Karen Styles' first fabric collection with Marcus Fabrics, VICTORIA PARK, is the culmination of her love affair with patchwork quilts that began around 1994, when she accompanied her mother to a patchwork class at a local shop. Having tried her hand at various crafts including knitting, dressmaking and cross-stitch over the years, Karen very quickly found her calling with patchwork. Those first classes led her to making her own quilts, some of which were prize-winning works. Soon, Karen began to teach techniques and projects at that same local store, buying the retail business some eight years later with her husband, Paul.
Since 2004, Karen has successfully re-shaped her business, specializing in 1800s reproduction fabrics, designing her own collection of traditional-style quilts, and reproducing antique quilts - most notably, her "Mrs. Billings' Coverlet", which she has done under license from the Quilters Guild of the British Isles. Today, Karen's quilt designs, sold under her "Somerset Designs" label, are sold throughout Australia as well as Europe, the US and even South Africa. Many of her designs feature the use of acrylic plastic templates, either as optional companion sets or in some, as integral components of the pattern to help create technically correct and accurately pieced quilts.
Having exhibited her work in various quilting magazines and at quilt shows around Australia, Karen has acquired a loyal and devoted following. This has encouraged Karen in her recent decision to travel to the US to show her patterns at both Spring and Fall Markets over the past 3 years. Through her evolution from student, to teacher, business owner and quilt designer, the prospect of designing her own fabrics always seemed a far-off ambition, until now...
Karen's use of color in her quilts has been lauded as beautifully artistic and even refreshing. Her increasing love for antique English quilts and a connection to her English heritage has also led to her appreciation for a lighter color palette, reminiscent of the florals and stripes of wallpapers and soft furnishings preferred in English homes of days gone by. It is these distinctive influences quilters will enjoy in Karen's debut collection for Marcus Fabrics.
Visit Karen at SOMERSET Patchwork & Quilting