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!


My Grandmother on the Canadian prairie in about 1916. This was one of the first negatives of her mothers that my Grandmother gave me, and it remains one of my favorites. Perhaps it’s that Lewis Hine like sentiment that I find so attractive.


100 Years: Happy Birthday, Grandma!

100 years ago today, my Grandmother Grace was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. The picture below is probably the earliest recording of her: it was taken at her grandparents house in SLC. It is also the oldest negative I have in my collection of family photographs. The portrait was taken on sized 132 film, and was likely one of the first photographs taken on my great-grandmothers Kodak Folding Pocket camera that took postcard sized photographs. I now have what few remaining negatives my great-grandmother shot with this camera, as well as the camera itself, which we think is still in working order (but I will know when I actually finish my test roll of film. More importantly though, I still have my grandmother.

My grandmother Grace, as a baby, in Salt Lake City, UT

As I pack my bags to head over the mountain range and see my extended family for a weekend of birthday festivities, the realization of how lucky I am strikes me again. I can still ask her to tell me stories of growing up on the pains in Alberta, Canada. Or about when the Columbia Basin Irrigation project started and her and her husband placed the irrigation system in their once dry farm in Quincy, Washington. I can ask her about what it was like to be a press photographer in the 1960’s, when the “old boys club” had barely begun to be questioned. I can ask her these things and have more answers I would ever had just by looking at old photographs and making educated guesses. So happy birthday, Grandma Grace! And here’s too many more.

Country Fair in Moses Lake

Although the photo above has faded, I find it one of the best of my grandmothers I have come across, and apparently I am not alone in seeing its beauty. She states “When I took my girls to the County Fair in Moses Lake, I took along color photo equipment as well as my press cameras. That’s how it was that a wonderfully colored view of five pretty high school girls carrying red, yellow and blue balloons showed up on the front page of the Wenatchee Daily World on August 14, l964. The Daily World entered that picture along with four others in the state metropolitan daily news competition and won. Wenatchee was far from being the largest daily newspaper in the state, so were we ever proud!”


my mother, circa 1955

My grandmother took this snapshot of my mother around 1955. The original slide has faded, and I have no intentions on correcting the toll that time has taken. What interests me about the image is that, unlike many of my grandmothers photographs which are somewhat posed to tell a story, this image was likely just a study in composition using the resources available to her at the time.