Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A challenge quilt or two

Good morning from icy South Georgia. This is the kind of day that makes me glad I work from home!

one of my zentangles
One of my goals this year is to stretch myself as an artist and quilter. I want to try new techniques, ideas, and materials. One way to do this is with challenges, so I'd planned a DIY challenge for the year. I have three sets of words, including techniques, materials, shapes, colors, moods, subjects and more. When I'm ready to challenge myself, I'll draw one word from each of the three sets and use them as the basis for my work.

I was going to do this on my own, until I found the 3 Creative Studios Journal Quilt Challenge. A journal quilt is a small quilt designed to explore a subject or technique. That's exactly what I want to do, so I'm doing my challenge as a participant in the Journal Quilt Challenge. My goal is to average two pieces a month.

My first words are Metallic, Sunrise and Tech. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with them, but I'm thinking about them while I work on some other projects.

And one of those other projects will actually be my first entry in the Journal Quilt Challenge. I recently discovered Zentangles, a kind of structured doodle. Someone asked about using the zentangles to make a quilt and I just had to give it a try.

pieces cut and swapped
I started with three approximately 12 inch squares, layered them, and cut gentle curves through the entire stack. I stopped at six pieces, because I liked the looks and proportions. I swapped the stacks to get three sets with two pieces of each color, then stitched the new set together. You have to be careful to start seams on the interior of the block, because the curves don't match and you end up with extra fabric when you end the seam.

Press after each set of seams, and give it a good pressing when it's completely stitched (I used a starch type spray before I cut the fabrics, made them easier to cut and handle).  For this piece I then squared the block, layered it and started quilting. Next time I'll mark the cutting lines, layer the batting and backing and baste along the cutting lines before I square it. It's definitely worth basting the edges and stitching along all the seam lines before starting the intense quilting, to prevent distortion.

Then I quilted. I looked through my stack of zentangles to choose motifs for each section, and for this one I thread sketched to fill in the solid areas. I think for the next I'll use paint to fill in the solid areas, instead. I just need to finish the edges on this one and it's done, my first journal quilt of the year!
A quilted zentangle

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