- This is the first time they are used a digitally printed fabric, Crystalia, as the challenge fabric. Digital printing offers a number of advantages to the environment, flexibility in translating the original artwork into textile print, but ultimately breaking the barrier to the typical 18-color limit available with current screen printing!! Just look at that brilliant burst of bold and vibrant color all contained within one print!!
- Even more exciting is the fact that the challenge fabric was offered in two versions: black and white!
- The organizers also debuted a new Home Decor category (replacing the former doll category).
- They also switched to digital entries for the first round of judging (translation--providing the ability for participants to work right up to the deadline without losing any time for shipping actual quilts for judging!!)
|Crystalia Digital Prints Deconstructed!|
Initially, I set out with a game plan to create one large butterfly mandala (surprise, surprise!). Having spent an entire weekend fusing and cutting out 8 repeats of the various butterfly motifs (200+ butterflies), I was excited to get my zen on. Starting with the smaller butterfly motifs, I would construct the inner rings and work my way out with larger and larger motifs. However, each mandala design would fizzle out as I approached the 3rd ring, and I would begin anew.
Since the inner rings had appeal, I adjusted course and created a bunch of smaller mandalas. Individually, I loved my mini mandalas, but their beauty was muddled when I tried to combine them all into one composition (and they were close to exceeding the size restrictions!!)
So I started to disassemble the mandalas and experiment with alternate layouts. I kept two of my favorite mini mandalas, and added in a few smaller mandalas, grids and stacks. These new layouts reminded me of framed butterfly displays, so I set out to create several miniature quilts that would be finished/framed (aka bound), and ultimately mounted onto a larger background quilt. Finished size was still a concern, but not as pressing as the rapidly looming deadline, since I went from creating one finished quilt to a total of eleven quilts. Oh--did I forget to mention that this was all occurring one week prior to the 6/30 deadline--what was I thinking?!? With a game plan in mind, I got to work stitching down the butterflies. Almost immediately, my needle kept gumming up, and would produce uneven stitches (if it stitched at all!) This proved to be extremely frustrating, until my Brother and much needed alcohol came to my rescue. My Bernina can be a bit finicky at times, so I pulled my ever reliable Brother sewing machine which was more cooperative, provided I use rubbing alcohol to wipe off the needle in between each and every butterfly!
|"If plan A doesn't work, the alphabet has 25 more letters--204, if you're in Japan."-Claire Cook|
|Setting My Sights Higher!|
I imagined mounting my butterfly displays on an embossed wall-papered backdrop, and set out to free motion quilt a faux-embossed, whole-cloth quilt! Yes, much of my time, effort and quilting would be completely covered up once my butterfly displays were mounted in place...but I hoped this attention to detail would impress the judges. Extra-wide blue painter's tape was used to mark out alternating rows widths that were filled in with figure eights and a large floral motif, stitched in a variegated lavender Aurifil 50-weight thread. As these are two of my favorite motifs, and I was able to stitch edge to edge, the quilting was completed in just a few hours!
|My Faux Embossed, Wall Paper Back Drop|
This year's challenge was co-sponsored by Aurifil thread. Quilts that use Aurifil threads visibly (ie. thread painting, embellishment, beading, etc) are eligible for one of three Best Use of Aurifil Awards. In total, eleven different spools of 50-weight Aurifil threads were used for applique, quilting, binding and final assembly of my quilt
|Aurifil Thread Line Up|
|Butterfly Boxed Sets, Finished 34" x 42"|