Friday, 21 November 2014

Quilty Challenges

     I'm the sort of quilter person that loves a challenge, both personal and in the quilting community.  Its fun, and it always pushes me to expand my limits and extend into new skills and techniques that I perhaps would not have done without the parameters  of the challenge.  
     I guess the biggest challenge in resent years was to pack up our home of twenty seven years and make a new home over 600 kilometres away (not too many parameters there, only where we went).  Sadly, I had to leave my business there and consider my future direction here.  For once I saw sense and decided to go with something I already had experience with, and that was to rekindle my passion for sewing.  So now, I've renewed my sewing mojo.  I have the excitement I remember as a child embarking on a new project.  Back then, usually a dive into Mum's sewing cupboard and dragging out scraps to make a new rag doll or a dress for my Barby.  Now though, I have the advantage of nearly fifty years of sewing experience, it sure helps.  The great thing too, is I do it for pure pleasure and thats the best thing about all this change.  Better still, its all in the quilting community and I get to share this experience with so many wonderful people, whether they be beginner quilters or creative giants in this vast community.  I love it all and I'm now able to share this passion with so many people on so many levels.  That's where my teaching skills have also come in really handy.  
   Enough of the life challenges, here's a few of the quilting challenges I've undertaken in the last four years.  The first one was the challenge I set for myself,  making a quilt for 
Miss K for here 21st.  Of course, typical me, nothing too small, just a queen size quilt first up.  Obviously a time before knowing anything about non-traditional quilts.  I called it "Family Ties".  There are ten recycled ties in this quilt (the centre squares of each french braid),  having been collected from friends and family, and Miss K and my visits to many second hand clothing stores, hence the name.  Future challenge.........learn  new photography skills.

Miss K tells me it fits the bed better this way,
no tucking under required

     Then I discovered improvised cutting techniques.........

A challenge set - to make a table runner
- the first time I used a design wall and I
haven't stopped since.
Everyone should have one.

     "Reach For The Stars" was the next challenge. (make note to self, get a photo of the finished quilt)  This was constructed using foundation paper piecing.  I'm well practised now.  Many fabrics were given and we could add to the selection.

"Seven Sisters" - design roughly based on the
star constellation of the same name 

     Being a member of the Modern Quilters Guild, I had the opportunity to enter the 2014 Michael Miller Challenge.  Make an item using any or all of the six 1/8th's  distributed to each challenge participant.  Other fabrics could also be used.  I made a table runner called "Runner-way Pinwheels".  The fabric range is "Petal Pinwheels".

I used a technique learnt in a workshop
by Pam Furness

     Next on the challenge list was the NSW Quilters Guild "Mini Modern" challenge.  
A 40cm x 40cm quilt.  The trickiest part of this was to confine the design to the given size.  Try it, its really difficult to come up with a design that will be effective and successfully fit within the confines of that tiny size.  For many of us, big is beautiful.  In the end, I just literally cut the fabric free wheeling' it (remind me what a ruler is again?), and creating the quilt totally improvised by the whimsy of the time.

"Raindrops" - bonus - won viewers choice

     Last, but not least, the mug rug challenge.  Just a little bit of fun in our local quilting group.  Like when I was young, but this time going to my own sewing cupboard, I found this piece of fabric.  I'd wondered for years (twenty five to be precise), what I would do with it.  Its a piece of calico I printed in as a demo in a class I taught at TAFE.  We used gum leaves as a stamp to print with, really easy and fun technique.  This was an opportunity to practice free motion quilting.  You can view all the entrants on the NSWQG blog

It works well, there's been plenty of cuppas on this little
blast from the past

     So, with these challenges under my belt, I can suggest that you all partake in at least one challenge just for the experience.  If your local group puts one out there, go for it, participating is part of the experience too.  There's always an opportunity doing these, to learn something you may not have known before, and what's the harm in that? 

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