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I’m honored to be featured in the newest post of the Quilt Inspiration blog!

It is a beautiful blog, filled with information and inspiration. I know I’ll be returning to this wonderful blog time and time again!



I am so excited!  I’m in the newest  Keepsake Quilting Catalog!!

My pattern, Cascading Stars is featured on page 21. 

 Cascading Stars pattern

Description from the catalog: Thank the fabrics in the Shade Cascade™ Medley shown for this 55″ x 55″ quilt of illusion made from just one repeating pieced square.

In addition, my Shade Cascade™ fabrics are featured on page 20.

Shade Cascade - Pumpkin Pumpkin

Shade Cascade - Blossom Blossom

Shade Cascade - sage Sage

Shade Cascade - Sapphire Sapphire

The Keepsake Quilting catalog is an amazing catalog and it is a honor to be included in it.  If you have never received one, please sign up!  It is like getting a quilt show in your mailbox, several times a year. As soon as mine arrives, I settle with a cup of tea, spend some time looking at each page and making out my wish list!


My husband Rick and I have been working on some video clips for our web page and for You-Tube. He is my resident “geek” and helped me put everything together.  (Actually, he did most of it!)  Currently, we have three clips on our web page.

Piecing tips and illusion tricks from my book: Celtic Pieced Illusions.   Click here to view on YouTube!



More Illusion tricks and piecing tips from my book:  3-D Fun with Pandora’s Box.  Click here to view on YouTube!


Piecing tips and the Illusion of Transparency from my pattern: Transparent Stars .  View on our website.



As a traveling teacher, packing and unpacking are part of my job. As soon as one trip is over, another is upcoming. For the few weeks, I’ve been making lists and packing for Spring Market. Everything has to be shipped tomorrow, so I’m getting down to the wire.

This year Spring Market will be held in Portland, Oregon. It is a beautiful city.  It has a population of over 2 million residents. The city covers 130 miles and is listed as the cleanest city in the U.S. Companies such as Nike, Adidas and Intel fuel the local economy.  Portland is located an hour from the Pacific Ocean and is close to Mount Hood. (Check out the link for the Mount Hood web cam!)

There is always lots to do, to prepare for Market. I’ll be doing two Schoolhouse Sessions: Secrets of the Selvage and Creating Quilts of Illusion.

I will debut new colors in my Gilded Greenery collection.


And my new collection called Nami will also debut.


Often I am asked, “How do you design fabric?” Sometimes I am inspired by a concept, sometimes a texture, sometimes by a need I see as a quilter. Many different things inspire my fabric and quilt designs.

For Nami, I was inspired by antique and traditional Asian textures. To give the collection a clean, yet traditional feel, I used the combinations of indigo/white, black/white, red/white and red/black.

In order to have designs that worked well together, I selected curvilinear designs and geometric designs. These play well off each other and can be used together in a quilt.

The three curvilinear designs are:


The floral designs are inspired from traditional Asian textures. The wave design is inspired from an antique kimono texture.

The three linear designs are:


Each of these designs were directly inspired by traditional Sashiko quilting patterns. In the third design, the stitching lines show.

What is Sashiko?
Early 18th Century, the wives of Japanese farmers, fishermen and lumberjacks made warm garments by stitching     two pieces of heavy fabric together. They used fine running stitches throughout the entire garment. At first, the    stitching was used for reinforcing and repairing damaged fabrics but later became more decorative. The cotton fabric was dyed very dark blue with the root of a native plant. We know this color as indigo.

By the end of the century, this particular style of stitchery was known as “SASHIKO”. Around the late 19th Century, sashiko appeared in cities. The style was adopted for warmth but the stitching designs became more elaborate.

I created this kimono quilt as a free project giveaway for this collection. Be sure to ask for your shops to order Nami and ask for the free project sheet.


 I also played with Nami and Gilded Greenery in this quilt, Celtic Vision from my book, Celtic Pieced Illusions.

 I used the Cinnamon and Saffron colorways from Gilded Greenery and three textures Nami in this quilt. I think it is an amazing combination!

I’ve just gotten my sample cuts from my new fabric collection, Nami.  For Spring Market, I’ve also added new colors to my Gilded Greenery collection. These sample cuts have also just arrived.

I’m so pleased with both collections! In the past few days, I’ve been working on quilts and samples for Spring Market and my Schoolhouse presentations.

studio Here’s a look into my sewing studio. You can see the infamous “fabric closet” on the back wall of the studio. This is the one I cleaned out this weekend.

I usually spread out when I work. I have two different cutting stations. This one is on my Koala sewing cabinet. I have the Koala Quilt Mate III. I’ve had it for about four years, don’t know what I did before I had it!

studio I’m working on the blocks for one of the Market quilts. If you look closely, you will see my constant companion, Cocoa in his bed, under the table.

Cocoa- snow

Several weeks ago, he enjoyed playing in the snow!

 I have some of my favorite notions out while I’m working.

Clover .07mm mechanical pencil I LOVE the new .07mm mechanical pencil by Clover. It is a fine tailor’s chalk and is perfect for marking.

Ewesful pin cushion I also love my wool Ewesful  pincushion. The lanolin in the wool keeps my pins sharp and I never have to worry about the pins rusting.

studioHere’s a look at my other cutting station and my Block Butler design wall. The quilt on the wall is in progress and uses two textures from the new Nami collection and two new colors from Gilded Greenery.

Nami and Gilded GreeneryAnother sneak peek at two textures in my new Nami line as well as two new colors in my Gilded Greenery collection.  Gilded Greenery Saffron and Cinnamon – I LOVE the rich colors of these new colorways. (There are more colors, but I’ll show those later.)

Gilded Greenery - Danube A close-up of the Gilded Greenery texture.

If you look in the corner of the photo above, you will see a basket with work in progress. Here another sneak peak at a 3-D cube in a 4th dimension. I’m playing around with this and hope to have more time to dedicate to this concept later.


Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at

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