Vivid photographs recreated through crafty quilting

Ian Laughead

Every Thursday afternoon, a small group of women gather to work on the coziest of crafts: the quilt.

Before cutting fabric squares and stitching seam lines, however, they are adding an extra, cutting-edge step to the process. Using a state-of-the-art printer, they have custom designed fabric, emblazoning their quilt with icons of Iowa State past and present in vivid color photographs.

“It’s amazing what it can do,” said Carli Johnson-Scott, senior in apparel merchandising, design and production.

Lecturers Tina Denekas and Sarah Bennett worked together to develop the class, TC 490C, to create a special Veishea-themed quilt using the apparel department’s fabric printer that would in turn raise money for the printer.

The quilt will be raffled off with $1 tickets sold at several events including the Fashion Show 2012 and during the week of Veishea. The class hopes to raise $2,500 for the Digital Apparel Studio Lab, which houses the fabric printer.

“At some point, hopefully students won’t have to pay to print, or at least make the costs very minimal,” Denekas said.

Denekas, a former Cy mascot during her student days, said finding the right way to represent the university was one of the more difficult parts of the quilt’s creation.

“We wanted to make it Iowa State-wide, so that everyone could look and see a picture and remember a memory,” she said.

The students were responsible for all aspects of the design, and they too felt the pressure of making design decisions.

“The hardest part was coming up with what to put in the quilt,” said Sydney Sterner, senior in apparel, merchandising and design. “We didn’t want to leave anyone out or offend anyone.”

The lecturers were especially proud of how the students handled such a large project within their small group of six.

“The students set aside their personal feelings and worked towards one group goal early in the process,” Bennett said. “We made sure students know it’s their project. They embraced that from the beginning and took ownership.”

Getting more control “made us feel more responsible,” said Molly Charipar, junior in apparel, merchandising and design.

“After all,” she said, with not a shade of sarcasm, “Who doesn’t want to learn to make quilts?”