Monday, July 19, 2010

a challenge

Like most of its peers, the CMQG is just getting off the ground, but we've already done some really neat things in the few months we've been meeting.

Top of the list for me is the ICE challenge (blanking on the acronym's origin, but I'm pretty sure "inspiration" is in there somewhere...).  It's kind of like DQS with a twist: each person chose four fat quarters and made an inspiration block using parts of them.  Then we brought the block and the leftovers to a meeting, where we sent our blocks home with another person chosen at random who would use it all, plus her own fabrics as needed, to make a mini quilt.

I got to take home a block made by Debbi, one of the more accomplished members of our guild, and was kind of nervous to be adding to her beautiful work (she's very unassuming, though, and seemed genuinely excited to see what I'd come up with).  I neglected to take a photo of the block itself (how?!), but here's the finished quilt:

ice challenge top

The left side is her original block, and I was planning to add some improv sawtoothish shapes Marston-style, but to combat the busy-ness, the swath of blue seemed in order.  Which then seemed too un-busy, hence the white strip.  And then the quilt seemed to lack depth (or something?  Not sure I'm expressing that too well...) and so I took the plunge of cutting the entire thing, Debbi's block included, to insert that last medium blue strip.  Which was stressful (is it ethical to cut someone else's block?  I actually sat there for a while considering this with the rotary cutter in my hand, and then took a literal deep breath before I did it), but the result, I think, makes the quilt.

I discovered that I have a thing or two to learn about dealing with bias edges, and even with some basting (the only thing I knew to even try), the pieces moved enough that the top and bottom don't line up.  I ripped it once and tried again, and of course it was worse the second time, but then really better.  That little bit of movement seems to add some character that was missing before.  Debbi's block had a lot of movement, and I was aiming for moving from complex to simple across the quilt, but it was pretty stagnant until I made that mistake.  I squared it up and was satisfied.

The quilting took a long time to come together in my mind, but then it was quick to do.  I thought about hand quilting, which I think would have been a great fit for this quilt, but was reluctant to try it on someone else's quilt (Do I say that a lot?).  What I ended up with is actually one continuous line, which I love in that it unites the three parts of the design, and I used the gray thread as another unifying element as there was a lot of contrast in Debbi's fabrics.

ice challenge quilting closeup

After auditioning a lot of binding choices, I decided to continue the gray, with just a bit of black to kind of weigh the quilt down.  Not like it's going to float away, but just that I wanted it to seem more solid.

The show and tell at the meeting yesterday was terrific--each quilt more beautiful than the last.  A bunch of them are shown here.  This was a tremendous exercise, and Debbi seemed to like the final product (I hope!).  And wait until you see what I got back from Terri! 

As an aside, here's what happens when I take photos of a project I'm supposed to deliver in half an hour, when the drive there will take 45 minutes.

18 July

It's a miracle I got any shots of the quilt at all.

As another aside, we're talking about a second round of the Mod Bento Block Swap--check out this thread if you're interested.  Full details by the end of the week.


  1. i have the same problem with working with bias tape (that's why i try not to use it.. but really in quilting sometimes there's just no escape ) hehe... your quilt look lovely.


  2. "Seemed to like" is a MAJOR understatement - I LOVE LOVE LOVE this quilt!! A perfect example of risk = reward, that diagonal is terrific! And the quilting is wonderful, with the grey picking up the binding, and the pieced binding, I could go on and on. Thanks SO much for all your thoughtful & beautiful work!!

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  4. this is drop dead gorgeous. i can't believe you ever doubted yourself! one of the most stunning mini quilts I've ever should think about designing a bigger one for yourself :)


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