The mother-daughter team of Jo and Kelli Kramer is responsible for Square Dance, a scrappy design that’s great for using up leftovers from other projects.
How did your mother-daughter team happen?
I’m someone who doesn’t sit still well. I love being busy all the time. Being married to a workaholic farmer left me with lots of hours to fill. I did that by crafting, and the kids always watched me. When they got older and came home to visit we typically ended up in the sewing room. Before we knew it we were joining forces on bigger projects.
Just recently my younger daughter Kayla has joined us. She is our tech savvy gal who teaches Family Consumer Science classes in Marion, Iowa. She doesn’t have much time to quilt but will be managing pattern writing and behind-the-scenes blog work.
What’s the best thing about working together?
We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I do most of the designing. I love studying quilts in antique malls, and using them as inspiration for a new project. I am not good at color selection.
About 75% of what I design is in patriotic colors because I know red, white and blue go well together. Kelli will come in and say, “Really mom?? Pick some other colors!!” She is great at color selection.
Kelli does the yardage calculations and a good portion of the piecing. I hate math so that’s perfect. I do the quilting, binding and labeling. I also manage the email and our blog at Jo’s Country Junction.
What’s the worst thing about it?
We can get ourselves in trouble at family functions. It’s really easy to start talking about quilts when there are others who aren’t quite as interested in quilts as we are. Luckily, everyone tolerates us pretty well.
What’s your best advice for people who want to design quilts?
I design our quilts in Microsoft Word. It’s comfortable for me and I can easily do it without thinking. We have two tutorials on the blog that walk readers through it. (See tutorial #1; see tutorial #2.)
Don’t be afraid to submit a design for publication. Just give it a try…if you are meant to do it, doors will open. And don’t be afraid of the word no. We were told no and occasionally still get a no. It doesn’t always mean your design is bad, it’s just not what the editor is looking for at that particular time. When submitting to a quilt magazine, editors are often looking for designs that will be published nine months to a year from now.
Getting back to Square Dance, what other color recipes might work in this quilt?
The original test blocks we made were in Civil War reproductions. We think it might be fun made in a less traditional way, with a gray background and all solids for the little squares.
Square Dance features many fabrics that were sent to us by blog readers. We lamented to our readers that we weren’t “very bright gals” as we didn’t have brightly colored scraps. Blog readers to the rescue!! Our mailbox was flooded with packages of bright scraps…many made their way into this quilt.
* * * * *
Read Jo and Kelli’s posts about Square Dance on their own blog!