Carolyn Kyle

By Susan Fisher

Carolyn Kyle of Decatur has been a member of the Georgia Quilt Council since its inception and joined the Yellow Daisy Quilt Guild when it was just a few months old, remaining an active member ever since.

Carolyn majored in Home Economics at the University of Alabama, where she met and married her husband Claude. After graduation, as she puts it, she “tried” to teach 7th and 8th grade math and science. It only took her one year to realize that teaching was not for her. She and Claude moved to Georgia in 1960, to Memphis ten years later and, after a decade there, back to Georgia.

It was in Memphis that she began quilting. She took a class there in 1975 and made a sampler quilt for her first grandchild. When asked what color it was, she laughed and said, “Remember, in 1975 there wasn’t a big selection of fabrics available. It was orange!”

But that first quilt also included appliqué, which continues to be Carolyn’s favorite quilting technique. Hand quilting is her joy. One of her prized appliqué quilts is a nine block Baltimore Album that is also a family history of names and dates written on the blocks.

Carolyn has quilts hanging throughout her house and enjoys changing them out. Those not on the walls are “stored” on a spare bed. She lays them out flat, one on top of another with a protective cover over them all. This prevents creasing and fading. Of course, when company comes, there is a mad dash to roll them up and stash them here and there.

Although Carolyn says she makes her quilts to be washed, she doesn’t wash her quilts. She marks the tops with a chalk wheel, white marking pencil or a very light pencil so the marks don’t remain behind. She does her quilting with #10 needles and cotton thread. She recommends machine embroidery thread for hand appliqué. “It’s strong, it’s so thin it disappears and the color choices are endless.”

Carolyn well remembers the last quilt she made before rotary cutters, a king size quilt stitched entirely by hand. The piecing and quilting are recalled fondly, but not so the blistered hands from cutting all those pieces with scissors. Even though she didn’t really like the quilt, she completed the project. “I felt I had to finish what I started even if I didn’t like it.” Her philosophy now is more flexible: “If you don’t like it, let it go.”

Carolyn and Claude celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary on August 31st. They have two sons and one daughter (who Carolyn describes as “so dear”), six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren with one on the way. Carolyn is working on a quilt for her now. While none of them sew, they all certainly appreciate her very fine quilts.

December 2004