Meet Kate Colleran!

Kristine Poor

We all have quilting friends - I'd like you to meet one of mine! Kate Colleran of Kate Colleran Designs and I have been quilting pals for quite a while - I met her at Quilt Market in 2009 and we have been buddies since then.  We chat about our ideas, share our successes and yes, failures, and attend Quilt Market together. So, sit back, have a cup of tea, and let's chat!

Kate, let's start at the beginning - what did you do before you were a pattern designer? 

I went to college for nursing and I worked as a nurse for over 30 years. I made my first quilt when I was a teenager so really I started quilting before I started working as a nurse.

I love that! What is your favorite type of quilt to make? you have any favorite techniques? 

I am not sure I have a favorite quilt or technique. I do love making basic units like 4 patch units, HST units and FG units and my favorite part is when I sew 4 units together and the seams all nest together beautifully. Bam! One of my other favorite techniques is making braids. I love to call it Sunday sewing as I don't have to worry about matching points and seams, I can just sew and then trim and I have this cool looking braid!

I'd love to know if you have any other hobbies. 

I love to read and I read most nights before bed. It relaxes me. Well, unless I am really into a story and then sometimes I stay up way too late so I can finish! I also knit, cross-stitch and like to draw though I am not very good. I just like to create things. I also hike, take Pilates and love to spend time by the beach.

Colors - how do you approach choosing colors for a quilt? 

Each quilt starts differently. In the past, I would find a fabric that I really liked and then find other fabrics to go with it. I didn't just go with a line of fabric; I used lots of different lines. These days, I often am working with a line of fabric from a fabric company or one of my batik lines that I designed for Island Batik. In that case, I just have to decide what goes where! 

How did you get started as a pattern designer? 

When I made my first quilt as a teenager, I didn't have a pattern so I just figured it out myself. I didn't even know about the ¼" seam allowance! After that, I made more quilts, eventually took a class and learned some basics. I was always doing my own thing, drafting my own patterns on graph paper and even when I started to buy quilt patterns, I wanted to change the pattern, and make it slightly different. After I had been quilting a while, a friend and I decided we wanted to start a quilt business as we thought it would be more fun than working in a nursing home. We debated buying a quilt shop but, since I had done quilt designs for myself, we decided to start a quilt pattern business. 

How many sewing machines do you have? lol 

OH - do I really have to admit to it? I have 4, no wait... 5 machines. The 2 machines I use the most are my everyday machine, which right now is a Janome Memory Craft and a Singer Featherweight. I love to take the Featherweight to classes or to group sew days.

Can you give us your best quilting tip (inquiring minds want to know!)? 

 Tips are always tricky as it depends on what we are talking about but my general, best overall tip is to slow down. When I am not racing through a project, sewing super fast, and just speeding to the finish line, I find I sew more accurately and I usually enjoy it more.  Racing to the end makes me forget why I quilt in the first place, which is not just to finish but to enjoy the process.

I love that tip! Sounds like me - rushing that project! If you would like to read Kate's interview of yours truly, visit her blog here - we really had fun doing this! And, if you would like to learn more about Kate, visit:

So great to get to know Kate!

Next week, we'll continue on our Building a Better Bag project, focusing on handling foam thickness! Stay tuned and keep stitching!


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