1963, Karoline (Karey) Patterson had just finished her
journalism degree at Sam Houston State and was working
as an editorial assistant for the Texas Medical Association.
Soon to wed Maurice Bresenhan, she attended a quilting
bee with relatives and friends who were making her a wedding
She later worked for the Huntsville
school district, for the Texas Classroom Teachers Association,
received a master's degree in journalism from the University
of Texas, and worked as editor of several publications.
From 1970-74 she worked for Ruder & Finn Public
Relations, and was named the company's vice-president,
becoming the first woman from a regional office to hold
She won a primary election for the Texas House of
Representatives, but lost the general election.
In 1974, more than 10 years
after getting hooked on quilting, she opened the Great
Expectations Quilt Shop in Houston, which has grown
to one of the largest quilt shops in the world.
She has increased her involvement
in the $1.5 billion quilting industry as president of
Quilts, inc., director of the International Quilt Market,
International Quilt Festival, European Quilt Market,
Quilt Expo, A Victorian Romance and Embellishment.
In 1997, The Houston Business
Journal named Quilts, Inc. as one of the city's "Top
50 Women-Owned Businesses."
Her leadership in and promotion
of quilting has not gone unnoticed among quilters. She
is a co-founder of the International Quilt Association,
founding director of The Alliance for American Quilts,
a co-founder of the Quilt Guild of Greater Houston,
and a founder of the Texas Quilt Association.
The Quilters Hall of Fame
inducted her into its prestigious honor roll in 1995.
She has also received the San Antonio Conservation Award
and the Round Top Award "in recognition of leadership
in reviving and sustaining interest in the American
art of quilting."
Using the communication skills
she began developing at Sam Houston State, she has written
several quilting-related books and publishes more than
100 informational/promotional publications each year.
Ms. Bresenhan is a fifth generation
Texas quilter and an acknowledged expert on quilt dating.
She has served as a quilt appraiser and quilt contest
judge. She is a director of the Texas Quilt Project
to document the state's quilt heritage and was one of
the organizers and sole quilt documentor for the Texas
Her personal quilt collection
includes family quilts, rare antique quilts, and quilts
made especially for her. In addition, her company has
a fine corporate quilt collection that is open for tours
monthly by advance reservation.