Are you doing a happy Friday dance? I am! because it's Friendly Friday time and this week we're featuring Karen from Sewing Tales. Karen is another Aussie quilter, in fact she practically lives just down the road from me. Our busy lives meant we haven't met in person yet but we do like to chat. Karen has a House Quilt WIP too, so who knows maybe we'll get together and sew our house blocks together one day. In the meantime you can hear her thoughts on quilting and have a look at her wonderful work.

Hi Karen, tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! Its very cool to be here chatting with all of Rachael's friends. My name is Karen and I live in Sydney suburbia with my husband and 6 year old son. I work 3 days a week in a bank and am extremely thankful to be able to remain in a paid job I love working with very nice people as well as having time to help out at my son's school if they need it. Currently that is reading groups with my son's class every Friday and working in the canteen once a month.

How long have you been quilting?
Would you believe I can't actually remember the exact year. I think it was 1998.

What enticed you to start quilting?
My best friend and I mapped out a 2 month holiday to Mexico and the States. As part of the holiday we picked up a hire car in Philadelphia and drove out to Lancaster County.  In doing our research the Lonely Planet travel guide recommended buying a handmade Amish quilt. Well we hit the shops and I saw the price and was devastated that I couldn't afford one. The quilts I saw were just so beautiful. I bought a quilted pot holder instead. I couldn't come away empty handed could I?  Well when I got home and settled back in I couldn't get those quilts out of my mind. So I signed myself up for a class at the The Quilting Bee in Gordon (now sadly no longer in business). When I first entered the shop I just fell in love with all those gorgeous fabrics and colours.  I had bought a sewing machine a few years ago and dabbled in making clothes because I liked playing with fabric. But it wasn't until I found quilting that I realised that 'this' was what I really wanted to be doing with fabric and that was it. Nothing else was going to get a look in.

What do you love about quilting?
I love all the different fabrics, designs and wonderful people that quilt.  I used to attend a weekly quilting group but after having my son and returning to work I could no longer attend the weekly meetings. I don't remember exactly when I got into blogs but BOY what a wonderful way for me to re-connect with the quilting community. I really found a place that suited my lifestyle and was so welcoming. I don't get that much time to create these days but I don't mind so long as I have my eye candy from reading blogs. Thank you to all the bloggers who share their beautiful creations.

Is there any part of the process that you don't like?
Yeah, basting. I have never liked it and probably never will.  I like big quilts so their size is also a big deterrent. But I have basted a few quilts so I know exactly what I am missing out on when I send my quilts to a longarm quilter.  The added bonus is my quilts do get finished fractionally quicker when I send them out to be quilted. She does a beautiful job.

Do you have a favourite sewing saying or motto?
I love the galloping horse one (if you can't see the imperfection while galloping past on a horse its not worth worrying about).

What model sewing machine do you use?
I have a Janome 6125 quilters edition.

Do you listen to music while you sew? What is your favourite type or cd?
As my sewing 'nook' is in the family living room I really don't get a say in what's on. If I get a chance to play music I set the MP3 player to random and sing while I sew. I have so many differen types of music on board and I love not knowing what the next song is going to be.  Please know though that I am in no way a good singer and only do this when no one else is home. The fabric can't yell at me to stop because I am hurting its ears with my woeful singing (ha ha).

What is your favourite food?
Now this is a difficult question because there is so much good food around. I love good hot chips, chicken laksa, tabouli (so fresh!) and vietnamese pork rolls from my local bakery. At home I love Jamie Oliver's chicken stroganoff (so easy and so unbelievably tasty) and some roast pork with my hubby's greek salad (oh soooo good).

Do you have any furry friends that keep you company while you sew?
No, we don't have any pets.

Tell us about the house blocks you've made?
I made Rachael two blocks.  I won some house blocks a while ago and have been collecting house block patterns to add to the blocks I won to make a quilt. I  picked two of my favouite patterns.  The block with the yellow background is from a pattern called 'Mad Plaid Houses' by Deborah Dorward (Down Under Quilts magazine). I call my block the 'Patchworker's House'.

The block with the blue background I call 'The Homestead' because of its size. Its bigger than I thought. Its the centre block from a Blackbird Designs quilt that was published in Australian Homespun. I thought clever Rachael could pimp it up if she wants to.

 Yay! Double the Fun!!! Thank you Karen, Your houses are so wonderful! I love the names you came up with and the summery sorbet colours you've used. "Patchworkers House" is the only 3 story house so far and "The Homestead" is made with one of my most favourite ever Sis Boom fabrics! 

 Pop over and say hello to Karen at Sewing Tales to see more of her beautiful work. And if you like Blythe dolls you should have a look at Karen's Flickr site, her dolls are sooo cute!!

And have a great weekend!!!