Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Even though I'm a part-timer in my quilt guild (Quadra Quilters), I cherish those monthly meetings and get-togethers with the other 40+ talented, energetic and warm-hearted women in the guild. When we break for summer, we are always left with the choice of participating in the "summer challenge." The winner from the previous year has the privilege of choosing a theme and a very ugly piece of cotton to divvy out among participants, and then she challenges other members to put their creative summer talents to work. In September, pieces are anonymously hung and we each get one vote. The winner's prize? be in charge on next year's challenge.

I love this. I think I'm a competition junkie at heart. In June, Norma presented us with a teal-y piece of cotton with the theme of "the enchanted universe" and told us to have at it. I cringed at both the fabric and the theme....neither struck a cord with me. I hung the fabric on the wall and looked at it for 2 months while ideas drifted in and out.

A week before our September meeting, I realized my thinking time had come to an end and I had to get moving. The three best ideas swirling around in my head had to do with 1)my backyard pond, 2)the quote "if my heart were a garden, what would I plant?", and 3)trying to recapture the magic I experienced during a nighttime kayak trip with a group of women friends. The latter became my choice and I set to work.
The ugly teal-y fabric became both the land and the water by using the reverse side. I then called upon the remnants of the palette I produced at the Cortes class. That earthy yellow worked so well and even pulled out a bit of the similar color found in the dark teal piece. I had very little left to make kayaks but did find enough in pink, blue, rust and purple. Not the greatest colors, BUT because they are from one palette, worked so well together. After sewing them to the background and my batting, I proceeded to free motion the kayak seats into the "kayak flowers", along with the paddle leaves and paddle rays of the sun. I filled in the rest with my favorite spiraling, and then was ready to discharge the seats and paddles to accentuate them. This time I used Soft Scrub with bleach in my little metal tipped bottle. It discharged the color, I then washed out the bleach, let it dry, and added the binding and the sleeve. For the final details, I chose some sweet buttons to add as flower centers, etc.. I completed the piece the day before the meeting. Phew!
Happily, might I add, I won this year's competition! There were 7 entries and they were all amazing, as they usually are! My prize was a fantastic book titled "Skinny Quilts and Tablerunners from Today's Top Designers" (thank you Norma!) and the privilege of planning next year's summer challenge. I've already got some ideas.
While I'm at it, I might as well display my other 3 challenge pieces from past years....but that's for tomorrow.

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