Early Beginnings

Kathy at age 4

Kathy Kansier was born and raised in Wisconsin. When Kathy was four years old, her mother began to teach her embroidery and other crafts. Her interest in sewing garments was sparked in 4-H and her 8th grade home economics class. These hobbies expanded to include quilt making in early 1970s.

Kathy’s early quilt making skills were self-taught, based on general sewing knowledge, trial and error experiences and information from quilting books and magazines. She completed her first quilt in 1974. Kathy graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in psychology and philosophy. By the early 1980s, she was married, living in Western Wisconsin, raising a family and making quilts.

Please note: The photo at the right is an example of Kathy’s early sewing skills. It’s not the embroidery on the collar of her dress. She cut her bangs the day before her appointment at the photography studio.

Amish Friendships

During the 1980s, Kathy began to focus on quilt history and design. She became acquainted with an Amish community in Western Wisconsin in 1984, and her study of their quilts and techniques improved her own piecing and hand quilting skills significantly. Kathy’s friendship with families in this settlement still continues today. Their peaceful way of life has been an inspiration to Kathy through the years and she enjoys visiting and corresponding with her Amish friends. As a result of this continuing friendship, she has been able to study their history, lifestyle and quilts in depth and provides lectures on this subject.

Guild & Professional Affiliations

Kathy is a strong supporter of local quilt guilds. She joined the Ozark Piecemakers Quilt Guild in Springfield, Missouri in 1992 and served as their program chairperson for two years. This guild has provided lasting friendships, great teachers and workshops  for its members. Kathy helped to organize an appliqué group within this local guild.

Kathy holds active memberships in the following quilt-related organizations:

  • American Quilter’s Society (AQS)
  • American Quilter’s Society List of Certified Quilt Appraisers
  • International Quilt Association (IQA)
  • MOKA (a four-state quilt history study group)
  • Professional Association of Appraisers – Quilted Textiles (PAAQT)

AQS Appraisal Certification

Because of her love of quilts and quilt history, Kathy began to pursue a career in quilt appraising in the late 1990s. In 2001, she became a Certified Appraiser of Quilted Textiles with the American Quilter’s Society. Since that time, she has appraised over 3,500 quilts. She now travels through the United States, appraising at shows, guilds and shops. She is a member of the Professional Association of Appraisers – Quilted Textiles (PAAQT) and is currently serving as the 1st Vice President of this group. PAAQT is an organization that provides training and support for textile appraisers. For further information on appraising and quilt history, click on the related pages in this web site.

Quilt Making & Other Hobbies

Kathy is inspired by every quilt she sees and as a result, she enjoys making all types of quilts using a variety of techniques. She has chosen not to focus on just one technique or style on which to improve and excel because she knows she would then become bored with quilt making. As a result, one week she may be working on a crazy quilt and the next week an applique project. Kathy’s award-winning quilts have been exhibited in both regional and national shows. In addition to quilt making, Kathy also enjoys rug hooking, basket making, embroidery and counted cross stitch.

Teaching Quilt Making

Kathy began teaching quilt making after moving to Springfield, Missouri. She teaches regularly at The Quilt Sampler – Springfield’s largest quilt shop. This shop has been in existence for 20 years and over 3,500 bolts of fabric. It is also a dealership for BERNINA, Pfaff and Janome sewing machines as well as the Handi-Quilter quilting machines. Kathy enjoys teaching at this shop because it helps her to keep in touch with local quilters and the most recent fabrics, patterns and sewing machines available to quilters. Her students often comment, “I have never learned so much in a class as I have with Kathy!”

When teaching at guilds and shows, her down-to-earth teaching approach has inspired many. Often students have made award-winning quilts as a result of Kathy’s classes. Kathy was one of the nominees for the “2001 Teacher of the Year Award” with the Professional Quilter Journal. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious Jewel Pearce Patterson Scholarship for Quilting Teachers. You can learn more about this award by going to Kathy’s blog. Kathy is also in the BERNINA National Artisan Program for Quilt Teachers. Kathy uses a BERNINA 830 in her studio. She loves this machine because of the many stitches and options it has.

Kathy is available to travel internationally to teach at quilt guilds, quilt shops and shows. She has taught on an international level at the AQS Shows in Paducah and Lancaster, the Machine Quilters Showcase, Innovations, the Applique Society Show, Road to California and the International Quilt Festivals in Chicago, Cincinnati, Portland and Houston. In 2008, she traveled to Brazil to teach and judge at a quilt festival. In 2009, she traveled to the British Isles to teach. In 2011, she taught on a Caribbean cruise to Panama and Costra Rica. A full listing of her lectures, workshops, fees and contract information can be found on the Service pages of this web site.

Quilt Show Judging

Kathy’s greatest joy is to encourage quilt makers. This joy translates not only to her classrooms but on the judging floor as well. Kathy began judging quilt shows in the late 1990s. She has also served as a volunteer on many judging floors. In total, she has been involved either as a volunteer or a judge in nearly 60 quilt shows.  Her judging experience has ranged from local county fairs international shows. She has judged over 9,000 quilts during her judging career. To learn more about her judging services, go to the services page in this website.

Pattern Designs, Writing & Publications

Kathy enjoys designing patterns for quilt makers and rug hookers. Her patterns are inexpensive, easy to make and include well-written instructions. She has a number of patterns currently available and is continually adding new ones to the list. These patterns may be ordered directly from Kathy.

Protecting Tomorrow’s Treasures Today is a 36 page book written by Kathy. It includes valuable information on appraisals, quilt history, and quilt care. This booklet is available for $7 plus $4 for shipping and handling. To order this booklet, send a check or money order with your mailing address to Kathy’s home address.

Kathy has written articles for The Applique Society Magazine and other quilt-related magazines. Her articles are on a variety of subjects and always come under the heading Quilts Up Close by Kathy Kansier. Kathy has been writing these articles for nearly ten years. She has had requests from her students to re-publish these articles so she is now adding them to this web site. Each month, she will post one of her articles on her blog. Don’t miss these, they are packed full of good information. These articles are copyrighted so if you want to reprint them for a guild newsletter or friends, please contact Kathy.

Kathy’s book, Ozark Varieties, is fast becoming a favorite book among applique enthusiasts. The quilt on the cover of the book has been displayed at the AQS Show in Paducah, Kentucky and the International Quilt Festivals in Houston and Chicago. A special applique exhibit that featured quilts made from these patterns was displayed at the 2006 Ozark Piecemakers Quilt Show in Springfield, Missouri. It’s a good book for those who are beginners to applique as well as those who have been doing applique. There are patterns for all nine blocks and the scalloped border in the book as well as photos of quilts that were made from the patterns. This book is currently on sale for $10 plus $4 for shipping and handling.

BERNINA Sewing Machines

I am often asked what kind of sewing machine I use. I have used a variety of sewing machines in my lifetime. My favorite machine is a BERNINA.  I an currently using a BERNINA 880 Sterling Edition. It’s the best machine I’ve ever had. It creates perfect stitches and is easy to use. This machine has an embroidery unit and I’m having fun making projects that include machine embroidery.

Purchasing a sewing machine is like purchasing a new car. BERNINA has a variety of machines to choose from. Consider what you want to use the machine for and what new stitches, techniques and features you want to learn to use. A local dealer can help you decide which model will best fit your needs. With excellent care, your machine will last a long time. It is important to have a local dealer with a great service department. The BERNINA service departments can teach you how to care for your machine and can service it when needed. BERNINA dealers also have excellent classes to help you learn how to use your machine and get the most out of the features you have.

To learn more about BERNINA sewing machines and to find a dealer in your area, visit their website at:

Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Iniative (AAQI)

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) was first described by German pshychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was later named after him. Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain and is a form of dementia. It effects memory, behavior and thinking. It is estimated that 5.3 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s. It is not a normal part of aging however, most people with Alzheimer’s are 65 or older. Early signs of the disease can occur when a person is in their 40s or 50s.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and its effects can be devastating for the person with the disease, their family, friends and caregivers. It can start with mild memory loss but over time, the person may not be able to even carry on a conversation or know their closest family members. In its advanced stages, symptoms can include a loss of cognitive abilities, confusion, mood swings, irrational behavior, long term memory loss, withdrawal, loss of bodily functions and eventually death.

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. No cure has been found for Alzheimer’s however there are medications available that can help to reduce the symptoms. More information about Alzheimer’s, including the top ten warning signs of the disease can be found on the Alzheimer’s Association website:

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative was founded in 2005 by Ami Simms, a quilt teacher from Flint, Michigan. The purpose of this grassroots organization of quilt makers was to raise awareness and money for research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.  The organization auctioned and sold quilts and provides traveling quilt exhibits to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. This organization raised over $1,000,000 for Alzheimer’s research!

Beginning in 2006, an exhibit of 52 quilts traveled throughout the United States as part of this effort. Kathy made a quilt that traveled in this exhibit. It is called Dear Diary. A book called Alzheimers – Forgetting Piece by Piece was published about this first traveling exhibit. The book contains all 52 quilts and the artists’ statements about their quilts. The AAQI project raised over $1 million dollars for research.