my fundraising page, and all proceeds go to the Komen 3-Day. I am also designing and making several wall hanging quilts that I will auction off, again with all proceeds going to the Komen 3-Day.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Probably successfully running my own business for more than 10 years in a creative field doing what I love for a living.
How many quilts would you estimate that you’ve made?
Several hundred, if you include all my quilted projects. Half have been for people who commissioned me to make them; the other half have been me playing around in my studio. I thoroughly enjoy sewing for our home and quilting for gift giving. I also do goodwill sewing and finishing, along with donating to quilt drives and those who need comfort.
What is your favorite part of the quilting process?
Actually piecing or the appliqué and the design part. But what I love the most when considering the entire process is to play with my EQ7 and design new things.
Would you say there is a therapeutic element to quilting?
Oh, absolutely. The reason I really got into hand sewing and stitching is because of the relaxation. I started getting into it more because of the calmness. I always hashtag things #sewingforsanity and/or #stitchingforsanity because it definitely keeps me sane.
What is your dream-quilting project?
Something with a lot of different blocks. Maybe like a Dear Jane. It’s one of those quilts that will take you several years to complete. It’s the assortment of blocks, curved piecing, traditional piecing, beautiful border. It’s every technique all in one quilt.
Have you ever recruited someone into the world of quilting?
Well, I definitely recruited people into the world of AccuQuilt! Probably all of my friends have the GO! now. A lot of people say they started making quilts because of me, so I’d like to think that I’ve inspired people to take up quilting.
For more information about Belinda Karls-Nace, visit blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com.