A Quest for Adventure

I don’t even know how long it’s been since my last blog posting. We’ve been busy doing a lot of work around the house, but I’ll tell you about that another time.

I really like challenges. I tend to do some of my more creative work when I have been presented with a challenge. And so it was another challenge, this time from the Modern Quilt Guild and Michael Miller, and a quest for adventure that sent me down the path of designing and creating this quilt.

Here are the Michael Miller fabrics I started with.  At first I thought I would make a wall hanging with modern flowers similar to the fabric there on top.  Then I decided that idea was very ‘un-creative’ and, although it would be beautiful hanging in my house, it just wasn’t good enough for a challenge.


So, onto other, more adventurous ideas…

Then I started thinking about the shapes that are used in quilts.  There are quilts made of squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, hexagons, and octogons. There are quilts made of strips, scraps, and generally wonky pieces. But I don’t remember ever seeing a quilt made with pentagons. Oh, there are quilts where the center of a square is a pentagon, but then the pentagon is squared up and you’re sewing squares together. And I think maybe I’ve seen English paper piecing pentagons, but those are like 2″ in size. I wanted to do pentagons on a larger scale. Then I found a picture of a pentagon bookcase and the idea for this quilt was born.

On the top half of the quilt, the colored blocks and pieces are supposed to look as if they were sitting on a shelf of the bookcase.  So the blocks are stacked, the books are laying at an angle, and the flower arrangement is lying on an angled shelf but not at the very edge.

DSC_0826-002 DSC_0827-002


I made these blocks and a few others and they sat on my design wall for about 6 weeks while I just stared at them.  As I stared, I thought that an entire quilt made like this might be boring.  You can only have so many books on a shelf before the eye gets bored and you’re ready to move on to other things.  So I designed the small wonky diamonds that would be small bursts of color on the right side, and stared some more.



I wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of the quilt.  As the deadline for the challenge drew closer and closer (it is today by the way), I decided that I likely wasn’t going to make it.  Then this past Sunday night around 9pm, in a burst of creativity, I decided I was going to finish the quilt in time for the challege.  I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the rest of the quilt, but I decided I could figure it out as I went along.  I was up ’till 2am that night, cutting and measuring, designing and sewing, and by the time I went to bed I knew how I was going to finish the top.  I took a half-day off work on Monday on finish the top and put the sandwiches together, and then spent the last several nights quilting and binding.  And voila, after a stare down contest and lots of freezer paper, it’s done and just in time to be submitted before the deadline.




What I learned in the process… there is good reason no one uses pentagons in a quilt.  Hahaha!  The horizontal pentagons are a different size than the vertical pentagons, otherwise they wouldn’t sandwich together properly.  And then sewing them together requires Y-seams at strange angles, which is not exactly easy.  And then what do you do with the edges?  As you can see, I chose to leave mine as angles and have a zig-zag type quilt rather than a rectangular quilt.  Which created a whole different problem… how do you bind inside corners?  Thanks to you tube I figured it out!

I really like how the quilt turned out.  It is risky.  It’s definitely not your run of the mill quilt.  But I learned a lot and it was a huge step in boosting my creativity, so I think it was a good project in the long run.

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Madrona Road Challenge – How Ideas are Born

This past February I joined the Triangle MQG and decided to participate in my first challenge with the group.  We were given seven fat eighths of fabric from the Madrona Road line by Violet Craft for Michael Miller fabrics.

2013-05-13Our challenge was to make something, anything really, from these 7 fat eights.  And the only real rule was that you could only add other solids.  No other prints were allowed.  To make this even more challenging, I didn’t particularly care for this fabric.  I liked the black with the writing, and the blue with the lighter blue criss-cross lines (I think it’s called haystack).  But overall, the rest of the fabric is definitely not something I would have picked out.  But it was free and I just couldn’t pass up free fabric or the challenge — I really do like to be challenged.  The unveiling was planned for the May meeting — just 3 months away.

Oh, what should I make?  When I first got the fabric I was working a lot and didn’t have much time to think about it, but it was still in the back of my mind.  A month later, I still didn’t have a clue.  I thought I might want to turn it into a full size lap quilt, but seven fat eighths didn’t leave me much to work with.  But work was slowing down just a bit, so I had a little time to play around.

I played with squares…


I played with circles…  I even colored the circles to match the fabric hoping that would help.


Did I want to make a stuffed toy?  Did I want to make a skirt, or a bag, or a _____ (file in the blank)?

But, nothing seemed to be ‘just right’.  So, I put it aside for another couple of weeks while I got through the next deadline for work, and while I waited for the fabric to ‘talk’ to me.  Maybe if I listened hard enough, it would tell me what it wanted to be.  So I would look at it and think about it, and look at it and think about it…  This went on for a couple of weeks before I figured out what it wanted to be…

This blue haystack I decided wanted to be an elephant.


Cool, I could do an elephant on a baby quilt.  I like baby quilts.  I can be just as creative as I want to be, they don’t take too much time to make or quilt, and they make great baby gifts. But how do I fit the other fabrics into this?  I could make an elephant parade, or elephants stacked on top of each other, or I could simply make just one elephant and use the other fabrics as a border.  Or… the one elephant could be holding something in his trunk.  Yes, that’s it!  And the idea for my challenge quilt was born.  It was designed, appliqued, quilted, and bound in about a week, and weeks before the unveiling at the meeting yesterday.

Meet Elijah Elephant.  (He’s a nice elephant, so we can give him a nice strong Bible name.)


This is the back.


I also free motion quilted smaller elephants onto the background.


I’m very pleased with how he turned out.  If I had planned to make an elephant from the very beginning, I don’t think it would have been as good.  I think my brain needed to go through the process of figuring out the personality of the fabric.

And that’s how ideas are born… many weeks and months of planning, thinking, designing, and thinking some more.  Then the idea is finally formed and the plan implemented, usually in a much quicker manner than what it took to come up with the idea to start with.

Linking up with Plum & June Blossom Art Quilts for Let’s Get Acquainted. (Hope I”m doing this right)

Let's get acquainted

To Boston With Love

When tragedies occur or someone is in need, what do quilters do?  We sew.

A couple of the Modern Quilt Guilds in and around the Boston area are sponsoring virtual sew-ins either to provide those that were directly affected by the bombings with cheerful quilts, or to send a message of hope and love to the Town of Boston.  Members of other Modern Quilt Guilds around the nation are joining in the efforts by sewing either flags or quilt blocks to provide to those guilds in Boston in spreading their message.

I have decided to participate in two of them – the Quilts for Boston sponsored by the Boston Modern Quilt Guild and To Boston with Love sponsored by the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.  My first thought was I could pull together a couple of quilt blocks.  Then a couple of blocks turned into 6.  Then I decided I could sew a flag or two, and that has turned into 4.  It’s just keeps growing.  LOL.  I’m not sure when I’ll stop, or if I’ll actually get anymore done before they need to be mailed to Boston; but I thought I would share with you what I had accomplished so far.

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is collecting quilt blocks in order to make quilts for those directly affected by the bombings.  They have asked that all blocks be 12-1/2″ x whatever, and that they be restricted to the colors yellow, blue, grey, and white.  More info can be found here if you are interested.  http://bostonmqg.blogspot.com/p/quilts-for-boston.html

I made all of these from my scrap bin, which is cool.  I’m always looking for ways to use up scraps and since my blocks will be combined with blocks from others around the country I saw no need to make blocks that would all match.  So, it’s a great use of the scraps.

DSC_0208Blocks made by others in the country can be found here.  There’s not too many there yet (just over 130), but I’m sure, like me, many people haven’t uploaded their photos yet. http://www.flickr.com/groups/quiltsforboston/

The Vancouver Modern Quilt guild is asking for flags and they plan to hang them in Boston at the Memorial Day celebration.  I have had a ton of fun making these!  They are a complete project in one little package, so they are quick and provide fairly instant gratification.  And they have been made entirely from scraps as well.  Here is the information for them if you are interested in making a few yourself.  http://vancouvermodernquiltguild.ca/blog/.  They have also set up a flickr page for uploading photos that can be found here.  http://www.flickr.com/groups/tobostonwithlove/

DSC_0213Like I said, I don’t know how much more I’ll get done.  I have a few other sewing projects I need to work on, the more immediate being Mother’s Day.  YIKES!

I’d love to hear from you if you are also sewing for these or other efforts related to the bombings in Boston.  Wonder if a Texas guild is doing anything for those affected by the factory explosion these?  Hmm… I think I’ll have to look that up.

Signing out, with Love to Boston.