Kathy Verser is the owner of Budding Star Quilts, which she opened on December 1st of 1987. The original concept was to sell some fabrics and teach a few classes. Kathy never imagined that she would have such a large business, nor that she would celebrating a 30 year anniversary in 2017!
As a teenager, she was drawn to textiles. She often was found with a needle in her hand, whether she was making her own clothing, or learning needlework. While on vacation in Vermont, her family visited the Shelburne Museum just outside of Burlington. Her mother, father and sister were interested in the various exhibits throughout the museum, but Kathy was fascinated by the handmade quilt exhibit, and spent hours looking at the beautiful pieces.
As a college student, Kathy majored in home economics, made her own clothes, knitted and tried other popular needle arts.
On breaks from college, she spent time with an older neighbor who was a quilter and who helped to expand and strengthen Kathy’s interest in the art. A block from this woman’s mother-in-law still hangs in Kathy’s home and serves as a reminder of where her love of quilting came from.
While at graduate school at Iowa State, Kathy took quilting classes from Carla J. Hassel, the author of the Super Quilter and Super Quilter II books that Kathy has used as texts in her own quilting classes.
It was also in Iowa that Kathy met her husband, Jim. When they decided to move back to New Jersey in 1980, Kathy began teaching classes in a small fabric shop in Clinton, the Quaker Mouse, and later in her home. Gradually she realized that she needed to move her business out of her home. In September 1987, with her daughter, Jennifer, in first grade, Kathy found the space that would become Budding Start Quilts.
After two months of hard work, the Shop opened on December 1, 1987. As the popularity of quilting increased, Kathy started thinking about expansion…. eyeing the vacant space next door.
Building the expansion took several long days and nights of building the expansion, that found Jennifer, now in sixth grade begging, “please, Mom, no more pizza!” But, on December 1, 1992, Budding Star Quilts grew into the space that we know and love today.
In the beginning, Kathy offered several hand classes throughout the week and on Saturdays, students would pick their own fabric to work on one of several Quilt in a Day (QIAD) machine piecing patters. Now, students can work on any QIAD project they choose; Kathy does the cutting and ironing. Pre-cut Kits were introduced at Budding Star Quilts in early 1992. The beauty of the kit: fabrics are cut to the specifications in the pattern, allowing the quilter to simply open the package and immediately start sewing.
With the expansion of BSQ in 1992, Kathy also introduced the Budding Star Quilts tote bag that entitles the quilter to a 5% discount on purchases.
Things have changed and evolved over the years, from Midnight Madness where stitchers would arrive at 8 am and quilt until midnight, to Quilt Tours, where we would travel to destinations like the Shelburne, Sturbridge, and Winterthur, to the still existing Quilt Camps, for five consecutive days of quilting.
One thing has always remained the same, Kathy has built a wonderful community of supportive quilters who not only quilt together, but help each other through hardships, love each other through losses, and most importantly, laugh.