Java House Lectures

Uncommon designs for inspired quilters

Book a lecture with Karen for your guild or event.

Lectures available via Zoom or in-person.

Workshops are now available in-person only.

Please click here to download PDFs of pricing, descriptions, and bio information for your guild to review.


“Everyone loved your program tonight. Thanks for all the engaging things you told us about your quilt designing process. Fascinating stuff!”

Quilters By The Sea

“I have received many notes from members who found your presentation, intelligent, interesting, enlightening and motivating. We enjoyed how you broke down the elements and made the information accessible to all.”

Amelia Island Quilt Guild

“The Capital Quilters of Concord NH so enjoyed a virtual lecture by Karen Brow-Meir tonight. It was one of the best presentations we have had for our monthly zoom meetings. Karen’s photos and graphics were very professional, and she made many suggestions for making our projects more interesting with the use of color, humor, and unexpected details. Thank you, Karen!”

Leslie, Memeber of Capital Quilters Guild

“Thank you so very much for your SMUGGLE PRINCIPALS lecture. Our guild members thoroughly enjoyed you, your delivery and
content. It appealed to our new quilters and experienced quilter members as well. In my 3 years of programs chair, I have not heard as many positive comments and praise on any other lecture. You have delivered us a wonderfully enjoyable presentation.”

Adriane, Program Chair Capital Quilters Guild


The SMUGGLE Principles

Seven design elements which make a quilt “sing!”

-S slight asymmetry
-M movement
-U unexpected technique
-G gentle humor
-G graceful disruption of edges/borders
-L something lovable
-E elegant details

I’d love to share with you some techniques which have become a signature of my patterns and their distinct and joyful style.

I have some slightly irreverent methods for creating memorable quilts with uniqueness, gentle humor and movement, and you’ll see how to utilize them in your next project.

This lecture and slide show is rich with colorful photography of examples, illustrations and explanations of design elements honed in over 20 years of pattern writing and rewarding quilting.


Your Best Quilting Tools Are In Your Head

So talk to yourself!

I ask myself questions like these all along the process of sewing and designing a quilt:

– Is it nice but maybe a little “ho hum” right now?
– What’s missing?
– How can I make it “move.”?
– Can I break up the block setting for more interest?
– Would mixing the fabric lines make it richer?
– Do I need to broaden the color palette?

These “decision tools” move a project along towards something exciting! When working from a pattern, or designing a quilt from scratch, we can make it uniquely our own by considering some of the above.

Making a few small changes can bump up the “wow factor” of our work.

This program is about ways to move us forward in a project when we’re stuck or feel like something’s not quite right or not “enough.” (All artists visit that space on occasion!)

In this program I incorporate professional slides and finish up with the actual quilts which illustrate unique solutions and many of my special techniques .

zoo animals

Capturing Animal Personalities

Are your quilts alive?

Every animal has a distinct silhouette, a recognizable visual signature that uniquely distinguishes it from all others. (And by including just one animal block or appliqué, you can add joyful personality to your next project.)

So how do we capture that? Can I just use my favorite pet photo? How do I make it look like my own dog, cat or much-loved pet? Are there faster ways to add shading and dimension? Is less actually more when it comes to piecing? And how can technology assist us? (Hint: in so many ways!)

This lecture presents examples of animals with personality and liveliness and the methods and techniques used to create them. From finding the right image, to using your computer or copier to enhance it, you’ll get new ideas and techniques to incorporate in your next project.


Movin' On

The Magic of Movement In Quilts

Why should we concern ourselves with creating movement in our quilt compositions?


While color, pattern and workmanship create beauty, movement creates interest. It’s a guaranteed “wow factor” and adds a certain sophistication. We can create it using appliqués, and curves, adjusting a composition, color selection, incorporating asymmetrical shapes, unique border treatments and more techniques.

In writing patterns for over 20 years I’ve seen how movement in a composition absolutely draws people in. I’ll show you lots of unique and delightful ways to create it, while often incorporating a bit of humor for the joy of it.



Book a hands-on workshop with Karen for your guild or event.
Learn More


Book a lecture with Karen for your guild or event.
Learn More


Check our calendar for our next upcoming event!
Learn More