Monday, January 30, 2012

Moving Out of My Comfort Zone...for a Good Cause!

"Hibiscus Illusion"
     I spent the weekend working on a piece for the Virginia Quilt Museum "Little Quilts, Big Talent" project that will be a major fundraiser over the course of this year.  Last year I donated a small quilt, that, to be quite honest, I didn't put much time into.  Needless to say, it also didn't generate much revenue for the Museum.  I decided that this year I want to put a quilt into the event that truly demonstrates both my devotion to the "art" of quilting, and that will reflect well on the Museum's high standards for both traditional and contemporary quilts.  
    Last October I read a wonderful article on free-motion quilting possibilities in Machine Quilting Unlimited.  (Starter Scrap Quilting:  Free Motion Quilting with a Boost by Jenny Bowker.)  This technique truly intriqued my "small machine quilter" enthusiasms.  It emphasizes working with small pieces, is intricate in nature, and utilizes some free-motion techniques that I have played with, but never found the right project for.  The process involves picking a fabric, cutting off some of the pattern, and "imagining" that pattern with free-motion quilting in the "margins" so to speak.
Hibiscus detail
     I have had a lot of fun playing with this; I picked a print I bought in Hawaii several years ago that featured the Hibiscus.  I made sure I "cut off" parts of the flowers and leaves, and then just played, "imagining" what the flower would look like if it was still intact.  I did the same with a free interpretation of a tiki leaf and a bird-of-paradise blossom.  Then I did an enormous amount of free-motion fill with white, juxtaposed against all the colors I bled out into the pale lavender margins.  I'm pretty happy with the result.  This whole process really liberated me on my Bernina.....even after I had to "unsew" for about two hours when I was unhappy with some of my stitching.

The entire exercise has reminded me that getting "out of the box" can be very liberating, rewarding, and even my husband (my best...and most critical....critic) thinks it's lovely.  I do know I just had fun....isn't that what this journey is all about?  It was also very satisfying because, once I picked my focus fabric (and not counting all my "unsewing"), I had a finished project in two days. 

Fill detail with some "imaginary" leaves
One reason I wanted to share this exercise is that I would like you think about donating a quilt for the "Little Quilts, Big Talent" project.  We are hoping to double, or even triple, the number of quilts that were submitted last year.  The Virginia Quilt Museum is an incredible treasure. Located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, it is the official Quilt Museum of the Commonwealth.  Like many art museums, and especially textile museums, it relies primarily on support by the public to maintain its collection of incredible Virginia quilts, and to mount the wonderful exhibits it displays during the year.

As a member of the Board of Directors, I DO have a vested interest in the success of the Museum....but as quilters, you should have one, too.  Museums like this preserve our heritage, and provide incredible opportunities for new artists as well.  It is becoming harder and harder to maintain a small museum in the face of many economic pressures.....the demise of the quilt museum in Lancaster, PA, is an example of what I'm talking about.
For more information, go to the Virginia Quilt Museum home page, click on "Silent Auctions" and download a submission form.  You do not need to be a member of the museum to participate.  You don't have to be a Virginia quilter.  This initiative will be running all year; there are going to be three separate deadlines for quilts, so there is no excuse.....if you don't have something done now, well, you've got plenty of time to create.  The first submission deadline is March the donation form for details.  If you have any questions, contact me at  I'll be happy to give you more information.  Meanwhile, just enjoy my own enthusiasm as I share my "Little Quilt"....whether it's Big Talent or not, it's mine, and I'm proud of it.

Have a great week.



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1 comment:

Quiltsmiles said...

Beautiful quilting. I'm very impressed.