SCVQA Crazy Elegance Quilt Challenge: Flights of Fancy

Crazy Elegance Fabrics-all 21 of them!
Back in November 2011, I signed up for my first SCVQA Quilt Challenge:  Crazy Elegance and walked away toting a bundle of mystery fabrics, each of which would need to be included in my finished quilt.  I returned home to explore my mystery fabrics and admit I panicked a bit when I saw this collection of mostly fashion fabrics made of polyester and rayon of every imaginable color.  How would I ever wrangle this collection into a cohesive quilt worthy of entry let alone prizes?  I did find two quilter friendly fabrics made of cotton-both of which were not the best quality nor the prettiest.  I made note of the fabrics and made a list of possible quilt themes and then tucked them away in a drawer of their own for safe keeping, until an idea struck...

Hanging on my design wall waiting for divine inspiration
Fast forward 5 months and those fabrics were still untouched in their own drawer.  I had brainstormed a list of potential design themes/ideas--each of which was scrapped either because they wouldn't utilize all the fabrics or challenge rules, or were just beyond my skill level.  I thought maybe if I hung them all up on my design wall--where I would see them each day...divine inspiration would strike.  Two days later--another project came along that required use of the design wall--so these 21 fabrics were sent back to their drawer. 

Scrapped 3-D prototype
Finally, inspiration struck in one of my happiest places...IKEA!  There was a cute frame displaying a colorful collection of artsy butterflies made of fabric.  I thought it would be fun to recreate a butterfly collection display with 3-dimensional quilted butterflies...but then I worried as to how I could ever create such a vision.  I set out to create a few fabric prototypes using scraps, but none of them lived up to the image in my head.  So each was scrapped as I settled for 2-dimensional butterflies. 

Butterfly Puzzle template
With just 3 weeks until the deadline, I set to work on designing and creating my collection of butterflies.  Starting with an image, I pinned one copy under my teflon pressing sheet, and cut apart the puzzle pieces (after I numbered them for easy identification!)  I then cut out matching pieces from the many pink fabrics included which were fused into their respective places within the butterfly puzzle.    


Bias strips being added to the butterfly
I then made lots of strips of bias binding which were used to conceal all the raw edges and create a stained glass effect.  Finally, tacked down all the strips with small zig zag stitches, created a torso and hand-embroidered antennae.  I love the finished look but wondered how I would create 3 more butterflies to match its beauty?!? 

That worry was short lived as I created 3 more fun butterflies--each using very different techniques of applique and some piecing.
Cosmic butterfly

Confetti Butterfly

Red, white and black slash butterfly
Quilted backgrounds and borders
I then designed a background with a patchwork of 2" squares or flights of stairs.  Each quadrant featured a very different quilted effect to house each finished butterfly:  grid of 1" lines, spiral squares, sun with rays, and random parallel lines.
I then added the butterflies, added a bit of quilting around the borders, binding and I was done...with just 3 hours to spare until the official deadline!  Phew!

Challenge Completed:  Flights of Fancy
Next Challenge-due January

Hmmm...what's this in my future?  Another SCVQA challenge bundle?  For the "Oh my Stars!" challenge, I was relieved to find 4 fat quarters of beautiful, vibrant and mostly modern fabrics.  Let's hope my lucky stars provide the inspiration and drive so these gorgeous fabrics don't sit in a drawer until next December to finish in time for my January deadline!