At our last quilt guild meeting, a friend did a program of her work for our guild, and I was simply blown away with her creativity and artistry. I haven’t known her long, and although I knew she was a quilter and longarmer, I had not seen her work. Her name is Kathleen Rountree, and she is an award winning quilter, show judge and artist. I took a few photos of her amazing work, and she gave me permission to show you. Kathleen’s special artistry on her program this time was taking vintage linens and quilting them onto fabric bases. The detail on every piece was really impressive. Take a moment to look at this one, notice the planning this must have taken in the border quilting and the corner motifs.
Kathleen takes each piece, planning a beautiful quilted pattern to enhance the delicate embroidery present on the original linen. Here, the beautiful feathers surround a fill of cross hatching with cross hatching around the edge of the linen piece as well.
A ‘border’ is created in quilting of a twisted double ribbon effect, with one being feathered and the other plain.
Kathleen doesn’t trapunto the puffy sections, she stated she uses wool batting, and heavily stipples around the areas that she wants to stand out. Here, matchsticks are quilted around the outer edge, and the inner edge is stippled to make the ribbons stand out.
This pink piece seems simple, but hours and hours of work went into marking precise lines, quilting those lines, quilting the feathers and micro-stippling around the them, then sewing hundreds of seed beads by hand.
Working around her work schedule, these pieces took months and sometimes years to complete. The quilting pattern of the center piece uses stippling around the embroidery, with planned areas unquilted to create the circle in the center and the next one out. Around that, notice the intricate detail of the double stitched row cross hatching, with tiny circles inside each cell.
This piece was deceptively simple until you looked closely. The design of the quilted motif in the center had to be precisely marked and quilted. The original piece already had the embroidery with delicate openings in the stitchery. This photo doesn’t show the quilting in the center very well, but you hopefully can see the main flower motif.
A closer look at a corner, note the heavy micro-stippling around the feathers and the embroidery. The amazing part of this one is Kathleen micro-stippled between all those green thread lattices. It took three years to finish this work.
Here’s another corner, every millimeter is quilted.
Here, Kathleen enhanced the circular design of the original embroidery, incorporating the leaves into the spokes of the wheel quilted in the white space. Note the ‘border’ design is half on the white and half on the background beige.
On the closeup of the corner, look at the pattern in the area around the embroidery. She added lace to this one, too.
Some of her pieces marry modern pieced and quilted designs with vintage elements. She made us laugh here, pointing out where a pearl is missing from the upper doily, stating it isn’t finished until that last pearl is added. So, when she decides to show it, she can add that final pearl and count it finished that year.
She showed us more spectacular pieces, this delicate yellow among the awesome pieces. Her vision and precision makes her an award winning quilt artist. Once again, note the intricate detail in her micro-patterns.
Heavy stippling makes the feathers and ‘borders’ stand up to be noticed.
Here’s a closer view of the center.
I cannot imagine how she ‘sees’ these designs on a blank canvas of a lacy vintage handkerchief or table scarf on a plain background. I would do the stand and stare thing for a long time. But, she takes that blank canvas and turns it into a treasure.
Kathleen is available for speaker programs and show judging, contact her on her website and see more of her amazing artistry at kathleenrountree.com. I am so happy to call her my friend!
Now, I am actively scouring the thrift shops for vintage linens to try this myself. Have you ever done a project with this level of detail?