Tag Archives: challenge

The long-awaited quilt show

Well, the quilt show is finally behind us and I’m happy to say I can look back at it with a certain amount of satisfaction. It was a great success!

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The wonderful and exceedingly talented ladies of the Patchwork du Léman club displayed a total of 98 beautiful quilts of all shapes and sizes, and in all the colours of the rainbow. There were 35 entries into the Challenge, all exceptionally creative. And to cap it all (from my perspective at least!), I sold one of my quilts! Only the little apple one, not one of the larger ones, but still… Suffice to say that excited doesn’t even come close! Oh yes indeedy!!!

So, without further ado, here are some of my favourites amongst the 98 quilts and 35 challenge entries…

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“Ma Balade” – Marianne Bender

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“Scrap Papillons” – Nicole Bietenholz

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“Tribulations” – Evelyne Estier

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“Kaleidoscope” – Irma Müller

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“Bal des Lucioles sous la Gloriette” – Patricia Fuentes

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“Elephants” – Fabienne Favroz

And, as promised, here is a photo of my giant pink and purple paper-pieced beauty, hung up in all her glory. I called this quilt Stargazing with Nancy Cap after my lovely friend, Nancy, who originally taught me to paper-piece.  It measures 230cm x 230cm (91″ x 91″) and was custom long-arm quilted at Patch Ideal in Diessenhofen.

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So all in all, I’m very happy with my first ever quilt show, and I hope that everyone who came to see our quilts enjoyed it as much as I did!

Quilt show – ready to roll…

Well I never, the quilt show is almost upon me. And I’m all ready! My entries are all quilted, bound and labelled, with the requisite hanging sleeves attached, and I spent an hour at my friend Chris’ this afternoon de-furring them (totally pointless even to consider doing so here…) I’ve just got back from handing them in at my guild meeting tonight, and I’m feeling exhausted!

In the end I decided to enter the maximum 3 quilts, along with the challenge. You’ll have to wait another couple of weeks to see all three, as one of them is too large to be put on the floor and photographed – the photo will have to be taken when it’s hung at the show. But I did want to show off my challenge entry, which, despite Very Unpromising Beginnings, turned out rather well (even if I do say so myself!)

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The turnaround all started with a great suggestion from Sarah at Thrift Store Crafter, who said she saw the snail trail block in the embroidery. So I took that idea and went with it! I made twelve 4″ snail trail blocks as an outer border, then I surrounded the embroidery itself with the fabric in the snail trail centres, and added a flying goose block at either end (each with one green and one neutral coloured wing). To echo the black diamond in the embroidery, I added some black bias tape running across the corners of the quilt, and finished it off with a skinny black binding. And it had to be very skinny, given the size constraints of the challenge. I think I came in one mm under the maximum allowable width. Phew!

For the quilting, I wanted initially to do something quite elaborate, but my lack of a working foot pedal meant I had to use my walking foot and the stop/start button rather than going free-motion crazy. In the end, it worked out brilliantly. In this case, I feel, less is most definitely more. I started out by quilting little on-point squares in the centre of the snail trail blocks, then I ditch quilted around the outside edge of each ‘swirl’.

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Once the blocks of the border were outlined, I turned my attention to the quilt centre. I wanted to echo the diamond shapes in the embroidery, so I used my walking foot to stitch a radiating diamond pattern on either side of the embroidery piece.  I started with a light green thread, and then I sewed between these stitching lines with a darker green thread. I think it gives the diamonds more of a sense of motion, creates more interest on the quilt, and adds texture to the whole piece.

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I did consider embellishing the quilt a little, but to tell you the truth, it’s not really me. So I just left it at that. And after all that, I find that I actually like it! We had to give the quilt a name, so I called it “Blackbirds Flock to Guns”. This is an anagram of Some Very Bad Words once uttered by RR during a somewhat frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful DIY session, and it reflects exactly what I felt when I first saw what the challenge involved! I won’t say any more, but you can probably work it out for yourselves if you really want to!

So here I am now, back at home, quilts handed in, all packed for my quilt retreat this weekend, sewing machine and fabric stashed in Chris’ boot, and I feel oddly bereft. All that energy I put into getting everything finished in time for the show has now dissipated and I’m at a bit of a loose end. Still, with Peaks starting tomorrow afternoon, and a weekend of full-on sewing planned, I’m pretty sure it won’t be all that long before I’m all quilted-up again! Watch this space…

It’s Wednesday, so I’m linking on up again to Lee at Freshly Pieced. Why not do the same?

The quilt show approacheth…

After a hectic summer of visits, travelling, and far-too-hot-to-do-anything weather, life is now cooling down, slowing down and finally returning to normal. And all I want to do right now is quilt! Over the summer, all I seemed to do was dressmaking, and this past week I’ve started to redress the balance somewhat.

And just in time it seems! For the Patchwork du Léman quilt exhibition is fast approaching, and Little Miss Procrastinator (yours truly!) has finally woken up to the fact that she had better get her backside in gear for it…

My wake-up call was thanks to my quilting friend and fellow club member Patpatch. The other week, she posted a photo on her blog of 2 really cute cup holders she’d sewn as prizes for the quilt show tombola. Wow, I thought, that’s really generous, donating 2 such lovely prizes to the tombola. Then I read her blog post. And realised that each member of the club had to supply 2 prizes. And that it had all been in the huge long letter that I’d received at the start of the summer. And that I’d either missed it or blocked it out mentally. Oops!!!

So I hurriedly dug out the Letter of Doom, along with all the forms to fill in, lists of deadlines and all those scary things that came with it and which I’d tactically ignored for 2 months. And I worked out that I did indeed need to donate 2 prizes for the tombola. As well as have my Challenge quilt and the quilts I want to show ready by the start of October. Which is only 5 weeks away. Oh heck…..

Well, I know what quilts I want to show, even if they’re not quite finished yet, so first up, tombola prizes. The quilt show is at the end of October, and, hey, that’s almost Christmas, isn’t it?! Well – near enough, in my humble opinion! Now, I have no idea whether Swiss Christmas traditions involve hanging stockings by the fireplace on Christmas Eve  – but, then again, I’m not Swiss ! So I decided that 2 Christmas stockings would make a lovely, potentially cross-cultural offering for the tombola.

With this in mind, I pulled out my Christmas-themed fabric, made a stocking template, cut out batting, along with fabric for the outside and the lining, and stipple-quilted them as well as I could. Then I sewed them together and bound the inside raw edges with satin ribbon to make it look pretty.

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To finish them off, I added cuffs made of contrasting fabric, and used a ‘Merry Christmas’ ribbon to createhanging loops (in case of any potential confusion as to their purpose…) Et voilà! Tombola prizes! Although quite what the ladies in my quilting club will make of them is anyone’s guess…

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Well, after that I was on a roll! So I decided to get to work on my Challenge quilt. Sarah at thriftstorecrafter.com had pointed out that the design in the embroidery swatch looked like the Snail Trail block, and that idea had been brewing in the back of my mind for the last month or so. I started playing around with the idea this weekend, dug out some fabric from my scraps bin, and so far I’ve come up with this…

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I think I’m going to use some skinny black bias tape somehow to echo the black in the swatch, and create some kind of focal blocks to put either side of the Hazara embroidery. Maybe I’ll embellish it a little, maybe not, but at the very least I now know where I’m headed. Thank you, Sarah!

And finally, it appears there is a ‘pocket money boutique’ at the exhibition, where club members can sell items. Now, I’ve no idea what kind of things people are likely to make for this, or what people might be interested in buying, or even what kind of a price to ask, but I pulled together this little quilt with remnants from my scrap bin. I thought it would make a lovely wallhanging, or maybe a little table topper. And if nobody is interested in buying it, well, never mind – I’m more than happy to give it a good home in my kitchen!

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Incidentally, my French is possibly not as good as I’d previously thought. According to the Letter of Doom, we have to supply a baguette to hang any quilts larger than 1m wide. And I’m guessing they’re not talking about bread 🙂 I suspect they’re asking for some kind of a wooden baton, but maybe I’d better dig out the old dictionary just to make sure…

Linking on up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

A challenge too far???

Last summer, in a fit of misplaced enthusiasm and optimism, I rashly signed up for my quilt club’s biennial Challenge. Why not? I figured. I like a challenge. It’s good to stretch myself, to try something new. And with well over a year to create my challenge entry (in time for the club’s Exhibition at the end of October 2013), I could surely manage to find the requisite inspiration and produce a veritable masterpiece in fabric form. Couldn’t I?

How wrong can one girl be??? I was soon to find out…

Back in September, all the challenge participants were given a beautiful piece of silk Hazara embroidery, about 1 1/2″ by 2 1/2″ in size. According to the challenge rules, we’re free to use it in any way we choose, to create a final work of 12 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ (which is quite large, really, when you think about it. The exact same size of my portable cutting mat, in fact…) Anyway, we can piece, appliqué, embroider and embellish as much as we like, but the Hazara embroidery has to be prominently and harmoniously incorporated into the quilt top as a whole. So far, so good.

I duly received my little piece of embroidery, admired it, and put it away safely in my drawer. Here it is…

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… and here it is in the middle of the aforementioned cutting mat to give an idea of scale…

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Pretty, huh?

Well, it’s now almost a year on, and, sadly, inspiration has yet to strike. I get my little piece of Hazara out from time to time, look at it, think “What the heck am I going to do with this??!”, get disheartened by my extreme lack of inspiration and motivation, and put it away again.

Then, at the beginning of July, I received some paperwork from the club about the upcoming exhibition. Which I put in my “To Do” pile on my desk and promptly forgot about until today. I finally got round to reading it this afternoon, and immediately wished I hadn’t! It included a reminder that the challenge entries will be collected on 2nd October, a mere 2 months away. Well, suffice to say I’m now starting to panic a little, and to curse my tendency to procrastinate!

… Cue more procrastination, as I choose to blog about my creative block rather than actually trying to do something about it…

So what shall I do? Is it indeed a challenge too far? It looks like my plan to make an Eiffel Tower skirt will be put on the back burner while I try and decide how to tackle this project. From now on it will be Priority Number 1! But maybe I’ll just finish sewing the rows together for my Flumpagon quilt first, then there’s my sundress that needs finishing before Barcelona, and of course I’ll have to tidy up my sewing room. Perhaps I’ll make a start on the challenge quilt next week…

(In the meantime, any suggestions most gratefully received!)