Monday, July 14, 2014

Audition: Sewvivor - Strange Stitches - (Strange)

A Quilting Sampler and Sew-Vivor: Quilter's Edition.

So I'm doing something scary and auditioning for an online competition called "Sewvivor" run by Rach from Family Ever After. Eek!
I thought it might be fun, though and definitely a way to challenge myself, pushing me to do things I've never done before.
I did start the quilt with the Anita's Arrowhead blocks with the intentions of using that as my audition piece, but things weren't going so well so I shelved that and instead took Mr. Strange's camera (and our son :D) off to the park to take some pictures of a quilt I made for my daughter.
My son found it fun to twirl with the quilt.

When I made this quilt I chose a few lines of fabric with magic forest-like themes and then worked on a way to feature those fabrics, as I knew my daughter would fall in love with them. 
I ended up going with large squares, framed by the red and aqua woodgrain prints.

After sewing all the framed squares together, I then needed to come up with some borders to make it big enough for my then-12 year old daughter to snuggle under. This was my first ever attempt at matching up prints so they looked fairly seamless when pieced and I was happy with how it turned out, especially the birch tree fabric. It made it appear as if I'd cut a hole to insert the framed squares into, instead of adding the tree print on afterwards.

I stitched in the ditch around all the inner and outer edges of the frames, and in the seam between the two prints on the borders. My walking foot could probably have handled this quilt but I'd decided to practice my free-motion by using my free-motion foot to stitch in the ditch, practicing staying steady and straight.

After ditching I was unsure for a while on how to proceed. I knew I wanted to quilt a woodgrain kind of design on the borders, but apart from that I had no idea. I was hesitant at first to do anything fancy in the blocks as I didn't want to detract from my carefully chosen prints, but when I thought about it some more, I realised it was the perfect opportunity to try a different design in each framed square, making a quilting sampler of sorts.
I used a 50wt silvery grey Aurifil thread that blended beautifully.
Every single quilting design on this quilt (including the woodgrain for the border) was something I'd never tried before. It was my very first free-motion quilted quilt and where I think I fell in love with free-motion quilting. 
I learned so much with every block I quilted. For some, I based the design on what was already there in the print, others were just spur of the moment flights of fancy, and still others were inspired by other quilters.
Like this 'Amazing Daisies' design taught by Leah Day which I tried out, and then turned into 'Amazing Mushrooms" in yet another block, inspired by both Leah Day and the prints on the quilt:

You can see "Amazing Mushrooms" on the bottom right here.
After quilting all the print squares and the woodgrain design on the border I bound the quilt in the same print as the back. This was very much a quilt of firsts because it was also my first time completing a binding with hand-stitching. It was actually quite relaxing just taking a chair out to the backyard where my son was playing, and stitching away.
I'd been quilting the quilt only while my daughter was at school, so I could surprise her with it when it was done but I ended up being so excited when I finished it that I didn't even wait for it to dry before showing her!
I really loved some of the texture the quilting designs ended up adding.

I chose this quilt as my audition piece for two reasons. Because I'd never blogged about it before, but more importantly because it was full of 'first-times' and if I end up being chosen as a competitor for Sewvivor I'll be making sure I try something for the first time, with each challenge entry.



  1. what fun fabric choices!
    i love that you chose a piece full of "first time" experiences. makes it all the more special :)
    best of luck to you in the auditions!

  2. Thanks! Good luck to you, as well. I loved your colourful cat quilt and the bubbly personality evident in your audition post. :)

  3. Love that you chose to use different quilting designs for each of the blocks! I think the pebble in my favorite. Best, Kate

  4. This is a beautiful quilt! I love forest themed anything, and I love how you sampled FMQ throughout. Great audition piece! Best of luck!

  5. Awww.... I LOVE this post, and your theme to challenge yourself to try something new. That's what I hope this competition inspires in people. I'm feeling very inspired by you. Your quilt to just so fun, and so detailed. Thanks so much for entering!!!


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