Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Small S Quilt

My mom and I went to quilt camp for the second time this summer.  Quilt camp is the most amazing event ever, and I wish we could go each year.  Alas, it is pretty pricey, so every couple of years is about all we can manage.  Anyway, quilt camp is actually called Empty Spools Seminars and it's held at Asilomar State Park and conference grounds on the Monterey peninsula in CA.  The setting is pretty awesome, it's forested and full of wildlife AND on the ocean (no sand for this girl though).  You stay there and eat there, and attend a five day class with a really famous fabulous quilt artist of your choice.  Seriously, like summer camp for the quilt set.

This year we took a class with Caryl Bryer Fallert; anyone who is not familiar with her fantastic quilts should go look immediately and covet them.  Of course, they especially appeal to me with my urgent desire to use all-bright-colors-all-the-time-right-now!!!  Anyway, the class was super-duper and we learned a million fabulous things I'll talk about some other day.  At the beginning of the class we did a bunch of cool exercises (more on them also some other day), but toward the end of the class, we started designing our own large projects.

One of the exercises was to do something like 60 (no joke) small drawings/doodles inspired by magazine pictures, our imaginations, the view out the window, whatever.  We then picked a favorite to start designing our big project.  My favorite doodle was inspired by this "S" paragraph starting initial from a 12th century German manuscript.   We found it in this fabulous old book of copyright-free images my mom got from my grandpa.  I think he had it from his stagecraft days.

I designed my large S quilt based on it; I'll have a series of posts about that later as it's very much still in progress.  However, recently, a reader challenge in Quilting Arts magazine caught my eye.  The challenge was to design an 8.5 x 11 quilt incorporating text into the quilt in some way.  I decided to make a simplified version of my large S-quilt and enter my first-ever challenge!

Here's my pattern, I pieced the whole thing using Caryl Bryer Fallert's appli-piecing method which is very easy.

Sadly, for the second time I messed up and forgot to trace my pattern onto the templates in reverse, so I had to re-engineer as I went so the S wouldn't be backwards. Then I thread stitched the foot on backwards!  It was really wretched ripping out all those dense stitches.  I inked some of my favorite S-words in the border with Pigma pens and did a little shadowing with colored pencil.  For the fiery word the dragon/serpent is spitting, I used orange sharpie which bled a little bit more than I would have liked but I guess gives an interesting effect.  I also used a green sharpie on the green fabric to ink another S-word but it bled so much you can't even tell.  I quilted it on my Janome and put another S-word in the quilting.  Finally, I used seed beads for the big words at the bottom. I also did a faux piped border to give the little accent color. Special shout-out to Cheryl (yay Cheryl!!) who was kind enough to try to help me over the phone when I called her out of the blue for panicked help with the piping.  It turned out to be pretty easy (next time I'll try real piping) and I think the purple/pink gradation in the border nicely picks up the purple/pink from the serpent.  Keep your fingers crossed that it gets accepted into the magazine.  What are your favorite S-words?

Update: Sadly my little S quilt wasn't a finalist for the Quilting Arts contest, but I'll hang it up just the same!

S is for... #1, 2011 8.5" x 11"