Aurifil 2016 February Designer of the Month Kari Carr

Aurifil 2016 Design Team February Kari Carr

By the end of the year you will have 12 blocks and I’ll have a setting for you!  I’m Designer/Radio show host PatSloan. February is my favorite winter month, and this year I have a chance to interview one of my favorite designers, Kari Carr of New Leaf Stitches!

I have known Kari for a few years and I loved hearing about where she lives and how that location has influenced what she creates, and it relates to our them of BLUE so well!  Plus she is a wealth of technical knowledge on sewing! When  I need to know something she is one of my go-to people. Her quilts are really fun to do with a range of styles to suit you, or you, or you!  I have chatted with Kari on my talk show.. —>  Kari was on 3/4/13 and 11/21/11, take a listen

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PLEASE READ — We are CHANGING something!!

Our Monthly quilt block share will now be at my website with a Photo sharing party! This will be much easier for everyone.  If you want to look first, It’s HERE

We LOVE our MONTHLY thread BOX giveaway (seriously folks… you could win a box of my thread which is over $120.00 value.. JUST for making a quilt block… you have to join in!). Each month we pick one random winner that has made a  block from our featured designer of the prior month. That person receives a FULL BOX of my Aurifil thread as the prize!

Let’s get to know Kari!

1.Lake thru window

  1. Where do you live and what is your favorite spot there?

I’ve lived in the beautiful lakes country of Minnesota for basically my entire life. It’s not only beautiful, but as a rural area, low key and lovely!

We are fortunate to live on a charming little lake and I never get tired of seeing the water sparkle outside my windows.

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As the mom of two boys, I learned to enjoy fishing. It’s been a family tradition to take a vacation up to Lake of the Woods (It’s the big, big lake in the notch at the top of the state). It is truly spectacular there.

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Our granddaughters are learning to wet a line at a young age, too.

4. Cranberry Garland.jpg

  1. When was your FIRST quilt sighting? Did it inspire you to start quilting? 

I credit my mom for getting me interested in sewing and crafting at a very young age.

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My first quilt block was for a raffle quilt our 4-H club did when I was in Junior High. I don’t have a picture, but it was rather hideous as I think about it (picture a 13 year-olds take on the 70’s Flower-Power theme). I have an old quilt of my grandma’s that hangs in my sewing studio, but I wasn’t bitten by the bug until my good friend introduced it to me about 20 years ago.

My first attempt, a Thimbleberries sampler, is still hanging in my family room as a reminder of how far I’ve come.

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  1. Did you have a career prior this, what was it? 

I was a FACS teacher (aka: Home-Ec) at our local high school. I loved the energy of the students and still get my teaching “fix” by traveling the country teaching my quilting techniques. I’m finding quilters to be much more receptive than 9th graders….thankfully! To some it might be old-fashioned, but I still smile at my tagline: “Fresh ideas from a recycled Home-Ec teacher”.

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  1. Have you had a ‘light bulb’ moment in quilt making?

Oh, yes! I was at a retreat where I had a ton of half-square triangles to sew. I wanted to spend my time sewing, not drawing lines. To make a long story short, I looked down at my sewing table and there was a ruler that stayed in place with static (window cling). The light bulb went on and I developed the Clearly Perfect Angles. It’s a template that “clings” to your sewing machine surface with markings that not only allow you to sew 45 degree angles WITHOUT drawing lines, but aids in making your patchwork perfect. I’m honored it’s been so positively reviewed over the years, with American Patchwork & Quilting listing it as one of the “Top 20 Notions Every Sewing Room Needs”. 

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  1. What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it?

I’m fortunate to have a large space in our basement to call my studio.

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It was once the “rec” room for our growing boys, housing wrestling mats, a Ping-Pong table, etc.

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Personally, I think it looks better with sewing machines and quilts on the walls. Like many, I wish I had better storage for my fabric.

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  1. Do you have a GREAT storage, organization, or label making tip? 

I really like have a cutting table that sits in the middle of the room so I can work on it from all sides. The picture shows how I hang the rulers that I use most often on several sides, within easy reach.

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  1. What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?

Only three? Here is a picture of the ones I use most often and the colors that I am drawn to. Because I use so much for my piecing, I find it most economical to use a large cone (color #2370) of the basic colors.

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  1. What else is new Kari? 

I’m always working on ideas for the next quilt or sewing notion. But the most recent news I have to share is that I’m developing a fabric line with Hoffman Fabrics slated for a fall release. I can’t wait for you to see it!

The picture of the quilt at the beginning of the post is called Daisy Chain and it uses the Kites Plus Ruler that I developed for Creative Grids Rulers. It’s really a fun, versatile tool because projects can be very simple or rather complex. 

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Two things that make me very happy…being a grandma to 4 (almost 5) girls and being a BERNINA Ambassador. I’ve tried to always make them feel welcome in my studio and have sat them in front of a machine since they were tiny. One of my most-read blogs was for BERNINA featuring my oldest granddaughter, Kendall. It’s a sweet little story about her making a quilt for her dolly, Anna. 

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  1. About your block – What is blue that inspires you? 

Being a Minnesota lake girl my entire life, I love the serenity and peacefulness of a blue lake. Our lakes take on different personalities during each season of the year and shades of blue are always present, from the deep blue when a thunder storm is overhead to the light, crisp blue of ice.

15 summer lake.jpg

I started dabbling with the classic “Lady of the Lake” block and it evolved into much more.

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I feel “Lake Life” has captured the seasons of the water as the colors shift around the center “lake”. To me it’s crisp, calming and well, it just feels like home.

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DOWNLOAD Aurifil Designer Block for February- Lake Life

VISIT Kari’s website for a bit more on how she made her block!


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And a few on the light side...

  • Right handed or left handed.. and can you use the other at all? 

I’m right handed and can do a few things with my left….although, not well.

  • What is your Favorite childhood TV show?

When I was really little, I liked watching The Wonderful World of Disney every week. As I got older, I didn’t miss an episode of “Little House on the Prairie”, after all, Laura lived in Minnesota!

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  • Are you a Dog or Cat person?

I was raised having both, but right now we just have our beloved, Bella. A gentle yellow lab…that loves to ride on the jet ski!

  • The snack you crave

A Skor bar at 3:00 with a cup of coffee. Just because

  • The Color you have always LOVED…..

I flip-flop: Red and Blue or Blue and Red. Today it’s blue (wink)!


Visit Kari at:

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Come on over and help me decide WHICH fabric option to make my Lake Life block in

Are you on Facebook? I have a fantastic quilt group with the most incredible show and tell going on! You should see it! JOIN me HERE … I’d love to meet you!

1 Watermak-Needle-Black

******* JOIN our Aurifil Family  *******

EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block.. that person will receive a special Aurifil thread prize! Winners are all contacted via Flickr email and posted at our FLICKR PAGE  HERE

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Our RANDOM pick this month grabbed is Susan G, and it feels like Spring!  She has WON a BOX of Aurifil thread!  Also see her single block up close at our Flicker group HERE  All kinds of quilts at Flickr

REMEMBER – The Photo sharing is moving to my website where more people can enter, right HERE


  1. I have been using Kari’s Cleary Perfect Angles for years and highly recommend it. Makes hst and flying geese sew much easier.

  2. Loved this article about Kari … can’t wait to make her beautiful block … I’ve yet to pick my colors for this BOM. I think I will stay with the picked theme of Blue and White tho… But as always, Pat’s choice of fabrics is Awesome! too … 🙂
    Thanks for sharing a bit of your charmed life Kari Carr … gorgeous views from your windows! …….

  3. Kari I just wanted to say your “light bulb” effect was astonishing, because I bought the “Clearly Perfect Angler” and I use it ask the time! Thank you for your inspiration!

  4. Loved your interview. I am a Minnesota transplant to Florida in 2015 and I am amazed at the things that cause me pain (allergies to the sting of mosquitoes) and the sting of cold weather are outdoor/joyful times to you as your interview was a shining example of love for MN lakes. My FB posts the last years were about April snows, grey days and cold. Love the Splendid Sampler and your post and photos! Love Florida too!

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