Be Creative with "CREA-TV"

Back in May, I purchased a challenge fabric bundle to participate in the "Be Creative" Quilt challenge hosted by McCalls Quilting, Quiltmaker and Quilter's Newsletter magazines.  Challenge rules were fairly simple:

  • Design and create an original finished quilt using fabulous pre-selected fabrics designed by Lotta Jansdotter
  • Use at least 8 fabrics from the challenge bundle (13 prints and 4.5 total yardage)
  • Ok to to add 3 additional fabrics of your choosing
  • Finished quilt dimensions had to be 56"-60" wide and 68"-72" tall.  

"Be Creative" Challenge bundle of fabrics featuring all Lotta Jansdotter prints from several different collections
Several of the prints seemed very retro to me, so I thought it would be fun to design a quilt featuring retro television sets.  I found a wide range of televisions from the 60s and 70s to serve as inspiration as I designed five different television units in EQ7.  The television blocks all incorporate orange, teal and grey combinations in the tv unit, monitor and background.  All but one of the blocks had a companion block, but it was not always easy to recognize the pairs, as great variety was achieved through selection of colors, fabrics and in some cases using the mirror image.  Each of the television screens were appliqued on with an extra layer of batting behind to create curved dimension similar to the original curved screens.
Retro TV in EQ7 and later translated into fabric
Smaller rectangle panes units are used as a vertical sashing to create some distance between the televisions,  more height to meet the size requirements, as well as incorporate more of the challenge fabrics.
Quilt top designed in EQ7, units laid out on design wall and finished quilt top
As of 10/30, the quilt top had been layered with batting and the backing, and I had only done some preliminary stitching in the ditch along the long vertical rows and inner border.  I just kept plugging along, tackling section by section and making decent progress.  But around 10 PM, I started to experience significant thread woes during the quilting of the sashing and borders including frequent thread breaks, skipped stitches, thread nests and eye lashes on the back, along with a string of expletives coming out of my mouth (and this was with a quality thread that I had used often with great success on other quilts)!  At this rate, I would not finish in time...and I started to panic.  After trying all my usual tricks of switching needles, adjusting tension, reloading the bobbin, rethreading my machine---I had one option left--switch out thread midway of doing my borders.  I turned to my trusty Aurifil in a similar color (I don't think I could even differentiate between the section where I changed threads) and from there it was smooth sailing, even as I was quilting 55 mph!!  Amen to Aurifil!!
Details of the Quilt Back--just don't look too close as you may see some evidence of my thread tensions!!
With some serious pedal to the metal and some very long days (15+ hours of quilting), I managed to custom quilt and bind the quilt by 2 AM on November 1st, followed by squeezing in a few hours of sleep before waking up early to take the finished quilt pics and submit my entry before I had to leave for work!  All I have to say is thank goodness for daylight savings and some serious caffeine!!
Details shots of the customized quilting of television blocks, sashing, and borders
"CREA-TV", finishes 56"x70"


  1. I'm always so impressed with your originality. What a fun design. They quilting looks fabulous, too. Congratulations.

    1. Thanks Ann! These tv sets were really fun to design and quilt...just don't look too closely on the back side! ;-)


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