Quilting Instructor, Fiber Artist, Geek
Kristin Echols

Remember, quilting is your hobby – it should not stress you out.

Kristin

I began quilting in 1999 when my best friend, Wendy, told me she was pregnant. Wendy and I have been friends since second grade, and we were the maid-of-honor in each other’s weddings. I wanted to do something special for her first baby, so I decided to make a baby quilt from my bridesmaid dress. I bought “Your First Quilt Book” by Carol Doak and headed to my local quilt shop to buy coordinating fabrics to pair with my purple acetate dress. It was a stressful endeavor, but my quilt turned out and was much loved by Wendy and her son Gavin.

After that experience, I decided to pursue quilting as a hobby. It was a colorful and creative outlet to balance with my career as a computer programmer. I started taking classes, bought a new sewing machine, and got to know the ladies at my local quilt shops. One of the store managers said I seemed like a patient person and asked if I would be interested in teaching the sewing machine mastery courses they provided with the purchase of a new machine. That sounded like a great way to meet people, so I began teaching classes on weekends. Since the students had all makes and models of sewing machines, it gave me a familiarity with many machines. (I was only stumped by one sewing machine that the student had purchased from the trunk of some guy’s car. Her manual was in Italian and the machine was far from intuitive!)

After making a few quilts, I became intrigued by a technique I saw on TV. The concept was to quilt the quilt in small sections and then join the sections with sashing strips to cover the raw edges. I was hooked and began researching the many ways this technique was achieved. It is often referred to as “quilt-as-you-go” or “reversible” quilting. After participating in a number of block-of-the-month programs, I decided to design a setting for my completed blocks that would make use of the quilt-as-you-go technique. When I showed the ladies at the quilt shop, they insisted I create and teach a class, and my “Finish Your Block-of-the Month” class was born. It continues to be my most popular class, and the success of that class has led me to design other quilts based on the technique.

When not quilting or teaching, I enjoy time with my husband Shawn, our three children Eric, Stephanie and Connor, our grandson Malcolm and our two cats Sophie and Chuck Norris. We live in Elk Grove, California, and I work full-time for the County of Sacramento as a computer geek.