Archive for the ‘Custom Made’ Category

Moving Blanket: Stengle

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

My friend Sarah is an accomplished maker of things. If you know her, you know. We’ve had an ongoing appointment on certain Tuesday evenings to get together to work on projects. Over time many women have worked with us; fun is had by all. When Sarah decided to move, it became clear to me that the best way to prepare for this shift was to offer some of her nears and dears a chance to participate in the creation of a Moving Blanket especially for her.

This particular quilt includes fabric Sarah gave me: the pink striped shirt she would wear in the studio, a night watch plaid shirt that belonged to her Dad. Anticipating a Tuesday night devoted specifically to preparing this quilt, I pulled out fabric that had been donated by mutual friends. As is my custom, almost no instruction was given, and people improvised with what they brought and what was available.

An unusual addition to this mix was the use of denim. Normally I use shirt weight material but because Sarah and I both love the Gee’s Bend quilts, it seemed appropriate to include some Levi’s 501 jeans in homage to those compositions of workclothes, which visually resonate like the most evocative Abstract Expressionist color field paintings.




Capital Health “Building Blocks” Completed

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

To create the two “Building Blocks” quilts for the Oncology area, the staff was invited to contribute fabric with personal significance. The resultant sentinel quilts are composed of nearly 100 fabrics, many with floral and botanical motifs.  Viewed from afar, the patterns appear as a three-dimensional geometric construction with interlocking edges.  Viewed up close, the details of individual fabrics emerge, and the topstitching is a handwritten poem about the limitations of cancer, “What Cancer Cannot Do”.  This is a permanent installation, thanks to Lin Swensson, who commissioned the project as part of her holistic vision of incorporating healing art into the hospital’s environment.

Building Blocks

Announcement for Quilt Making Class at ARTWORKS Trenton

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Kate Graves

Fine Art:

Quilt Website:


215 337-9399


Artist Biography


My mission is to make objects of beauty and utility.  As a teacher my role is to guide students in the process of designing and fabricating work that reflects their individuality and creativity. My fabric collection has grown over 20 years to include hundreds of materials that each have a story.  Adaptive reuse of Hawaiian shirts, batik skirts, and gifts from friends and family make my collection unique, a woven library of color and pattern.  The process of collecting fabrics, sharing stories while sewing, and making something meaningful is what keeps this tradition alive for me, and I enjoy sharing what I have learned along the way.


Course Schedule:


SIX CLASSES:             Mondays from 7-9

                                    June 6,13,20,27

                                    July 11,18


ENROLLMENT:            $125 for six classes           

5-person minimum, 10 people maximum


Course Description:


Using simple techniques, the process of making a quilt is broken down into steps. Each student is encouraged to design and build a project individually, with support and guidance in technique and fabric selection. Demonstrations and sharing of design resources will help each student to understand the most effective way to move forward in realization of a quilt.  Prospective students are welcome to contact the teacher with any questions about the class at  

Yogi & Boo Boo want one, too!

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

For those who enjoy the pleasures of the pic-a-nic basket, here’s an idea: the custom made, washable, lightweight blanket.  My Mom sent me a bunch of pre-cut fabric squares and asked me to assemble them to fit a backing fabric with a Provencial print.  There were so many colors and patterns that a bit of order was imposed by repeating a nine patch block.  Happy hiking, Mom – don’t forget the mustard!

Picnic Blanket

Independence Day Weekend

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

So the visit with Harriet & Nicholas was a resounding success.  Though it was hot out, we knuckled down and got the Mega quilting process done in one day.  Working together went really well, we stabilized the machine’s tracking together and were mesmerized by the psychedelic variegated purple thread from Canada which changed color as we sewed.  We got going on 4th of July morning, fortified by Peet’s lattes and by a nice break for a late brunch with Sarah Stengle.  We got back to it and finished the first pass over the whole piece in time to head up river for some wing dam boogie boarding fun up near Scudder’s Falls.

The next morning we figured out the piecing for the finishing, and made four sides of binding with one side stitched on for reference.  Harriet’s got lots of work to go, but it’s coming along BEAUTIFULLY.

Here are some pics:

Mega QuilterFront side of Harriet’s quiltReverse side of Harriet’s quiltHarriet and Nicholas

Merry Christmas, George!

Friday, December 25th, 2009


George Davison was first encountered by me on a rooftop at a party in downtown Santa Barbara, CA in 1985.   There was a colossal sky full of stars. We were looking at the Milky Way, and had both recently read the “Electric Kool Aid Acid Test”.  He has a way of being in interesting places at interesting times.  As a raconteur, he is unparalleled. When I came home to SB he was one of the people to track down.   If anything interesting and worthwhile was happening in our sleepy beach town, he’d be in on it, would tell me about it, and often I was welcome to tag along.  His musical talent is undeniable: while I knew him, he played lead guitar for the aptly named Bitch Magnet, but his legendary status long preceeded that incarnation.  When word came that he’d been fighting cancer I figured it was time to rally.  A number of our mutual friends contributed fabric to the project.  Scott Williams, a Bay Area artist, created a number of amazing stenclied blocks which elevate this quilt to the fine art level.  Katherine, William and Cecil de Mille joined Patty Smith, Simone White and Robin Robinson in giving fabric.  One fun weekend found me, Harriet Mc Caig and Nicholas Croft in a fabric blitz, sipping champagne and listening to tunes while figuring out which block should go where.  All I can say is, the best projects have serious meaning attached.  The intent all along was to make something from all our disparate parts, something useful to keep our friend warm and to remind him we love him, near or far.

Post/Carrow quilt

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

My favorite thing to do in quilting is to make something specifically for someone I care about.  Recently I have been fortunate to work on a few of these sort of projects.  The idea of adaptive re-use is one shared with a number of artists I know, notably my dear friends David Carrow and Michelle Post.  Both are incredibly talented, accomplished makers in their own rights, and their combined forces have resulted in an evolving collaborative process which is an inspiration to all who know them.  Tuesday evenings are a time for friends to work on creative projects together at my house- often we have a jigsaw puzzle going, and once completed they go to Post for incorporation in her work.  We decided to barter- she’ll do over a(n) Hoosier cabinet I have which needs her wild and wonderful treatment, and I’d make a quilt for her & DC.  The process was great fun- I have a lot of fabric with fish patterns, and Post is a Pisces.  Carrow is a Sadge, (like me) a fire sign.  He served in the Navy and shares a love for sailing with Post, so we chose a number of nautical themes to work into the design.  I always encourage participation in fabric selection for custom pieces- Post was clever in hunting down some good stuff from her local Millville fabric store, including the backing and border fabrics.  This is the quilt in progress:

 Post/Carrow quilt in progress

The finished piece is shown under “Custom” in my website.