I have been busy this spring and early summer! Here's another challenge project for this year. This time it's the local Central Oregon SAQA group challenge with the theme "Threads that Bind". I really didn't have any good ideas that fit the theme exactly, but it did sound like one of those quilt challenges where anything goes, so I decided to just do whatever I wanted.
This quilt was created in a roundabout way and if I were to do it again I'd probably do something different. In this case, I got together a bunch of green silks and cut strips that I pieced for the background. I then layered them with batting and backing and quilted the heck out of it with dense straight line machine quilting. This piece measures 18" x 40" (our standard size for these SAQA challenges), so it was very easy to do that quilting. I put on an audio book and just stitched away for a few hours.
I decided that it would be an abstract meadow, so I added the silk stems with machine stitching. When I was at QuiltCon this year I picked up some kantha quilt scraps at one of the vendors. These scraps were so beautiful and truthfully, I was kind of horrified to see the vendor cutting up perfectly good kantha quilts for this, but in the end I was glad to get those scraps and decided to use them for something special. I cut them again into the flower and leaf shapes and hand appliqued them to the completed top. Did I mention that sometimes I don't fully think things through???
Well, that was a horrible idea. It was really hard on my hands and wrists to try to hand sew through all that. In the end, I did complete the hand stitching, but it took a long time. My original plan had been to hand embroider over the flowers and stems to add some texture and color, but the experience of the hand applique cured me of that notion right away. I knew I had to do something.
I decided I'd machine stitch some defining lines on the leaves and flowers, but when I did that the edges started to stick up and it did NOT look good. Horrors! I finally decided to machine stitch around each piece I had hand appliqued. The hand stitching was mostly obliterated, but it got the job done.
In the middle of the kerfuffle I came to hate this piece and that's one reason it sat on the design wall taunting me. In the end it actually came together beautifully and I really like the result. Sometimes we just have to suffer for our art, don't we?
I proudly machine stitched my name to the front, added a facing using my favorite technique by Terry Aske. I added a handwritten label and a sleeve and it was finally done. Whew!
This SAQA exhibition will debut at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show this July 14. I wasn't able to attend the quilt reveal, but the SAQA special exhibit is always one of the best, so check it out if you're there!