Grace and Poppy Quilt: Part 4

Well, here is where I am so far on the Grace and Poppy Quilt. I’ve got about the top two thirds pieced and the sun has been all reversed appliqued in the corner (though I am still in the process of trimming the pieces out).

GracePoppyWIP

Next I will finish up the bottom piece, in greens in browns, in the same free-flowing curvy style the top is done, and then I will reverse applique in the the actual flowers. I don’t know how I got onto this reverse-applique kick, but I’m gonna run with it for this quilt. It’s a little ’70’s, to be honest, but I’m OK with that in this setting.

After all that’s done, I’ll start piecing the back (yes, I am piecing the entire back… not entirely sure yet why, except, hey, why not?), and practice my free-motion quilting techniques (which means everyone I know is getting quilted potholders this holiday season) until I am ready to baste and quilt.

Onward and upwards!

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Grace and Poppy Quilt: part 3

Well, I’ve been out hunting around for fabric for the last month or so for the Grace and Poppy quilt, and am finally set.

GracePoppyFabric

Final fabric choices for quilt

That’s a lot of colours and Fabrics, more than I’ve ever worked with before in a quilt, so I’m feeling challenged and extremely excited. I also decided I would go through Spoonflower to get the main image printed onto fabric because I want the quilt to be functional as well as decorative, and I have never found a transfer paper (or alternative method) that can be done at home and withstand washing, sunlight, and general wear and tear.

While I await my custom fabric that will be used as the main focal point for the quilt, I decided to sketch out the front design:

GraceAndPoppySketch

Working sketch for quilt

I also decided, since I am going to have a LOT of fabric left from the front, that I’ll also do a full back, though it will likely just be wavy stripes of colour. The quilt itself will incorporate more techniques than I have used in a single piece before, including making my own pattern, piecing, applique (which is how I plan of putting the flowers on), and I plan on actually quilting the final piece myself using the free-motion quilting techniques I have been working on.

But the biggest challenge I am facing is myself. I tend to get all wrapped up and excited in projects and rush through them and then I’m not happy because I think they look rushed. So I am determined NOT to rush through this project, but give myself a good 6 months, and work on it slowly, while also just focusing on practice pieces.

practicing my loops and "c"s.

practicing my loops and “c”s.

Wish me luck, and I’ll post my progress as it comes together.

Grace and Poppy Quilt: Part 1

I’ve been getting more and more into quilting lately, and made a slew of baby quilts of the last few months for the slew of friends having babies this spring. But I’ve been getting really bored just making the same old patterns and quilting the same way over and over again.

So, being inspired by Natasha Kerr and my plethora of family photographs, I have decided to start a quilt incorporating my favorite picture of my grandmother, Grace, and her husband, Hank (also referred to a Poppy by my mom and her sister). This will probably take me about a year or so to complete, and I’ll keep the quilt on the small side.

To start things off, I’ve made a mood board.

moodboardThe photograph of my grandparents will be the the central focus in the quilt, but I also wanted to incorporate their life farming in central Washington (Poppy grew wheat and Grace ran a small iris farm). I also added some fabric swatches to the board as well. It all seems like a good place to start, and next I’ll be working on my color palette. Stay tuned!

The Accidental Titles

I’ve been taking a class on photo books for the last three months, and while I have been working on a hand-bound hardcover accordion book (more on that later) I became inspired and made two small paperback photo books.

The first title, The Cartography of Farmers’ Wives: Photography from 1915-1976, is a short paper-back book with sampling of photography from my great-grandmother and my grandmother. Many of the photographs are landscapes from eastern Washington, although there are a few portraits as well in this contemplative story of one families relationship with the land. I look at this book as a small meditation on a much larger project that I think will probably take me the next 2-3 years to complete. Now that I know I can complete a small project with some of the information and items I have in this collection of family history that has been handed to me, I feel ready to embark on the larger journey.


The second book, A Traveling Song is a small paper-back of Hipstamiatic images I took on my phone on the road-trip my wife and I took when we moved across the country from Washington, D.C., to Seattle, Washington, in 2009. We pretty much drove straight through, and most of the images were taken from the car window while passing through middle America.

More Glances Into the Past

If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll know that I’m in the middle of mucking about in a bunch of old family photos. The cool thing about my family photos is that I have thousands (yes, really, thousands) of prints and negatives going back 100 years. Both my great-grandmother, and my grandmother were both shutterbugs, and my grandmother kept all the negatives she could.

They both also took a lot of landscape photographs, and candid images of their families (as opposed to posed group shots), and that is primarily what I have been working with as of late.

One of the reasons I am starting to work with these images is because I am taking a photobook class. I signed up for the class mainly for the technical information (i.e. what makes a successful photobook? what is the history? what makes a successful series of images? when is a photobook the best format? etc.) that will aid with the new publishing venture in the upcoming year, and for some inspiration (as the class is being taught by one of my favorite contemporary northwest photographers).

The difference between me, and most of the other students in the class, is that they have a clear concept of one specific book they want to create. I, on the other hand, want all the information, and to be able to pick peoples brains, and see what is going on in the world of photobooks currently. But seeing as making a photobook is part of the class, I am using some of these old photographs and making what I hope will be a quiet contemplation of the land that my family farmed from 1912 through the late 1960’s. It’s a good exercise in editing, and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Mapping History

A few months ago I got the opportunity to start going through my grandmothers photographs. This collection is not your standard few albums with posed family snapshots, but thousands of prints, slides and negatives by both my grandmother and my great-grandmother. There are family portraits, landscapes, snapshots, and close-up shots of flowers. Starting to sort through these photographs that span my grandmothers entire life (and yes, I mean entire, as some of the oldest negatives in the collection were taken in Salt Lake City by my great-grandmother in 1911 when my grandmother was born), I find myself focused on the compositions and lines in the photographs, as well as the life lines that flow through the photographs and make up the stories of my mother’s, grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s lives.

So much of our lives have been shaped by where we live, and where we come from. My grandmother spent her childhood in the Alberta prairies, mapping the land her father farmed, and much later, helped her husband work their farm in the Wenatchee Valley. My grandfathers family had helped settle the land, and it was here, after 30 years of being a nomad that my grandmother settled down, as best as a nomad can, and found her roots.

So this is where I have started, somewhere before my beginning, in the middle of my grandmothers story, and near the beginning of my mothers story, following the maps of my family’s roots.