Thursday, June 04, 2009

Live Piecefully - June

Sometimes I am too ambitious. Sometimes I have grand ideas that will never translate to reality. Sometimes, I just bite off more than I can chew.

But sometimes, sometimes it actually works.

When I joined the Live Piecefully virtual quilting bee a few months ago, my goal was to push my sewing and quilting skills and creativity further. Instead of having to sew and piece and entire quilt of squares at once (and in the same fabric, over and over), the bee gives me the freedom to experiment with new techniques and designs (and fabrics), a little bit at a time.

June is the first month of the bee, and Kat, the bee's organizer, was the first "queen bee" who sent out her chosen fabric to us "worker bees." She chose Tina Given's Treetop Fancy line in a raspberry colorway. It is beautiful fabric, but I was worried that, given the large scale of the print, it would be difficult to piece in an aesthetically pleasing way. I was also worried by the fact that there were no solids to contrast with the beautiful prints.

Kat's choice for her quilt fabric

When I received the fabric, I started playing around with the design. I had volunteered to make two blocks, so had a bit more fabric to play with. I sketched out eight different designs before I picked two that I wanted to focus on.

When I quilt, I really don't work from patterns. I just seem to work best in an improvisational way. But given that this wasn't MY fabric, and there was a finite amount, I really had to be careful! So for my first design -- a modified sunburst-esque look -- I actually sketched my designs out in muslin and cut out the pieces and numbered them so that all the different strips would actually fit together and in the right order.

When it came to finally cutting out my fabric, I was convinced that I had done it wrong and was just making a huge mess. I've never quilted curves, and of course, I had a cut-out circle making up one of the corners. Gah!

But like I stated at the top, sometimes it all just works out.

I'm really happy with how everything turned out. They aren't perfect (the solid pink border on the sunburst square was added because after trimming wonky edges, the quilt square was 3/4" too small), but I think they really show off the beauty of the fabric. The squares are each 12.5" and will eventually be pieced together by Kat with squares made by the other members of the bee. I can't wait to see the finished project!

I now just need to send these blocks off to Kat and wait until the July "queen bee," Shorty, sends off our next fabric. I think I'm hooked.

To see more of the Live Piecefully quilt blocks made so far, visit our Flickr page.