Go Giver: Karen DeAngelo

Go Giver: Karen DeAngelo

Karen DeAngelo, 63, learned to sew as a child, taught by her thrifty mother, who sewed all of her four daughters’ dresses and clothes. She also studied sewing in her high school home economics class and believes those skills are important and should still be offered in school. DeAngelo likes making quilts using the easier method of tying the quilt layers together with square or surgeon’s knots instead of stitched layers. She taught the eldest of her two daughters to sew and is happy that the oldest of her three grandchildren is learning to knit. Over the years DeAngelo has found ways to help others through her sewing, quilting, knitting and crochet work.

“I always bought fabric at Calico Station in Orange Park where I met a lot of other quilters. Back in 1984, the original owner Faye Heyn put out sign-up sheets for interested quilters to find each other and get connected. The Friendship Quilters Guild formed from that early group and I was a charter member. There are about seven different area guilds now meeting regularly throughout Northeast Florida,” DeAngelo said. “The Friendship Guild members will celebrate our 30th anniversary quilting together, on November 30th…we have made and donated a lot of quilts and other items to comfort and help people feel better.”

DeAngelo has no idea how many prayer shawls, scarves and lap quilts she has made for her own charitable contributions. She also makes many items for her daughter to donate to her church.

“I really enjoy making and giving away lap quilts and shawls because I know they provide a lot of comfort and help people when they are going through a crisis or difficult time,” she said. “One of my favorite things to make are Me Dolls… simple hand-sewn dolls of plain muslin. We give them to hospitals for the physicians to use to explain treatment or surgery to young children in a way that is not frightening.”

DeAngelo and her husband Guy, 69, married in 1973 and moved to Jacksonville for his U.S. Navy career. They spent several years living at Cecil Field Naval Air Station. Later, the couple bought their family home in Cedar Hills and has lived there for the past 24 years. Karen has worked part-time at Joanne’s Fabrics, her dream job, for 15 years.

DeAngelo teaches three classes at Jo-Ann Fabrics each month and has many students who repeat or take classes continuously. She believes that hand sewing and other needlework are dying arts; she tries to inspire her students to share what they learn with others. DeAngelo loves to try new techniques and patterns and enjoys searching for ideas on the internet, in magazines and fabric shops. Often she gets great ideas from her students.

“I learn so much from my students! I’ve taught all ages, children ages eight-plus, couples, mothers and daughters, teens or adult siblings,” she said. “A great place to see wonderful quilts and learn more will be at QuiltFest 2014, Sept. 25-27th at Prime F. Osborn Convention Center where there will also be many sewing and quilting demonstrations.”

By Julie Kerns Garmendia

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