Karen WestI think my fascination with fabric began when I was born. I started making troll clothes when I was 6 years old and my grandmother taught me to sew the tiny snaps on by hand. A neighbor mom taught me to follow a pattern and I made my first dress on the sewing machine when I was 8. I started quilting while in college, before rotary cutters existed, following directions in a Woman's Day magazine. Many years (or should I say "yards") later, in 2002, For the Love of Fabric began, quite by accident. I just wanted to make a simple lined tote bag. I searched pattern suppliers and the web for just the right pattern, and could not find one, so I decided to design my own. It was an instant hit in the quilt shop, where I had just started to work part-time. That first design was Totally Awesome Totebag, named after my teenagers' favorite expression that year.

I now work full-time and teach at Thimble Pleasures in Carrboro, North Carolina, one of the best and largest quilt shops in the southeast. I find that my co-workers and students are my most enthusiastic and helpful pattern testers. My co-workers are eager to make every design when it's in the preliminary stages, often just a few sketchy notes. If they enjoy making the project, I develop the instructions and teach it as a class before I publish it, gathering information and editing as the students make each design.

For quilt photos I use a local photographer, Seth Tice-Lewis, my final editing is done by Kathleen Lessard, and my patterns are all professionally printed locally by A Better Image Printing.

I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with my husband and teenage son, my labradoodle, Ginny and my cats, Frankie and Levi. I have two daughters in their thirties, who are both out on their own. My son plays baseball, and we are all Carolina and Durham Bulls baseball fans. If I am not at the quiltshop or at my sewing machine, I am most likely to be found at a baseball game. My previous career was in labor and delivery nursing. I "retired" from that in 2004 to pursue quilting and designing full-time. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to make a living from the hobby I am so passionate about.

My goal as a designer is to create clear instructions for quilts and other fun things to make with all the great fabrics on the market. After all most of us sew or quilt because we love fabric.