Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hoffman Challenge, 2011: "A Moment of Zen"

I am very pleased to announce that I have an entry for this year's Hoffman Challenge in a Priority Mail box waiting to be taken to the Post Office today. I had been stuck on what to do with the gorgeous oriental print that is this year's challenge fabric for months on end.

I knew I wanted to do something with applique; and to turn the print "on its head", so to speak. I didn't want flowers to be the main theme, and I wasn't going to try to some crazy pieced thing because I've looked at the previous years' winners in that category, and I simply didn't have enough time to attempt something like those.

So I was kicking around a lot of ideas, and then I discovered an artist on Etsy, Kailey Lang, who is just fabulous. I bought some of her fish prints, and I just really started to love the visual look of koi fish, and the concept for my challenge quilt presented itself to me. The concept is not new, and it even showed up in Avatar: The Last Airbender  as Tui and La.

I sketched a fish, and then traced that sketch onto vellum:
These were retraced onto freezer paper to make templates.

I further constrained my design process by limiting myself to stash fabrics. This is fine with me as I have a large collection of Asian prints, and I got to use an out of print Hoffman fabric which was an alternate colorway to the 2008 challenge fabric (I find this amusing, and I hope it's not lost on the judges). I also used some fabrics I purchased to audition for the last Hours in the Garden quilt I made for my niece's wedding, but didn't make the cut for that quilt. they worked perfectly here. for my Yin/Yang base.

I used a waste bin as a large circle template and cut 2 circles of light and dark material  Then I think I drew the inside curve in chalk and freehand cut with a rotary cutter through both light and dark layers, leaving me enough to make 2 of these. Then a lot of pinning ensued and I slowly pieced the 2 pieces together. I clipped the outer curves at sewing time to ease the fabrics together, and they laid perfectly flat when I pressed them towards the dark fabric. The background is completely pieced, and not applique.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where the quilt really starts to take shape.

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