Riley Blake Designs Fabric Challenge 2018: Greek Chic

This year's Modern Quilt Guild/Riley Blake Fabric Challenge was all about going back to basics with a navy and rose gold fabric palette.  For this fun challenge...
  • Members could sign up to receive a set of fat eighth's from the featured collection and/or purchase additional Riley Blake fabrics. 
  • We had to make something quilted using the featured prints from Riley Blake's basics collection (in to any Riley Blake fabrics)
  • The entire project (backing and binding) must use Riley Blake fabrics
In mid-February, I received my bundle of challenge fabrics which included a fat eight of the white Tone on Tone White Triangles, Navy Mini Hashtag, 1/8" Navy Stripes and Rosegold Sparkle Kiss print.  Many thanks to my friend Sarah Goer for giving me her challenge bundle.  I also purchased some additional half yard cuts of the navy and rose gold prints in tiny dots, 1/8" stripes, mini hashtags and kisses, along with 1 yard cuts of a coordinating solids in both navy and lipstick.
Back to Basics in Navy and Rose Gold

As the deadline approached, my head was spinning with design ideas:  mod molas, slice and insert...before deciding to create improv pieced spiral blocks.  As a former biology major, I created a Punnett Square to help me explore all the possible solid + print combinations: 
  • Blue Solid + Blue Print
  • Blue Solid + Rose Gold Print
  • Lipstick Solid + Blue Print
  • Lipstick Solid + Rose Gold Print

Fabric Genotyping

Once my fabrics were organized, next came the fun of actually swirling the fabrics together into improv pieced spiral blocks.  My set of prototye blocks were soon replicating into a larger collection of colorful spirals:  9 from each fabric/color grouping.
Spiral Spin Offs

As my blocks were pieced, I placed them on my design wall into the same Punnett Square configuration.  Once all 36 blocks were in place, the overall composition just fell short of my original vision.  A variety of designs were then explored and photographed:  quadrants, checkerboards, radiating designs, gradations and even spirals within a larger spiral design.  Taking photographs of each layout really helped me see the bigger picture and evaluate each design.  Some layouts were almost immediately dismissed as being too busy or too predictable.  Not only was I considering the placement of the various blocks, but also its orientation, which could really alter the design! 
Spinning with Layout Possibilities!

Once a layout was selected, the blocks were quickly assembled into a quilt top and my progress came to a halt as I considered quilting options.  Given the busy nature of the prints and pieced designs, I leaned towards keeping the quilting simple with either an all over meander or some kind of walking foot quilting.  The night before the deadline, inspiration came as I used Aurifil 50 weight in White (#2024) to stitch out a simple starburst design. The lines radiating out from the center adds great interest and texture without overwhelming the design.  Plus it was super fast (as in approximately 30 minutes start to finish) and easy to complete thanks to my trusted walking foot and a few strips of blue painter's tape as my guide!
Walking Foot WOW! Quilting

The starburst design really shines on the back of the quilt, which uses mostly solid grey with a few strips of the challenge prints.
Starburst Shines on the Back

With some precision piecing, I was able to frame each quadrant in a contrasting navy or rose gold stripe.
"Greek Chic", Finishes 31" x 31"

As I worked on this quilt, another design kept swirling in my head.  While I had fabric to spare, I wondered if I would have enough time to complete two quilts before the deadline?