About Me

I am of the 'sandwich' generation. I take care of my mother...and my daughter/grand-daughter. My life is hectic but rewarding. I love to stitch and have done so for decades. My present hobby/passion is three-fold...shadow applique, crazy quilt/embroidery, and making jewelry.

Most cyber-folks know me as Shawkl. That is the name of this blog...and also the log-on name I use on multiple other message boards and chat rooms on the internet. In total, I belong to 18 cyber groups…thankfully, not all of them are very active! But since each offers me a different glimpse to a stitching technique I love or want to learn more about…I’m hooked!  And…the swaps and challenges keep me busy! Here is one of the mermaid silkies I stitched for my friend Nickilee. The sequin and beaded tail of the mother was stitched by me, as was the hair, and the baby tail was stitched by Nickilee.
 I am almost sixty years old…and live in a tiny little town in northeastern Alabama.  My entire family lives here…all six of my siblings and their children, my mother, my two children, and my three grandchildren. So, it’s a nice place to be. I am retired and now get to call my time my own…but my family doesn’t understand that at times…LOL! Before you get too bored…let me share a photo of the second mermaid I completed for Nickilee.
Nickilee started me on my crazy quilt journey by being the hostess of a swap of 6” crazy quilt hearts. Here is one of mine…I have come a long way since this first attempt at CQ!
And here is one of my Crazy Quilt Blocks I stitched for my friend Susan in Texas. We are both members of the HGTV Message Board, Crafts—Quilting and Needlework.  
My stitching began at an early age…mostly to dress my dolls. I did not really get serious until graduating from high school; and mostly it was cross-stitch, crochet, and dress-making I attempted back then. Even to this day…anyone in the family that needs pants hemmed or patches sewn on their jackets…brings them to me. Wedding dresses were my job as well... for several in the family…but after my niece got married and wanted a 15 foot train…I stopped doing these! Here is a photo of the last bride I dressed. I also made the flower-girl’s dress, her basket, and all of the bridal parties flowers…I’m a crafter as well as a needle-artist.  
My ex-husband was in the military and we spend a great deal of our 20+ years together in Germany and Indianapolis. During this time I was very involved with cross-stitch, Hardanger, and long stitch needle-arts. Quilting did not become a passion until the 1980’s after attending a class with a friend in Indiana. She took me to Kate England’s quilt shop…before Kate became an author and well-known quilter.  A very few years later… all of my cross-stitch was packed away in boxes!

Here is a close-up of a quilt I finished for my sister, Jan…it is called Apple Bars and pattern is by Lynette Jensen as published in her book “The Thimbleberries Book of Quilts”.  
Since that first class, I have made a huge variety of quilts for my family over the years. However, I have only two of my very own! …how did that happen!

I have taught quilting at craft shops, quilt shops, the Alabama State Fair, and at the local college.  Now, I mostly teach online “cyber classes” and share needle-art on my blog. I enjoy sharing my family and stitching adventures.

Would you like to see my very first quilt? I didn’t even know that attempting a king size quilt was NOT a good thing! It is horrendous…a blue log cabin and the blocks have to be at least 30 inches each…as it only took 6 or 8 (can’t remember) to create the quilt. It was tied with yarn…and after multiple washes…they looked like little balls of fur all over the quilt. I ‘graciously’ let my spouse have it in the divorce…as he loved it! Here it is across the bottom of our king size bed.  

The quilt  underneath is a hand-quilted king-size that I did a few years later ...and it is the one I kept in the divorce. The "nubby one" is on top because the dogs jumped on the bed...so I was protecting my hand work! Ha! And, I still have this quilt...it is almost thread bare it has been washed so many times!

Thankfully, I kept reading and learning! After Indianapolis, we moved south to Enterprise, Alabama. I loved this as it was only 4.5 hours drive to my mother’s house. After years of being stationed far away from family...it was just a slice of heaven!

The ladies in the Enterprise Quilters Guild became good friends…and I miss them terribly! One of my most favorite quilts to work on during these years was done for our “raffle quilt” during the 2000 Millennium Quilt Show. The concept was mine, titled “Moving from the past to the future”. The idea was to create a traditional quilt of blocks done in only dark fabrics. These would become a background for bright stars and a curved motif medallion center.  We used only black, blue-black, and navy fabrics for the background traditional blocks…and bright yellow, gold, red and blue for the center medallion. I don’t recall where the star patterns came from…possibly Judy Martin or Judy Hopkins as both authors were favorites of mine during this time. The center motif was from “Curves Unlimited” by Joyce M. Schlotzhauer. The medallion and stars were pieced by me, as were some of the background blocks, the remaining blocks were pieced by other members. We all shared in hand-quilting the top. I would love to have this quilt…and have often thought about recreating it just for the fun of doing it again.  
Crazy quilting has been a primary focus of mine for a few years now, and the reason I began this blog. I have stitched on a lot of round robin blocks and different projects and inn 2010 my tote bag “The Queen” won first place in the Crazy Quilter’s International Yahoo Group’s purse contest. She has over 400 hours of stitching in her…and I was very proud that she was recognized as a favorite amongst the talented work of other accomplished needle-artists!  
Just recently, I authored my first book “Embellishing Crazy Quilts” which can be found at Amazon. Autographed copies are also available from my Etsy shoppe and   I am very excited about this workbook because it is a "doing" book and not just a photo book. It is an instructional workbook and is packed full of charts for stitching seams...motifs to embroidery...and monogram designs.
My second book is also in production…but life had taken over, and delayed it's completion. Plus, I also have three other book concepts that I have not started stitching models for…but they have been in my head for some time. One has been in concept for over ten-years…and the cover photo (in my head) is of a wedding gown with the train showing…and it is full of shadow appliqué flowers flowing down from the dress bustle.  The train is totally designed and about 1/3 of the way appliqued…but has been put away since my grand-daughter was born in 2003…so, perhaps I’ll be motivated to pull that out again in the next few years and complete it. My life is crazy…and my time is certainly not always my own! Here is a sample of one of the shadow-appliqué floral patterns that will be incorporated into the wedding train.  

Apparently, I write just like I talk…long winded! So, let me finish by saying that I love to teach and share...and am very "approachable". I write and stitch a lot these days…and quilt very little. There are many Un-Finished Objects at my house; several that are long-term projects. And I spend hours each day on writing courses for myself and helping others with their on-line courses. My classes are free and I'm happy to share..so if you teach...drop me a line if I can help you in any way. If you want to learn...sign up for a class...and enjoy the process!

Thank you for reading such a long post! Big Hugs! Kathy (aka Shawkl)

My email address is shaw.kathy@yahoo.com if you can't find it in my profile.