Celebrating with Flowers: Floral Fiesta

SCVQA Challenge Coordinators, Callista & Shirley, kicked off a fun new challenge:  How Do You Celebrate?  Challenge fabric kits were available for purchase starting in October 2018 and included these two Kaffe prints:
Per the challenge rules, these two fabrics were to make up approximately 75% of the front of our quilts.
Challenge Prints by Kaffe

Other challenge rules included:
  • Make a quilt that connects to the challenge theme of How Do You Celebrate?  What brings joy to your life or marks special occasions?
  • Quilt circumference not to exceed 100 inches
  • Must consist of 3 layers (quilt top, batting & backing) held together with stitching and finished edges
  • We could include as many fabrics as we lilked, but could not include white, black, or gray
  • Entries were due by our March 25th guild meeting
Tricky!  Tricky!  Tricky!!

As I studied the challenge prints, I started to see flower petals emerge in the Glamping print.  I fused the entire piece of Glamping fabric with Wonder Under fusible and cut out all the various tent tops to create my floral bouquets.  This chocolate confections print made for the perfect flower heads for Echinacea, commonly known as coneflowers.  Large vases were cut from the Jumble print.
Fabric Inspirations

As I was auditioning background fabrics, I kept reaching for black and white prints, and then had to remind myself that black and white fabrics were not permitted.  So I chose two different blue-violet prints to create a simple four-patch for the background.  When I first laid all the elements in place, I realized the vases blended in too much with the background.  To help them stand out, I framed each vase with a thin pop of color connected to the different petal colors.  This not only added much needed contrast, but also helps the viewer's eye move around the composition to the different accent colors.
Color Contrast

Next design challenge was achieving the approximately 75% of the front of the quilt using the two challenge fabrics.  I auditioned two different petal shapes to fill in some of the background, using the reverse side of the Jumble print.  Seeing the great contrast in value, I soon wished I had used the reverse side for the bases, but did not have ample fabric for a "do over." These newly added petal shapes were framed with a gold bathing suit print adding some bling to my quilt and tying into the metallic accents in the one background print.
Enhancing the Challenge Fabrics

The same green print was used to make bias tape for the flower stems, and raw edge leaves, which anchor the flowers to each vase and adds a pop of color.  As most of the design was raw edge applique, I used a variety of coordinating Aurifil threads and free motion quilting to outline each shape, prior to adding some fun textures to the vases and outside petal designs.  I always thought quilting black thread on black fabric was the hardest, but dark violet on dark violet background was just as challenging!!  I tried adding and repositioning the lighting to help me see where I had already stitched, all to no avail.  Finally I switched to a raspberry thread for the alternating blocks, making it much easier for the last of the background quilting!!
Quilting Details

Once I finished the quilting, a friend suggested I could have quilted from the back...d'oh!!  That would have been sooo much easier given the light colored backing fabric.  I will be sure to remember that tip for the next time I need to quilt on dark color fabrics.  And of course, I opted to make my life even more tricky by stitching the background fillers on such a small scale (1" safety pin for reference).
Sneak Peaks of the Quilt Back

I really like using solid fabrics for my quilt backs, as it yields a fun wholecloth design on the back!!
Wholecloth Back

And here is my finished "Floral Fiesta" entry:  Flowers are my favorite way to celebrate special occasions in my life. "Fleur" (french for flower) was my first word spoken.  As a young adult, I enjoyed wearing a corsage for a dance or graduation.  And it is always a treat to receive a beautiful bouquet in honor of a holiday or job well done.
Floral Fiesta, Finishes 24" x 24"

Floral Fiesta will make its public debut at the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association's Quilt Show, May 4th and 5th at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  Be sure to purchase your tickets so you can see this fun exhibit, and how my fellow quilters celebrated through this fun challenge!!


  1. You met the challenge well. Outlining some elements made a huge difference. The coneflowers are fabulous. I can't wait to see this in person.

    1. Thanks Ann...I can't wait to see how others met this challenge, given all the parameters set forth!! I really liked my coneflowers and still have some chocolate confections fused to make another mini quilt without any rules!!


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