Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Challenge Finale

Earlier this week our local challenge group got together to share what each of us had made out of the "challenging" fabrics we had each been given two months ago. And here is what I came up with:

My main inspiration came from the flaming red hand-dye Louise had given me. Of course, the one hand-dye would be inspiring! The rest were all commercial prints, something I haven't used much of in a number of years. I spent many days contemplating those fabrics, but one morning after coming back from a yoga class, where we always end with what our teacher calls the flame mudra--palms of the hands pressed together in prayer position and then raised and held over our heads, I looked at the fabrics and realized I could use this image in quilt.  This is a meaningful pose for me, coming as it does after an hour of slowing down and focusing, and also reminds me of the flame hovering above the buddha's head on ancient statues.

I decided to try to create the flames with reverse applique and also to make the flames dark and the background red instead of the other way around. I made selective cuts from the Asian fabric that had a variety of gray patterns as well as some solid black areas and added some light gray of my own to create some value changes in the flames. I also decided to take a chance and make the flame off center by adding that strip of my own hand-dyed yellow down one side only.  Those pesky checks, which I thought I was going to have trouble using since they were too dominant as flames, became part of the border. So I ended up using all four of the fabrics given me, although the actual challenge only required us to use two.

The quilting was fairly simple with an outlining stitch around the flames, and I wanted some texture on the yellow strip so I added some perle cotton in a different pattern from what I had used before.
This little quilt measures about 15" x 11 1/2" and just about used up all the four pieces of fabric.

And this week we got to ooh and aah over all the quilts.  The fabrics were all different, of course, and the styles were amazingly different as well: Peggy's fancy circles that enabled her to use her circle stitcher on her machine, Louise's meditative Asian-inspired piece that became an homage to her mother, who had just passed away;  Anya's successful venture into improvisational curves inspired by Gee's Bend; a clever barn by Nancy that will help her grandson learn to open various fasteners; Dori's frazzled and frayed circles whose raw edges represented her mood at this time of year.
Susan, our seventh member, had hung around her grandchildren too much and ended up sick, but you can read about her adventures with the challenge on her blog.

I would say our group is off to a great start, wouldn't you?  And if you are still with me, thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

Yes I'd say you are off to a great start. I always admire those who take on "challenges" because they really stretch the mind and skills. Excellent job and thanks for sharing :)


quilthexle said...

Wow - I love your piece, it is really wonderful! Great idea to add that yellow strip, it gives the whole piece a certain "zing". Looks like your Challenge Group is having a lot of fun and you all end up with great results ;-))

Anya said...

Great work, Madalene. And it's even better in person! Thanks for participating in this with the rest of us -- I had great fun and look forward to our future adventures into new things! (I really have to stop using so many exclamation marks...but they really express how I feel)!!!

Susan said...

I'm really sorry that I missed the meeting! As wonderful as all the quilts are, it's the stories of the inspiration behind them that make them so special. Thanks for sharing your story...I love it!