visit. create. shop. karen gray design.

Last Summer I traveled to Winston-Salem, NC for an abnormally pleasant work-related trip. During some down time, I walked to the nearby Reynolda Village and into a small fabric shop. I have no sewing ability, just a buried desire to learn to sew and unfounded confidence that I would be great at it if I tried. (I blame that confidence on my grandmother’s talent and too many episodes of Project Runway.) But when I stepped into Karen Gray Design, I completely forgot that I had not even thread a needle in years.


Karen greeted me as if I had walked through the back door of her home, and as I took in the beautiful fabric and designs, I couldn’t help but smile. After a few minutes of browsing, reality set in. I did not have the money to spend, the space in my luggage to spare, or a machine with which to sew. The near 500 miles from my home to the shop would be too much of a commute to make attending any of the classes possible. Before my hopes could really deflate, I heard Karen mention her Etsy shop, fabricpalooza; there was a way!

Then another wonderful thing happened. Karen’s daughter Alex happened to be showing another customer a t-shirt quilt she made. Now, I have seen many t-shirt quilts in my day, and most of them look like they can be used in the bedroom of a male teen or as a throw blanket  in a family rec room. This was the first time I really believed that such a keepsake could work for me.

I left the shop (pictured below) that day with Karen’s business card and Alex’s order form. 

Months later, when making my Christmas wish list, I remembered the beautiful fabric and quilt and decided that it was time to have my shirts from the “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt era” repurposed.  I communicated with Alex via email, selected fabrics from the fabricpalooza site, and shipped off my 25 t-shirts.  

A little while later I received the story of my college years in a box!
(drum roll, please)

Thank you Alexandra Gray! Beware, you may receive more t-shirts from me in the future.

I have already had several friends request information, so they can order a quilt of their own. I am happy to share! Contact Alex by email:

If you happen to be near Reynolda Village, stop by the shop! According to Karen’s blog the shop is relocating within the village this weekend (in the snow), so it may not look exactly like the picture above; it will probably appear even better!


One response to “visit. create. shop. karen gray design.

  • Erin Robbins

    I see the Evergreen t-shirt on your quilt! 😉 I still have mine around here somewhere. I look forward to reading around your blog some more soon. Great to get to catch up with you!

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