Road 2020 Most Humorous went to Kathryn Bernstein (along with Cindy Brauntmann who did the Embroidery). Kathryn received $1,000 from Sponsor, BlocLoc Rulers – USAUS INC, for A Tale of The Salem Witches Quilt Guild – Those Pesky Goblins!
A Sense of Humor leads to winning Most Humorous.
When Kathryn Bernstein’s grandmother passed away, her grandfather sent to Kathryn one of her grandmother’s homemade quilts, a flour sack utilitarian quilt. Kathryn washed it and started using it for her television quilt. It didn’t take long for her husband to take possession of using the quilt. As Katherine recalled, “Finally, I said, ‘If I make you a quilt will you please stop touching my grandmother’s quilt?’” She went out and bought a book and some fabric and made him the “ugliest first quilt on record.” Over the years, Kathryn has invested in “fifty plastic bins of fabric and four sewing machines” and she feels like she’s “just getting started!”
Kathryn started entering quilts in competitions after she made her third and fourth quilts. She entered them in the Santa Monica Quilt Show, “which, thank goodness, was not a juried show.” Kathryn ended up showing her sixth quilt, “Jumping Off the Cliff With Freddie” at Road to California and the Quilters Guild of Dallas. It won a ribbon in its category in Dallas, which qualified it for submission to Houston. It was also displayed in Houston in the Texas Guilds exhibit.
Inspiration for Most Humorous Winner
The whimsy of Crabapple Hill designs has always appealed to Kathryn. She had been working on her family tree when she came across the Salem Witches Quilt Guild pattern at the Paducah show. “Two of my great grandmothers were accused in the Salem witch trials. While those trials are a horrifying episode in American history, the fact that there are two accused witches in my family explains a lot about the women in my family and the qualities I look for in my friends! The notion that goblins love attending guild meetings and meddling in the stitching took hold in my imagination, so I sketched drawings of them to hover in the background. The limerick for the label of the quilt just popped into my head, “There once was a coven of Witches who couldn’t master their stitches. For a wee taste of gin, the goblins stepped in and stitched in all of their Ditches.”
The quilt took several years to make. Each witch figure took a day to color. Kathryn discovered that microwaving a white crayon to soften it up, permitted her to quickly lay down a thicker, smoother white base, which in turn allowed for better shading and highlighting of the figures. She quickly realized that she needed help completing the embroidery, so she enlisted her friend, Cindy Brautmann.
It took months to settle on the setting blocks and fabrics when Katherine decided, “What could be more appropriate than Spider’s Web?” Katherine approached several long arm quilters about how to incorporate the goblin drawings. Susan Corbett of Fort Worth, Texas, “is such a talented quilter and she was so excited about executing the drawings that she was the natural choice.”
What Was Learned Along the Way?
Kathryn said that while making this Most Humorous quilt, she “learned to never give up on completing a complicated quilt. Rely on your friends and listen to their encouragement and advice, trust your talent and instincts to develop new techniques and be willing to permit other talented people to shine as well. Last but not least, when its 2:00 AM, it is time to stop adding hot fix crystals and always, always let the goblins help!”
A Winning Design
Kathryn was sick with a cold and couldn’t make it out to Road 2020. Susan Corbett called Kathryn to tell her that a friend had posted A Tale of The Salem Witches Quilt Guild – Those Pesky Goblins! on Instagram as a winner. A member of Katherine’s beloved quilt group, the YaYas, also called to tell Kathryn that one of her friends had spotted the ribbon.
Of winning Most Humorous, Kathryn commented, “Winning a ribbon is always such a joy because it validates the time, money and effort spent pursing excellence. It also allows me to wave the ribbon at my husband to justify my credit card bill!”
Kathryn shared her prize money with both Susan and Cindy “because they worked so hard on the quilt too
Kathryn hopes to spend 2020 completing the applique baby quilt that she started when her first grandbaby was announced. “Catalina turned six on February 27, 2020, so maybe it will be finished before she goes to college!”
Congratulations, Kathryn Bernstein, for winning Most Humorous at Road 2020.