Trinia Braughton of Penguin Feats
I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Trinia Braughton of Penguin Feats, a quilter and patter maker, at Sew Pro in Chicago, earlier this fall. We had a great time at this event, attended some of the same presentations, and shared information when we went to different ones.
Over the course of these few days, we talked about the #100 blocks #100 Days challenge based on https://www.amazon.com/Tula-Pinks-City-Sampler-Modern/dp/1440232148, which she participated in, and resulted in a stunning quilt at the end. And of course we covered the other important topics, such as; quilting, blogging, and being an army spouse, army mother, our families and traveling.
Trinia loves ice hockey, and is a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, even though she is an Oregonian. She developed the Penguin Feats logo while attending an art class. The assignment was to create an identity design project which challenged her “to design a logo and concept, around that logo, that had meaning.”
She also loves penguins. And her husband teases her about her feet, looking like penguin feet. That said, in 2001, Penguin Feats was born. The double entendre refers to the “feats she is now developing through her creative process.” Additionally, Trinia is looking to teach, design more patterns and produce them for sale.
While growing up on a farm in Willamette Valley, she had many influences who nurtured her love of design and sewing. Her father was a wood carver and logger, who did some sewing too. “He had more patience than my mom with the mechanics of the sewing machine, so he helped me learn how to keep my machine running well. And he was a big influence in helping me figure out how to make my own patterns. We even made a custom boat cover for his river boat together.” Trinia’s mom was very creative in the kitchen. She made everything from scratch without using recipes.
Additionally, her grandmother, an exceptional seamstress, was the one who taught her how to sew. For her ninth birthday, Trinia received a sewing machine. She learned to make dolls, stuffed animals, stirrup pants, baggy sweatshirts, prom dresses and even a few wedding gowns. Her grandmother taught her how to make original templates from paper bags.
“The influence on my sewing is deep from my parents and grandmother. None of them quilted….or sewed the way I do. But, they all helped me develop the ability to stitch up the ideas in my head. I have this little duffle my grandmother made for me when I was about 10 years old. I still have it and use it every time I travel. I know I can make another that is updated with new fabric and my favorite colors….but I keep this to remind me that I learned from the best.”
Trinia graduated in 2002, with a BFA in Multimedia Design from The University of Oregon. She met her husband during the summer after graduating from high school. They were both attending a community college at the time, to figure out what they wanted to do for their careers. Eventually, they married and began working. Her husband was laid off, so he enlisted in the army without telling her. At the time he felt the Army was his only employment choice.
You can imagine that their first few years of marriage was a test of love, endurance and resilience. “The life of an army spouse was not my initial choice.” After the stress of basic training, while she lived in Oregon, and he trained in Georgia, they moved to North Carolina. Then Trinia became pregnant. No pressure at all here.
When I met Trinia, and got to know her over the weekend, I could tell she was a determined, resourceful woman with so much inner strength. She is also very smart and funny. Not only did I have great respect for her, because we share many core values, but I was in awe of her bag. I asked her if she would make me one, of course for pay. The design was so unique and fun. It had major world cities on them, and I picked two my husband and I visited, and two we plan to visit.
As Trinia said after looking back at 23 years in the army, “It was not easy to learn how to be an army spouse, but I love my Soldier….I love him more than I disliked the army. Looking back after his retirement this summer, I can say it hasn’t been as horrible as I thought it would….and we have come out of it with some great memories….great friends….great experiences….and I wouldn’t change any of it.”
No one knows better than the families that serve how scary it can be. It truly is the ultimate sacrifice.
Trinia sent me much of her interview, via e-mail. And most of you know, I have a big heart and so much respect for military families. When I read the following, I did tear up. It’s too special, not to share.
“The opportunities the army life has presented us cannot be measured. We have lived all over ….North Carolina, Hawaii, Washington, Virginia and even Italy. The friendships that have been forged during these short tours have stayed with us over the years. We have created a family that is spread throughout the world. Finishing our college degrees would not have been possible without the Montgomery GI Bill. We are grateful for the opportunities we were given and we are content with the choices we made to accomplish our goals through those circumstances.”
Trinia began her first quilt in 2003 during her husband’s first deployment, which was just after their graduation from The University of Oregon. The mascot and team names for U of O is a duck. So she designed a duck quilt, which she planned to applique. She drew out the design on poster paper, and cut out individual pieces from different fabrics. After the first pieces of fabric were secured using Heat & Bond, she used the satin stitch to applique the shapes onto the quilt. “I think I used 3 spools of black thread on that quilt. It took me 11 years to finish it. I had no idea how to quilt it. Finally in 2013 I took a free motion quilting class and came up with a way to quilt it. I finished it in about 3 weeks while my husband was on his last deployment.”
Throughout the quilting journey so far, the ability to share with others in the creative process is the seed of growing valuable connections and a community for Trinia. “To see so many different people with different ideas come together to bring something to life….a quilt along….a swap….a charity auction….a blog hop….and to see all the different styles come together for something is inspiring.”
On a different note, we talked about some of her favorite components in sewing, creating and making. Trinia loves to work with natural fibers, cotton with a high thread count, and incorporating cork and leather. She used cork brilliantly in her around the world handbag, which is the one I purchased from her. (I ordered mine without cork).
Her favorite color is yellow, and she says she has every shade of it. Trinia also loves other bright saturated colors. After re-evaluating her stash, she began filling in the gaps with colors she tends to stay away from, and she noticed raspberry was missing.
After purchasing lots of this missing color, she used both lemon and raspberry brilliantly in the #100 blocks #100 Days challenge. “That raspberry color was completely missing from my stash, except for the Alison Glass Raspberry Sphere print.” That print eventually became the inspiration for the raspberry in the quilt blocks. “I wanted to use something different with the yellow that I hadn’t used before.”
Trinia is a very visual person. “I enjoy looking at pieces that have a sense of play with positive and negative space. The use of bright, bold saturated color with geometric abstract images inspire me. I prefer asymmetrical presentations….finding balance with color, value, and proportion with asymmetrical design really tests my designs aesthetics. Expression of a feeling or moment with these elements really makes the design process personal. Having a personal attachment to the design, because of what I am trying to express, makes the process more meaningful to me.
Her Ten Squared Quilt Pattern is her first original quilt pattern, and she is very proud and excited about it. It began as a personal challenge to work with HST’s and it became a dynamic design. “Turning it into my first quilt pattern is a huge accomplishment, as it was never intended to be a pattern. I hope it is just the beginning.”
Thank you, Trinia for sharing your quilting, blogging, and stories about your life with us today. Trinia will be giving away a Ten Squared Quilt kit which includes the pattern and over 100 precut squares to make a lap size quilt top.
Entering the giveaway has 2 parts.
- Leave a comment below in the comment box telling us what sewing technique you would like to learn in 2017.
- Follow Trinia on Instagram @penguinfeats.
- This give-a-way is open to U.S. and International residents.
Please be sure to complete both parts for entry in the giveaway. We will pick a random number on Friday, December 23, at 6:00 PM, PST, and announce it on both blogs. Please, if you are a no-reply blogger, leave your e-mail address so we can get in touch with you if you are the winner. Neither of us has a newsletter, so your e-mail address will not be compromised in any way.
Good luck and have fun!!