Wow, it's been three weeks since I've been here! So much has happened. I printed official yardage to list in my soon-to-be etsy store. I packed up my life in Michigan and moved cross-country to North Carolina. And I started grad school! Tomorrow is the first day of classes, and I couldn't be more pumped to study Fiber and Polymer Sciences and dyes. Check out this video about my PhD project. It excites me every time. Gah, so geeked!

Printing Pistachio yardage, I tried my hand at new registration methods, previously described to me as "complicated string systems." Well, I think I have string theory figured out, and it means a lot less drying the edge of every panel before printing the next one. I promise not to be gone for three weeks this time, but I have to run. Free grad student dinner and board game night are calling. Can you hear me smiling?

Test Print Day 6.2 // Pistachios

Sometimes I have to bargain with myself to keep going on test print days.

Chai tea latte in my mint mug. Test print. Chips and queso break. Test print. Gossip Girl. Two test prints. Test print. Surprise "inspirational Arnold Palmer" from my lovely sister. Three test prints.

But these days are so exciting too! A simple screen can become my next favorite fabric and potentially a whole set of quilts. Just check my coral hydrangeas and my senior show! The hydrangeas, however, have held my attention long enough. Today was a Pistachio day.

Inspired by Blueberry Park, I prepped with a whole stack of solid panels and then went to town. Karen (the mind and hands of Blueberry Park and an inspiration to me as she manages her own hand-printed fabric business) prints mostly white on solids, and they all look gorgeous and modern and classic, so I thought I would give it a try. My favorite is white pistachios on light grey. My sister votes for white on mint. What's your favorite of the bunch?

Bunting on Words

A week ago last Friday was my last day printing in the studio at school. I thought it would be Thursday and shed a tear for the fabrics I hadn't had a chance to print, but a happy accident occurred among the administrative staff, and my commencement rehearsal was actually at eleven instead of the previously stated nine! I woke up early, grabbed my last breakfast at Saga, and made a beeline for Adams Hall to print my last Wheaton fabric. And I'm so excited about it!

The words alone are cute and so is the bunting, but the bunting and words together have a new life to them. It's subtle but fun and fills the field nicely. I feel it would be a lovely backing to a baby quilt or an adorable square on the front, and I haven't decided yet if I should print more or what project they should become. What would you make with this fabric?

Yep, I did say that: print more. I may or may not have borrowed a couple of screens from the school so that I could print this week if I so chose. I'll be driving right back to Wheaton next week for a dear friend's wedding and will return the screens then. But until then, I am off to print!

The designs are printed on Pat Bravo solid Icy Mint and Robert Kaufman solid Ice Peach.

The Screen Printing Process

It was an exciting week last week. In between finishing up classes, planning for graduation, doing my best to get wrinkles out of my gown sans iron, and turning in final projects, I drove into the city with Brent to get my screens. My very own screens. Three white 160s and one bright yellow 225. Clean and without tear or caked on emulsion. Mine.

On Thursday, I stole a couple of hours in the middle of packing to coat and shoot them and since I've never shared this particular part of the process before, I took pictures! It's really quite simple. First, you coat each screen with a thin layer of emulsion front and back. This emulsion is light-sensitive, so you have to hide the screens in that black curtained rack until you're ready to shoot them.

"Shooting" or exposing the screen refers to exposing it on the light table, kind of like shooting a photo. Since I've never done film photography before, I can't draw the beautiful analogy here; I can only explain screen printing, but I know both processes have things in common. For screen printing, the emulsion hardens when it is exposed to light, so I paint my designs in opaque paint onto clear acetate and lay it on the screen. Wherever there is paint, the emulsion stays soft, and I can wash it out later.

The table vacuums the screen to the glass eliminating any wrinkles in the acetate and ensuring that light doesn't creep around the edge of the painted patterns. A bright bright light turns on for around seven minutes, I read my book, and then it's time to blow out the screen.

This is the spray booth where I "blow out" the screens. When the emulsion comes in contact with water, it ceases reacting with light, so the soft parts remain soft. Then, with a pressurized hose, I can blow out the parts of the pattern that I want ink to go through, in this case, leaves!

After I've removed all of the emulsion in the pattern, I set the screen to dry and fully expose in the window well. The emulsion, which begins a shade of green, turns a greyish blue when it is fully exposed and then it can no longer be easily washed out from the screen.

I prepared my three 160 thread-count screens with my hydrangea patterns for the summer and exposed flamingos onto the 225. (You can see previous incarnations of the flamingos here, here, and here.) Then, with my new screens, I printed onto two quilt tops. One is a reprinting of this quilt. And one is a completely new exploration. I experimented with printing only three of the hydrangeas and overlaying them across the quilt, while also taping out several triangles to leave them blank, as if they were pieced in after the printing. 

Watching Taylor and Zac fall in love in the quaint southern flick The Lucky One for the second time this week, I printed the afternoon and evening away, taping and re-taping the screens to achieve just the bloom patterns I wanted. Such a great day. I could do this for the rest of my life.

If you have any questions about the process, I am happy to field them. I tried to keep the explanation pretty simple, but I truly do understand it in more depth, so hit me up even if you're just curious.

Good Friday

Some days are just great. Good Friday was one of them. I woke up to sunshine, rolled out of bed to a quiet and warm campus, and hied to the printing studio for a day away from assignments and dance rehearsals. This time around I decided I should prewash, so I threw them in the night before and pulled from the dryer...a crinkled mess of fabrics. No amount of ironing or steam would remove the wrinkles, but as always, mother came to the rescue. She said that Grandma used to spritz her wrinkled fabrics with water and then roll them into logs before spreading them out to iron. It works like a charm! An hour or so later, with a little company from Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, I had a fresh stack of fabrics ready to print.

I printed three colorways from my artist statement screen from my show. It is the first color-on-white fabric that I have printed and liked. I can't wait to print a bunch more yardage experimenting with overlaying colors. For now, I have coral and coral over mint. The mint is quite subtle but adds texture and interest. You can just see it in the picture if you look closely on the right side. Next came the peach and mint colorways, pretty simple tone-on-tone. I have plans to print a panel or two of solid-colored bunting over these fabrics in white on the mint and coral on the peach.

Recently I had been struggling with my screens clogging up and needing to wash them after only a couple of pulls, but I called the helpline at, and he suggested spritzing the screen with water in between pulls. This also worked like a charm. Yay for spritzing, and I only had to wash the screen when I got too distracted watching the movie or talking to my mom and didn't pull the next panel fast enough.

With new tips and tricks under my belt and a new fabric design, I am so pumped for designing a new line of quilts this summer. The fabric collection is growing, and I can't wait to dive into it!

She Can Laugh At the Days to Come

Transience and permanence. This collection anchors itself in the juxtaposition of beginnings and endings, expressing confidence in the face of uncertainty and joyful contentment in the present. As my sister began her college career and I finished mine, we seized the opportunity to spend a summer together studying textile design and photography in Florence. While there, I crafted a small line of fabrics inspired by her graduation party—hydrangeas, bunting, and striped paper straws. As I reminisced on our time together and began to sew summer fabrics into autumn projects, this show was born. It contrasts the deep constancy of family against the transience of growing up through a medium that has long accompanied those disparate pieces of life: quilts. From births to weddings to graduations, quilts commemorate transitions in life. Drawing on the tradition of the simple one-block quilts of the Amish, I utilized large flat planes and solids, bringing it to the modern quilting scene with fresh colors and straight-line stitching. Each quilt contains a printed snapshot of our summer together—laughing and exploring—as well as a look into the past and future through the meanings of the traditional quilt blocks.

The show title is taken from Proverbs 31, which describes a woman who is successful in her business endeavors as well as at home but grounds her strength and carefree nature in Christ. She can laugh, enjoying the present without fear of the future, just as I hope we can embrace the now and hold what might come with excited and open palms. I invite you to enter into these moments, feeling the tactile changes in direction our lives take as well as the unity of family and faith that undergirds each quilt and story.

Remnants of Summer

With little pieces of hydrangea fabric from the summer as well as an overprint of hydrangea design, this block brings me back to walking the hot streets of Florence with my sister at my side. Freckles and sandals and sketchbooks in backpacks. However, rather than settling into nostalgia, I like to remember the many things that have grown from that month: a deeper relationship with my sister, a year of studying fabric design, a beautiful quilt from the fabrics we purchased at the markets, this show. Dwelling on the past is not productive. Appreciating, instead, the unfolding of moments into long-lasting treasures keeps us thankful and grounded in the present and future.

Variations on a Bouquet of Tulips

Life doesn’t always happen as you expect, but often then it is better. My sophomore year, I was surprised with a bouquet of tulips after one of my dance performances from a friend who then asked me to dinner. I was flattered and excited, but the relationship didn’t take off and ended up rather awkward. This year, though, I was surprised again with a beautiful bouquet from two of my chemistry major friends. We all chatted and laughed and had breakfast together the next Friday as we had all semester. Great friends, good conversation, and lots of fun. Sometimes the best moments are subtle variations on what you would’ve picked for yourself.

Lovely & Enough

The title of my blog and this quilt encompasses a lifestyle to which I aspire. My life is so full of blessings: a loving family, a great group of friends, a burgeoning church, and my knitting and quilting. I want to live happily and contentedly in this and remember that my life is lovely and enough. Quilting through physical chemistry tests, documentary photography classes, friend drama, and stressful dance performances, I choose to work with my hands and lead a life that reflects the great wonder of life rather than the minutiae. This lone star block, with its classic pattern and single star represent the beauty in simplicity and the joy that can bring.

New Growth


Coming & Going

Windmill Wings

I've grown up hearing the phrase, "If you ain't Dutch, you ain't much." This, of course, isn't true, but I feel very connected to my Dutch roots and home church. Originally titled End of Day as a block in the Farmer's Wife Quilt, I am renaming this block Windmill Wings as an homage to my heritage and the Benjamin Moore color I painted my room as a little girl. It speaks of a solid foundation in my life—my Dutch church family and home—from which I can now springboard into a wider body of fellow scientists, artists, and Christians. The end of each day and phase of life is then not a conclusion but the groundwork for winging into the next adventures of life.

Little Pieces

This is our purpose: to love one another as He loved us. Being afraid of the unexpected turns life throws crushes faith and spontaneity. Rather than worrying, we can instead focus on the beauty of each moment so that any little pieces we leave in our past among close or lost friends, realized or broken dreams are beautiful and untainted with regret.



Initially titled Ribbons in the Farmer’s Wife Quilt, I shifted the title to Ties to reflect family relationships. Our ties to family can at times feel like shackles and other times like an anchor amidst the storms of life. No matter the effort taken to cut them or the misguided attempts to bolster, these ties remain invisible and unbreakable.

Evening Star


Fresh Starts

This is it. The show I've dreamed about since deciding to be an artist as well as a chemist. It brings such a lightness to my life to have both sides. Never during the senior show process did I wish I had just stuck to chemistry. (Well, perhaps once, but it was probably 3:30 in the morning or 3:30 the next afternoon as I feel asleep in my third class that day, or more likely 3:30 the following morning when my walking foot broke.) Finishing the show at last is an enormous sense of accomplishment, and it brings me such joy to sit in the gallery in the peace and quiet. Even better is having people come to me after visiting the gallery with stories of how it touched them. College is full of transitions in locale and in family, and I am so thankful to God for the ways He can speak to each individual person's situation through the things He put on my heart for the show.

A special thank you to Mary and Andie, my Mom, my Dad, my sister Taylor, my Grandma and Grandpa Bolt, my Aunt Lisa, and everyone else who was able to make it out for the reception on Friday. Celebrating with you was a wonderful culmination of my time at Wheaton. And to all who were unable to make it due to distance and previous commitments, extensive documenting of the show can be found over on Flickr.

PS Somehow I missed taking pictures of my favorite quilt, Remnants of Summer, and since it was the one finished at three in the morning the day it was due, it has never been posted on the blog either. I will make sure pictures are posted this week, so stop back by to see them.

Six Yards!

Six yards I printed! Six yards! Contrary to expected, school has felt exceptionally relaxing since returning. Quiet days and content evenings spent with friends and books. Last night I made pizza with my girlfriends and then snuggled in on the couch for some peaceful homework camaraderie. Today, after an uplifting breakfast date with my dear friend Steph, I settled in for an entire day of fabric printing. And now I have six yards of straws. Six. On Thursday I will print four more, two each of coral and aqua. And then I will start the next one! I am feeling re-inspired to try delphiniums. This time I think I will free-hand paint the layers onto acetates. After a very computer-intense design, the free and hands on approach of painting will be a welcome change. How are you doing post-Thanksgiving break?

Stripes and Straws

Following the garden graduation party theme of bunting and hydrangeas, the newest fabric design in the set is straws. Inspired by my sister's pinterest-perfect grad party, I created a "stripe" for the set based on the adorable stripey straws she used. They play well in all sorts of color combinations, and I am very enthusiastic about printing yardage of several of these. Tone-on-tone fabrics are some of my favorite to use, and I think I will definitely make good use of these!

Coral Hydrangeas

This weekend has been a lovely one. A chemistry dinner party kicked off Friday night. Then Saturday brought a fun dance rehearsal and a lazy afternoon napping under my quilt and watching Teen Wolf while designing the next fabric. It's my new guilty pleasure, a cross between Twilight and Gossip Girl, and I can't stop watching. In fact, it may or may not be playing in the background right now... Nevertheless, Scott and Alison's star-crossed werewolf-vs.-werewolf-hunter-family romance hasn't completely commandeered my productivity. I was able to print a new fabric this week during my two day break! I'm excited about the new coral and greyed mint hydrangeas, and I am literally fidgeting in my seat with anticipation of cutting it up for a quilt. I'm supposed to save it for my senior show, but it may not last that long, considering Megan's Giant Starburst Quilt-a-Long next month over at CanoeRidgeCreations. I have been itching to quilt all week, so enough writing, I'm off to cut up fabric!

Peaceful Rhythms and Golden Leaves

Nestled on my favorite couch under my afghan and quilt, autumn sun is streaming through the front window, illuminating golden leaves. The house is quiet with only two of us here, and the day has been both productive and peaceful. I biked to the library this morning to pick up the book Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford. Then I let myself into the sunny art building and spread out fabric to finally print the coral hydrangeas. Singing along to Sara Bareilles and Bruno Mars, I enjoyed the soothing rhythms of mixing inks, pulling screens, and setting them to dry. Work at the post office came this afternoon, but with campus so quiet, I was blessed with a moment to sit and look through hat patterns before silently closing up for the day. Now I'm here under my quilt, and I think it's the perfect opportunity for a nap. If only every fall weekend could be like this.

Colorways Galore

Another day of test prints. I faired better this time. Less grumping, more singing. I'm thinking if Saturdays turn into test print days, I may need to set up some incentives to keep me going. Football on the overhead projector. Chai tea lattes. Fun evening plans. Even the mere prospect of those three things makes Saturdays sound more like adventure days and less like torturous confinement.

Before you start asking if all I do is test print, pause. I did print two yards of fabric on Tuesday with which I'm quite pleased. I'll post pictures this week. For today, I'm enlisting your help. Here are the eight, yes eight, colorways that I printed yesterday, and I'm deciding which to print this coming week. I have some leanings. The problem is that if I stand up to pour more hot water in my tea, then when I sit back down my favorites have all switched. So, my dear unbiased, diverse, and lovely readers: which is your favorite? {for a larger picture, just click}

Which colorway is your favorite?
A- aqua, grey, and red
B- aqua and greys
C- greys
D- aqua, citron, and red
E- aqua and citrons
F- turquoise and citrons
G- coral and citrons
H- citrons
My apologies: it's been brought to my attention that the poll is not functioning for everyone. If this is the case for you, please leave a comment about which colorway is your favorite. I still value your input even if my html does not.

Update: I think the poll only works in Chrome and Firefox but not in Safari, so if you're receiving an error, switching your browser might alleviate the issue.

The Test Print Day Sulks

It happens every time. And every time it feels real and legitimate.

I print my designs.
And I don't like them.
And I sulk.

My sister has repeatedly experienced this, from bowls to hydrangeas to bunting. She's always so encouraging and gets the satisfaction of saying "I told you so" when I fall back in love with my pattern three days later.

The thing is I'm still new to fabric designing, even though I had some incredible success with my first designs, and I just hate feeling like I've gone backwards. And test prints always feel like backwards.

I know that, for the most part, I dislike them because they're test prints, which means I'm testing colors and they're probably not right yet. But do I give myself a day of grace? Of course not.

I was politely reminded that it took five colorways of bowls before I hit one that I was pleased with. Five. And that wasn't even varying the background color. So far, I've only done two. I just need to take a breath.

It will all be fine. It is every time.

Bunting and Happy Things

Sometimes the best ideas come when your brain takes a break. So, after three weeks of sketching and thinking and trying to come up with my new fabric design, I stumbled across it during my Art History class on Wednesday morning. Bunting! I was doodling instead of taking notes (typical), and I suddenly had a page full of swaying triangles and strung loops. That's when I ripped out a sheet from my notebook, tore it into four pieces, and started working on the repeat. It accidentally somehow ended up a block repeat (probably because the lights were off for the lecture...), so I pulled out another piece during Inorganic Chem and redid it as a half-drop. Now, eight episodes of Elementary later, I am happily making progress on my bunting acetates.

On the topic of other happy things. One, the weather is gorgeous outside. Crisp and bright and lovely. Two, a kind man bought me my chai tea at Starbucks today, and before you nod knowingly with that look in your eye, he was middle aged and with his wife and felt bad for cutting me in line, which he didn't actually do. Yeah, exactly, wipe that smirk off your face. It was nice anyways, though, and there were no awkward expectations as follow with younger wifeless men. And three, my cabinet of tea is heartily stocked thanks to my father who brought me new black teas from his travels through London and Melbourne. Thanks, Daddy. All in all- fall, chai, and tea. Perfectly autumn to me.

Football, Fabric, and Fall

I set aside Saturday for a football, fabric printing, fall afternoon and settled in for two of my favorite things and one of my favorite seasons. Unfortunately, things started to go downhill. Michigan, who should have creamed Akron, actually started losing. Not just keeping a close game, but losing. To a team who hasn't won a single away game in their last 27. Bad news. Luckily, in a nail biting finish, Michigan held Akron at the one yard line with 12 seconds to go, and won by four points. The bummer is, although the football game started poorly and ended well turned, the fabric printing did the opposite.

I ordered Permaset inks, and I really can't complain about the them. They probably work like they should, they're just a little more opaque than I'm used to, so my beautiful overlapping hydrangeas become pretty flat and one-dimensional. Not to mention, I managed to mix a hideous barney turquoise instead of the lovely aqua I was aiming for. Oh well. If a summer of chemistry research has taught me anything, it's that bad results point the way just as much as good ones. Here's to hoping that next week, however, shows some encouraging results.

Favorite Floral

Last but certainly not least: my mint and lemon hydrangeas. I love them. They are peppy and springy and lovely. I want to print them on bags and skirt fabric and dress fabric and huge pieces of quilt fabric rather than just on my mint remnants. This was a rather perfect end to a whirlwind class. Although it is sad to leave the Fuji Studio and long, rewarding days of designing and printing, I am excited to see what the next two weeks of sewing and a fall of textile independent study will bring!


This summer I've found myself more and more fond of hydrangeas as I arrange them for grad parties, steal them for bouquets on the dining room table, and plan to plant them in front of my house in the fall. The blue ones, the white ones, the green ones. They spill over their boundaries and happily improve the mood of whichever garden or table they are inhabiting. With that in mind (and after scrapping a poppy idea), I set about to create a hydrangea print that made use of overlapping colors and generally filled the fabric more like a Liberty floral. And here is the result!

After an unusual experience with ink bleeding to the edges of the screens...probably because I was lazy and didn't send the fabric through the wash first...I struck upon a collection of blues and greens on grey that I think would make a lovely back to a quilt if I do say so myself.

After the first big piece was done, I experimented with green-yellow hydrangeas with white centers, and I'm quite pleased with them as well. These create the third tone I was rather hoping for with the overlapping colors in the blooms.

Bowls Bowls Bowls

Last week was a whirlwind! Printing printing printing. Making acetates, coating screens, shooting screens, blasting out emulsion, test prints, real prints, upset prints, happy prints. Whew. What a week.

I have learned some things about screen printing and myself. One, it is important for your acetate to be perfectly opaque or else blasting the emulsion out of your screen is a huge pain because you accidentally partially expose parts of the screen that you want to be see through. Two, Kelsey hates blasting out partially exposed screens. Lesson learned and applied to the next project. Three, Kelsey gets grumpy on test print day because colors and fabrics don't always work exactly how she imagined. Four, if Kelsey pushes through this grumpy phase and continues to experiment with colors without throwing in the towel, she will (within 24 hours) end up with fabric she is pleased with. Five, mother and sister are great repositories for test prints and bits of fabric Kelsey never wants to see again.

The bowl print was one of those moments when I wanted to just say "win a few, lose a few," and burn the test prints without looking back. However, I'm glad I didn't! After some rough and funky test prints on mint that I deemed "messy, horrible, and ugly" (Taylor says that was a bit of an overreaction) and then some kind of blah beige on grey prints, (people actually agreed with me on that one), I decided I would just mix up some crazy red ink and see what that turned out like. Voila! Pushed through + experimented = fabric I'm pleased with! I went in the next morning and printed more red fabric as well as some navy blue bowls, and now I am happy. Wouldn't these be cute as tea towels?

mint test print

beige on grey

Minty and Long-legged

The last of the printing has occurred, and I have nostalgically tucked my flamingo screens onto the shelf. I am happy with each of the colorways and sad to set aside this pattern. However, it is time for a new adventure in patterns and designs. Perhaps I will sneak into the studio and print some flamingos onto one of my bummy shirts, but shh don't tell Kathy, the studio director ;)

Next up is a stripe! I'm currently tracing a fun bowl stripe design onto acetates for printing next week. With class everyday, I hope to print two more fabric designs. This may be a tad ambitious, but since when do I not bite off more than I can chew? I hope you're enjoying my fabric designs at least half as much as I am because I am having a ball.

Grey Flamingos

With the test print done and a whole long weekend to wait antsily to get back into the studio, I burst in at ten in the morning on Monday and set to work. What I thought might take me two hours actually took close to five or six. When I finally finished my one yard of gray flamingo fabric in the afternoon, I began to truly appreciate the time-consuming process of hand-printing fabric. I suppose I realized this with the drunken circles at midnight, but I must have forgotten along my excited path. Nevertheless, I am still in love with printing. And I am faster.

Mid-afternoon a student from last month came in with three huge stacks of what she had printed in her time at the Fuji Studio. My teacher, Kathy, told me that this student was a speed demon when it came to printing. That she could print an entire huge piece of fabric in two hours. Challenge accepted. This student gave me some pointers for going faster, such as piling my clamps on the corners of my screens instead of actually clamping them down, and pulling the ink across the screen several extra times to extend the pulls between washings. With this and the discovery that clogged spots on screens can quickly be remedied with some concentrated finger scrubbing to avoid the dreaded wash-power rinse-dry cycle, I quickly got to work on the top half of my gray fabric and a new yard of mint.

However, by 7:30, with almost ten hours of printing under my belt, I was exhausted. Sweaty and close to burnt out, I picked up and folded my precious new fabrics, postponing the rest of the mint printing till the next class period, and headed home. More Wednesday!!