Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rising to the Challenge

I'm a bit competitive at times, and often like doing challenges, especially if there is a prize involved. I prefer ones with a date to enter, and then random for the prize.  When I was teaching at the college, the (self imposed) challenge was to get my grade reports in before the last class for the semester ended. I planned my time and had a spreadsheet that calculated grades, and as the students finished the finals, I graded them, plugged in the numbers, and entered the grades to the registrar's portal.  By the time my class time was over, my grades were done, and I was on a break from work until classes started again.  I loved that, especially when I realized others still had work for days, grading papers.  Who knew that strategy would work for me in quilting, as well.  

Kim Lapacek at Persimmon Dreams has been hosting a Project Quilting challenge for 6 seasons, and although I've seen the challenge, and thought about doing some, either the timing was wrong, I didn't finish in time, or I was not inspired within the time frame to do something to enter.   This week's challenge is to use only charm squares.  Hey!  I have quite a few collections of them.  Those are pre-cut 5" squares.  Many come in sets, with all the varieties of a designer's fabric collection.  It's like the Whitman's Chocolates box, only in fabric.  Fun!  

But many of my collections are planned for larger quilts, which I know I can't get done in a week, on top of my other sewing deadlines.  So, I dug through my baskets of Charms and found a few that were single packs, from 20 to 40 pieces.  I decided to use Moda's Gypsy Rose by Fig Tree Quilts.  I looked online and the group was printed in 2008.  Hmmm, These have been here for a while.  I should use them!  

So, I went through my patterns, and love using the single packs with the Anka's Treasures Little Charmers patterns.  Since our challenge was to use only charms, no sashing or borders, I picked this one.  
I separated out the colors, and grouped them with the neutrals in the pack.  I needed to add one more neutral, so I cut a 5" square from Moda Bella Solid to coordinate.  

The whole top was together in less than 2 hours.  Why did I procrastinate doing this?  I should be challenging myself to make one runner a week, in between other larger projects, just to get items finished and in my Etsy shop.  

I layered it with a white backing and Warm & Natural (scraps from a larger quilt) and quilted it with Aurifil 50wt in 2215 peach.  I did just a simple petal in the Hourglass block centers, and filled the borders and the cream sections in with feathers.  Slightly swirlier feathers than I usually do, just to challenge myself again.  

When I first started buying charm packs, I neglected to purchase additional coordinating fabric for borders and binding.  I've since realized that having the coordinates are important, so I make sure to locate some while the fabrics are still in print, but in this case, even though many of Fig Tree's current fabrics would coordinate, I picked a peach floral I had in my stash to make the binding.  I'm actually trying to use my stash, so this project served many purposes.  
!.  It was a challenge to enter for a prize.
2.  It used fabric I had.
3.  It used up scraps of batting and backing.
4.  It was quick and I was able to get it listed in my store.
5.  The colors are good for the current Spring and Summer season, and scrappy looking quilts seem to sell faster for me.  

So, Kim, can we do this challenge again next week, and the week after, and ...

Thanks for visiting! 



Barb said...

I went to your store, it is just wonderful! Love the runner

PersimonDreams said...

Such a lovely runner! Of course you can keep doing the challenge! (I just won't have prizes available in the following weeks ;) So glad you were able to join in the Project QUILTING fun!

MegsAnn said...

What a great teaching trick! Your prize on that was being completely finished and getting more days in your break than if you'd waited to work on grades. I love seeing how our life experiences extend to quilting. They're a part of us so why wouldn't we use 'em?

This runner is lovely. Small projects (2hours!) sometimes get so big in my head. It's great to get something up in the shop too. Bravo.