I took a few months off quilting to reset. Something about taking all my closet out, moving my ironing board and design wall, only having limited time to do outside tasks before blazing hot temps take hold – where we are now! – and family emergencies during another month, offset me from quilting until getting this challenge quilt ready for the June local guild meeting.
I’ve been a guild member since 2009, and this is the first “guild challenge quilt” I have participated in that we have had of this kind.
Ok, so we were given a challenge fabric and told, keep it small (about 2 feet), add one off white solid, add one other solid, and the rest is up to us.
So I purchased some variations of solid fabrics.
I had a thought about recreating either a fabric design, or a notebook cover, or a coloring book I picked up a while ago.
Between this and a frequently added Pintrest board of gradient colors, I decided to try to recreate the front design.
I drew a quick sketch, then one morning, I sat down with some rulers and circles, and drew out and then colored a design based off this colored pencil design. And proceeded to color it in.
I drew the design actually on the heat and bond paper that gave me a “real life” feel of the size of each piece I was adding to the quilt design.
This design turned out very “arty” for my taste. I think I teased a portion of this somewhere else.
I used the gradients of having several different colors of teal as the focus, and the little accent pieces of yellow, orange and pink to pop in and out of the piece.
Setting up the quilting part, I started looking at videos and how best to approach this. I was essentially setting up a large applique quilt, but have decided in many recent times that I feel like I have very little patience for handwork. I needed to do this quilt raw edge.
I remembered a video Leah Day did of a piecing applique quilt from several years ago.
If you don’t swing back to her video, I used the ideas of a few major concepts that later helped me with my quilt.
- Leah showed the upward direction on the back of her pieces so she could piece her quilt correctly again. This helped me get the right orientation.
- Leah had an outline behind her fabric she was pasting her quilt onto.
- Leah had flipped her design right to left to get the correct orientation on the front. This was something I should have remembered on my own, but actually did not.
- Leah suggested cutting and placing strips down on the quilt, line at a time. Which was a slow way, but it got me organizing my quilt in such a way, I didn’t get any part mixed up with any other part.
Ok so I flipped the design around and put the new flipped design on another piece of heat n bond paper. I also eliminated the very “darkest” teal. In matching it up in a line with the other pieces, it had the wrong tone. It was darker, but it had a little bit more brown or grey tinted into the fabric color that didn’t “pop” with the rest of the quilt color.
Actually eliminating the one fabric made it easier. I had done a proof of concept piece, and as much as I liked the tweezers and setting the pieces down, I actually liked having slightly larger pieces in my finished piece. It makes it more likely to be done when this is all said and done if the pieces are a little larger.
The darkest teal in this piece above, I took out.
Then I had one more challenge that I myself had created for myself. My original design was on heat N bond, which would mean that if I added pieces to my finished quilt and ironed them down, that I would heat n bond my “design” to the table.
Luckily, I had all the small quilts I have been free motion quilting during the month of March. I took a quilt sandwich of similar size, placed that on the table, and then took a piece of freezer paper, traced the outlines onto the freezer paper from my heat n bond design, then heated up the freezer paper “pattern” onto the back of the quilt sandwich as a barrier for the table.
I had traced the outlines of my design several times before really getting started on the fabric part of my quilt.
When everything was ready, I took some close up pictures of my design for reference.
And once I had the whole quilt photographed, I carefully cut up the patterns out of the heat n bond paper, one strip at a time.
It was so nice using solid fabrics for this quilt, I didn’t have to worry about right side and wrong side. I applied each piece of my template to a piece of numbered fabric. I tried to consider the raw edge quality of the quilt, and attempted to make the main line go along the grain of the fabric if possible.
After applying the pattern to the fabric, I carefully cut the fabric around each piece, giving a little bit of a seam allowance to each side evenly. I was going to have to slightly overlap the pieces with the neighboring pieces. If each of these pieces didn’t match up with my original designed sizes, that was ok, as long as the overlaps made sense with the rest of the quilt.
And here was another section cut out and then flipped over.
And a different section that was meant to be “interrupted by another piece”. – Shown from the back.
As I completed each section (slowly), I carried them over from my working space to my ironing board.
After cutting out to size all the sections of this quilt, I picked a section to start with, and using the (faint) outline on the freezer paper as a guideline for placement, got my section organized the way I wanted it. Then hit it with a hot iron.
The adding of each section became more and more fun. As long as I was paying attention to what goes under what piece, this quilt seemed to work out well. You may be able to see the faint outline under the off-white fabric.
I ended up using tweezers to help me place the “right” fabrics on front or on the back. For me, my general guideline was to have the lighter fabrics on the bottom, except in cases where that was an “alternating design”. I also tried to keep yellow on the bottom in places I would also be able to chose that too.
I originally had a different blue piece for the top corner that matches the “eye” I have on the right side. After doing all these pieces and strips on these smaller sections of lighter blues, I decided I wanted to add a little bit of color to the background. Adding even more of the quilt pieces to the quilt below.
In addition, I had a bright patterned yellow fabric that I tried to put into the quilt that would fit in the section next to the blue as part of a “sun” piece. Boy was it bright and distracting. I laid the cutout piece next to that section of the quilt, and it was too distracting. It felt like a “sun” part, but it just wasn’t working.
I did find a very light yellow and forgetting to flip the diagram over, I ended up placing the very very light back of that piece on the bottom right corner opposite my blue piece. It’s there, but hard to even notice, it’s so light.
And then I put the “front side” of the really light yellow to make sure I got a feeling of “offwhite” for the challenge portion of the quilt. It was a very lightly mottled tone-on-tone that fully reads as solid.
This is actually where I am with this quilt right now. It needs sewn down currently.
I did get it spray basted to a piece of batting and backing is the blue fabric in the “eye of the bird”. It reminds me of a bird with arms and a ball in his hand that trumpets out the front.
Sorta kinda but not really.
As I sew these pieces down, I will also quilt through the quilt sandwich at the same time. This will save me a step.
I was able to show off what I have finished to the guild on Tuesday, which was the “soft” due date for the quilt. We had quite a few people bring their challenge quilts to the guild meeting. Mine was not finished, but I was able to hold it up for all to see what I was working on, and to my knowledge, none of the pieces fell off in transport to or from the meeting.
This is going into our quilt show held on July 8th & 9th. Assuming I can actually sew it down & bind it in time. I may even use the challenge fabric in the binding!