A Challenge Disaster – Plan B

Update on the 1 Million Mile Quilted Postcard Challenge: Requests are in, and the opportunity to register for a card in March is closed.  April will be a special month. Watch for details on my post next week. 


This time I was going to get it right. Last week I talked about Challenge Plan A, which was shredded. It was back to the drawing board – something simple, something where the 2 fabrics I had to use were the focus.

2 fabrics provided

2 fabrics provided

For a review of the challenge: It was to create an art quilt with a circumference of at least 80″ using the 2 fabrics provided plus a max of 5 other fabrics. No theme.

Several years ago I reclaimed an old cottage window and did a stained glass mosaic piece that lives in our gazebo. It is a simple picture of a lake, trees and rock – a fairly typical eastern Manitoba scene. In that case, the glass did all the work. Could I do something similar with fabric?265

The blue fabric could obviously be the water. The rocks would be done in several shades of grey. Instead of a sun, wouldn’t small slivers of green on a dark background make nice northern lights? All I needed was a green/brown fabric for the distant shoreline.

My first task was the sky. I divided it into sections, mapped out the northern lights on paper and started sewing. The first section turned out pretty good so I kept going. At this point it may be worth mentioning that my experience with paper piecing is minimal at best. It wasn’t long before I realized that it takes a lot of fabric! My curved northern lights turned into a single row. The drawings went out the window. I continued with the single row until I ran out of sky fabric.

At this point I also realized that my picture would not meet the minimum 80″ circumference requirement. What does a quilter do when their quilt is too small? Right. You add a border. I did the required calculations, added the water and first layer of rocks, and then the border. I still thought it could work. The rocks in the foreground could spill over on to the border, creating a 3-D effect.

The distant shore was next. How hard could it be to free motion some crude looking trees? It would need at least 3 three thread colours – brown, dark green and light green for highlights. I never got to the light green. After breaking 3 needles within 2″, I gave up on the idea.

I carried on quilting the water, the rocks and then the sky. With each step I was becoming less and less happy. In the eyes of this beholder it was ugly. And it was decision time. Should I hand in something embarrassing? Should I admit defeat with this challenge and bow out? Or should I go with a third attempt? If I went with the latter, there were only 2 weeks to finish and 3″ of blue fabric left.

Iplan b fullf you have read this far you are entitled to see it in spite of my embarrassment. Maybe you can tell me. Why didn’t it work? What could I have done different?

As for my options, I decided to try again. Plan C will be talked about next week.

About Judy's Quilting Studio

Creator of all things quilted; minimalist in everything except fabric!
This entry was posted in 2016, challenges, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Challenge Disaster – Plan B

  1. Kate says:

    I really like the water and the rocks. I think you are on the right track. I’ll check back next week to see where you are going, next.

  2. I love your rocks in particular. Thanks for talking so honestly about the challenges of piecing fabrics. I’m working on the Farmer’s WIfe Sampler and some of my blocks just didn’t work at all. It is disheartening but as you say, a lesson in it for me. I’m trying not to be so hard on myself and to make the changes I need to get a block done. After all, it is my quilt to do with as I will. Good luck with your project.

    • Thanks, Jocelyn. I appreciate the comments. The ones I received have helped formulate the start of a rescue plan. Now that this picture is no longer in the challenge I won’t be limited to 7 fabrics. Good luck on your Farmer’s Wife sample. I would love to see it.

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