Professional Artist & Watercolor/Mixed Media/Pastel Teacher

Karin Novak-Neal

Quilt Patterns and the Birth of a Custom Designed/Handcrafted Heirloom Quilt

2009: My dear friend for many years and experienced quilter, Linda Abbott-Roe, has agreed to take on the challenge of making an heirloom quilt for my daughter Ashleigh and her new husband Luke, as a wedding present in May of 2010. Both of the kids were raised in Hawaii and love red hibiscus. It will be the theme for sure.

Linda has 9 months (it's normally 12) to do the entire quilt and she has also planned a vacation in Ireland in the midst of working on it. She is going to be designing the entire quilt from a small watercolor painting I am sending to her.

This is the watercolor painting to the right. I'm sure she was thinking "holy crap, what have I gotten myself into this time?"

Linda takes the painting I have sent to her in Washington and makes a huge pattern from it.  This is to be a queen size quilt.....with borders.....huge.  She is collecting quilt fabric from near and far and ordering special pieces for special places within the quilt. 

 Linda does the entire quilt by hand. No sewing machine used at all. Her incredible work ethic, perserverence and concentration pay off. It is breathtaking!

The quilt is finally completed after many  "border design" conversations and many e-mails to update us on the progress and 9 long months for Linda.  My other friend, Pat Thompson-Jaap, takes pictures and offers her input on many of the design decisions.......thank you Pat.  It is taken over to a neighbor's house and hung from the upstairs railing in the entryway and photographed. I receive the picture and we are totally amazed at how beautiful it is. Can't wait to receive it but the quilt is going on the's going to do a tour around Washington.............. and Pat is accompanying Linda on her 'field trip'.

The quilt is finally shipped FedEX and something is mixed up on the delivery. It seems they misplaced the quilt or the paperwork, or both. But, after days of waiting (and panic), it finally arrives here in Colorado. Luke and Ashleigh receive the finished Hybiscus Quilt as a wedding gift from my husband and myself. They are totally blown away by the amount of work that has gone into this 'one of a kind' quilt for them. It is definitely a hit and will be cherished for a lifetime......a real heirloom.....and with their favorite Hawaiian flower for the design.

My husband and I hang the quilt on a bamboo frame that Phil has built so that everyone (at their wedding reception in our yard) can see it and admire the handiwork. Luke's grandmother is a quiltmaker and is totally impressed with the wonderful job that Linda has done. Thank you so much Linda for an amazing and beautiful gift.  There really are no words for this special present. Love and Aloha. Karin

My future plan is to design more quilt patterns from my paintings. If you have any suggestions, ideas or comments, please let me know. K