Monday, April 11, 2011

What I Got From Project Quilting

The second season of Project Quilting is over and it was both fun and exhausting.

What did I get? I am the grand prize winner for the season! I’ll be getting some great prizes (lots of fabric) and helpful comments from the judges. Most importantly I got 6 wonderful art quilts that I probably wouldn’t have made otherwise (technically I only have 5 because one has sold).

There were some really great competitors, which should be obvious since while I won first place over all, none of my individual quilts made it to first place (although 4 of them got second place).

I also learned more about how I like create. My main method of working was to read the challenge then go to my fabric stash and start looking through the fabric options. Usually that would start me thinking of possibilities and I’d sketch out a few layout options.

With the exception of “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom”, all the other fabric was taken from my stash. I find it interesting to think that if I’d hadn’t had the fabric I did at the time, my projects could have ended up quite different.

Below I’ve given some more information about the six quilts, including what I would have done differently, although most of the changes I would have made were how I constructed the quilt and not in the design or fabrics.

for the Primary Colors challenge
What I would have done differently: I thought that fusing the color squares to the background and covering the edges with cord would save some time, but I don’t think that it did. The cord was too thin to completely cover the edges so I ended up going back and quilting in the ditch inside the color squares. I think it would have gone better to just piece it in a more traditional way and the put the cords over the seams. This would have made the quilt smaller as part of the original fabric would have ended up as seam allowances.

To read more about "Carnival of Colors" click here.

for the What's in a Name challenge
Maybe this one was a little too ambitious as it was the largest one and took the longest to make, but it is the one that I’m the most proud of.

One of the reasons it took awhile was because I decided to add the traditional Birds in the Air blocks at the top and the bottom and I wasn’t paying enough attention because I ended up cutting twice as many pieces as I needed, but I ended up using some of them because I didn’t piece it together correctly.

Then there were some of the “field” pieces that I didn’t like the placement of during the quilting stage so I ended up hand appliquéing some different fabrics on top of the original pieces. I don’t think I mentioned this is the original blog post but some of the fabrics I used the “wrong” sides of because I wanted them to be lighter in color.

What I would have done differently: paid more attention when piecing the Birds in the Air blocks and made the correctly the first time and planned the field fabrics better so I wouldn’t have had to replace some. 

To read more about "Sometimes I Dream of Flying" click here.

for the Be My Valentine challenge
I originally had the middle sections (with the flowers and text) covered with a nice sheer fabric to help hide the places where I machine appliquéd the fabric with the text but then I decided it was too subtle so I had to cut the sheer out. I was really concerned that the piece was too plain. I had planned on adding the fun fur all along and I was surprised how much of a difference it made. One of the judges gave me a perfect 10 on this quilt, and it has already sold.

What I would have done differently: not put the sheer on in the first place.

To read more about "not even the rain: a love poem" click here.

for the Hardware Store Challenge

Since the first season of Project Quilting had the Office Store challenge, I was expecting something like this for this season. This was my favorite challenge because it came together fairly easily. I already had the fabric and since I’d bought them at the same time, I knew they went well together. Most of my time on this project was sewing the silver cord through the drain cover to make it appear less metallic and for me it was actually relaxing to do this.

This is my favorite of the six quilts and I there isn’t anything I would have changed about the way I made it. I love that it has a simplicity about it but also has movement and texture. I also really like our local hardware store.

To read more about "After the Rain" click here.

"Dancing Geese" for the Flying Geese challenge

I got my lowest score on this quilt (so it’s the one that was dropped from the total score) and this was probably my least favorite of the challenges and I think it’s because I’m not fond of working with contrasting color schemes. I took this to mean that we could only use the complimentary colors but some others interpreted that you could add some other colors as long as the contrasting colors were the most prominent.

It also took me awhile to come up with a layout for this quilt, I’ve got 21 pages of sketches. I’m not sure what I would have done differently, maybe gone with another layout or different color scheme.

There is, however, one judge’s comment that I’d like to address. “I don’t see any binding in any of your photos.” I used a facing technique because I DIDN’T want the binding to show. I really like this technique because it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the design, it takes the bulk out of the corners, and it helps the quilt to hang straighter. While facing might work better with art quilts, is an acceptable technique to use to bind quilts. 

To read more about "Dancing Geese" click here.

for the Large Scale Print challenge

Sometimes when I’m making a lot of custom quilts, I don’t have the luxury to go back and re-explore some techniques. For this quilt, I decided to incorporate a few ideas that I used in some of my other Project Quilting pieces.

I used the fabric mosaic technique that I used with the bird on “Sometimes I Dream of Flying” only I let the edges stay at whatever angle they ended up at and I covered them with netting.

I also used the yarn and ribbon embellishments similar to “After the Rain” except instead of letting them just hang down, I had them run horizontally so I had to attach them to the quilt so I did that using beads.

What I would have done differently: One of the judge’s comments was “I like to see mitered corners on a striped border.” I totally agree and usually do this, however the yellow inner border is so thin it was giving me problems when I tried to miter it, and after several unsuccessful attempts, I gave up on it.

An interesting side note to this challenge: the last several times I’ve been in quilt shops I’ve looked at several large scale prints and stripes with a new appreciation. I haven’t bought any, but I did consider some. 

To read more about "Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom" click here.


I appreciate all the hard work that the competitors and judges did, plus extra kudos to Kim who co-ordinated the whole challenge. I urge other quilters to participate in this wonderful project. I’ll let you know when the next season starts, but until there there will be some off-season challenges (no prizes but you’ll have a month to complete your projects). More info will be posted soon.


Pamela said...

It's really interesting to read your own thoughts on these quilts! Well done and congratulations on being the winner!

Marcia - Crafty Sewing and Quilting said...

Congratulations on First Place! Your quilts are so cool and very creative! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Pam, Congrats are in order!!! I know u worked hard on these. U got my votes..... hope u show us these Saturday at the MVAQN meeting. Susan Schaller

Lori Gravley said...

Congratulations, Pam. Can't wait to see the fabric you won. I like your flying quilt, best, too. And I do think the traditional flying blocks add a nice touch. Beautiful.

Barb said...

Hi Pamela, I wanted to tell you I really enjoyed your interview and also this blog post.

As a judge, I dug out my sheets to see if any of your judges comments were mine. None of the comments were mine BUT I was the judge that gave you a 10 on your Valentine quilt. I thought that was just the "cat's meow" of Project Quilting!

Thanks for participating. I love being a judge even though sometimes our comments don't make us really popular. Also, in the future if you do have a question for a judge, please email the question through Kim and we will be glad to try to answer it for you. I also realize we are only judging from photos and sometimes it is hard for us to see small details such as your facing on one of your quilts. Yes, this is a very acceptable finish for a wallhanging.

Great job and a very well deserved 1st place.

Owner of Quilts by Barb

EmmaTM said...

Wow! I love this post, Pam! Your interview on Kim's blog was nice too. I totally agree that Project Quilting Rocks! I was glad to participate with you!

p.s. Thank you so much for your mention of Buttonwillow! It made me so pleased!!