Baltimore on the Prairie 2020
Five immensely talented teachers make up the 2020 faculty, two of them teaching as a team, encompassing a variety of techniques. Broderie perse, needleturn applique, prepared edge applique, wool applique, dimensional flowers, embroidery and an Australian influence in design are just a few of the Session's highlights.
I started quilting about 18 years ago after seeing a quilt in a magazine. I tackled my first quilt on my own and made every mistake in the book!! I enjoyed machine piecing for a long time until I got the taste for needleturn appliqué.
I started out making quilts using patterns produced by others and eventually decided to try my hand at making my own – for myself. It was only when I started doing this that I realised that I had so many quilts “in my head” that needed to be put down on paper – and so began my new journey as a “designer”.
When designing I do a lot of what I consider “research”. In my day job I work at my computer for many hours and every time I need a break, I go onto Pinterest, look up antique quilts and read blogs. This is where I get my inspiration from. I usually start off with a rough idea for a quilt. I then draw this out on paper – yes I still enjoy using paper, pencils and an eraser. Once I’m happy with that, I then start refining this drawing – this is the part I enjoy the most.
Next is choosing fabric. I have found that the best way for me to do this is to limit my palette of fabric. I will choose, say, 10 each of red, green, blue, brown and perhaps 5 each of yellow and orange. All this goes into a box and I try very hard to use only these fabrics – this stops me from procrastinating over what fabric to use.
Over the years I have refined the way I approach my preparation making this process much quicker and this is the way I now teach it. I don’t use templates except for repetitive pieces, e.g. leaves, circles etc. I use a lightbox onto which I place my pattern and then place each fabric over the shape to be traced, trace it out and cut with a ¼ inch seam allowance. When I’ve cut out all my places, I again place my pattern over the lightbox, place my background fabric over the pattern and glue all my pieces into place. I like to prepare the complete quilt (if possible). This way it makes my work portable and I can take it with me whenever I know I’ll get a chance to sew. Also, by doing the whole quilt at the one time, I don’t have the problem of coming back to it much later and finding that I’ve used a particular fabric for another project. Of course there’s no guarantee that I’ll like the fabric I’ve chosen and have “un-stuck” a whole quilt because it didn’t look as good on the background fabric as I had “seen” it in my head.
As I make the quilt I try and keep as detailed notes as possible. Pattern writing is my least favourite task and no matter how many times I’ve edited a pattern, mistakes do creep in.
I love teaching classes in all aspects of needleturn and instilling in quilters the love for needleturn applique. I try and make my classes fun and stress-free. I like to think of my classes as “sit and sew” sessions – or “mini quilt-ins” – where we have a fun and relaxing day, chatting to friends as well as learning a new technique or perfecting on techniques.
Barbara Robertson Carper is an accomplished quilter and professional educator. She began sewing as a child, happily making doll clothes by hand or on her mother's portable Singer sewing machine. Before she was 5 years old, Barbara learned to embroider and in first grade, she was asked to exhibit samples of her work on a class bulletin board. In highschool, she made her first full-size quilt top, cross stitched on a stamped Paragon pattern.
A forty year career in education followed Barbara's college and graduate work. In addition to teaching on the high school and college levels, Barbara traveled extensively, often organizing and leading students on trips throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. During those years Barbara dabbled in various forms of needlework--needlepoint, crochet, knitting, flag making, and quilting.
In 2006, she met and fell in love with Bill Carper, a retired businessman who lives in Charles City, VA. They married in 2008, and Barbara moved to an idyllic spot on the historic James River, not far from Williamsburg. While her husband refers to their location as nirvana, she calls it the boondocks, noting that there are few neighbors and that the closest grocery is 25 minutes away. The nearest quilt shop, well....
A friend who attended The Elly Sienkiewicz Applique Academy for many years suggested that Barbara enroll in the academy in order to meet local needlewomen. There, she was introduced to appliqué and Baltimore album quilts. Barbara describes her first days at the Academy as intimidating, but the teachers she met quickly put her at ease, and the friends she made welcomed her to their weekly Glory Bee. "If those ladies had been bank robbers, I would have been one too. Fortunately, they were appliquéers." Barbara continues to sew with them every Friday. In 2012 she returned to the Academy as a classroom helper. Teacher Evelyn Crovo-Hall became her mentor and friend, introducing her to prepared edge appliqué. In 2017, Barbara joined the faculty of Barbara Blanton's Academy of Appliqué in Historic Williamsburg. Barbara has been a member of the Richmond Quilters' Guild since 1998 and a member of the Embroiders' Guild of America since 2016.
Darla Jo Hanks started quilting in 1990 wanting to make quilts for her family. After a couple years of piecing quilts she stumbled upon the freedom of design in applique. She has been hand stitching and designing since then.
Focusing on the Baltimore Album style and the needle turn applique stitching method, her work has been juried into several national shows including Paducah, Houston, Pacific International and many Iowa shows. The last few years Darla has fallen for the Broderie Perse style of applique which she now calls her favorite. Darla favors making original works over patterns to release "all her bottled up creativity".
Darla lives on a small acreage outside Forest City, Iowa with her husband Darrell and two dogs. She also enjoys gardening and teaching her grandchildren to sew.
Teri Young and Kara Mason have been stitching partners for nearly 20 years. They feel honored to have had their original Baltimore Album-style quilt, A Fairy Tale Album, hanging in exhibits in Houston, Chicago, England, and Virginia.
Kara and Teri began teaching at local quilt shops in 2014, focusing on appliqué, embroidery, and ribbon work. They have
lectured at guilds internationally, taught a series of workshops for the Baltimore Appliqué Society, have been teaching at the Academy of Appliqué in Williamsburg, Virginia, for the
past three years, and are thrilled to add Baltimore on the Prairie to the list. Their most recent quilt designs include In the Garden, Lovely Botanicals, and their newest project, Woodland Reverie, which will be introduced soon. Their partnership adventures continue across two continents, as Kara is living in Germany for the next couple years. Technology is a great asset when designing together from across an ocean! Stories of their adventures are chronicled on their weekly blog, Telling Stories Through the Needle's Eye.