Kristi Schroeder Larson of Initial K Studio is our September pattern designer, as you know. I was fortunate to hang out with Kristi in April, when she was in town for Sewtopia, and got to ask her some of the questions in person that I usually ask via email.

Kristi is an artist, author, designer and quilter.  She previously working as a graphic designer in the corporate world, and launched Initial K a few years ago. She has designed a number of beautiful patterns, as well as written a book, Southwest Modern. The book has one of the most iconic covers of any quilting books I have seen, and I just love the photography + patterns + idea behind the book, which Kristi talks about. Keep reading!

Sign up for Kristi’s newsletter here. View a trailer for the book, which gives a sneak peek into behind the scenes photography, here.

All of our designer interviews can be found here. 

Don’t forget to check out Kristi’s 2 Paper Piecing Videos

Tell us a little about your creative journey.

Where did your idea for Southwest Modern come from, and did you ever have an “aha!” moment while working on the book? 

Southwest Modern came about in the Spring/Summer of 2015. A good girlfriend of mine and I have birthdays one day apart, so we decided to do a girls trip to West Texas. I had just finished writing the Arrowhead pattern [below], so I took my sample with me at the last minute. We spent a long weekend in Marathon, and Big Bend, and Marfa, and I photographed that quilt in every single place imaginable. And it was while I was doing that, I had this epiphany of thinking, “What if I got paid to do this!? Because I love love travel, and I love design, and I love quilting.”

I knew I wanted to write a book, I just didn’t know what the topic would be. It just kind of presented itself to me. I really thought a road trip style, travel inspiration, quilting book [would be perfect]. I had spent a lot of time [as a child] in Santa Fe in the summer with my family. My mom’s side of the family has property outside Santa Fe, and so it kind of just naturally came about that the book could start in West Texas, and then it loops up through New Mexico. I pitched the idea to Suzanne at Lucky Spool Media at QuiltCon in Pasadena in 2016 and we had the contract by that summer, and then hit the ground running with the production side of the book. I knew with the weather and the leaves changing, October is the most gorgeous time of the year to be out in Santa Fe and that area, so I think I started working on everything in August [to get ready for the first round of photos].

I signed the book contract, packed up my apartment in Dallas, moved to Austin on the hottest day ever—I think it was 105 when the movers came—it was terrible. I immediately went to work . . . and created the first half of the quilts.  My mom and I hit the road in mid-October, and my photographer, who I used to work with when I was with the architecture firm . . .  spent the next four days photographing everything that you see in the book. I already knew which quilts to photograph in what space. [There was] a moment, probably the second day that we were on location somewhere, in the early morning, and it was absolutely beautiful. I was styling the quilt, and making sure the shot was right, and I kind of stepped back and thought, “Oh my goodness. This is really happening, and I’m actually doing this!” I kind of freaked out, and then I got really excited. . . .  Writing the book, pitching the book—I had all of these design ideas in my head, and I was like, if I don’t produce these, and get these out, I’m going to go crazy! I kept thinking about them, and obsessing over them. I think it was that moment when we were actually on site and photographing the Cielo quilt, I remember thinking, “This is exactly what I imagined,” and it was pretty amazing.The Cielo Quilt, from Southwest Modern.

What was your inspiration for the September Quilt, Reflection? 

The Reflection Quilt pattern is for sale here, or subscribe and save until September 30, here!

What advice would you give your creative self of 5, 10, or 15 years ago?