Saturday, November 1, 2014

Celebrating Farm to Fabric

Despite the low blog activity this summer, I was a very busy girl working on a variety of quilt challenges, including one that I couldn't share until today: "Celebrating Farm to Fabric" sponsored by American Made Brand solid fabrics.  Quilters were invited to design and make a quilt made entirely from their new solid fabrics that are produced entirely in the United States.  Quilt entries had to speak to what it meant to us, our family or our community to bring fabric production back to the United States to use in our American Made quilts.

Draft Sketch of Fields of Quilted Dreams
As per my usual, I started to research cotton production and was inspired by several images of a row of cotton harvesters staggered in a line across enormous cotton fields to harvest rows of cotton fibers, leaving behind a wake of empty brown rows.  The cotton harvested could then be spun and woven into fabric for quilters to create the quilt of our dreams.  So instead of leaving a wake of brown empty fields, I wanted to create a wake of fun, fresh and modern quilt patterns representing all the potential for the cotton harvested.

Below is a fun bundle of American Made Brand solids I selected for this project which included a variety of aquas, greens, gold/yellow, oranges and even some browns, which rarely make it into my quilts.

Bundle of American Made Brand Solids




















Using this fun palette of colors, I then set out to create a variety of rows featuring modern block construction, techniques and designs--each featuring a different background color to create a gradation from top to bottom.  Some designs I just knew I wanted to include all along, while others were a bit more improvisational depending on which fabrics/colors were still remaining.  But here are some pictures of the quilt rows throughout construction.

Fabric and Lego Interpretations of Cotton Harvesters
Once all my modern quilt rows were constructed, I then created my little cotton harvester blocks complete with yellow prairie points to represent the picker heads that collect all the cotton fibers from the plants.

It was then time to add the white and brown sections representing the rows before and after the cotton harvest.

Now the quilt top construction was still taking place in the week prior to the August 1st deadline, and did not leave much time for me to tackle the quilting or finishing.  Much to my sheer delight and relief, I decided to revisit the website to make sure my quilt design met the judging criteria, and learned that the deadline was extended 2 full weeks...hallelujah!!  This extension made a huge difference in allowing me ample time to add all the quilted texture to really bring this quilt top to life.  And I finished hand stitching the binding/sleeve the morning of the deadline...phew!

Here is the finished quilt followed by detail shots of the quilting and design.
Finished Fields of Quilted Dreams
Detail Shots of Modern Design and Quilting
Another finished quilt/Lego picture 

I was thrilled to receive an email informing me that my quilt was juried into the exhibit, which would debut at the Houston International Quilt Festival and Quilt Market, October 25th through November 2nd.  One of my fellow guild members attended and posted some pics, but I've been trying to learn more information about the other quilts that were juried into the exhibit.  Hopefully something more will be posted soon!  But until then, enjoy my post of Fields of Quilted Dreams.

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