Tuesday, November 03, 2015

A Reveal

 For some reason, I don't seem to be able to resist a challenge. When the challenge involves some of my favorite things, well, it's really irresistible. So when Canton Village Quiltworks announced their Charms and Cherrywood contest, well, it was calling to me! Use Cherrywood fabrics and two of Judy Niemeyer's Charm Elements and combine them in a quilt.

So I sorta-planned my quilt and cut out and prepped my pieces on a weekend retreat at Big Bear. (I know, I know, should have blogged about it at the time. But I was too focused on prepping patterns!) 

That was back in August. Deadline for submission of pictures was Nov. 1. My personal challenge was to be able to submit a picture of a finished quilt by the deadline.
Closeup with loose threads!
 I will end the suspense right now. I did make the deadline. Well, there were a few hiccups along the way, but I got it done.

 I should add that I have no delusions of excellence and not a hope in hell of winning the contest. I know all the flaws in my piecing and quilting and while I'm going to resist pointing them out here, let's just say I can see them all. But I did meet my personal challenge goals. I finished the quilt, and I submitted pictures. And, I enjoyed the process.

 So in my own rather limited view, I am a winner on this one. I'm a little embarrassed to have the judges looking at my work, but that was also part of the challenge!
Not quite as close up! Some quilting details
Really,  I'm rather fond of this piece.  I've never worked with Cherrywood fabrics before--they are hand-dyed in small batches and have the look and feel of suede. So learning to handle them was the first part of the challenge. They are heavier than "regular" cottons and the texture is a bit rougher, so they don't iron to the smoothness of a batik or cotton.

 The two elements--the sunburst and the spiky bits--had to be left intact, no resizing or chopping up. So that was another challenge, to fit them together so they didn't look too jarring. Drawing schematics on graph paper gave me some ideas, but really I had to have the units made before I could lay them out and see how they really looked. 

I had taken the completed units with me when my friend and I traveled up to Santa Clara for PIQF, because I had to get all the paper off the back before I could start sewing them together. Laid them out on the hotel bed and... 
I was short one unit. One 6" x 12" piece. I'd used up all my fabric, too, though I had plenty of papers left. So, the next morning, before leaving Santa Clara, we went back to the exhibit hall and I found the Cherrywood booth. And bought another set of fabrics, in colors that kind of went with what I already had. I was able to make enough more blocks to expand the quilt--because I wanted the "new" colors to blend across the whole piece and not just look like one afterthought block tacked on at the end.

, So here it is. Now, I do have a confession to make.
Full view
 In order to get this finished picture, I had to pin the binding in place most of the way around. That's why the edges ripple a little--it's the straight pins on the back.I've since finished sewing one side of the binding (it's devilishly hard because of the heavy stitiching where all those points meet) and it lays flat.  So... my first finish for November!