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Peek inside this modern quilter's colorful Texas studio

SMILEY N. POOL/THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS/TNSQuilter Kristi Schroeder poses for a portrait at her one-bedroom Park Cities apartment that she uses as her workshop and studio.
SMILEY N. POOL/THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS/TNSQuilter Kristi Schroeder poses for a portrait at her one-bedroom Park Cities apartment that she uses as her workshop and studio. TNS

PARK CITIES, Texas -- Just a few years after landing her dream graphic design job, Kristi Schroeder knew she had to quit.

It wasn't that the job wasn't great -- it was. It wasn't that she didn't still have a passion for design -- she did. It was that she had a creative hobby that consumed her thoughts.

So, in 2014, Schroeder took the leap and became a full-time quilter and pattern designer. She transformed her one-bedroom Park Cities apartment into headquarters for Initial K Studio.

"I use every single space in my apartment," she says.

The dining table was cleared out to make way for fabric storage and a sewing desk that takes up an entire wall. Schroeder's kitchen became the cutting station.

The living room is a showroom of sorts, with completed quilts in a variety of sizes and colors hanging on a corner stand and pillows accenting her sofa and seating.

And of course, Schroeder's bed is dressed in one of her clean-lined, graphic creations.

Her designs are modern and packed with graphic punch, simple color and plenty of white space.

"Thanks to my graphic design background, I've always been drawn to lots of white space and simple, elegant, clean design," says Schroeder, 37, who only learned to sew in 2009.

She has blended her appreciation for simplicity and traditional quilting elements.

"It's simple, but it's still interesting," she says her designs.

When she left her full-time design job, Schroeder knew that she would have to get creative about not just her quilts, but about how to replace her steady income, too.

So in addition to selling her quilts online, at shows and by commission, she also focused on pattern designs.

She's got five, with names such as Migration, Modern Waves and Cascade, and is in the process of fine-tuning others. She says it's thrilling when other quilters share the work they've completed using her design plans.

Schroeder also created a series of art prints based on her punchy patterns.

For now, Schroeder handles not just the design, but the marketing, bookkeeping, shipping and all facets of the Initial K Studio business. "It's just me and I wear so many hats in one day," she says.

But it's the quilts themselves that fuel her drive and propel her through marathon sessions at her sewing machines.

"They're so labor-intensive to make that if I don't love them from the beginning, it's just going to be hell to make," she says. "And that's the joy of being your own boss; I'm not going to make something I don't like."

And though telecommuting might not seem to be a natural fit for a quilter, it often is for Schroeder, an avid traveler. She rarely goes anywhere without a sewing machine -- the one she takes with her is an antique Featherweight -- or a quilt ready to be photographed.

Be it at the beach, the mountains or somewhere that requires a passport, Schroeder is on the hunt for inspiration.

She's planning a trip to Marrakech, but before she goes, Schroeder hopes to design and complete a Moroccan-inspired piece that she can take with her and photograph.

"There are days when I feel like this isn't work at all," she says.

Initial K Studio: Quilts, patterns and art prints can be found at initialkstudio.com.