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).


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!


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.


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:


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 2

Now that I’ve finished the mood board for the Grace and Poppy quilt, I can move on to getting my concept tightened up and my colour palette in order. So far, I know I want the photograph to be the feature of the quilt, an iris running up the right side, and a poppy running up the left. I also want the background to be minimal in terms of design, and inspired by the colours of the wheat fields, sage brush, and various rivers and canyons that run through central and eastern Washington.

Choosing colours from the photos in my mood board, I put together the colour scheme for the flower elements and main background of the quilt.


Choosing colour schemes for a quilt I am working on is very different than when I choose colours for any other medium. Whenever I work in graphic design, or even knit or pain a room, I limit my colour palette and generally stay within 3-5 colours, generally throwing in multiple variations of hues. But quilting is a whole other ball game, and the final scheme can hold up to thirty colours. I do however, try and stick to using 3-4 colour families, and ensure all colours jive with each other and just generally make sense.

Now that I hammered out the colour scheme, I can move on to gathering fabric. This process with likely take me a few good months, as I scour my stash and favorite quilt shops (on-line and in-person), looking for the perfect combination of patterns and colours. Don’t worry, I’ll share them all as soon as I’ve completed my selection.

Before I go though, As I’m always curious about others processes, if you quilt or make art or do anything crafty, how do you come up with colour palettes for your projects?

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!


WATCH THIS: On Location: Natasha Kerr from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo.

This!!! As an artist- mainly photographer- but also an artist that has a great respect for, and practices “crafts” art, and also as someone whose praxis orbits around family and nostalgia I am blown away by these pieces. And it gets the wheels in my mind churning. I honestly haven’t had much time for my own art in the last year, but I am starting to remember I need to make time for my art if I truly believe in its importance. I have a lot of materials that are waiting for me, passed down from generations before. Now I just need to draw a plan and lay the groundwork. And Kerr certainly inspires me to start that process.

Lost and Found Photos

There’s just something about old photos that I love, especially when I walk into an antique or junk shop and find a box filled with discarded memories. Who were these people? What were they doing? Sometimes there are clues, left in handwritten notes on the back of the photographs, begging a quest that will never be fulfilled. They are mysteries, and, most likely, they will never be solved. And this leaves the possibility for endless stories to be created, sparked by someone elses forgotten past.

I Think Her Tractor’s Sexy…

My wife and I traveled across the great state of Washington last weekend to table at Spokane’s LGBT pride festival. We tabled last year and had such a blast (seriously… I think Spokane’s pride fest is awesome) and couldn’t wait to go back this year. The day of pride it was 40 degrees (cold!) and raining buckets (nonstop!) and was generally miserable. We had fun talking to everyone who braved the weather, but at the end of the day we were soaked, freezing and miserable. Thankfully, the day after was warm and sunny, so we got to take a nice leisurely drive back, and I took a lot of fun pictures (and my wife made a lot of u-turns on the highway so I could go take pictures of stuff I saw).

Washington is an interesting state. On the western third, we have rainforests and the Puget Sound. It’s gray and drizzly most of the year, and the landscape is lush and green. Gardens pepper backyards and community plots. There are ferry boats, farmers markets, independent coffee shops, a mild climate, and lots of hills. The other two-thirds of the state, on the eastern side of the cascades, is flat, dry, and windy. There are 4 distinct seasons (sunny warm summers! snowy cold winters!). And a lot of country western radio stations and large-scale commercial farms.

When I was little and I’d head over the mountains to visit my extended family (and I have a lot of family in Eastern Washington) I thought it was a miserable place. Hot and dry and smelling of cow poop. The only time I liked to go over the mountains when I was young was in the winter when we would go ski into the cabin my great-uncle built in the Wentachee Forest.

But that was then. And this is now. And it has taken years, but I have fallen in love with the eastern side of Washington. I love romping through sagebrush in the dry heat. I love the wind whipping my hair around. I love watching snow flurries come down with no promise of stopping their wild dance. My roots go deep in the eastern side of the state.

Now, when I cross the cascades, the minute the landscape turns flat, I turn on whatever country music I can find on the stereo (and if I can find Cash, Williams or Cline I get the biggest grin). And then I dream of my wife and I buying a few acres out in the dry flat land. we’ll plant some vegetables, and have a small orchard and a few rescued farm animals perusing the place. I will sit on the porch in a little sun-dress and cowboy boots, showing off my full sleeve tattoos (this always seems very important in my day-dream…) and drinking unsweetened ice tea. My wife is working the vegetable plots, and I am subverting one of the most annoying country songs ever by singing “I think her tractor’s sexy” at the top of my lungs, because no one can hear me in our little plot of land.