Quilts By Kate
memories you can cuddle up with
Quilts By Kate turns your memories into keepsakes. T-shirts, neckties and other fabric items that hold special memories can be turned into a one-of-a-kind quilt that you will cherish forever.
e-mail Kate at kate@quiltsbykate.net for more information or to preserve your memories
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About Kate...
Kate Conroy

I started sewing at my grandmother’s knee when I was about eight or nine. She taught me the running stitch, the back stitch and all about embroidery. I never forgot the satisfaction that came from finishing a project and holding something I had created out of nothing, completely from scratch.

I fondly remember the scissors holder I made for my mother from scraps of felt and old buttons, and the pin cushion I designed and made for my aunt from the leftover material of my sister’s Halloween costume (she was a pumpkin that year and the green and orange cushion must have been quite the eyesore).

In high school I took sewing classes and learned how to make my own clothes. The first quilt I ever made was in my senior year. I was getting ready to head off to college and I wanted to make a quilt for myself I could bring to remind me of those high school days. I bought two big sheets of fabric that I stuffed with batting and knotted together. It was probably the quickest quilt in history. I still have it today and it’s full of memories from both my teens and my 20s.

After high school and college I impressed my friends by sewing replacement buttons on shirts and hemming bridesmaid dresses (I had a lot of friends getting married one summer), until one day I stumbled across a group of women who call themselves the Crazy Quuilters. There are two "u"s in "Quuilters" because this group belongs to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair. They not only quilt but also work and lobby for social justice all over the world. Not a bad group to get to know, right?

The Crazy Quuilters took me under their collective wing and a whole new world opened up to me. I found that traditional quilting was fun but there also was part of me that wanted to experiment. One Saturday afternoon I pulled out all my old t-shirts from high school and college. I hated that I didn’t wear them anymore – each one held significant sentimental value and they never saw the light of day.

I designed my first pattern that afternoon and started cutting. The end result is a quilt that I love and still use to this day. Word got out among my friends and orders started coming in. It made me so happy to be able to give my friends and family a vehicle for preserving their memories.

Then something strange happened. Well, two strange things happened. A friend of mine who collects silk neckties from thrift stores told me that she was going to attempt a quilt made entirely of ties. My brain exploded. Then another friend asked me if I’d do her a favor: she’d just gotten married and wondered if I’d try to make a quilt out of her wedding dress. My brain exploded again.

The rest is history. The bulk of my orders are for t-shirt quilts but I’m almost always in the process of putting together a necktie or wedding dress quilt, as well. Along the way all my married friends started having babies and I began to get orders for baby quilts. When those babies started growing up in came orders for quilts made out of baby clothes.

So now I get to design and create specialty quilts made out of previously worn clothing – including t-shirts, neckties, wedding dresses and baby clothes – and I feel incredibly lucky that this is how I spend my time.

Many thanks to my friends who were my first customers, my husband who puts up with sometimes finding needles in the couch cushions, and to my grandma, without whom I’d probably spend my free time doing something completely useless – like reading. :)

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e-mail Kate at kate@quiltsbykate.net for more information or to preserve your memories