WALLA WALLA — Becci Lund is an artist. Instead of watercolors or acrylic, however, she paints with cloth.
Lund, a local quilt artist, uses fabric and colors to express her creativity.
If you go
Walla Walla Valley Quilt Festival
Walla Walla County Fairgrounds
363 Orchard St.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
She is the local featured quilter for this year’s Walla Walla Valley Quilt Festival. For Lund, quilting shows are fun and inspirational. Attendees get a chance to meet people, see demonstrations and exhibit their work. But not to worry, she said, “Only you really see your mistakes.”
“My first attempt at quilting was about 20 years ago,” Lund said. “I tried to learn from a book and it really didn’t work well. I started again 10 years ago when we were in Alaska. Then seven years ago we moved here and I joined the quilt guild.”
The Walla Walla Valley Quilt Guild provides her with classes as well as opportunities to make friends and socialize. The interaction helped get her inspired.
At the guild, she said, “it really helps to be with other people. They help support and motivate you. I joined small groups. It’s really a social group,” she said.
Quilting is enjoying a renewed interest of late, with many taking up the hobby. Some quilters learned from mothers and grandmothers, but some, like Lund, needed to find it on their own.
“My grandmother did it, but I never learned from her,” Lund said. “I find it very relaxing.”
Lund has a basement quilt room filled with piles of fabric, spools of thread and unfinished objects — UFO’s in quilting jargon.
“It’s a ‘mom cave’ instead of a ‘man cave,’” she said. “It’s a nice little escape.”
Her quilt room is always a mess, she said. “A clean quilt room belongs to someone who doesn’t quilt,” she said.
“There are quite a few things I want to finish, I want to work more on art quilts. I want to push those boundaries. I want to catch up and finish things I’ve started.”
Lund creates all kinds of quilts in a variety of sizes. She prefers earth tones and jewel colors — deep tones, no pastels.
Her favorite types of fabrics to use are all-cotton batiks in a mix of colors. She’s also using cotton cloth of different weights and colors, some with a shine and some without.
“That changes with each quilt and what you want to emphasize,” she said. She uses cotton thread, the smaller the thread the better.
Lund likes designs that are heavily quilted where the stitching goes with the flow of the quilt. She generally doesn’t design her quilts. Instead, she uses patterns she finds “here and there.” She expresses her creativity with her color choices and “tweaking” a pattern a bit. Lund said there’s opportunity to be creative with the texture — the stitching — in the quilt. This stitching is the actual quilting, holding the three layers together: the front, filler and back.
She recently joined a small group working on art quilts. Art quilts are not made from squares and triangles. They’re more free form, which is perfect for Lund. She likes to think outside the box, even though sometimes it’s difficult.
“A lot of art quilts are abstract, all shapes, all kinds,” she said. “I’m willing to try new things, that’s why I think they chose me as their featured local quilter. I’m certainly not an expert and I’m not professing to be. I’m far from an expert. I was very surprised they picked me.”
If you’re new to quilting, Lund suggests taking a class and joining the quilt guild. She recommends classes from Stash or Sew & Vac.
But even with great teachers and interested students, participants have to do the work to keep up with everyone.
“It’s a motivation thing,” she said. “The quilt guild is really nice. They also have guest teachers, I took a paper piecing class. Taking the class was a good kick in the pants.” A class often has homework — but then you end up with a quilt, Lund said.
Internet-based classes are another option. “The benefits of an online class is you can take it at your convenience,” she said.
For many quilters, “the hardest thing is actually quilting, sewing the three pieces together,” she said. “Don’t give up on that part. If you need to send it out to someone else to have it done, that’s OK.”
If the quilt is very large, it’s unwieldy in a standard sewing machine and it’s hard to avoid getting puckers and wrinkles in it.
“Keep trying,” she said. “It’s supposed to be fun. To me it’s a relaxing hobby. I go down there and I get into my zone.”
Karlene Ponti can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8324.