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For our February and March featured quilters, we're pleased to present our first dynamic quilting duo, Kelly Knox and her mother, Marilyn.

As an extremely talented freelance quilt designer, an accomplished teacher, and a three-term Annie's Star Quilt Guild president, Kelly Knox has it all and more!

1. How did you get started in quilting?

My mom and I took a beginning class with Sharon Berg at Honey Run, when it was on the Esplanade, in June of 1996. Once we took that class, I was hooked. I have always loved quilts, especially for the historical aspects.

While I was growing up, my mom made a lot of my clothes. She is a master seamstress, among other talents. She knits, crochets, does needlepoint, and embroidery. So, I've always been surrounded by these things. But, with the exception of some counted cross stitch embroidery, nothing has captured my heart quite like quilting!

2. What is one quilting notion that you can’t do without?

My seam ripper is very important and ALWAYS near.  I also truly believe that having good, sharp scissors and a fresh rotary blade are what makes the process more enjoyable.  Really good thread is very important too!  You know, maybe having a design wall is the one thing I can't do without.  We are so fortunate to live in a world full of wonderful notions that help s to be better makers.  It's difficult to narrow it down to one favorite.

3.  If you’re willing, please share a funny quilting experience that taught you a memorable lesson.

One morning, I woke up and thought I would go right into my sewing room to continue working on a project.  Mind you, I'm always up early.  But, I'm not a high-functioning morning person. 

I was working away, in my pajamas and bed head, when I dropped my Fiskars Micro Blade scissors, blade down, into the side of my foot.  It was deep enough that the scissors were stuck in my foot, just dangling.
I stayed fairly calm as I hobbled into the bathroom.  I got my foot into the bathtub and managed to pull the scissors out.  As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of blood.  Actually, a lot of blood!

I sat on the edge of the tub, trying to stop the bleeding and contemplating whether I needed to make a visit to the ER.  Then, I remembered that I was still in my pajamas with my messy, messy hair.  That was it.  There was no way that I was going anywhere, including the ER, looking the way that I did.  I would rather bleed out than have anyone see me looking so bad!  Needless to say, the bleeding eventually stopped and I lived.

Subsequently, I do not sew first thing in the morning anymore.

4.  If it’s possible to choose just one, what is your favorite quilt that you’ve made?  


5.  What do you do with your quilts?  

I gift quilts, I sell quilts, I donate quilts, and I buy lovely furniture in which to house my quilts. I was very fortunate to have Judy Petrucelli’s husband, Ken, build me a custom quilt cabinet!

6.  Have you ever received a quilt as a gift? If so, please share a bit about the experience.  

Shortly after my husband passed away, Brenda Hamilton gave me a wall hanging that she had made. It was such a kind, lovely, and personal gift. It is a very special treasure.

7.  What type of quilting do you most enjoy? 

I suppose I am a traditional quilt maker. I love piecing, paper piecing, and needle turn applique. For me, the most enjoyable part of the process is selecting the fabric.

8.  We would love to include some personal details about you (anything you’d like to share) such as your profession, interests outside of quilting, future plans, etc.

I grew up in Southern California. I moved to Chico in 1989 to finish my Bachelor’s Degree in History at CSU Chico. I completed my three semesters, graduated, and never left.


I work at DaVita Dialysis and have been teaching at Honey Run since 2015. I am an active member of Annie’s Star Quilt Guild and have served on many board positions, including President. I also make custom quilts, specializing in Memorial and T-shirt quilts. It is an honor to make something for someone that provides both physical and emotional comfort. Not to mention the wonderful upcycling aspect of these projects! Needless to say, I am a busy gal and I like it that way.


When I am not working, you can find me at home with my cat, Trixie, and my dogs, Winston Feliz Pablo McCartney and Jiffy-Pop Jackson: The Popcorn Pirate of Stanislaus County, the loves of my life.

9. What quilting/sewing projects have you worked on together?

Recently, my mom and I collaborated on a raffle quilt to benefit the Yankee Hill Fire Safe Council. We used a T-shirt, designed by Jake Early after the Camp Fire, and modified the Creative Solutions Apex Pattern to meet our design needs. I handled the design and math and Marilyn did all of the cutting and sewing. Not only was it was a grand success, we still like each other!

10. What is something you’ve learned from each other regarding quilting?

I think our answers are going to be very different. But, what I have learned from my mom is that improvisation is a good thing and you don’t always have to follow the rules (or, in this case, instructions). I think that Marilyn will say that it is good to have someone around to do the math for you!

11. What is a quilting skill you admire in your daughter/mother

My mom can do it all!

12. If you give your daughter/mother advice, do they take it?

My mom listens, ponders and, in the end, she does whatever she wants to do. Occasionally, something I’ve said is actually incorporated.