Karen Burns started with Martingale as an office-tour guide (getting paid in quilt books), and then quickly worked her way into the heart of the company. She’s spent time as an account manager and as communications coordinator, and now works as an acquisitions editor. She also updates our Facebook and Flickr pages. As a machine quilter, Karen has contributed to several Martingale books, including A Baker’s Dozen, Jelly Babies, Quilting with Precuts and Shortcuts, and Quilting with Fat Quarters. With a stack of over 30 of her own quilts at home ready to be quilted, Karen compares herself to the cobbler whose children have no shoes—she is the quilter with no finished quilts.
Audience Development Manager
What can we do to make Martingale customers happy? This is a delightful question Tina asks herself daily as Martingale’s Audience Development Manager, a job that allows her to focus on ShopMartingale.com, the Stitch This! blog, and the quilters, knitters, and crocheters who spend time there. Prior to joining the marketing team in 2011, Tina spent 18 years in Martingale’s editorial department, where she started as a proofreader and eventually wound up as Managing Editor.
After stitching an apron in home-ec in seventh grade—an apron she still uses—Tina was making clothes for herself by the time she was in college. Her first quilt was measured and cut without rulers, stiffly overfilled with batting, and backed with polyester tablecloths. She’s gotten better at quiltmaking but so far hasn’t managed to keep a single one she’s made—they’ve all been given away as gifts. Tina lives with her husband and two sons, boys who love to visit the Martingale photo studio, answer the Quirky Question, and design quilts in crayon. When she’s not spending time with family, Tina’s reading a book, planning a trip, or obsessing about her garden.
Senior Customer Service Representative
Ever contacted Martingale with a question? Then you might have spoken with Cornelia, who thoroughly enjoys interacting with customers. She loves helping people choose just the right books and patterns for their tastes, acting as a helpful guide to ShopMartingale.com, and talking through pattern instructions.
For our self-proclaimed “Pointless Piecing Princess,” crafting and sewing came along a little later in life (junior-high art and sewing classes were semi-traumatic!). Thankfully, she got over those hurdles and now happily starts way more quilting projects than she finishes. She’s even learned to "speak" knitting!
Editor in Chief
If someone had told her when she was in law school in Brooklyn that one day she’d be the editor in chief of a book-publishing company on the West Coast, Mary Green says she’d have laughed out loud. Although she never envisioned this career path, she says her nearly 25 years in publishing have been far more fun than her brief stint in the legal world. Mary’s job consists of reading, writing, talking with authors, looking at quilts and lots of other handmade items, planning Martingale’s publishing program, and collaborating with the best group of coworkers she’s ever known.
At age 11, Mary took her first sewing lessons at the local Singer store. Despite her buoyant enthusiasm, her sewing talent turned out to be, as she puts it, nonexistent. It wasn’t until many years later that Mary discovered quilting, realizing for the first time that sewing didn’t have to involve fitting. She could play with fabric and color and make her machine hum with pleasure—and never have to worry about wearing the end result in public.
Mary began quilting in the early ’90s when she and her husband worked at Rodale Press in Pennsylvania. In no time her husband, former Martingale design director Stan Green, became intrigued by the quilts she was making and decided to design original blocks for her. But because a designer with graph paper works a whole lot faster than a quilter with a sewing machine, Mary couldn’t keep up with Stan’s ideas. She decided to teach Stan how to sew. Turns out that offering sewing lessons to her husband was one of the best ideas she’s ever had. Years later Mary and Stan are still sewing in a beautiful studio they created in a converted garage. They shop for fabric together, offer design opinions (which aren’t always welcome), and help each other sew bindings. Mary is now just as passionate when it comes to knitting, making sweaters, toys, scarves, monsters, hats, wraps, slippers, and whatever else strikes her fancy. She can’t say that she and Stan experienced the same happy ending when she tried to teach him to knit, but that’s another story.
A design contributor to Martingale books including Sew the Perfect Gift and A Baker’s Dozen, Mary admits she doesn’t do a lot of designing herself. After all, she has access to hundreds of books containing thousands of patterns from talented designers. It’s an embarrassment of riches she’s happy to take advantage of!
Director of Sales and Marketing
Pick a spot on the Oregon/Washington coast that has a place to stitch and you’ve made Karen happy—rain and wind be darned! Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Karen started sewing for the essentials. At six feet tall, she turned to sewing her own clothes in her teens and twenties when she couldn’t find readymade clothing in her size. When tall sizes for women showed up in stores, she started footing the bill and applied her sewing skills toward making cute baby clothes and quilts instead.
Karen has quite a few hobbies in addition to sewing, and there’s a pecking order: quilting, knitting, crochet, and embroidery. There’s dabbling too—jewelry making, beading, photography, macramé, and basket making. (She formed a guild for that last one.) Karen’s two kitties, Marty and Tucker, help her enjoy them all.
Karen has worked for such well-known companies as REI and Crafts Americana Group—home of KnitPicks, Artist’s Club, and Connecting Threads, where she created and moderated the popular online quilting community, Quilt With Us.
When it comes to travel, Karen’s history is just as varied as her stitching skills. While her friends were buying houses, Karen’s extra pennies went toward travel (and still do). She’s visited Europe, the Caribbean, India, Mexico, Japan, and China, along with a 30-day trip to 32 states. Next up? Ecuador and Colombia.
Durby grew up in a large family where her mother sewed quilts for each child’s bed, but her own quilting journey didn’t begin until she got to Martingale. A 17-year veteran of the book-publishing industry, Durby first worked for educational publishers, writing and editing literacy materials for children. When the McGraw-Hill division she worked for moved to Chicago, Durby started copy editing for Martingale. Although she’d never quilted before, the quilts on the walls of the company’s offices started speaking to her. Soon a friend at work helped her get started on a small wall quilt, and Durby’s quilting adventure had begun.
After five years as a copy editor, she accepted a new challenge as Martingale’s copywriter. Durby loves the work, and she particularly enjoys the way our readers share their passion for creativity on Stitch This! She happily reports that she’s learned a lot from reader responses, including new places to hide one’s stash (such as stuffed inside cookie jars, tossed in the tub, or hidden under a tablecloth on dining-room chairs).
Durby lives north of Seattle with her husband (who might or might not know the exact location of her stash). Their daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and other assorted relatives live nearby. Besides sewing and quilting, Durby enjoys visiting with extended family, reading, and biking or walking in areas with lots of wildlife.
Marketing Graphic Designer
Sarah wasn’t very old when she discovered a passion for “making things." It became a source of mild distress and amusement for her family members, who could never understand keeping paper towel rolls simply because “you can make something with them!” After studying psychology and English, two secondary passions, she returned to “making things” with cameras, and eventually, graphics. Now she is enjoying one of the only careers where psychology, words, and making things go together–marketing graphic designer! She loves working at Martingale, where she has learned two new forms of making things: quilting and knitting. She loves that Martingale is about more than selling a product–it is about enriching the lives of other creative people.
Karen Costello Soltys
Sewing, quilting, knitting, rug hooking—if it involves fabric or fibers, Karen is bound to have tried it. She began sewing first doll clothes and then clothes for herself at an early age. Upon graduating from college, she discovered quiltmaking, and to this day is primarily drawn to antique scrap quilts, traditional patterns, and the art of making do.
Quiltmaking led to wool appliqué, which eventually opened the door to primitive rug hooking. Karen belongs to a small rug-hooking group that meets faithfully every other Saturday morning for sharing, inspiration, fun, and of course, good coffee! She loves to schedule time for at least one rug camp a year—a chance to travel to different areas of the country to meet up with likeminded hookers and learn from well-known teachers. (Yes, rug hookers are known as hookers and it doesn’t bother them in the least.)
Karen’s other favorite pastime is knitting. While her grandmother taught her to knit when she was a child, she took years off from knitting due to tendonitis. But being introduced to circular needles years later (by one of our authors!) lets her once again enjoy the soothing rhythm of knitting pain free. Knitting is pretty much a daily activity for Karen, who is known to carry “emergency knitting” in her purse. (Here in the northwest, you never know when you might have time on your hands—stuck in a traffic jam due to downed trees or waiting in line for a ferry!)
In her role as managing editor for Martingale, she has worked with dozens of authors to develop their ideas and concepts into full-fledged manuscripts for quilting, sewing, knitting, and crochet books. Karen is an author herself, writing and making the quilts for Bits and Pieces: 20 Small Quilts from Scraps and Fat Quarters. She’s also contributed projects to a variety of other quilting, sewing, and rug-hooking books.
If you divide the quilting world into people who enjoy the process and those who love the completed product, Robin was definitely a process person. Depending on her mood, Robin liked to call herself either a dilettante or a Renaissance woman. She was always looking to learn something new and seldom created the same thing the same way twice.
Oddly enough, it was the thought of completing something that started her quilting. During her second year of teaching high-school science in a challenging district, Robin was desperate to make something beautiful—something she could finish, look at, and say, “I did good.” Quilting soon became her passion, and she claimed that she’d finished more quilts than she could remember (and started a lot more quilts than that).
Robin was passionate about a range of diverse topics—she had an undergraduate degree in biology and a teaching certification—and she worked as both an illustrator and technical editor for Martingale. She published two books with Martingale (The Casual Quilter and Quilter’s Bounty), and she worked in quilt shops and taught classes about quilting and fabric dyeing. She also curated the How to Quilt section of Martingale’s website. When not quilting, knitting, making glass beads, or looking for new tricks to add to her technique bag, she shared her time with two demanding Scottish Fold cats.
Jenny Wilding Cardon
Jenny’s been designing since high school. Back then, she would create eccentric, rebellious items of clothing, and then make her friends wear them to school. After graduating from college in Utah with a degree in Women’s Studies, Jenny spent three years with her husband in Seattle. A crux of American quiltmaking, the city introduced her to the lively art, along with the many coworkers she befriended while working at Martingale.
Jenny worked as a copywriter for Martingale for one day short of ten years before giving up her position to be a stay-at-home mom. When her husband went back to school, she picked up part-time work as Martingale’s web assistant. In 2011 she became content editor, and now spends most of her time playing at the Stitch This! blog.
The birth of her first son inspired Jenny to write her first pattern collection, The Little Box of Baby Quilts. Her designs have also appeared on the covers of Quilts and More and Quilt It for Kids magazines, as well as in McCall’s Quilting and Simple Quilts and Sewing. In 2011 she wrote ReSew, a how-to book that pairs her two creative outlets—thrifting and sewing.
Jenny lives on an acre in a Utah farming town with her husband of 12 years and their two young sons, Jack and Charlie. Since the commute to the Martingale office is 818.64 miles, the bosses typically allow her to work from home.